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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Charles M. de Bartolme, R.N., The Third Sea Lord

<August 15, 1918>            

Subject:  Repair Facilities for United States Naval Vessels in Europe; Compensation in Merchant Tonnage to be transferred to the British Flag.

Reference:     (a) Your letter of June 18, 1918.1

My dear Admiral:

     Referring to your letter of June 18, 1918, dealing with the subject of compensation for the loss of shipbuilding capacity in the United Kingdom, entailed by the assignment of extensive repair facilities to vessels of the United States Navy, I deeply regret to have to inform you that the United States Navy Department is unable, at the present time, to arrange for the assignment or transfer of vessels from the United States tothe British flag,   As you no doubt are aware, there has been an enormously accelerated movement of the United States Army to Europe, since the date of my original discussion of this matter with Admiral Halsey.2 This movement has been so rapid that the United States authorities are faced with a grave deficit in the tonnage necessary for the supply of the number of Unites States troops which are being sent to France, and both the movement of the troops themselves and their supply is only possible by the assignment of British tonnage to supplement the inadequate amount of United States tonnage. In view of this state of affairs, it does not appear that any good purpose would be accomplished by the proposed transfer. May I assume that the inability of the United States Navy Department to concur in this policy, due to the changed conditions brought about by the development of the general war situation, will not, for the present at least, affect or modify the arrangements now in force for the refits of United States Destroyers?

Very sincerely yours,

WM. S. SIMS,                 

Vice Admiral, U.S.N.    

Source Note: Cy, DNA RG 45, Entry 517B. Addressed below close: “Rear Admiral Charles M. de Bartolme, R.N./The Third Sea Lord,/The Admiralty,/Whitehall, S.W.1.” Document reference: “R-2-4C.S.2. 2946” and in columnar fashion: “1/3/2/6.”

Footnote 1: The letter from Bartolme of 18 June 1918, has not been found. But for more on the controversy surrounding ship building and repair berth and labor shortages, see: Sims to William S. Benson, 15 August 1918.

Footnote 2: Adm. Sir Lionel Halsey, R.N., Fourth Sea Lord.