Rear Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Destroyers Operating from British Bases, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
SENT: May 21st, 1917. TO: Secretary of the Navy.
THROUGH: State Department. FROM: Rear-Admiral Sims,
21117 (stop) 22017 (stop) 27017 (stop)
General plans and operations confined to patrolling with British destroyers and other patrol craft in the area westward and south westward southern Ireland as far west as necessary to oppose enemy submarines all this area under direct control Vice Admiral Queenstown (stop) Experience has shown imperative necessity of utmost secrecy concerning details of operations and the results thereof (stop) Communication of this nature never entrusted to mails or secret codes but sent to Admiralty by courier only (stop) Tour of patrol about five days with two day rest and re-fuel (stop) Tours of patrol duty alternatively at base and advance base with about six day overhaul every five hundred hours of steaming (stop) Patrols are interrupted as necessary for convoy of valuable cargoes and to meet enemy developments (stop) vessels eighth division have seen three enemy submarines but outside effective range (stop) Three torpedoes have passed near our ships from unseen submarines (stop) Our ships being supplied and fitted with all offensive equipment used by British vessels (stop) General co-operation between American and British forces excellent (stop) British war cabinet decided in favor of general announcement presence of an American Flotilla not giving numbers or locations (stop) Secret service information indicated that sailing of our forces from home waters was known in Berlin four days after their departure and Queenstown harbour entrance was mined day before their arrival (stop) Will request Admiralty to communicate any further announcement concerning our forces to the Department before publication (stop) Department will be informed of important developments or prospective changes general plans (stop) Staff here entirely inadequate to handle special Navy codes except for very important messages of special secret nature between our forces and Department (stop) No necessity has arisen so far for such messages (stop) Embassy has expert coding staff with various State Department codes and has had extensive experience during war with long and difficult messages (stop) Their codes adapted for long and complicated messages (stop) In order that our staff officers here be available for important military duties, it is urgently requested as recommended my previous dispatch that State Department codes and staffs be utilized for all communications except those of special secret nature Department Navy codes will be used for latter and handled only by commissioned officers (stop) Our forces afloat use British service secret codes (stop) Services of Captain Pratt urgently necessary as Chief of Staff.
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Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520.