Skip to main content

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher, Force Commander, Patrol Squadrons, French Waters


CABLEGRAM SENT    Oct 1, 1917

To     Fletcher, Brest.          Ser No. B 36

Via NCBD 15                      B.A.L.  C. of S.

Copies to: C. of S., J.V.B., B.A.L.1

36. Referring to Opnav 355 of Sept. 7th,2 copy of which was furnished you by Lt. Comdr. Daniels,3 the following reply was submitted Quote An effort is being made to establish a regular out-boun<d> allied <c>onvoy for all vessels leaving bay of B<i>scay ports of France and our vessels will be placed in this convoy insuring much greater protection and a larger number of escorting vessels period Every effort is being made to provide adequate protection to our vessels <so> as to avoid loss. Sims Qunquote4 No reply has been received from you to my cable 167.5 The following cable has just been received from Department quote Several reports received from American vessels engaged in troop convoy would indicate insufficient convoy force on leaving French ports. In veiw of increased number of naval vessels now operating in these waters Department hopes that this matter will receive immediate attention Unquote6 This cable refers evidently to sailing subsequent to thos<e> in Opnav 355. Please cable immediately your proposals to improve conditions period Also what distance you consider it advisable to escort convoys off shore and number of escorts that you propose to furnish for convoys.7


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Capt. Nathan C. Twining served as Sims’ Chief of Staff. Cmdr. John V. Babcock acted as Sims’ aide and de facto Intelligence Officer; and Cmdr. Byron A. Long.

Footnote 3: According to Cmdr. Byron A. Long, an aide on Sims’ staff, Cmdr. Joseph Daniels had been sent to France because of “a lack of confidence in the way in which affairs were maintained on the coast of France.” DNA, RG 125, Entry 30, Box No. 245, 561-62. Also, see: Daniels to Sims, 28 September 1917. Daniels had been instrumental in working with the American destroyers based at Queenstown including the creation of general operating instructions for them and it was hoped he would assist Fletcher in a similar fashion. Ibid., 557-62. He met with Fletcher on 12 and 13 September. Ibid., p. 203. On that meeting, see: Daniels to Sims, 26 September 1917.

Footnote 7: See: Fletcher to Sims, 3 October 1917.