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Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché at Washington, to First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John R. Jellicoe

                       TELEGRAM              No. 371.

From  COMMODORE GAUNT.                             DATE 11.9.17.

                                             [11 September 1917]

To                                         10th   Sent 10.5pm.


     371. For First Sea Lord personal.

Admiral Benson1 complained to me privately about being kept in the dark on important matters. Sims2 apparently put forward that the Americans should only be told what Admiralty think necessary. Benson is very strongly against this and says they should be taken into full partnership and the information mutual. He gave me two instances in the 48 hours. (A) A reference by Sims to three raiders being out, of which Americans knew nothing. (B) Rumour from apparently the same source that British are sending vessels to Azores. The conversation was a private one, but he spoke so bitterly I thought I should let you know. I respectfully submit that if information of this sort is sent through me , instead of or in conjunction with Admiral Sims it would be preferable. I will explain fully in writing.3

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1437. Addressed below close: “1ST S.L. [First Sea Lord]. There is also a note: “(Reply attached.).”

Footnote 1: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 2: VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Footnote 3: The Admiralty’s response was to send a cable to the Americans from the British Foreign Office, dated 18 September 1917, informing them that Gaunt had been recalled to “clear up any misconceptions,” that there was “no foundation whatever” for the Americans’ belief that they were not being “treated with frankness by the Admiralty,” that the Admiralty “know[s] nothing of three raiders being out” and the story about the Azores “is without foundation.” Ibid.

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