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Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters


CABLEGRAM RECEIVED June <9, 1918.> 08509 TCH

Origin Opnav Washington                           Ser.No. 7013

Ref’d to O-1             Date 9 June

     29 ADR



7013. The demands made upon our forces for escort are constantly increasing due to extension of the convoy system. The extension of our coast including Gulf is very great,and 2 of the points most vital to the British oil supply are practically bare of protection following our policy to first put all anti-submarine force across the Atlantic. In view of presence of hostile cruiser submarine1 on this coast and the damage to oil interests in the Gulf that could be done,take under consideration advisability of returning U.S.S.BIRMINGHAM and U.S.S.CHESTER  to the U.S. It has been found necessary to withdraw U.S.S.CINCINNATI and U.S.S.RALEIGH from South America and U.S.S.MARBLEHEAD from Pacific.2 2009

/s/ Benson              

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

Footnote 1: Benson is referring to the presence of the U-151 off the American coast. See: Benson to Sims, 3 June 1918; Sims to Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 6 June 1918; and Benson to Sims, 7 June 1918.

Footnote 2: Sims strongly opposed withdrawing forces from the European theater to send back to America, arguing that this was exactly the German intent in sending submarines into American waters. See: Sims to Benson, 17 May 1918. BIRMINGHAM and CHESTER remained stationed at Gibraltar until the end of the war. DANFS.

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