Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Commander Charles R. Belknap, Jr., Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
May 10th. 1918.
My dear Belknap,
Your letter of April 20th. introducing Lieut.Commander Bacon has just been received.
I have had a long conference with Bacon and his associates and they are leaving today or tomorrow for France to have a look around the ports and then report their recommendations as to how things can be speeded up.
I do not know how this matter will work out, because the bunch of men sent over to us, is something entirely new. We do not at present see how a body of men like this can carry out the duties projected in your letters to Mr.Bacon without very great extension to include the principal ports.
However, we will wait until they make a recommendation and then see what can be done.
The general principle of imposing upon us unexpected and unusual conditions by the appointment of such a Commission is wrong to say the least. I am quite sure that the conditions on this side in reference to the turn around of shipping , particularly that which relates to the Army, and which is under their control, is very mistily understood in Washington. This is of course no possible reproach to the people in Washington because it could not very well be otherwise, so many are the ramifications and complications of the details.
A Mr.Raymond came over a little while ago on what we understand to be the same mission and he has been travelling for nearly a month in France, Italy and so forth, and has not yet returned. Just what he will advise I do not know.
I will drop you a line after some of this confusion is cleared up.
Very sincerely yours,