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


Subject Copy.

Cablegram Sent     Dec. 21, 1917

To   Opnav, Washington                 Serial No. 2300

Prep. by (Cmrd Foley)        NCT1  D.R.

                                  18 D

2300.  Following from Foley. Your 1672.2 Present emergency as regards tonnage for both oil and wheat is extremely critical. British imperatively require one hundred thousand tons dead weight in January to move wheat to the United Kingdom. They have proposed to find this by stopping double bottom shipments of fuel oil. The present critical situation will be met if immediate assurance is given that the United States will provide one hundred thousands tons dead weight in January. It makes little difference whether this be in the form of tank tonnage or cargo tonnage, but unless immediate provision is made for moving wheat gravest consequences may ensue; this upon the personal assurance of Mr. Walter Long.3 If no other tonnage immediately available there is no question in my mind but that emergency warrants employment of naval colliers in Trans-Atlantic service. In this connection see following cablegrams: 2125, 2142, 2145, 2216 and 2282.4 04521.


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

Footnote 1:Cmdr. Paul Foley, a member of the Shipping Board with special reference to fuel oil, and Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ Chief of Staff.

Footnote 2: This document has not been found. It was probably a response to another urgent message from Sims regarding the wheat supply in Britain. See, for example: Sims to Benson, 13 December 1917.

Footnote 3: Long had been commissioned by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George to oversee “all matter concerning petroleum supplies.” See: Foley and Thomas to Hurley, 14 December 1917.

Footnote 4: See: Sims to Benson, 13 December 1917; Foley and Thomas to Hurley, 14 December 1917; and Sims to Hurley, 17 December 1917. Documents 2142 and 2282 have not been found.

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