Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Sir Joseph P. Maclay, Minister of Shipping, to Bainbridge Colby, United States Shipping Board

Subject Copy.

Cablegram Sent 1 February 1918. ROC

To Opnav, Washington.                 Serial No. 3550

Prep. by                     NCT1 D.R.

                                      27 ADR

VERY SECRET

3550.     Following for Mr. Bainbridge Colby from Sir Joseph Maclay Personal Begins:

          Between losses and delays by convoys bad weather in America etc. our tonnage position has become most acute while the demands from France Italy and other Allies have increased. It is therefore of vital moment that United States should give immediate assistance in tonnage. Will you please take up question immediately and telegraph possibilities for February March April May. Shall be glad also of a reply to my telegram of 17th. January relative to tank tonnage.2 Ordinary measures inadequate feel that heroic measures become necessary for all of us even if involving partial or entire destruction of trade for time being. We are now at critical period of war and failure to meet shipping crisis means making military and naval efforts ineffective. Further you know how we are helping your troops.

Sims. 22101            

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

Footnote 1: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Chief of Staff to VAdm.  William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Footnote 2: See: Maclay to Colby, 17 January 1918. On 7 February, Maclay cabled Colby again soliciting a quick reply, adding that the recent loss of several cargo ships made the situation “worse” and demanded “immediate drastic action.”

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