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Circular Letter of Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters


U.S.S. Melville, Flagship,

                   10 December, 1917.

From: Force Commander.

To:  Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotilla

      Commander, Patrol Squadron based on French Coast.

      Commander, Patrol Squadron based on Gibraltar.

      Commander, U.S. Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service.

      Commander, Azores Detachment.

      Captain R.H. Jackson, U.S. Navy.1

Subject:  Censorship of matter prepared for publication.

     1.   The Force Commander is in receipt of a cablegram from the Navy Department, reading as follows:

“1468. Suggest you issue orders that all stories for publication by any one in your forces shall be sent via official channels in order to be censored by you. Story has been received by committee public information apparently sent through regular mail from the U.S. S. REID and censored by ship’s censor. 15007


     2.   No order, such as the Department suggests has heretofore been issued applying to all the forces of this command, as the possibility of the occurrence of such an incident as referred to had not been considered.

     3.   It is hereby directed that no matter of any kind, which is intended for publication, shall be published or forwarded to the United States or elsewhere for publication, without having first been submitted to the Force Commander for his censorship.

     4.   In case any material of this kind is published without having first been submitted for censorship as above directed the author thereof, if known, will be held responsible for such publication.

     5.   Detachment Commanders will take immediate steps to promulgate this order to the forces under their command.

/s/ WM. S. SIMS.

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

Footnote 1: The respective recipients of this letter are as follows: Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, Cmdr. Albert P. Niblack, Capt. Hutchinson I. Cone, Cmdr. Hugo Osterhaus, Jr., and Richard H. Jackson, American Naval Representative in Paris.

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