Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Chronological Copy. File No.
Cablegram Sent 23 March 1918 RES
To Opnav Washington Serial No. 5493
Prep. by O-2 SX D.R.
5493. Your 4066. There are now 18 American ships including 4 Naval ships carrying coal from England to France for U. S. Army. Most of these ships make 9 knots and could be released for Atlantic trade when replaced by slower vessels. A considerable increase will be necessary in coal trade to maintain supply of U S. Army coal in France. There is also a large quantity of stores being assembled in England for the U. S. Army. Routes of this trade will be from Swansea to French Atlantic ports and from London to French Channel ports. For service on French Atlantic ports Army propose to divert some of theregular storeships to this service. A considerable number of slow ships can be used in this trade.
An exchange of tonnage can also be effected with Ministry of Shipping putting our slow ships on route between England and Mediterranean and releasing faster British shipping for Atlantic trade.
Recommend that vessels suitable for carrying coal or stores be sailed for France in special convoys with army stores and then placed in coal trade or supply trade to release faster ships for Atlantic trade. Vessels should be armed. One gun aft is sufficient. 5493.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.