Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

President Woodrow Wilson to Colonel Edward M. House and Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

CABLEGRAM RECEIVED <October 28, 1918.>

Origin Opnav Washington                   Serial No. 3998

Ref’d to   date            Action, Notes and Initials

SWO        Oct: 29       R/T as our 10 to Paris

CS

53 ARD                HIGHLY SECRET

Simsadus.

3998. Your 7955.1 Rush following message to Colonel House and Admiral Benson. After careful consideration by the President of the above cable the following represent his views:

     1. Enemy submarines to cease hostility immediately upon the signing of the armistice.

     2. Enemy to lay no mines outside his territorial waters during the armistice.

     3. Enemy to do no mine sweeping outside his own territorial waters. Enemy to disclose the location of all mine fields laid by him outside his own territorial waters near Allied or Neutral shores.

     4. Allied blockade and restrictions on ocean borne commerce to continue as at present.

     5. Enemy Naval force to evacuate

     (A) All coasts and ports of occupied countries

     (B) All ports and coast of disputed territory which by the terms of the armistice military forces are to evacuate, including

     (C) The ports and coast formerly included in the Empire of Russia.

     6. No damage of any kind to be done by enemy to any of evacuated coast or ports and no military or Naval stores, provisions, or munitions to be destroyed or to be removed before evacuation.

     7. All enemy Naval surface craft of all classes shall withdraw for the duration of the armistice to enemy waters or bases as follows:

        Enemy vessels now in the North Sea, Baltic, or German home ports to the German Baltic ports; enemy vessels in the Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean and adjacent waters, except the Black sea and its tributaries, to the Austrian Adriatic Sea ports; enemy vessels in the Black Sea and its tributaries to remain in that sea; vessels formerly belonging to Russia and now in the possession of the enemy to be surrendered to the Allies at such place or places and under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Allied Commander-in-Chief in the North Sea and Mediterranean Sea.2 No damage of any kind to be done to these vessels by the enemy. Final disposition of these vessels to be determined by the treaty of peace.

     8. All enemy submarines, excepting only such of those under construction as are yet launched, to be interned in specified neutral ports for the duration of the war under such conditions as would insure their detention.

     9. All enemy Naval air craft to be concentrated at enemy bases specified by the Allies and to remain there during the armistice.

     10. All the above measures to be executed in the shortest possible time.

     11. In the above proposals whenever the word “ALLIES” or it’s derivative was used it should be interpreted to include all the powers now actively associated in the war against the Central powers. 20228. 3998.

Benson.

Sent:  None

Recd:  4:10 a.m.  Oct 29, 1918

     R E TR A N S M I T

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date notation following the text. The message was sent to the staff of VAdm. William S. Sims for re-transmission to House and Benson, who were then in Paris. Messages sent from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations went out over his signature, even though he was not responsible for composing or sending the message.

Footnote 1: See: Sims to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 24 October 1918. This list is different from the list of suggestions for the armistice terms sent in that cable.

Footnote 2: Adm. Sir David Beatty, Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet; VAdm. Sir Somerset A. Gough-Calthorpe, Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.

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