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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters to Captain William B. Fletcher, Commander, Special Patrol Squadrons

EMBASSY OF THE                   


  3rd August, 1917.              

My dear Fletcher:

     Referring to your request for information as far in advance as possible of the arrival of ships in French waters, I propose to keep Jackson1 supplied with all the information I have on the subject, and have directed him to inform you. In case of any doubt at any time, you should communicate with Jackson, who is in telephone touch with me most of the time.

     Regarding the movements of troop ships and supply convoys you are aware that the utmost secrecy must be maintained regarding routes, rendezvous, date of arrival etc. I shall keep Jackson informed of the dates of sailing of these convoys from the United States and with their speed, the number of ships and other necessary information, as far in advance as possible, and will direct him to notify you immediately. From this data a rough calculation of the date of arrival can be obtained.

     Two or three days before the expected arrival of these ships, I will inform Jackson of the probable day of arrival. This date will be a fair approximation only, as the escort of destroyers is at liberty to alter the course of the convoy without reporting it – this upon receipt by them of information as to the position of submarines.

     I have arranged for our destroyers to escort the convoys to their destination, and suggested that these destroyers do not communicate with shore until shortly before arrival, when they will need to know the channel to be used.2

Very sincerely yours,

Wm. S. Sims.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 125, Entry 30, Box 246. Addressed below close: “Captain W. B. Fletcher,/Chief/C/o Division Patrol Bretagne/Brest.”

Footnote 1: Capt. Richard H. Jackson, American Representative to the Ministry of Marine.

Footnote 2: This arrangement did not work well and Fletcher’s command continued to experience difficulty in meeting the convoys coming from America. See: Fletcher to Sims, 25 August 1917.

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