Vice Admiral Henry F. Oliver, Chief of War Staff, to Rear Admiral Dudley R.S. De Chair and Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché in Washington
From Admiralty Date 1.5.17 [1 May 1917]
To Prodrome Washington. sent 2120.
For Commodore and Admiral De Chair.
Telegram in following sense is being sent by Admiral Simms2 to Naval Dept. (begins)
British Admiralty have decided to adopt in principle a comprehensive scheme of convoy for North and South Atlantic Trade so that all Merchant ships may be under control and protected from raiders and that arrangements can be made to meet and escort convoy through danger zone by destroyers.
New York and Hampton Roads are proposed as ports of assembly for East bound trade a convoy sailing every fourth day from each port. Would United States Government be prepared as a commencement to provide the ocean going escort for the New York convoy to and from the United Kingdom.
Probable number of escort ships necessary for this service is 14. They should have a sea speed of not less than 12 knots and an armament of guns of not less than 6 in. cablibre.3 (ends)
Source Note: Cy, Uk-KeNA, Adm. 137/655. Addressed below close: “L.L./1 S.L./SIR A.K.WILSON/D.O.D./D.I.D.” Document on, “TELEGRAM.No.,” stationary.
Footnote 1: The editors do not know the meaning of the acronym “Prodrome”; “2120” is military time for 9:20 P.M.; “P” was the designation for the code used for this message.
Footnote 2: That is, RAdm. William S. Sims.
Footnote 3: The U.S. Navy balked at providing escorts for the convoys. See: William S. Benson to Gaunt, 4 May 1917.
Footnote 4: That is, Chief of War Staff VAdm. Henry F. Oliver.