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 the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

CABLEGRAM SENT---   June 15, 1918. TOH

To ---- Opnav Washington.                   Serial No. 9588

Prep. by CS       nct        40 ADR1

CONFIDENTIAL__

9588. Allied Naval Council met London June 11th and 12th . Council discussed recent developments in the situation in Finland, Mourmansk2 and Archangel, and decided that naval resources of Allies for convoying and safeguarding maritime traffic are now strained to the utmost, and that the dispersion of forces necessary to safeguard the northern routes to Mourmansk and Archangel could be justified only if the results to be obtained by a military effort in that region were to be considerable.3 Council decided to refer this question back to Supreme War Council for further investigation. Council also recorded the opinion that no increase in the number of military forces to operate on the shores of the Arctic Ocean should be made without a full and careful consideration of the naval consequences, or with out the advice of a responsible Allied naval authority.

     Council confirmed arrangements made by representatives regarding signalmen for allied merchant ships in convoy as set forth in paper number on[e] four two, copy forwarded with Force Commander’s letter number two naught two eight one dated June 8th.4

     Council agreed to allocation of seventy-two American submarine chasers, with parent ships if available, to Irish Sea and English Channel.

     Council agreed that the attention of the several Admiralties should be called to the extreme importance of keeping to a minimum the calls on merchant tonnage, and of exercising the greatest economy in the use of cargo ships now allocated to navies.

     Further agreed that each Navy Department should be requested to prepare a list of the merchant tonnage now employed on its naval service together with an explanation of its service and methods of operation. This list should not include ships manned by Navy but operated for Army account. List to be supplied to Secretary of Council for transmission to Allied Maritime Transport Council. See paper number one two four forwarded with letter number one seven naught eight four May 11th.5

     Council was unable to reach agreement on subject of pooling repair facilities in Mediterranean owing to the representative of Italy failing to concur in opinions of other members. In this connection see cable number nine five seven naught of this date.6

     Regarding redistribution of naval forces in Mediterranean agreed that ten French destroyers now attached to Adriatic forces should be withdrawn as soon as practicable from the Adriatic for service with Allied Fleet in Aegean Sea. All Members except Italian agreed that British light forces now based on Brindisi ought to be placed under the general direction of the Allied Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean to be used by him as auxiliaries to his force in case of urgent necessity. Respecting British light cruisers in Adriatic Italy was not prepared to discuss any modification in existing Allied Naval conventions by which these cruisers are under command of Italian Commander-in-Chief.

     Respecting Adriatic project, it was decided that it would not be practicable at the present time to provide military personnel required, and that collection of the necessary materials would also be a matter of some months. It was therefore decided not to place the matter in detail befor the Supreme War Council and not to proceed with the preparation of detailed plans.

     The Council confirmed the action of the emergency meeting of May 15th as set forth in paper number one three one. See paragraph three my letter number two naught two eight one of June eighth.7

     The Council will hold next meeting avout July 24tyhin Paris. 10515. 9588

SIMS               

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document identifiers in top right-hand corner: “52-2-4” and in columnar fashion: “1/3/c/d/5/6/J/<5>.”

Footnote 1: “TOH” is the initials of the coder/transcriber; “CS” is chief of staff, which was “nct” Capt. Nathan C. Twining; “40 ADR” is the code used to transmit this message.

Footnote 2: That is, Murmansk.

Footnote 3: On the situation in Russia, see: Sims to the Office of Naval Intelligence, 3 June 1918.

Footnote 4: Sim’s letter has not been found.

Footnote 5: That paper has not been found.

Footnote 6: On the problems concerning Italian intransigence at this meeting, see Trask, Captain and Cabinets: 264-67.

Footnote 7: Sims’ letter not found.

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