Secretaryof the Navy Josephus Daniels to Rear Admiral William S. Sims
RECEIVED: April 22nd, 1917. To: Naval Attache.
Confer with British Admiralty and wire your recommendation as to situation on the following request which has been made by the Russian Government, viz, that U.S. send four patrol vessels and four destroyers for defense of Russian Arctic Coast. Their need for assistance is represented as immediate and urgent.1 For Sims.
NO. OF COPIES 3 REFERENCE NO.
Source Note: C, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517. The cable was addressed to the Naval Attaché in London, William D. MacDougall, to be forwarded to Sims. At the top left of the cable is the initials “MEJ.,” presumably the typist. In a letter to his wife of this date Sims wrote that he had received “an important cable” that morning, had consulted the British Admiralty as required, and then returned to the American embassy in order to send the reply but “could not find anybody belonging to the embassy in order to code it.” He added: “I will get that straightened out without delay.” Sims to Anna Hitchcock Sims, 22 April 1917, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers. In his later testimony before Congress, Sims pointed to this message as evidence “how little importance the department had apparently given to my recommendations” because in his “first dispatch and in later dispatches I had emphasized the absolute necessity of concentrating all available American antisubmarine craft in the critical area of the submarine zone south of Ireland. Yet the department entertained the possibility of sending four destroyer and four patrol vessels to the Arctic coast at a time when, so far as I knew, they were intending to send only one division of destroyers to the critical zone.” Naval Investigation, 1: 40.
Footnote 1: On 3 May 1917, Daniels reported in his diary a conversations with the Russian Naval Attaché in Washington. During the conversations the Attaché asked that American vessels be sent to Russia, “to protect shipping to Archangel as soon as the ice broke up. Because, “Russia had no destroyers except those in repair.” Diary of Josephus Daniels, 3 May, 1917, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diaries, Roll 1. Also, see: Sims to Daniels, 24 April 1917.