Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, Second cable of the day
Cablegram Sent Dec. 20, 1917. FRA
TO: Opnav, Washington Ser. No. 2281
Prep. by BAL NCT
2281. My 403. Following general policy recommended for U. S. mercantile vessels trading with France and Mediterranean ports.
(a) Owing to the shortage of coal and labor in France recommend all vessels bound for French Atlantic ports bunker for round trip.
(b) Vessels bound for French Channel ports should bunker to destination only and then cross to England for bunkers for return voyage.
(c) Vessels in “b” should arrange to bunker in an English Channel port not west of Plymouth, as Plymouth is the assembly port for westbound convoys. Some vessels have been bunkering on Cardiff in order to reduce cost thus exposing these ships to additional risks of mines and submarines and loss of time.
(d) Vessels for Italian, Spanish or French Mediterranean ports should bunker at Gibraltar on return trip. If bound for other Mediterranean ports bunker to destination only.
Foregoing has been prepared in consultation with Admiralty and is in accordance with British practice. 04820
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.