Edit: No, I can't confirm. MWIF is correct.
Yes, moving the neutral US ships into a sea area with Axis units allows the Axis to initiate a search. It doesn't even matter if US can actually escort or not. Just entering the sea area triggers the opponents search.
The rule only states your side, and that is the Allied side in this case, and US is part of the Allied side.
Cut from RAC:
11.6 Opponent’s naval combat
After your side has resolved combat in all their selected sea areas, any major power on the other side can try
to initiate combat (see 11.5.2) in any other sea areas your side moved a non-SUB unit into or within (but not
through) in your naval air missions step or your naval movement step. Your opponents can't pick an area that has
already been selected this impulse. [Clarification. Any non-sub unit stopping in or moving within a sea area enables
the other side to initiate combat in the sea area. The enabling unit does not have to be at war with any units in the
sea area, provided that there are some units from its side in the sea area which are at war with units in the sea area -
Dec. 23, 2007.]
Your opponent simply points to sea areas, one by one, and, in each of them, designates an organized unit
(which then becomes disorganized) to initiate combat, and follows the sequence in 11.5.1. If your opponent
designated an interception unit during the naval movement step in an interception attempt (see 11.4.6), and it is still
in the sea area, he or she can use that unit to start a naval combat. Obviously the interception unit will have become
disorganized during the interception attempt, but that does not prevent it from also serving as the combat initiation
< Message edited by Orm -- 12/22/2019 7:59:03 PM >
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