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Vice Admiral Sir Montague E. Browning, Commander, North America and West Indies Station, to British Admiralty

TELEGRAM.                         No. 377.

From V.A.,N.A.& W.I.                             Date 22.9.17.

To   Admiralty                          Sent       7.0pm 21st

                                        Recd.      2.37 a.m.  

                   Cypher             Z.

377.      Your 720  Your 734 

          Commodore Wells1 informs me that on 13th Sept: Commodore Gaunt2 wrote that owing to his Wells method in dealing direct with Americans some serious political trouble had arisen which he Gaunt had only just averted.

          Wells asked what had happened but received no reply.

          I received similar communication and telegraphed requesting him to proceed via Halifax to England and explain but he replied that time did not admit.3

          Gaunt’s procedure is unusual and if he returns I hope he may be directed to refrain from these alarmist methods.

          He appears to be in too much of a hurry and to have too many irons in the fire forgetting methods pursued prior to entry of United States into the War are no longer necessary or required.

          From my personal observation Wells has shown great ability and power of organization and work and should be allowed free as possible without jealousy or interference from Gaunt recommend that Wells should be informed specifically by telegraph through me of what he is supposed to have done.


Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655.

Footnote 1: Commo. Lionel de Vere Wells, who organized convoy and routing operations from the United States and Canada.

Footnote 2: Commo. Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché at Washington. On 12 September Gaunt had informed the British Admiralty that he had attended a “very stormy meeting” at the Navy Department “when a number of grievances among various Departments against us were aired.” Presumably, one of these grievances involved Wells. Anglo-American Naval Relations, 105.

Footnote 3: The next day, Gaunt was ordered to return to England and report to the Admiralty on arrival. Ibid., 106.