File No. 861.00/2089

The Secretary of the Navy (Daniels) to the Secretary of State

C–20–220 Op 36

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Department’s letter of June 14, 1918, enclosing a copy of a cablegram from the American Ambassador to Russia in regard to conditions in Finland.1

For the information of the Department of State, I enclose herewith a copy of a despatch from Admiral Sims, dated April 13, 1918, setting forth the instructions under which the British and French forces were to operate. These instructions were approved by this department and a copy given to the commanding officer of the Olympia for his guidance. The Olympia is now operating under the orders of the British Rear Admiral at Murmansk.

Attention is respectfully invited to the enclosed copy of a despatch of Admiral Sims concerning the proposed operations in this region of a British military force and to the proposed defensive measures by the Russian local authorities against German submarines.

Sincerely yours,

Josephus Daniels
[Page 488]

Admiral Sims to the Secretary of the Navy (Daniels)

Instructions have been issued to the British Rear Admiral at Murmansk to take any steps which he may consider necessary and desirable with the forces at his disposal to protect and further the Allied interests generally, and to assist in recovering the Allied stores at Archangel. Instructions have also been given him that he is not to commit himself to land military operations away from the port, but subject to the above-mentioned restriction he may utilize the crew of the ships for the purpose of stiffening the local resistance against Germans if it be found practicable. The same instructions have been issued to the French senior officer. It is considered essential by the Admiralty that the Allied ships at Murmansk should be placed under the orders of the senior Allied commander, and that the ships be instructed to cooperate with him in carrying out the above instructions. I concur in the above and recommend that it be carried out.


Admiral Sims to the Secretary of the Navy (Daniels)

A force of 600 infantry with field and machine guns has been sent to Murmansk in command of General Poole of the British Army. General Poole is to have under his command all the military forces ashore both at Archangel and Murmansk, his special duty being the organization of the Czechs, Serbian and other units which are reported to be at those places. Ships can now approach the harbor at Archangel safely as the River Dvina at that place is now clear of ice.

The president of Murmansk has requested permission of the central authorities to organize defensive force against German submarines, as a result of the recent activity of the enemy submarines in the Arctic Ocean and the White Sea.

  1. Not printed.