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

File No.53-1-1

CABLEGRAM RECEIVED  August <5, 1918,> 08006  AHI

Origin    Opnav Washington (Secnav)          Ser.No. 9468.

Ref’d to. Date.     Action Notes and Initials.

  CS      7 August  N.C.T.1

31 ARD.        S E C R E T.


9468.Referring to your letter CS-24024 July 42 regarding Admiralissimo Mediterranean Sea following letter from the State Department quoted for your information and action QUOTE I beg to acknowledge receipt of your secret letter July 253 transmitting certain correspondence concerning the appointment of an Admiral-issimo in the Mediterranean Sea. You express the view in the opinion of the Navy Department a unity of naval command in the Mediterranean Sea during the war is just as essential as is the unity of military command on the Western Front to which we have already agreed and inquire whether the fore-going is consistent with the policy of the Department of State. In reply I desire to inform you that this department shares your view and is glad to note that you are ready to instruct Vice Admiral Sims to give his support to the proposal that the allied governments agree upon a single naval commander for the force in the Mediterranean Sea.

          In accordance with your suggestion I am advising the United States Ambassador at Rome, Italy4 that this Government is in entire agreement with the British and French governments that the naval force operating in the Mediterranean Sea should be under the command of a single Admiralissimo. 10005.  9468.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “1/5/J.”

Footnote 1: Sims’ chief of staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 2: The referred to document has not been found. For more on the position of the Admiralissimo Mediterranean Sea, see: Sims to Charles R. Train, 1 July 1918. The British hoped to stabilize the tumultuous situation in the Mediterranean by appointing former First Sea Lord Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe as supreme naval commander. They were unsuccessful, and unity of command in the Mediterranean was never achieved. Halpern, Naval History of World War I: 400.

Footnote 3: Sims probably forwarded a message from Naval Attaché in Rome, Lt. Cmdr. Charles R. Train.

Footnote 4: United States Ambassador to Italy Thomas N. Page.

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