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 Captain Richard H. Jackson, United States Naval Representative in Paris

Subject Copy

CABLEGRAM SENT     Dec. 31, 1917. ECH

To   Jackson, Marine, Paris.                     Serial No. 866

Prep. by C. S. NCT1                       D.R.

19 ADR   

VERY SECRET

866. Urgent. The French Naval Attache2 states Ministry contemplating possible dispatch of decoy vessel under escort of submarine to Azores. Ascertain reason for proposed move and remind ministry on diplomatic manner that at the Naval Conference held in London September fourth and fifth it was agreed that United States would operate in Azores. Believe it is not desirable that any submarines other than United States should be at Azores. Fear complications and trouble with possible <repetition> of NAHMA incident if French submarines sent to Azores.3 17331

Sims.                  

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identifying marks appear at the top of the page: “1/4/C/N/J”.

Footnote 1: Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 2: Capt. Bernard de Blanpré, French Naval Attaché in Washington, D.C.

Footnote 3: On 5 October 1917, NAHMA, an armed yacht, was searching for a reported German submarine in the vicinity of Gibraltar when it sighted two submarines trailing a merchant ship. Believing that these submarines were attacking the ship, NAHMA opened fire, only to discover afterwards that the submarines belonged to the Italian Navy. Two Italian sailors on one of the submarines were fatally wounded, and the other Italian submarine narrowly escaped any damage, as the shell that hit it failed to detonate. Despite the fact that the French Naval Ministry did accede to the request Sims made herein, his fears were realized in May 1918, when a French submarine, ignoring warnings to avoid the area, was attacked by a Gibraltar-based American ships escorting a convoy through the Mediterranean; Still, Crisis at Sea, 396.

Related Content