Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Press Release by Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

     [File No.] 17-7-17

Copy cable sent United Press Sept. 7th.1918.

1200 USE SUNDAY MORNING OUTPOINTING NECESSITY AMERICAN PEOPLE REFRAIN OVERCONFIDENCE ACCOUNT SOFAR SUCCESSFUL TRANSPORTATION AMERICAN TROOPS EUROPEWARD COMPETENT NAVALERS WARN POSSIBILITY GERMANS SINKING TRANSPORTS STOP HITHERTO BRITISH<->AMERICAN SYSTEM DEFENCE CONVOYING TRANSPORTS PRACTICALLY HUNDRED PERCENT SUCCESSFUL THOUGH GERMANS SUCCEEDED TORPEDOING TWO WITH MIRACULOUSLY SMALL LOSS LIFE STOP THIS RECORD DUE FIRST SKILFUL CONVOYING SIXTYPERCENT SECONDLY SIZE OCEAN LUCK GERMAN COWARDICE FORTY PERCENT STOP BUT GERMAN PUBLIC NOW LEARNING ITS BEEN DECEIVED RESUCCESS SUBWARFARE GERMAN OFFICIALDOM RELAIZES EVEN IF ARMIES CAN SIT TIGHT ANOTHER YEAR THEIR GAME LOST THEREFORE MUST PREPARE DESPERATE NAVAL MEASURES SIGNS UNLACKING ENEMY SOON RISK UNUSUAL SACRIFICES HERETOFORE SUBMARINES UNATTACKED CONVOYED TRANSPORTS ACCOUNT OUR PREPAREDNESS BUT WITH GERMANY DEMANDING QUOTE GET SOME THOSE TROOPSHIPS EVEN IF MEANS SUICIDE UNQUOTE PERHAPS THEYLL GET ONE OR MORE DASH WITH 5000 10000 MEN UNDASH AMERICA MUST READY GRIT TEETH WHEN HAPPENS-LIKE WHEN ALLIES SUFFER CORRESPONDINGLY SLIGHT DAMAGE WEST FRONT.1

               KEEN2

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document identifier in top right-hand corner in columnar fashion: “1/3/C/H/J.”

Footnote 1: Despite what was written here, the German submarine force did not initiate suicide tactics. The possibility that the Germans might sink American transports despite all the U.S. Navy was doing to protect them, is something Sims had been emphasizing, see, for example: Sims to Newspaper Editors, 6 September 1918. On 12 September, Adm. William S. Benson, who had been shown this press release by representatives of the Associated Press, cabled Sims that he had told A.P. that no one “across the water” had authorized this release, that “there was some error about it,” and that it should not be published, a request with which they “courteously complied.” Benson also asked Sims to “investigate” who authorized the statement and who gave it to the press. DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 2: This may be the name of the telegrapher.

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