Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, Commander, Convoy Operations in the Atlantic, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

July 4, 1917.

Secnav.

      Washington.

Quote destroyers which came with convoy to Europe have received orders from Vice-Admiral Sims to proceed immediately to Queenstown.1 One group of convoy is now ready for return to the United States. The departure of the destroyers leave the transports without protection. Stop. Two submarines are now operating off the entrance. I have informed Vice-Admiral Sims that the convoy must have an escort of destroyers but his order was repeated.2 Under these circumstances I consider it unsafe to permit the transports to leave the port Stop.

I am holding the convoy ships here until fur ther orders from Secretary of Navy Stop. I request that the Commander of the U.S. Forces in European waters be ordered to send a division of destroyers to escort the transports through danger zone, so that my orders from the Secretary may be carried out stop.3 The French Government cannot give sufficient protection Gleaves. Unquote. 23004.

Sayles.4    

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. In the upper right-had corner is the identifying number “295.” As seen in the notes below, Gleaves was in St. Nazaire, France.

Footnote 2: See, Gleaves to Senior Officer Present, St. Nazaire, 3 July 1917, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517, Box 5.

Footnote 3: Daniels’ reply has not been found. However, in his diary entry for 6 July, Cmdr. Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, Destroyer Division Eight, reported that five destroyers from Queenstown had gone to St. Nazaire, France, to “escort our transports part way back to the U.S. - At least through the danger zone;” RNW, Joseph K Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97.

Footnote 4: Cmdr. William R. Sayles was the United States Naval Attaché at Paris. He sent this cable to the Navy Department for Gleaves.

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