Rear Admiral William F. Fullam, Commander, Pacific Fleet Reserve Force, to Commander Frank B. Upham and Commander Master W. J. Kelton
UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET
U. S. S. PUEBLO, FLAGSHIP.
Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.
18 April, 1917.
To: Commanding Officers, U.S.S. PUEBLO, Nero.1
SUBJECT: Concealing identity of ships.
1. In order to make the identity of ships unknown to the general public, under present conditions, the ship’s name will be removed from the outside, letters will be removed from the ships’ boats and names taken off life preservers, etc., that are visible from outboard.2
W. F. Fullam
Source Note: TDS, DLC-MSS, William F. Fullam Papers. This order is written on Pacific Fleet stationery. In the upper left-hand corner is the identifier “MEM/R.”
Footnote 1: At the time of this order, PUEBLO was the flagship of the Pacific Fleet Scouting Force that patrolled the South Atlantic, protecting shipping, paying diplomatic calls to South American ports, and preventing the sailing of interned German and Austrian ships. Nero was a collier.
Footnote 2: There was a strong belief in the U.S. government that Mexico was pro-German and that German agents were active there. Moreover, Americans, because of their occupation of Vera Cruz in 1914, were unpopular and would be a logical target of popular unrest instigated by such agents and by anti-American Mexicans. See, Robert Lansing to Woodrow Wilson, 18 April 1917, Wilson Papers, 42: 92-3.