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 Captain Samuel S. Robison, Senior Officer Present, Azores

November 24, 1917. 

FROM: Forces Commander,

TO  : Commander Azores Detachment, Ponta Delgada.

SUBJECT: British Forces in Azores; relations of to our forces.

     1.   At an Allied Naval Conference held in London September 4th and 5th, 1917,1 it was agreed that the following steps be taken as regards the Azores, the Portuguese Government being first asked permission:

(1) A United States Naval Force to be based on the Azores.

(2) A British intelligence center to be established in the Azores.

(3) British Directional W/T Station2 to be established in the Azores.

(4) British long distance W/T Station to be established in the Azores for the war.

(5) Any British units would work under the general direction of the United States Senior Naval Officer.

     2.   In accordance with these agreements, it is understood that the Navy Department has taken up with the Portuguese Government through diplomatic channels the matter of the establishment of a Naval Base at Ponta Delgada.

     3.   On the 14th instant the following cablegram was received from the Navy Department:-

     “Admiral Dunn has been assigned to duty at Azores Islands Base and will be our Senior Naval Officer (period) Is it the understanding with Admiralty that he will be in command of Allied Forces if any are there.”

This was referred to the Admiralty by letter, a copy of which is enclosed,3 together with the Admiralty’s reply thereto.

     4.   In view of the Admiralty’s reply the following cable was sent to the Navy Department on the 22nd instant:-

     “Admiralty state, quote: Any British Naval Force which may be sent to the Azores would operate under the United States Admiral, unquote.”

WM. S. SIMS        

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Notation below signature: “Copy to:/Chief of Naval Operations {RAdm. William S. Benson].” As seen in the cable, RAdm. Herbert O. Dunn had been named to command the Azores detachment but had not yet arrived at his post.

Footnote 1: For more on this conference see: Sims to Josephus Daniels, 7 September 1917.

Footnote 2: Wireless transmitter.

Footnote 3: The enclosure has not been found.