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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


Sent:- 12th July, 1917.            To:- Commodore Gaunt1


Through:- Admiralty.

     For Secretary, U.S. Navy from Vice Admiral Sims – begins – 97.     Very urgent.   It is of utmost importance that ample warning be given of perspective sailings of all ships requiring escort and particularly groups of ships with troops or supplies which will approach European shores outside of usual merchant routes similar to those reported yesterday as having sailed on eleven July (stop) Every possible effort is now being made to put convoy system into full operation and its success is dependent upon use of our destroyers in addition to British destroyers and patrol ships (stop) At present there is prospect of severe congestion of convoys in submarine zones later part this month not only to United Kingdom but also to France and from Russia (stop) Please cable today concerning any further prospective sailings of army troop or supply ships before one August(stop) In case of such sailings it will be necessary to cancel merchant convoy sailing from New York on fourteen July (stop) Without advance notice of at least fifteen days before sailing there is grave danger of coincidence of arrivals in submarine zone with necessity of inadequate protection for some convoy and hence possibility of disaster (stop) I again urge the importance of our not attempting to work independently of or replacing present establish British shipping and convoy officers but that we solely co-operate in regard to all shipping American as well as British and allied shipping (stop) Sailing of all British or American requiring special officers giving rendezvous and times (stop) Communications should be made in accordance with their usual procedure notifying me for information if desired (stop) I recommend that in future army supply ships join merchant convoys in order to increase safety relieve strain on limited number of escort vessels available and permit plans to be made for adequate protection (stop) This subject is of the utmost importance to Allied success again[st] enemy submarine campaign and prevention of serious losses.


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

Footnote 1: Commo. Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché at Washington.