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United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom Walter Hines Page to Secretary of State Robert Lansing


January 29, 1918. 

TO        Department of State, Washington.

FROM      American Embassy, London.

DATED     January 29, 9: p.m.

NO.       8431

Following is a confidential message for the President1 and Secretary of State:

     The proposal of the British Admiralty to make Admiral Sims2 an Honorary Member of the Board of the Admiralty has been approved by the King,3 who has expressed the hope that this plan will receive your sanction. The Italian and French naval chiefs of staff4 during their recent visit here were approached by the Lords of the Admiralty5 on the matter, and they expressed their approval in the heartiest manner, the French Admiral stating he would immediately ask his Naval authorities to take a corresponding step.

     The suggestion is simply a complimentary expression of the cordial working relations that exist and when Sims’ command is relinquished here, his membership in the Board of Admiralty will automatically cease.

     No member of any other navy has ever been so honoured and the compliment is one without precedent. I have been asked by Geddes to send this explanation in the hope that you will concur in the suggestion. He considers it merely as a sign of the cordial working relations, and the appreciation and esteem in which the British Admiralty hold the American Navy.6 THE AMBASSSADOR.

|fn5:First Sea Lord Adm. Sir Rosslyn Wemyss and First Lord of the Admiralty Sir Eric Geddes.

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 78.

Footnote 1: Woodrow Wilson.

Footnote 2: Vadm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Footnote 3: George V.

Footnote 4: Adm. Paolo Thaon di Revel and Adm. Ferdinand Jean Jacques de Bon.

Footnote 6: For the reaction of  American naval officials and President Wilson, see: Diary of Josephus Daniels, 31 January 1918.

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