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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       18th August <8,> 19181  11-1-1

Origin    Admiral Benson               Serial No. Opnav. 116

Via            Q. 21                   Date No. 19008

Copies to Lt. Commander Babcock2      File No.

Action referred to:

Commander Long3

Vice Admiral Sims. London.

     Opnav one hundred and sixteen. Your one hundred and ninety seven.4 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.

Footnote 1: Since this cable is in response to a one Sims wrote in August 1917, and that it does not use the cable address later assigned to Sims’ office ("Simsadus"), it is likely that the date should be August 1917.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. John V. Babcock, Sims’ personal aide.

Footnote 3: Capt. Byron A. Long, a member of the Convoys and Miscellaneous section on Sims’ staff.

Footnote 4: See: Sims to Opnav, 5 August 1917.

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