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 Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

Chronological Copy.                         File No.

Cablegram Sent May 20, 1918

To   Opnav Washington                 Serial No. 8180 LEM

Prep. by CS                  NCT1 D.R.

                                           40 ADR

CONFIDENTIAL.

8180. Allied Naval Council held emergency meeting May fifteenth London to discuss paper forwarded to it by military representatives Supreme War Council concerning military and naval aspects of a declaration of war by the United States against Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. Military representatives considered question at inst<a>nce of American representative and decided as follows:)

          First:    Immediate declaration of war on Ottoman Empire desirable.

          Second:   If moral effect on Bulgaria of this action did not make it possible to detach her from her alliance by diplomatic means, declare war on Bulgaria also after a time limit.

          Third:    No American troops to be diverted from Western Front in consequence of any situation resulting from declaration of war on Ottoman Empire or Bulgaria.

          Military representatives summed up military advantages of recommended action as follows:

          First:    Moral effect and influence on Turks and Bulgars by exhibition of unity of allies in every theater of war.

          Second:   United States would be enabled to participate in easter<n> theater and cooperate with Allies should opportunity offer.

          Third:    Certain peoples of middle east now hesitating to act against the Turks would be encouraged to join Entente powers.

          Naval Council recorded opinion: “That from the Naval point of view also it is desirable that the action recomme<n>ded by the military representatives should be taken.”

          Naval cou<n>cil’s action has been communicated to Supreme War Council. 8180 <19320.> SIMS.

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

Footnote 1: Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

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