Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Naval Forces Based in France

April 9th. 1918.   

My dear Wilson,

     Your letter of March 31st. was a good while in reaching me but I telegraphed at once that I would back you up in enforcing good conduct and discipline on the French coast.1

     I have telegraphed the Department for authority to transfer the doctor in question to your forces.2 As for the legan [i.e., legal] aspect of the case I am not at present informed. That is, I do not know whether after a man was transferred he could properly be tried for something that he did before he could properly be tried for was transferred. However, your legal sharps can look this up.

     I entirely agree with you that in case certain kinds of disciplinarian action are necessary, it would almost always be best toto send the offender home. This because I don’t think it a good ball to keep a man in active service in the war area after he has been punished; in the next place, I think it has a very good effect on the rest of the gang to send such people back to America.

     I am rather sorry that the army authorities did not consider it advisable to make use of the 7000 men that could be mustered from the French coast.3 While of course I understand they they would have been but a drop in the bucket, and could not really have done very much, still I think the moral effect of their being there would have been quite worth while. Perhaps they will call for them later/

Very sincerely yours,

W. S. SIMS

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 23. Addressed below close: “Rear Admiral H.B.Wilson, U.S.Navy,/U.S.Patrol Forces in France./B r e s t .” Note in upper left-hand corner: “Admiral Sims’/Personal File.” Identifier in columnar fashion: “1/5/J.”

Footnote 1: Wilson’s letter has not been found.

Footnote 2: Sims’ cable concerning this unnamed doctor has not been found.