Rear Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Destroyers Operating from British Bases, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
SENT: May 16th, 1917. TO: Secretary of the Navy.
THROUGH:- State Department.
Referring 19012. A consultation with British Admiralty shipping controller and Italian naval officials shows situation to be as follows:-
Monthly supply of coal to Italy by British ships neutral ships and other sources now four hundred thousand tons monthly (stop) Italians estimate minimum necessities eight hundred thousand tons (stop) It is wholly impossible for Great Britain to supply this amount and the coal required by France (stop) Italy should be aided in obtaining maximum possible supply though it is understood this cannot reach eight hundred thousand tons (stop), the opinion of the British Admiralty and Shipping Controller is that any assistance from America should be through ships sent with general cargo to England and thence to engage in carrying coal from England to Italy and returning with general cargo (stop) It would require about one hundred ships to deliver two hundred thousand tons of coal each month and return with cargo usually ore from Spain (stop) It is agreed by the officials mentioned above, including Italian Naval Attache that decisions in this matter as regards the ability of England to supply coal and the general question of the movements of tonnage should be made here in London where all the facts are at hand and whence the American and Italian Governments can be informed as to the actual tonnage situation.
NO. OF COPIES- 2. REFERENCE NO:
Source Note: C, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517.