Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

DISPATCH TO BE SENT.

Date  May 9, 1918.

To  Opnav.

Prepared by  CS    Approved <NT>1   Code <ARD>  No. <7693>

HIGHLY SECRET

<7693.> My 7289.2 Evidence now available indicates vessel may be bound for South America or Azores region.3 Admiralty inclines to opinion she is bound for South American waters to operate against grain and beef trade. There is nothing in her movements as yet to indicate with certainty a destination beyond the Azores region, but certain other facts known to the Admiralty make it seem possible that a more distant objective is in view.4

     A smaller submarine was in about Latitude forty-seven, Longitude fifteen at sometime on the seventh instant and from certain information concerning her in possession of the Admiralty she seems to be bound for the general vicinity of the Azores and Canaries.

     Enemy seems to be under the impression that we are using the Azores as a rendezvous for the Army supply service, and it is therefore, suggested that discreet reference to our use of the Azores as a base might confirm the enemy in this wrong belief. In view of movements of the two submarines referred to, it is recommended that our transports be cautioned to be alert to submarine attack anywhere to the eastward of Longitude thirty-five. The areas involved are so large in comparison with the number of submarines that can operate against troop convoys that no shifting of routes or other precautionary measures are thought to be necessary or justified. <16209.>

SIMS.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: “NT” was Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ chief of staff (“CS”).

Footnote 3: As seen in ibid., this “vessel” was a German cruiser submarine of the Deutschland class.

Footnote 4: This surmise was incorrect. Sims sent an update concerning the location of the German cruiser submarines on 10 May. See: Sims to Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 10 May 1918.