Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Subject Copy. File No. <27-5-7>
Cablegram Sent April 24, 1918. TOH
To Opnav Washington. Serial No. 6935
Prep. by R-5 NCT D.R.
6935. In further reference my 5957. British Ministry Shipping point out large amount of work involved in fitting American merchant vessels for carrying guns and gun crews as compared with similar work on British vessels. British practise requires accomodation from 2 to 6 men per ship only as compared with 14 to 24 per ship as has been required for the U.S. vessels which have been or are now being fitted out in this country for use in Army coal trade, the work being in accordance with Navy Department standard instructions. In view of great shortage of labor and material it is deemed undesirable to ask for performance of work on U.S. vessels far more extensive than work for same purpose on British vessels. I request that in future I be given authority to depart from Department requirements as to equipment, number of guns and number of men in the Guard, when nature of service warrants such departure. I also request that as far as practicable all merchant vessels leaving United States unarmed and which may be requisitioned by Army after reaching this side, be completely fitted xxx before leaving United States for receiving guns and armed Guard. 03524, 6935
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.