Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral WillianS. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Action copy                                            11-2-1

CABLEGRAM RECEIVED  May 05114 <May 13, 1918.> MJK

Origin    Opnav Washington(Secnav);               Ser. No. 6002

Ref’d. to Date

  O1      May 14

40ADR                    VERY SECRET.

Simsadus.

6002. Due to known presence of enemy submarines so far out and state of public mind in regard to troop convoys department desire<s> that you put extra emphasis upon the duty of escorting troop convoys both in number of destroyers and distance to which they operate. I f necessary in order insure safe landing of troops fewer destroyers shall be assigned to the protection of ships carrying merchandise.1 15013. 6002

Benson.                 

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The matter discussed in the cablegram was of extreme importance to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. In his diary entry for this date he notes: “Sent cable to Sims to give extra protection to ships carrying men to France,” Diary of Josephus Daniels, 13 May 1918, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Roll 1.

Footnote 1: For Sims’ reaction to this order and more on the post-war controversy surrounding it, see: Sims to Benson, 16 May 1918.

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