Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Reginald R. Belknap, Commander, Mine Squadron One
July 25th 1917 .
My dear Belknap,
I regret very much to hear of your bad luck in bringing in the mining Squadron the other day. I regard it in the light of bad luck. This is wartime and I recognize that time is an important element and that we must get along with the war even if it does involved a certain amount of risk. Strass has reported the circumstances and also all the extenuating circumstances in connection with the difficulties of navigation in foggy weather that you encountered. I have asked him to obtain reports from the captain concerned, but I do not propose to do anything else about it. It would be impractical without interfering seriously with our war operations to have anything like even a Court of Inquiry. I much prefer to regard this as something which is incident to the kind of duty on which you are now engaged.
I have recently taken up with the principal dignitaries the whole question of the Northern barrage, and I believe the ultimate result will be that we will plant our mines all the way from Norway to the Orkneys a solid barrier that all submarines passing out or passing in will have to cross. This is not entirely confirmed yet, but it is the opinion of the Admiralty and the matter will be taken up immediately with the Commander-in-Chief.
We are also now discussing thequesiton of mining certain passages in the Mediterranean, and in all probability Strauss will go down there to represent us on a discussion between the principal dignitaries on the spot.
Do not let the recent incident bother you at all.
Very sincerely yours,
Source Note: LT, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 22. Note at top of page: “Admiral Sims’ personal file.” Addressed below close: “Captain R.R. Belknap, U.S. Navy,/U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO,/6th Battle Squadron,/Grand Fleet.”