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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


CABLE DISPATCH     25.9.2.

SENT:     June 20, 1917.     TO: Secretary of the Navy.

THROUGH:  Admiralty.         FROM:  Queenstown.


The immediate dispatch to this area of all possible destroyers and large numbers of anti-submarine craft of any description is mandatory if the submarine issue is to be effectively met.

During the absence of destroyers for escort duty with troop transports the forces of this area are reduced to only ten destroyers and ten sloops only six of each in operation at a time. This requires five days at sea with two days in port which cannot be continued with reliability. Other areas are similarly short of sufficient forces to meet this situation. Yesterday the majority of these forces were engaged in escorting inward-bound valuable ships thereby leaving all shipping following them unprotected. Ship sunk yesterday as far west as seventeen thirty.

It would seem suicidal if the convoy system as proposed by the British Admiralty is not put into immediate operation and applied to all merchant vessels thus forcing submarines to encounter anti-submarine craft in order to attack shipping. It is impossible to carry on partial convoy and patrol systems. Both cannot be done. the former promises much better than present system which is not succeeding.

Urgently request information of Departments action on this despatch and upon previous similar despatches. A decision is necessary before decisive action can be taken on this side.1



Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Someone has handwritten the identifying number “40” at the beginning of the first line of text.

Footnote 1: This cable is very similar to another cable Sims sent Daniels this same date. See: Sims to Daniels, 20 June, 1917.