Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

CMM                            COPY

DISPATCH TO BE SENT

Date August 10th 1918

To Opnav

Prepared by AC                               No. 2677

Highly Secret

Your Simben 7 our Simben 17.1 British have definite ocular evidence that some enemy submarines are using Norwegian Territorial Waters.2 British Government is negotiating with Norwegian Government in effort to cause Norway to mine or otherwise close these waters to passage of submarines: Recommend that our diplomatic representatives here and in Norway be instructed to support British efforts.3 If use of these territorial waters is not stopped efficacy of Northern Barrage will be greatly reduced as an anti-submarine and anti-raider measure.

SIMS.                  

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 529, box 342-44. Document identifier in top right-hand corner in columnar fashion: “A/J/H/2.”

Footnote 1: “Simben 7” has not been found; for “Simben 17,” see: Sims to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 31 July 1918.

Footnote 2: In a memorandum dated 31 July, First Sea Lord Adm. Sir Rosslyn Wemyss wrote that the “ocular proof” of the violation of Norwegian territorial waters came from British “submarine patrols.” Anglo-American Naval Relations, 391. William Still, who studied the German submarine records, estimates that at least nine German submarines passed through these waters between 11 July and 2 August 1918. Still, Crisis at Sea, 431-32.

Footnote 3: The day after Sims sent this cable the British government demanded that Norway mine its own waters. The Norwegians acceded to this demand in September but because of a lack of mines and other equipment on their part, few were planted before the Armistice. Ibid.

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