Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations
Subject Copy. File No. <16/7/17>
18 <September 17, 1918.> Y-3
To Opnav, Washington. Serial No. 4992
Prep. by AC SX D.R.
4992. Your 1391. No specific statement for textual or authorative quotation was given to press. During past year have been besieged with requests for publicity material by U.S. Press representatives. Prior to Department’s cable No. 6042 of May 8th nothing was given out but subsequently have detailed an officer of the staff to interview press representatives and have in answer to their requests from time to time given material upon which public statements could be based. This case evidently refers to such material which was not to be quoted textually or credited to official sources and was aimed at preparing public for possible loss of troops at sea liable to occur any day regardless of degree of protection. Statement affected Allied transport and escort of troops as much as our own as they carry majority our troops and come through the most dangerous area. Pointed out hazards of sea communication which have always existed and also that particularly in view of unusually high record of safety and enemy press propaganda, submarines may at any time sink troop ship by long range shots regardless of size of escort. Such occurrences possible although not sound general policy owing limited number torpedoes carried which determine length submarine cruises.
Such statement as may have been cabled to U.S. Press passed by British Censorship. 182417 4992
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.