Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
ACTION COPY. <September 3, 1918.>
CABLEGRAM RECEIVED ADS
Origin: Opnav Washington. Ser.No. 857
Ref’d to Date
31 ADR CS 4 Sept.
857 Your 3959, 3947 and 3937. The disinclination of the Admiralty to divert HX and HC convoys in accordance with our plan naturally weakens it. Since protection must be afforded HX and HC convoys as they carry our troops your plans to use division 6 for the protection of HX and HC convoys as indicated in 3947 approved but the United States troop convoys diverted to Azores Islands according to our plans must receive the protection of at least 1 of our dreadnoughts from Division 6. Therefore until joint agreement is reached we will expect the United States troop convoys and the HB to be diverted and the HX and HC to proceed. If department finds according to this arrangement which scatters our force we will be unable to adequately protect all the troop convoys it may be necessary to urge upon the War Dept the advisability of discontinuing sending troops in the HC convoy. As no joint agreement has been reached convoys at sea are not familiar with our plan and United States Convoys must be given diverting instructions, but on receipt of thisissue instructions to all transports, United States men of war, and escort ships in European waters make themselves familiar with necessary details. Also furnish all American merchant vessels with sealed orders to be broken in case of receipt of operating signal as prescribed whereby Westbound ships may avail themselves of protection if desired. The Operating signals will be sent in a United States code to American ships only. Beginning with Sept. 9th it is departments plan to furnish predreadnought escort to the HK and HC convoys whose Captain will be familiar with our plan but will not use it unless Admiralty so desires. Commander Cruiser Forces will issue similar instructions to ships on this coast. Finally this plan is only a temporary expedient and does not solve the problem of continued activity of an enemy battle cruiser in the North Atlantic. Escort by battleships will protect troop convoys against the ordinary raiders but the cargo convoys will still be lightly protected. Our dreadnoughts are too slow for an efficient pursuit division and no answer has been received from Japanese on our request that they send four battle cruisers to base with our fleet. Department desires to know what will be the Admiralty policy as to the use of their battle cruisers for pursuit in case of the escape of an enemy battle cruiser 18503 857
1206 PM Sept 4th, 1918.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG45, Entry 517B. Document identifier: “3/C/4/J” appears in upper right corner of the document. Handwritten date confirmed by date notation typed at end of cable.