Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
15 July 1918,
VICE ADMIRAL SIMS.
Your 865. Ocean escort can be provided for sailing HB Convoys every eight days in which case it will be practically impossible for American cruisers to furnish occasional escort for Hampton Roads Convoy HH and British should make arrangements to escort all of the HH convoys period.
Propose slow Hampton Roads HH and Halifax HS convoys continue taking ships for French Bay of Biscay ports to accomodate slow ships loading South and North of New York respectively period
Propose to sail HB convoys from New York every eight days and take ships nine knots and over thus effecting (a) reduction of number coastwise trips of vessels as New York is most central point for loading ports (b) reduction of number of vessels necessary to send to Halifax or Sydney to join convoy entrance to these ports being very dangerous in present foggy season (c) relief to a certain extent of Halifax and Hampton Roads slow convoys now overcrowded (d) relief of HN convoys New York now overcrowded period
In order to relieve your escort which meets New York convoys now it will be necessary to exclude all vessels destination French Bay ports from HN New York convoys period This can be done at present but Department considers that increase in number of vessels for Bay ports will shortly make it imperative again to include vessels for Bay ports in New York HN convoys as at present and destroyer escort arrangements should be made with that in view period.
To reduce to minimum danger of convoys fouling each other following schedule proposed colon all eight day intervals (a) New York HN convoys same dates as at present (b) New York French Bay Ports HB convoys four days after HN convoys (c) New York Fast HX convoys 3 days after HN convoys period
Advise at early date and if approved will start with HN 77 sailing July 20th withholding Bay of Biscay ships from these convoys period Starting July 24th HB convoys will accept ships of nine knots and over for Bay of Biscay and will change interval to eight days.
Danger of collision between HH convoys from Hampton Roads and HB convoys at their crossing can be obviated by sailing HH convoys two days later than they now sail.period
British Commander in Chief concurs.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Someone has written in “OL-8546.” As an identifying number for this document.