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Rear Admiral Samuel S. Robison, Director, Submarine Force, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

27 November 1918.  

From:     Rear Admiral S.S. Robison, U.S.N.

To  :     Chief of Operations.

Via :     Force Commander.

SUBJECT:  Progress report, execution of Naval Armistice Terms.

     1.   Referring to your telephonic instructions that a United States vessel need not be sent with the Commission if no other than British vessels were sent, I was informed by the French representative that his Government had directed him to show the flag if only on a destroyer and I therefore made arrangements to accompany the expedition in the CHESTER as originally intended.

     2.   The enclosed summary of state of affairs concerning the Naval conditions of the Armistice1 was received from the Admiralty November 26th 1918 and its substance sent by cable; also notification that Commander R. Nakamora, of Imperial Japanese Navy, has been nominated to represent Japan on the Commission.

     3.   I have made arrangements with Admiral Browning2 to take a party of our officers on the vessels which are to accompany the HERCULES in case one of our ships did not accompany the expedition. This party will go with me on the CHESTER.

     4.   Arrangements have been made to commence the technical inspection of submarines at Harwich on November 29th.

     5.   It is intended to send the HARVARD to Harwich as Headquarters for our inspecting party.

     6.   No definite arrangements have been made concerning the inspection of vessels to be interned at Scapa Flow and an official list of the numbers of torpedo boat destroyers surrendered has not yet been received.

     7.   Referring to Article XXI, of the Armistice terms two officers – Lieutenant F. H. Muller, U.S.N.R.F. and Lieutenant (j.g) J. H. Fulcher, U.S.N.R.F. – who had been captured at the time the TICONDEROGA was sunk were surrendered at Harwich from the same submarine – U-152 – by which they had been captured.3 They were sent ashore at Kiel on arrival there, after the Armistice had been signed, and were told that they were free but the crew of the submarine voted to bring them to England and they returned aboard and were given passage.

Source Note: D, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 679. There is a header at the top of the second page: “Secretary of the Navy (Operations).

Footnote 1: The enclosure is no longer with the document.

Footnote 2: VAdm. Montague E. Browning commanded the Fourth Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet. His flagship was Hercules.

Footnote 3: Article XXI called for the release of all Allied naval and mercantile prisoners of war by the Germans without reciprocity. Anglo-American Naval Relations, 559. On the sinking of the cargo carrier TICONDEROGA and the experience of Muller and Fulcher as captives, see Clark, When the U-Boats Came to America, 276-93.

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