Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Reverend Jesse Halsey, American Representative in Murmansk, Russia, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

     TELEGRAM

From R.A.Murmansk             Date 17.5.18

                              10.35 am.

CIPHER H

388. 14th May from Halsey American representative, <Murmansk> to Admiral Sims begins:

     U.S. OLYMPIA arrival anxiously awaited.1 Heavy German pressure on Moscow Govt. and Murman[sk] Soviet2 makes it necessary that we act quickly. Believe relatively large programme must be undertaken to keep North Russia permanently from German domination (?but to) temporarily uphold desired pro-allied sentiment in this district and ensure unity of action it is highly advisable our Cruiser be placed under absolute control of British Admiral here. French Cruiser is in that position. British and French are represented. Russians asking where arethe Americans. HALSEY. ends.

     R.A3 requests that this telegram may be sh<o>wn to 1st L,of Admy.4

     1100

Private Office 2 for action.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The words in parenthesis with a question mark preceding them means that the code was garbled at this point and the decoder is uncertain of the text. For much of 1917-18, Jesse Halsey served in Moscow with the YMCA, as American Consul in Murmansk, as a Chaplain in British Navy in the Arctic Circle, and as a representative of American Red Cross.

Footnote 1: The protected cruiser OLYMPIA arrived in Murmansk on 24 May 1918. DANFS. It was to be part of a combined Allied force sent “to protect the area generally, to evacuate refugees, and to guard stores.” The expedition was under the overall command of a British rear admiral. Trask, Captains & Cabinets, 215.

Footnote 2: The “Murman[sk] Soviet” was the local government established by the Bolsheviks to govern Murmansk.

Footnote 3: Possibly, Resident Adviser.

Footnote 4: Sir Eric Geddes.