Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Chronological Copy.                         File No. <55-5-2>

Cablegram Received <November 7, 1918.> Y-40

Origin Opnav Washington (Secnav)             Ser. No. 4780

CS   Nov 8

SWC

45 ADR.

Simsadus.

4780. RUSH. Uni ted Press announced armistice signed. Later they received following cable QUOTE Admiral Wilson,1 who announced to Brest, France, newspapers armistice been signed, later notified announcement unconfirmed. Meanwhile French <riotously> celebrate. Signed Howard|2| UNQUOTE. Did you make this or similar announcement<?> Cable immediate explanation. 14007 4780.

R E T R A N S M I T.

Sent: 5:30 a.m., November 8, 1918.

Recd: 5:29 a.m., November 8, 1918.

|aut:Josephus Daniels

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date notation at the end of the cable.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Naval Forces in France.

Footnote 2: This is probably Roy Howard, an American journalist in Brest who sent this telegram to the United Press on 7 November saying that the war was over. He was mistaken. German delegates arrived behind French lines that morning to negotiate an armistice, and their arrival triggered rumors among the soldiers on the Front that the war was over. Howard’s initial report spread quickly, prompting wild celebrations to break out not only in France, but also Australia, South America, and across the United States. Bloody fighting continued throughout the day, and up until the actual Armistice on 11 November. Gilbert, The First World War: 494-495.

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