Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
Cablegram Received April 7, 1918 TOH
Origin Opnav Washington. Ser. No. 4700
C-1 8 April
21 D VERY SECRET
4700. Your 5042. My 4372. British draft of proposal for consideration at next Allied Signal Conference just received. Proposal number 2 agreed to except that until submarine operations occur this coast United States Merchant vessels are allowed to communicate with their owners by Merchant Ship Cipher when in West Atlantic. United States is plan<n>ing to place especial<ly> picked Chief Electricians (radio) on all United States Merchant vessels, transferring responsibility for communication, coding etc from the Master to this Chief Electrician. These points should be established before Department will approve abolition of United States Merchant Ship cipher and W R 1. In this connection it is likely that war time radio instructions be iss[u]ed in 1 book and 1 copy be given to Masters and 1 to before –mentioned Chief Electrician. In connection with proposal number 6 Department agrees except that believe column should be added to contain name of ships owner as this makes it easier to check up messages from United States ships to their agents. Department already preparing corrections “C” “B” 1283 and 1284. Department agrees proposals 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9. In connection with proposal 4 and 5 suggest that in submarine zone ships have 2 operators standing continuous watch. Radio Station Washington D.C. has been designated to transmit war warnings, routing instructions, time signals, press et cetera on 2500 meters at different hours than stations transmitting same information on 600 meters. War warnings are sent at end press. 2500 meters is used because stations cannot time to 600. 01007 4700
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.