Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Sir Cecil A. Spring Rice, British Ambassador to the United States, to British Foreign Office

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

MILITARY      

Decypher.  Mr. Barclay. (Washington).

March 20th.1917.                  

     R. 8 a.m. March 21st.1917.

No. 744. (R)  

______

     Following measures of preparedness were decided upon by Navy Department March 19th.

     Immediate construction of at least 260 submarine chasers. Utilization of 115 million dollars of Naval Emergency Fund for construction of above chasers and purchase of guns ammunition and aircraft. Suspension of the provisions of 8 hour law as regards Naval Contracts (?group omitted) Early grade classes of Naval Academy. Increase of personnel of Navy from 60,000 to 87,000.

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1426. Neither the author or recipient is given, however, the tone of the cable, the fact that the copy came from the files of the British Foreign Office, and that the coding of the cable was done by Colville Barclay, First Secretary of the British Embassy in Washington, lead the editors to believe it was authored by Ambassador Sir Cecil A. Spring Rice and was sent to the Foreign Office. One of the charges made later by Adm. William S. Sims was that the U.S. Navy had done nothing before the country’s declaration of war to prepare for the conflict. This report calls into question that assertion.

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