Skip to main content

Secretary of the Admiralty Sir W. Graham Greene to Rear Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Destroyers Operating from British Bases



30th April     1917.


Dear Admiral Sims, 

                    I enclose copy of a letter which has received by the Senior Naval Officer at Swansea from the United States’ Consul requesting that he may be furnished with all available information relative to the reported whereabouts of German Submarines or Raiders in order to telegraph it to Washington.1

     2.   If information of this nature is required by the United States’ Navy Department, it would be preferred that it should be conveyed to them from the Admiralty, as information from all sources is received here, whereas the information available to individual Consuls would be incomplete.  Would you let me know therefore whether it w[o]uld be in accordance with the wishes of the United States’ Navy Department that collected information regarding submarines &c. should be transmitted to them from the Admiralty through Commodore Gaunt, our Naval Liaison Officer?2

Believe me,             

Yours very truly,

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1436. At the top left corner of the first page is the identifying number “M.04452.” Presumably, “S.W.” are the initials of the typist. The page before this copy is a draft of this letter. Someone has reviewed it and put in several stylistic but no substantive changes.

Footnote 1: The letter has not been found; the American vice-consul at Swansea, Wales, was B.F. Hale; the senior Royal Navy officer at Swansea was Cmdr. W.L. Down. Hale’s request was probably the product of a request made by Josephus Daniels to the State Department in March, 1917, that “all consular officers at sea ports” collect “such news as they may have regarding submarines and raiders.” DNA, RG 59, M67, Roll 33.

Footnote 2: Commo. Guy R.A. Gaunt was the British Naval Attaché in Washington, D.C. The next day, Sims replied that “my wishes in such matters are exactly those of the Admiralty,” adding that he considered it “highly important” that “all matters” be handled “in accordance with Admiralty experience.” He also promised “hearty cooperation” at “all times.” Sims to Greene, 31 April 1917, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1436. Sims then began to demand that all requests to the British Admiralty go through his office.