Raymond B. Stevens, Vice-Chairman, States Shipping Board, and Representative, Allied Maritime Transport Council, to Edward N. Hurley, Chairman, Shipping Board
Chronological Copy. File No. <42/2/4>
Cablegram Sent March 23, 1918. JCH
To Opnav, Washington. Serial No. 5432
Prep. by C-S Greene D.R.
5432. Shipmission 42 for Hurley. General Atterbury advises as follows quote We understand you are allocating to us certain Swedish vessels to be operated by the A T S under three months time charter. It is understood that this is merely a temporary arrangement in order to facilitate the transportation of supplies recently needed from England to France these vessels taking the place of British vessels on which we have been securing freight space and moving said supplies. It is not entirely satisfactory from a shipping standpoint as far as the Army is concerned for us to operate neutral vessels under time charter especially for such short duration as ninety days. It is therefore recommended that you take the necessary steps to secure for us immediately American tonnage to take the place of the neutrals at the expiration of present charters. Our requirements for this service at the present time call for about 25000 to 30000 tons deadweight of vessels ranging from 500 to 2000 tons deadweight each these for our short trip Cross Channel Service draft not exceeding twelve to fifteen feet. These vessels much have over all hatches with necessary equipment for quick discharge from ships hold. It will be impossible for us to discharge vessels from side ports on account of extensive rise and fall of tides. It will therefore be impracticable to send us side port vessels which might be obtainable in the States end quote Immediately upon my arrival the Army Transport Service consulted me regarding Cross Channel Service which had heretofore been furnished by British vessels and which vessels owing to urgent necessities of the British Army have to be withdrawn from our service. In order to give prompt relief I arranged to give Army about 23000 tons deadweight small Swedish steamers chartered under modus vivendi agreement. The total movement by the Army Transport Service of general cargo between England and France is estimated 53000 tons for March 88000 tons for April 88000 tons for May and 83000 tons for June and it is believed movement will increase to about 100,000 tons per month during last half this year. In my opinion it is absolutely necessary this service be supplied by American vessels not only because of possibility that upon expiration of present charters under Swedish modus vivendi vessels may be withdrawn by Swedes but also because if Swedish charters can be continued there is great need for these vessels for Cross Channel Service of Allies there being shortage of small boats for war purposes both for movement of coal as well as other necessities. Stevens. 08023 5402
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.