Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
File No <46/4/1>
Cablegram Sent 23 FEB EWC
To Opnav, Washington. Serial No. 4294
Prep. by N.C.T. C. of S.1
4294. Coincident with receipt of your No. 30172 Admiralty advised that on account of acute food situation they had decided to waive standard six months reserve stock of fuel oil and for time being work on three months estimated consumption plus an allowance of 225,000 tons representing an estimated quantity which is regarded as non-transferable from storage points to naval bases.
Admiralty have submitted statement showing estimated expenditure Home and Mediterranean including supplies to United States Naval Forces operating in U.K., statement also includes 14,500 tons per month for French and Italian requirements plus an estimated monthly loss of 30,000 tons of cargo. The above expenditures and losses are estimated monthly as follows:
- February 330,000 –
- March 335,000 -
- April 341,000 -
- May 349,000 -
- June 354,000 -
- July 361,000 -
- August 368,000 -
- September 375,000 -
- October 382,000 -
- November 392,000 -
- December 405,000 -
- January 414,000 -
- Total 4,406,000 –
To determine reserve on new basis multiply monthly figures by three adding 225,000 tons.
Foley and Thomas3 after carefully examining Admiralty statement and figures previously submitted have prepared a memorandum covering the situation which I have today presented to the Admiralty. Main features of their memorandum are as follows:
First, That Admiralty figures are only an estimate of the situation both as regards consumption and losses therefore it is not possible to accurately balance tank tonnage against estimated figures over such an extended period as a year.
Second, That the half way point on curve of increased consumption between February, 1918 and January 1919 is at the end of September, 1918, when according to Admiralty’s own figures the established reserve on new basis should amount to 1,350,000 tons of fuel oil.
Third, That if after March, 1918 Admiralty discontinued all fuel oil shipments in double bottoms and American tankers hereinafter mentioned, stock of fuel oil according to Admiralty’s own figures at end of September would amount to 1,170,000 tons.
Fourth, That this deficit can be largely made good if re-routings of British tankers as per their statement submitted to Ministry of Shipping, February 4th are given prompt effect.4
Fifth, That on account of acute tank tonnage situation in the United States and stock position in France they recommend:
(A) That the American tankers carrying fuel oil under charter to British Government, viz. “SANTA MARIA”, “DOHENY”, “DAYTON”, “NORMAN BRIDGE”, “CALORIA”, “NORTHWESTERN”, GEORGIA totaling 34,143 gross tons be withdrawn and assigned to France.
(B) That fuel oil shipments in double bottoms of British vessels be continued when such shipments do not shut out dead-weight cargo.
(C) That fuel oil shipments in double bottoms of American Transports as per your No. 1726 be commenced as soon as possible.5
(D) That the British Authorities should exercize closest scrutiny to see that all tankers as far as possible are assigned to the Transatlantic.
(E) That the situation be periodically reviewed to determine the stock position in relation to requirements and available tonnage.
Will telegraph as soon as possible what action Admiralty take on these proposals. 13423.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.
Footnote 1: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ Chief of Staff.
Footnote 2: See: Mark L. Requa to Sims, 15 February 1918.
Footnote 3: Commander Paul Foley and L. I. Thomas.
Footnote 4: This document has not been located.
Footnote 5: This document has not been located.