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Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

CABLEGRAM RECEIVED  August, <1, 1918,> 16001. ELS

Opnav Washington (Secnav.)         Opnav 9327.

CS 5 Aug.

49 419.



9327. Secret. Planning Section Memorandum 37,Navy Department submits following:1

     1.To safeguard line of communications United States and Europe is prime essential for further conduct of war These lines can be made safe by effective barrage and patrol on following lines or sea frontiers

(A) Scotland Orkneys Norway

(B) England to France

(C) Tunis to Sicily

     1. With exception eastern and North Sea barrage, the Endsthese barrages rest on friendly shores and in all respects otherwise meet fundamental principles for effective barrage as specified your 1765 conclusion2

     3.The three proposed lines if effectively maintained would completely contain enemy submarines, make it possible for United States and Allied Forces to augment their ship tonnage rapidly and enable United States maintain in Europe as large an army as necessary to insure victory

     4. Such a sea frontier would be of the utmost possible value to Italy since assured lines of communications would enable United States and Allied Forces to supply her with all necessities.

     5. Having established above sea frontier it should be desirable to carry out secondary projects

(A) Close Adriatic Sea

(B) Close Dardannelles

Those secondary projects should be carried out simultaineously if mine material and facilities can be made available.

     6. It is desired that mixed command and responsibility for execution of any project of this nature should be avoided and it is believed that Tunis-Sicily proposition should be entirely American, that Adriatic Sea should be closed by Italian operations (if necessary supported by Allied Forces) and Dardannelles or Aeggen Sea project should be entirely British.

     7.Mine material for Tunis Sicily project practically ready for shipment from United States. Since American mine force in North Sea will be unable to operate that sea after September owing to bad weather, at least one half force will be in October available for T-S project. Mine carriers now supply North Sea base needs only being diverted to Mediterranean Sea about September 1st. to lay out at Bizerta the required mines.

     8. United States can supply mine material for Adriatic Sea and Aegean projects if desired without detriment T-S project, subject to developing satisfactory anchors for 600 fathoms depth reference Planning Section Memorandum 37, Buord investigated practicability of using Mark 6 mines in 500 fathoms and has found it will only be necessary for substituting mooring cable. It will be impossible of smaller diameter and special quality for present cable. It will be impossible adapt present mines to greater depth than 500 fathoms without considerable modification of present anchors. To make this modification and start production would require at least two months. Should Cape Bon-Sicily barrage be decided upon present mines without any modification will be satisfactory.

     9. If T-S project should be approved without delay preparation mine base at Bizerta so far United States is concerned could be made by October by which time mine material and mine force will be available and project could be completed by December 1st. in all probability.

     10. Reference your 18673 if Allied Council approve Otranto mine barrage will it supercede tha anti-submarine net project. Net material probably can be furnished within 3 to 5 months without unduly interfering with mine projects. 9327 16001


     N.B. There is an abrupt break in this message in middle of paragraph 4 and no mention made of paragraph 5. This message has been serviced.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “1/6/Q/J.” handwritten date confirmed by time/date stamp.

Footnote 1: For a copy of Planning Section Memorandum 37, see, American Naval Planning Section London: 245-254.

Footnote 3: Document referred to has not been found.