Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Raymond B. Stevens, Vice-Chairman, United States Shipping Board and United States Representative, Allied Maritime Transportation Council, to Shipping Control Committee

 

Communications Copy.

Cablegram Sent 3 April 1918 WHH

To Opnav Washington                        Serial No. 5951

Prep. by   C-3     Ap’vd. by Greene1           D.R.

Rec’d         Coded       Cypher 24-D     Disp’chd{Cable Mess.

5951. SHIPMISSION 74. FOR SHIP CONTROL COMMITTEE. Replying to your 36 Atterbury’s2 request was not made because Swedish steamers are objectionable for his service but because charters are only for three months which is the period fixed in Swedish modus vivendi. If upon expiration of three months a permanent agreement with Sweden has not been reached and the Swedes should because of pressure from Germany or other causes refuse to renew charters our Army Transport Service would be without means of carrying on its work. It is impossible now to make charters for a longer period and I quite agree with Atterbury that we should not take risk of being deprived of boats upon expiration of present charters but should in the meantime provide our own vessels as the service is necessary for maintenance of our Army.

     My number 423 referred to general cargo only which does not include coal and estimated quantities therein to be moved to the end of the year do not include coal.

     Army Transport service estimates amount of coal to be moved by it monthly from England to France April 160,000 tons<,> May 200,000 tons<,> June 225,000 tons. / Frederickstad type boats4 which you propose to give Pershing5 for replacing boats he now has for coal service would not assist movement of general cargo referred to in my 42. Regarding advisability of exchange I am fully in accord with your suggestion as the Frederickstad are more suitable size and type for this work and the larger steamers can be used to better advantage.

     It is important from every point of view that we supply small steamers required for Army Transport Service from our own resources. The submarine warfare has destroyed a great many ships under 1600 tons. Consequently there is great shortage here of such vessels. Even if Swedish charters can be renewed, all small vessels are urgently needed for war service by England France and Italy. We have not requisitioned ships under 2500 tons. STEVENS. 5951.

15003                                      Sims6

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: J. D. Greene was one of the experts serving on Stevens’ staff. Hurley, Bridge to France, 199.

Footnote 2: Brig. Gen. William W. Atterbury, Director General of Transportation for the American Expeditionary Forces. Shipping Control Committee’s 36 has not been located.

Footnote 4: Presumably boats built or designed in Fredrikstad, Norway.

Footnote 5: Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander-in-Chief, American Expeditionary Forces.

Footnote 6: This message was routed through Sims’ office and reached the committee via the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

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