Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

 

Cablegram Sent:  July 21, 1917.

To: Secretary of the Navy (Operations)

Via: Navy Secret Code.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

120. Visited Grand Fleet nineteenth with Admiral Jellicoe1 for consultation with Commander-in-Chief. The result is that Admiralty request that the four strongest coal burning battleships with six destroyers be sent join Grand Fleet now Firth of Forth. Also that our submarines could be very usefully employed in anti-submarine [operations].

     The reason for this request is that five King Edward class2 must be placed out of commission and their places taken by four dreadnoughts to provide officers and gunnery and torpedo ratings for light cruisers, destroyers, submarines, etc. to be commissioned. Shortage of officers will be four hundred after advancing reserve officers from motor boats, etc. to Fleet. Our oil burning battleships could not be supplied, and more than four would unduly increase burden on coal supply, and would necessitate additional screening vessels not now available.

     The conference agreed that moral effect would be very great also mutual benefit of exchange of ideas and methods. The intelligence service thereby created between two Fleets would be superior to any service which exists or could be established. Carefully selected expert staff should be sent. Also recommend temporary detail representative our Commander-in-Chief on Admiral Beatty’s3 staff.

SIMS.    

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520. Additional notes at the top of the page read “File Number 25-1-9” and “Serial Number. 120.”

Footnote 1: First Sea Lord Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe.

Footnote 2: An older class of battleships supplanted by Dreadnoughts. Friedman, Fighting the Great War at Sea: 119-120.

Footnote 3: Adm. Sir David Beatty, Commander, Grand Fleet.