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Rear Admiral David W. Taylor, Chief Constructor and Chief of Bureau of Construction and Repair, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters



Washington, D.C.

February 6, 1918.

My dear Admiral:

          Have read with much interest your reports to Operations, which have been forwarded for information, and note the existing difficulties in regard to establishing bases owing to lack of boats for transportation. Every possible endeavor, so far as the Bureau is concerned, is being made to help and expedite this most essential equipment. The boat building schedule calls for between 1100 and 1200 boats of all descriptions. At some yards, boat shops are working twenty hours with two shifts, eight hours regular, two hours over time; the reasons for not working three shifts for twenty-four hours is lack of boat builders. Boats are coming from the West Coast, both overland and through the canal, and trust that when the numerous contractors fulfill their obligations that the tension will be relieved. HENDERSON, which arrived on the other side yesterday, carried two 35’ motor boats for the bases, and while at sea was directed by wireless to turn over two 50’ motor sailers belonging to the vessel. The VON STEUBEN, which is to sail within twenty-four hours (so we understand), has also two of these boats, and the DE KALB, which follows shortly, will take two motor sailers. Boat work at New York is now concentrated on the fifteen 50’ motor sailers to be ready March 15 and which, unless the unexpected happens, will be completed by that date; understand that Lieutenant Commander Whiting1 expects to take these fifteen boats with him with their equipment for the bases. Three 50’ motor sailers for you are completed and awaiting transportation. Of course, the Bureau can give no definite information of this score, as [the Bureau of] Supplies and Accounts have cognizance of all transportation. Difficulty is being experienced in obtaining vessels which will carry a 50’ boat; in the service, besides the battleships, the CUYAMA and the HENDERSON are the two vessels fitted for this purpose; similar arrangements are to be made on the KANAWHA and the MAUMEE!!

          Your necessities are those that we have in mind as coming before anything at this time, emergencies excepted, and you can rest assured that nothing is being neglected by the Bureau fully to cooperate as far as is possible. Being human, there are limitations.

              With kindest regards.

          Very sincerely yours,

               S/ D. W. TAYLOR

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 23. At the top of the document appears the identifying numbers, “1/G/J/N”. Following the close, the letter is addressed, “Vice Admiral W.S.Sims, U.S.N.,/Commanding U.S. Naval Forces/Operating in European Waters,/C/o Postmaster,/New York, City.”

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Whiting.

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