Lieutenant Commander marcel Bertaux, Commisariat de la Marine-Lorient, to Commander Bernard A. de Blanpré, French Naval Attaché at Washington
NAVAL GENERAL STAFF
Paris, June 26, 1917.
For the U. S. Naval Attache, Paris.
To Naval Attache,
Replying to your telegram at the request of Admiral Benson, we have considered, in concert with the British Admiralty, before the entra[n]ce of the United States into the war, the principle of the grouping in convoys of merchant ships across the Atlantic with protection by cruisers.
The escort cruisers are intended to protect the ships against pirates and the new large submarines. They shall conduct the convoys to the approach entries, where destroyers will assure the escort to the port of discharge. Admiral Grasset has received instructions to make arrangements with the British Admiral at Bermudas and havethese cruisers perform escort duty.
We are quite ready to consider, in concert with The American Admiralty, a new distribution of the allied cruisers for the protection of merchant ships and transports. We will, moreover, communicate to Captain Jackson all the information we possess on the matter.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517. There is a notation in the upper left-hand corner of this document: “For the information of/the Commander U. S. Naval/Forces operating in European Waters.” This was Vice Admiral William S. Sims. There is also an identification number along the right margin: “11-1-1” and then in columnar fashion below the 1 set off by dashes: “3/C/1.”