Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Richard H. Jackson, United States Staff Naval Representative to the Ministry of Marine
CABLEGRAM SENT. May 25, 1918. ICM
To Amnapar Paris. Serial No. 2345.
Prep. by O-1 SX
2345. Please say to Admiral de Bon that owing to the increased flow of U.S. troops into France it is most important that as many French destroyers as practicable cooperate with U.S. destroyers on offshore work off the French Atlantic Coast. All U.S. destroyers are fully employed in providing escort for troop transport in and out of France. It is particularly desired to have the maximum number of French destroyers cooperate with U.S. Destroyers in meeting the New York Mercantile convoy that arrives every eight days and in escorting the Verdon mercantile convoy westward every eight days. The responsibility of meeting the New York mercantile convoy is placed on Admiral Schwerer who formerly provided from four to six escorts for this purpose. Recently not more than one French escort has been furnished and in some instances no escorts. The Verdon convoy was organized by Admiral Schwerer and is being operated by French authorities though usually not more than one French escort vessel is provided once every eight days to assist in escorting to the westward convoys of as many as twenty ships. As the number of troop transports into France is increasing requiring additional U.S. destroyers for escort it will be necessary to withdraw some of the U.S. vessels now engaged in coastal convoy unless greater assistance can be assured by French vessels in escorting mercantile convoys from New York and out of Verdon. The Force Commander is loth to disturb the present coastal convoy arrangements as they have given such satisfactory results, but the largely increased flow of troops makes it imperative to give adequate protection to troop transports. The Navy Department has explicitly ordered this. Please obtain a definite statement of how many French escorting vessels can be assured every eight days for each of the mercantile convoys mentioned. This matter is urgent as summer weather will permit submarines to operate regularly in Bay of Biscay. 20425 2345
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “File No.25/9/5.”