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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

 Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

Mercantile Convoy

Cablegram Sent     September 11, 1917.    S 718

To  Opnav Washington            Serial No         520

                                   Prep by B.A.L.  Appvd by C. of S.1

Copies to C. of S., J.V.B., B.A.L.2

From Commander of Naval Forces in European Waters.

To Chief of Naval Operations.

520.  Following changes in convoys from North America become effective September 12.

    From Hampton Roads one convoy every 8 days alternately for east coast ports and west coast ports speed minimum 200 maximum 2403 paragraph

From New York every 4 days alternately for east coast ports

and west coast ports speed minimum 240 maximum 300 Paragraph

     From Sidney, Cape Breton every 8 days alternately for east coast ports and west coast ports speed minimum 200 maximum 300 paragraph.

     From Halifax every 8 days for west coast ports minimum speed 300 paragraph

     These convoys are for all types of vessel and the speeds are so adjusted as to accommodate any passenger or cargo vessel trade. Vessels slower than 200 miles should not be permitted to trade in the zone period Our storeships may be placed in eitherHampton Roads or New York convoys bound for east coast ports period  The British have diverted all their fast vessels into trade with Liverpool or west coast ports so that they can all cross with Halifax convoy and escorting at this end much simplified. Valuable British vessels like MANCHURIA and MONGOLIA4 are not permitted to trade with London or east coast ports. No vessel can trade with east coast except smaller and slower vessels that fit into speeds of east-bound convoys. This practice is very desirable and I recommend that U.S. merchant vessels be required to follow same practice period. Allied shipping office New York will furnish full information on request. Report being sent by mail.5 09:11 18311.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identification number in columnar fashion in upper left-hand corner: “3/G/J.”

Footnote 1: Cmdr. Byron A. Long, the headof the Convoys Section of Sims’ staff, and Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 2: Sims’ aide, Cmdr. John V. Babcock.

Footnote 3: That is, the ports on the east coast and west coast of England; the speed was how far a ship could travel in one day’s steaming.

Footnote 4: The American passenger and cargo liners Manchuria and Mongolia were at one time the largest ships built in the United States. Pacific Marine Review, vol. 22 (April 1921).

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