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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

Mercantile Shipping

Opnav Washington              Jan 21, 1918      MJK


01                       NCT              27 ADR.1


3152. Urgent. Your 2319.2 It is possible to coal ships in England but the time lost in proceeding from French Atlantic ports to English ports and waiting for escort and the additional danger from mines and submarines outweigh the disadvantages of bunkering in America for the round trip. If ships were required to go from French Atlantic ports to England for coal the result would be a loss of time much greater than the equivalent tonnage now lost by bunkering in America, entirely aside f rom the additional danger to which the ship is exposed. The policy recommended in my cable was very carefully considered from all angles. Nothing has arisen to warrant recommending any change in that policy which was adopted only after thorough discussion with Admiralty. 19021


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identifying number in columnar fashion at top of page: “1/3/C/J.”

Footnote 1: “MJK” was presumably the initials of the person who coded this message; his further identity is not known. “NCT” are the initials of Sims’ chief of staff Capt. Nathan C. Twining. “27 ADR” is the code used to send the message.

Footnote 2: In William S. Benson to Sims, 19 January 1917, Benson noted that many of the army’s chartered vessels had to use cargo space to carry fuel for the trip and asked if they could be re-coaled in England so cargo space could be used as intended. DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.