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Rear Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Destroyers Operating from British Bases, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


Paris, May 8, 1917.

     To obtain maximum efficiency and avoid friction and delay in French ports like that suffered by the English during first two years of war I have to make the following recommendation. First: That all business of ships leaving U. S. for France with shipments of American Government to be centered in office of American Naval Attache in Paris,1 such business being organization for discharge, transportation to destination etc. Second: That all negotiations with ministry of transport, ministry of revictualling and ministry of public works on dock and unloading facility obtaining empty cars for rapid discharge and transportation of these cargoes be handled by office of the American Naval Attache in Paris under supervision of Captain Asher C. Baker retired who has an intimate knowledge of the intricacy of French Bureaucracy, has command of the language and is “Persona Grata” with the French Government, he has extensive business experience in handling big propositions of this nature, is of vigorous health and active.2

     A working organization has already been prepared with French authorities for work of this nature as may come to the American Embassy; his experience should be utilized by American Government in this large field. Baker was in Paris in 1900 for exposition.


Source Note: C, DNA, RG45, Entry 517. At the top of this document, someone handwrote “Cablegram,” and “ To: Secnav.”

Footnote 1: Capt. William R. Sayles. Sayles agreed to coordinate everything through Sims. This was possibly an attempt by Sims to consolidate his authority. See: Sayles to Daniels, 28 April 1917. From Sims later testimony before Congress, it appears that the Navy Department coordinated all shipments through Sayles. Naval Investigation, 1: 121-23.

Footnote 2: Baker returned to active service and served as naval representative with the Transportation Department.

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