Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

British Foreign Office to British Ambassador to the United States Sir Cecil Spring Rice

Cypher Telegram to Sir C. Spring Rice (Washington)

     Foreign Office, September 20th. 1917. 5.30.p.m.

No. 3871.

Secret.

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     Your private telegram of September 13th.1

     Commodore Gaunt2 has been summoned to England immediately, and Admiralty trust that his visit will clear up any misconceptions.

     There is however no foundation whatever for impression that Admiralty are not treating Navy Department with frankness. This most unfortunate impression may possibly have been produced by credence being given to unfounded rumours which reach United States of America from irresponsible sources. Gaunt recently referred to two instances in which complaints had been made by Navy Department:-

     (1)  Reference made by Admiral Sims to three raiders being out of which Americans knew nothing.

     (2)  Rumours apparently from same source that His Majesty’s Government are sending vessels to the Azores.

     Admiralty say that they know nothing about three raiders being out. Two have been out since December and it is presumed this is known to United States Authorities. There is no truth in rumour about Azores.

     I am convinced that Admiral Mayer Mayo3 would bear the strongest testimony to the way in which he has been informed of every aspect of our Naval activity. Please inform Navy Department.4

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655. Document reference: “(M/181723).” Document labeled: “FILES ONLY.”

Footnote 1: This telegram has not been found.

Footnote 2: Commo. Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché at Washington, D. C. Gaunt sailed from New York on 19 September 1917 intending, according to one report, to “address with the British Naval Administration the acute problem of a lack of co-operation between British and American Navies.” Garet Garrett to F. B. Pitney, 19 September 1917, UK-KeNA, Admiralty 137/655.

Footnote 3: Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 4: Rice responded, “I have explained the situation to Chief of Naval Staff [William S. Benson]. He is quite satisfied.” Spring-Rice to Foreign Office, 28 September 1917, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655.

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