Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Secretary of State Robert Lansing

 

CONFIDENTIAL       

NAVY DEPARTMENT

WASHINGTON

September 28, 1917.

Sir:

          With reference to a despatch to the Department of State from the Ambassador at London, England, dated September 21, 1917,1 a paraphrase of which was delivered to this Department, I have the honor to request that the following reply be cabled to the Ambassador:

“Reference your cable of September 21, concerning a conference with Mr. Balfour, comma Sir Eric Geddes First Lord of the Admiralty comma and Sir John Jellicoe First Sea Lord period2 As regards the statement quote that they are disturbed by information received from Washington to the effect that the Navy of the United States feels that the British Government and Admiralty in their dealings with Mayo and Sims have not been wholly frank and do not entirely cooperate with us,3 etc, unquote period There is absolutely no foundation for any such impression and the Department is at a loss to know where such ideas could have arisen period Regarding the two items referred to First item raiders Second item Azores base period Neither item was intended to be in the nature of a complaint period First item raiders period The Admiralty had informed us that no raiders were out period Admiral Sims in one of his letters had stated that raiders had been operating and that in such an event it would be necessary to increase the strength of the convoy escort period This matter was referred to Sims to clear up in case our understanding of the situation was wrong period His reply corroborated the Admiralty statement period Second item Azores base period This is evidently a mistake comma had no reference to a base in the Azores and probably arose from the fact that at one time we received word England intended dispatching some submarines to the Azores to operate in that vicinity period As we were sending destroyers and other small craft through the Azores enroute to European waters it was desirable for us to know if such were the actual case in order that no unforseen contacts be made between the British submarines and our own craft period This is the entire extent of the second item period At no time was the thought entertained that the Admiralty was in any way failing to cooperate or to give us the fullest information period Not Admiral Sims alone but every representative we have sent to London has assured us of the perfect freedom in regard to all such matters and of the fullest and heartiest cooperation from the First Lord of the Admiralty down period end.”

  Sincerely yours, 

Josephus Daniels.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identification numbers on left side of first page: “COPY – ECD/Op-22-B” and address below close: “The Honorable/The Secretary of State.”

Footnote 1: United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom Walter H. Page. See: Page to Lansing 21 September 1917.

Footnote 2: Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour; First Lord of the Admiralty Adm. Sir Eric Geddes; and First Sea Lord Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe.

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