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 Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, Commander, Convoy Operations in the Atlantic, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

RECEIVED: July 5, 1917.

     Message from Admiral Gleaves to Admiral Sims of this present date.

     Eight transports and two cruisers ready to sail and cannot for lack of safe escort.1 French can only provide two or three slow torpedo boats (stop) This is entirely inadequate. Navy Department has cabled for a quick return of transports.2 Request five destroyers be sent immediately for this duty. ALLEN went to sea with first group and was ordered to return to St. Nazaire before your order was received.3 Please acknowledge and inform me probable date of arrival of destroyers.


Note by Lieut. Comdr. Babcock4       The above message was received by me from Naval Attache, Paris, over French telephone.5  The Naval Attache told me also that total French force at St. Nazaire consisted of three torpedo boats, speed under fifteen knots, and one British sloop under French flag, and two French sloops, and that the services of these ships for escort duty of our transports involved abandonment of escort duty for French trade coming into St. Nazaire.

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

Footnote 1: The ships at St. Nazaire were the remnants of the first American Expeditionary Forces convoy to France. The Destroyers that escorted the convoy to St. Nazaire proceeded to Queenstown on orders from Vice Admiral Sims. See: Gleaves to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, 29 June 1917.

Footnote 2: A copy of this cablegram has not been located.

Footnote 3: For details on the detention of destroyers see: Sims to Admiralty 28 June 1917.

Footnote 4: Cmdr. John V. Babcock.

Footnote 5: Cmdr. William R. Sayles, Jr., United States Naval Attaché at Paris.

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