Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
18th August <8,> 1918 11-1-1
Origin Admiral Benson Serial No. Opnav. 116
Via Q. 21 Date No. 19008
Copies to Lt. Commander Babcock File No.
Action referred to:
Vice Admiral Sims. London.
Opnav one hundred and sixteen. Your one hundred and ninety seven. The following is the situation in regard to American Shipping. A few vessels route in the established convoys. More sail direct. Most ships confer with British shipping offices to get the latest information and routes. An effort is being made to induce American ships to take advantage of the protection offered by convoy. It is not possible to compel this except in Government-owned or chartered vessels until the Government takes over the control of all shipping. After studying your numerous cableson the subject, this office is of the opinion that what you want now is for it to furnish after departure direct with names, dates of sailing etc. of the following class of American ships only: those American cargo ships sailing direct and not taking advantage of convoy. In the case of all ships carrying troops and all Army and Navy cargo supply ships you wish the information forwarded you.
Will act along these lines unless you instruct otherwise[.] All other reports of sailings except war department reports through you will cease. 19008.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date stamp at the end of the cable, and the crossed-through date was apparently a typing error. “COPY” appears in the upper-left corner, and identifier “R. 185” appears to the right. Further identifier “3/C/J” appears along the right side of the page near the top in columnar fashion.