Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations
Cablegram Sent Oct 24, 1917.
To Opnav, Washington. Serial No. 1037
Via N C B A 18 Prep by B.A.L. Appvd. by N.C.T.
Copies to: B. A. L.
1037. Opnav 726. Brest Roads is only French Harbor that can take deep draft transports. I have previously pointed out difficulty handling freight in open roadstead with few available lighters. Freight might be transshipped in small vessels but long delays would follow and it is considered much better to ship all freight direct from U. S. in suitable vessels destined to usual ports.
The names of transports are not given but I assume they are coaled for round trip. The consensus of opinion is against using VATERLAND as troop transport. Her great length makes her better target than smaller vessels. Other vessels listed as transports are not larger than BALTIC and ADRIATIC both of which are carrying our troops.
For large high speed vessels that require coaling on this side like GEORGE WASHINGTON, AMERICA, MOUNT VERNON, AGAMEMNON should be informed when they are ready and I shall endeavor to get Admiralty to make concession and receive them Liverpool. Vessels of this type should cross in separate high speed convoy and carry no freight for France. 04524
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The date code, just before Sims’ signature, is a stamp.