Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Roger Welles, Director of Naval Intelligence, to Lieutenant Commander Campbell D. Edgar, Staff, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

CONFIDENTIAL                 <Copy>                     TEJ:ED

NAVY DEPARTMENT

OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE

          WASHINGTON          (Date:)               Oct.23,1918.

Section: B-1

No. 920

TO: Operations.

     <Lieut.-Commander Edgar.>

<Sept.13,1918.>         

Source: Reliable

Subject: Norway’s Protection of Her Territorial Waters

          The following information has reached this Office from a reliable source in Christiania, dated September 13,1918:

“The Minister for Foreign Affairs1 said today that the naval authorities were sending to the South Western coast of Norway a number of hydroplanes, for use in increasing the effectiveness of the anti-submarine patrol of Norwegian territorial waters. He was asked whether the naval authorities were satisfied of the effectiveness of hydroplanes at night and it was suggested that it would be difficult for observers to detect submarines if they were in territorial waters during the night. His Excellency said that they would be provided with search lights, but did not seem very sanguine of the effectiveness of the hydroplanes under these circumstances. He volunteered the information that the Norwegian naval authorities had reported having observed no submarines in or near Norwegian territorial waters on the Western coast of Norway since the beginning of this month, and said that the only submarines which had been observed since September 1st were seen outside territorial waters off the South coast of Norway. He added that the <submarines> observed had not been identified.

“He was also asked whether the German Government’s reply to the Norwegian enquiry regarding the nationality of submarines observed in Norwegian waters had been answered. His Excellency said he had no further information.

“The tone of the Minister’s remarks on the subject led one to think that the Norwegian Government is not very impatient at the delay in receiving the German answer and that, in short, this Government’s failure to receive the German answer or even to press energetically for a reply is merely being availed of as a pretext for still further postponing any definite decision as to the action which must eventually be taken to prevent the use of Norwegian territorial waters by the enemy’s submarines as a privileged channel.”

Roger Welles       

By direction. 

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 330. The heading material was originally printed on the stationary used for this letter.

Footnote 1: Nils Claus Ihlen.

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