Secretary of State,
Washington, D. C.April 17, 2 p. m.Department's 15th. Confidential. Master CYCLOPS stated that required six hundred tons coal having sufficient on board to reach Bermuda. Engines very poor condition. Not sufficient funds and therefore requested payment by me. Unusually reticent. I have ascertained he took here ton fresh meat, ton flour, thousand pounds vegetables, paying therefor 775 dollars. From different sources gather the following: He had plenty of coal, alleged inferior, took coal to mix, probably he had more than fifteen hundred tons. Master alluded to by others as damned Dutchman, apparently disliked by other officers. Rumored disturbances en route hither, men confined and one executed; also had some prisoners from the fleet in Brazilian waters, one life sentence. United States Consul-General Gottschalk passenger, 231 crew exclusive of officers and passengers. Have names crew but not of all the officers and passengers. Many Germanic names appear. Number telegraphic or wireless messages addressed to master or in care of ship were delivered at this port. All telegrams for Barbadoes on file head office St. Thomas. I have to suggest scrutiny there. While not having any definite grounds I fear fate worse than sinking though possibly based on instinctive dislike felt towards master.LIVINGSTON,CONSUL.
I think the Cyclops was sunk by her cargo. Manganese is a very difficult cargo to handle and the collier's crew was used to handling only coal. It has a tendency to settle down, grinding away whatever is below it. The Cyclops was not a 'tween deck ship and the cargo was loaded in the lower hold. I think the end came suddenly when the bottom practically dropped out. (Winer, Devil's Triangle, p. 118.)
Perhaps the cargo was braced to prevent shifting — but this would have required very strong braces, far beyond the capacity of the ship's carpenter. Unless these braces were installed at the loading port, they were probably not installed at all. (Winer, Devil's Triangle, p. 119.)
His "meticulous research" led to his overlooking the 1,500 papers amassed on the USS Cyclops and the ten-year search and investigation, contained in such unimaginable repositories as the National Archives (boxes 1068–1070, Modern Military Branch). His desire to solve it based on his own hunches led to a statement that could make even Ripley sit up and blink: "I confidently decided that the newspapers, the Navy, and all the ships at sea had been wrong, and that there had been a storm near Norfolk that day strong enough to sink the ship." The documents at the National Archives and Records Administration make it clear there was no storm. Yet Kusche wrote: "Contrary to popular opinion, there never was an official inquiry into the disappearance… Had there been any investigation, the weather information would surely have been discovered." He claimed there was a storm on March 10 off the Virginia capes. But throughout his entire recital he never mentioned the Cyclops's ETA at Baltimore on March 13. If he had, his wishful storm of March 10 would have been exposed as long before the Cyclops was even due off the Capes.
In the final analysis the acrimony he directed at others can be returned to him. His solutions were based merely on faulty newspaper articles, elastic conclusions there from, and on the whole trying to explain away why there was no debris or SOS. Combined with his inability (or reluctance) to even travel near the Triangle, his research was no more informed than anybody who browses their Daily Blatt during their morning coffee. (Quasar, pp. 93.)
One slap of such a giant wave, and the Cyclops doubtless keeled over. Once on her side, the shifting cargo and the weighty superstructure would have prevented the vessel from righting herself, and she must have dropped like a huge steel weight to the bottom of the ocean. This explains why no lifeboat or even as much as a spar of the ship was ever found.
Weather can also be ruled out. The only rough weather were high winds off Cape Hatteras on the 10th of March, but they dissipated the next day. Cyclops should not have been around there yet, being due on the 13th. Her engine had been fixed, regardless of popular rumor, so she was not traveling on one engine but was making normal speed.
However, on March 3, 1918, Worley sent a surprising message: "Arrived Barbados, West Indies, 1730 [5.30 P.M.] for bunker coal. Arrive Baltimore, Md, 12013 [March 13,]. Notify Office Director Naval Auxiliaries, Comdr. Train (Atl), 07004. CYCLOPS."