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 Edward N. Hurley, Chairman, United States Shipping Board

                   CABLEGRAM SENT          Dec. 17, 1917

     To   Opnav, Washington                     Ser. No. 2216.

VERY SECRET

2216.     For Chairman U.S. Shipping Board. Foley Thomas report as follows:1 “Referring to Article two of policy adopted November 14th, British authorities have submitted statement showing that as of November 21st, there were in port or would arrive during subsequent 90 days in United Kingdom and France 30 tank steamers scheduled to load from sources of supply other than United States with a combined carrying capacity of 238,000 tons distributed as follows, Mexico 113,000 tons, East 90,000 tons, Trinidad, 31,000 tons, Curacao, 4,800 tons.2 If these steamers loaded one cargo at Northern Atlantic ports instead of previously anticipated destinations estimated gain would be Mexico based on 60 days versus 75 days 23000 tons, East 60 days versus 150 days 54,000 tons, Trinidad and Curacao gain negligible. If this loading from Mexico merely diverted to Gulf ports there would be no gain. As regards East it is claimed half of tonnage was for toluel benzene urgently needed, consequently saving effects 27,000 tons only of aviation spirit. As regards Article one of Policy British Authorities claim that as Mexico loading are in the same category as Gulf loadings the policy really only affects aviation naphtha loadings from East. They are willing to carefully consider abandonment of latter but first wish definite assurances that total requirements of European Allies after taking into consideration American War requirements can be supplied from the United States and that this be sanctioned by War and Navy Departments Washington. They do not feel justified in <m>aking a decision until this point is cleared. In addition to 36,000 tons of American aviation naphtha already contracted for which they wish based on revised aviation programme are as follows:

1st quarter 7000 tons per month

2nd quarter 8000 tons per month

3rd quarter 12000 tons per month

4th quarter 16000 tons per month

Total for year 1918- 129,000 tons. Hope to telegraph seventeenth French and Italian aviation naphtha requirements for 1918.  23217

Sims     

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Cmdr. Paul Foley and L. I. Thomas were experts on maritime shipping that had been part of the mission to England led by Col. Edward M. House. Hurley, Bridge to France, 198-200.

Footnote 2: “East” here refers to the East Indies.

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