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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Third Sea Lord Rear Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey



March 15, 1918.

From:  The Force Commander.

To  :  The Secretary of the Admiralty,

          For The Third Sea Lord.

Subject:  Repair Facilities for United States Naval Vessels in Europe.

     1.  Referring to my verbal conferences with the First Sea Lord,1 and to your conversations with Naval Constructions<ors> Smith and McBride, of my Staff,2 in regard to the periodic docking and re-fits for United States Naval Vessels based on the United Kingdom and French ports, pursuant to which it was preliminarily agreed, pending full investigation by the Admiralty, that these dockings and refits would be carried out in British Dockyards or private establishments, as has been done in the past for United States Naval vessels based on Queenstown. I beg to quote, for your information, the following cablegrams exchanged with the Navy Department, Washington, D.C. on this subject. . . .3

     2.  It is understood that skillled shipbuilding mechanics, as available, are already being withdrawn from the British Army to meet the general increased demands for shipbuilding and repair purposes in the United Kingdom, without special reference to the increased demands arising from the increase in numbers of United States Naval Vessels operating from Bases in the United Kingdom and French ports. It is also understood that, entirely independent of any of the arrangements involved in connection with the questions of docking and re-fitting periods for United States Naval vessels, United States troops are, or soon will be transported from the United States to the British front.

     3.  In view of these facts, and also of the fact that the question of man-power as raised in my cablegram No.4550, quoted above, was merely a suggestion, and was not an integral part of the tentative arrangement arrived at in the verbal conferences referred to above, I beg to inquire if it will meet your views to have me inform the United States Navy Department that I have communicated its decision to you, and that no action on its part looking to the sending of American workmen to Great Britain, be taken, pending a definite request to that effect from the Admiralty.

     4.  I would also be glad to have you confirm, at the same time, the general and tentative understanding arrived at in regard to the periodic docking and re-fiting of United States Naval vessels, as referred to above, the details of which will be worked out, as occasion arises, between the Repair Section of my Staff and the proper officials of the Admiralty.

          /s/ Wm.S.Sims.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Adm. Sir Rosslyn Wemyss.

Footnote 2: Stuart F. Smith and Lewis B. McBride, both of the Repair Section of Sims' staff.

Footnote 3: For the documents quoted (but not reproduced) herein, see: Sims to Opnav, 28 February 1918; Benson to Sims, 8 March 1918; and Sims to Opnav, 8 March 1918.

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