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Commander Paul Foley and L. I. Thomas to United States Shipping Board

Subject Copy.                              File No.          

Cablegram Sent Jan 17, 1918.    TCH

To   Opnav, Washington.                      Serial No. 3015

Prep. by Foley              NCT1   D.R.

21 D          


3015. Following for confidential information of Shipping Board, Begins. Have seen Black’s telegram of January 10th addressed to Long incorporating therein his telegram 10th to Shipping Board together with comments.2 Have also seen copy of Mc Clay’s telegram of January 16th addressed to Colby.3

     Referring to paragraph 4 of latter telegram in our discussions have gathered no indication authorities propose abandoning Eastern naphtha shipments and notwithstanding our assurances all naphtha excepting toluel can be supplied from United States authorities remain noncommittal. Suggest you give categorical answer to our telegram 2584 of December 31st as to meeting requirements plus factor of safety from United States estimated at 500,000 tons during 1918.

     Referring paragraph 6, Black in his telegram 10th above referred to suggested the thought that American tankers should be allocated as quid pro quo for valuable aid by British government in lending large British ships for transport of American troops and urged point be pressed. While we recognized and pointed out it was outside our province to comment on this, yet in a friendly way we observed that British statesmen were urging in the Allied interest despatch American troops with greatest possible speed. This for your information.

     Referring last paragraph during conference on January 9th we first learned of your proposal to assign American tankers voyage by voyage to Allied countries according to degree of urgency. Authorities recognize wisdom of this principle but fear overlapping unless there is coordination between England and America as givers of tonnage.

     Telegraphing you later tonight stock position as of January 1st. Signed Foley and Thomas. 28118


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Cmdr. Paul Foley and L. I. Thomas were experts on maritime shipping that had been part of the November diplomatic mission to England led by Col. Edward M. House.

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

Footnote 2: Sir Frederick Black and Third Secretary of State Breckinridge Long. Neither of the telegrams referenced herein have been located.

Footnote 3: Sir Joseph P. Maclay, Minister of Shipping (“Mc Clay” above is a typographical error), and Bainbridge Colby, United States Shipping Board. For a copy of the document that Foley and Thomas reference herein, see: Maclay to Colby, 17 January 1918.

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