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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


SENT: June 1, 1917.               TO: Sec. of Navy (Operations)

THROUGH: State Department.

          It has been suggested by the Chief of the British Secret Service1 that any United States and British activities in such service abroad be co-ordinated (Stop) The Chief of the British Service in the United States2 will in a few days discuss the subject with the Department (Stop) The necessity of co-operation both for mutual interests and for safety of agents has been demonstrated by experience (Stop) British Chief also suggests desirability of detailing commissioned officer as our representative at their headquarters here (Stop) Consider Van der Veer3 eminently qualified. No other officer now available.4



NO. OF COPIES:     2.                      REFERENCE NO.

Source Note: C, RG45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Capt. Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming.

Footnote 2: Sir William Wiseman.

Footnote 3: Lt. Norman R. Van der Veer. An officer was detailed to spend his time with the British Naval Intelligence Division but the editors cannot confirm if Van der Veer was ultimately chosen for this post. Wyman H. Packard, A Century of U.S. Naval Intelligence (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, 1996), 391.

Footnote 4:  Americans in Sims’ office “kept in close touch with the British Naval Intelligence Division.” However, it was the American naval attachés—the number of which tripled with the outbreak of the war-that were responsible for recruiting and handling spies. It is not clear how closely they worked with the British Secret Service. Packad, Century: 41, 65, 331, 345, 391.

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