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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations


Chronological Copy

Cablegram Sent Dec. 27, 1917 R.S

To   Opnav Washington                        Serial No. 2455

Prep. by  Lt. Bastedo         C.O.S.1 D.R.

               18 D.

2455. Reference French High Power Radio Station2 an official letter to Pershing from President of Council[,] French Minister of War and Director of Engineering3 states due to great cost, impossibility of procuring material in France, importance of tonnage to be transported and greater interests of United States in communication. America should give financial assistance as well as material and offers as best solution quote The United States Government would assure the furnishing and transportation to Bordeaux of the mechanical and electrical material intended for the said station, towers, arcs, motor generators, generator for use in case of failure of outside power supply, which material would be ordered in America. For its part French Government would assume the burden of the purchase of land, the construction of the buildings, the installation and operation of this station. I ask you, consequently, to be kind enough to intervene with the American Government with a view to proposing this solution. In case that, as I am pleased to anticipate, it should have its approval the French Department of War will immediately take the necessary steps to order the material in America. In conformity with propositions enunciated during the course of the reunion which took place 8th December in the office of the American Naval Attache in Paris, a reunion at which General Russell4 assisted, the materialsshould have the present obtainable maximum power that is seven hundred kilowatts. So far as concerns the amount of expense to be anticipated for the installation of the station in question, it can be established, for the present only in an approximate manner, but it seems that the basic figure indicated at the aforesaid reunion, which is ten million francs might suffice to permit the American Government to decide relative to the above suggestion. I add that the agreement established at this time between the American and French Government would in no wise prejudice measures which might be taken after the cessation of hostilities for the eventual cession to the French Government of the material furnished by the United States with a view to the erection of the station in question unquote General Pershing proposes above suggestion to America.

Suggest for Department’s consideration in case Department decides assume financial obligations that definite agreement in writing be secured from French Government to the effect that United States at conclusion of war will be reimbursed total amount equivalent to sum expended connection construction new station. Probable voltage power supply 5000. Recommend in case agreement reached with French Authorities that motor design be such input voltage as is most suitable for size as French propose obtain correct voltage by transferring voltage at site to be selected. 10128


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Address below close: “CC To--/Naval Attache, Paris./Captain R.H. Jackson, U.S. Navy.” Document appears on a printed form with header material reproduced at the top of the second page.

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. Paul H. Bastedo, an aide on Sims’ staff, and Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ chief of staff.

Footnote 3: Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander, American Expeditionary Forces; probably British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, the principal organizer of the Supreme Allied War Council; Georges Clemenceau, French Minister of War and soon-to-be Prime Minister; the identity of the Director of Engineering is unknown as it is not clear from this message which country or organization this refers to.

Footnote 4: Capt. Richard H. Jackson and possibly Maj. Gen. Sir Andrew H. Russell, divisional commander, New Zealand Division, British Army.