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Commander William R. Sayles, United States Naval Attaché at Paris, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters


United States Navy Pay Office

23, rue de la Paix

Paris 17 July 1917

My dear Admiral,

          I think I have explained everything to Daniels in regard to the situation here.1

     I have tried not to bother you by useless letters of explanation or yelps for help, although at times the going has been a bit rough.

     After all is said the fact remains that the first expedition arrived and departed in safety and that at the time of my being relieved of my responsibilities here in France, the relations between the Army, Navy, and diplomatic Corps, were excellent and satisfactory; and what is more important the Rue Royal people look upon me as their real friend.2

     For the past week I have had the intention of the writing you a lengthy report – think the above is sufficient after some reflection.

     So a certain extent I feel my work is done in my present capacity. If you consider me fitted for it, naturally I would like a command at sea in European Waters- failing that Intelligence Duty on your staff.

     If we are to conduct this war, on the scale which we will leave to conduct it to win a real victory, the post of Naval Attache should not be filled by an ambitious officer on the active list, at least one of my rank. I hope you understand my position I don’t want to go home.  I want to stay in Europe, but after it is all over I don’t want to have it said that I hold down a desk at an embassy while real fighting was going on with the greatest respect and esteem.

                         Very Truly Yours,

                                   W Sayles

Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Container 82.

Footnote 2: Sayles is referring to the first troop convoy that arrived in Saint Nazaire France between 26 June and 2 July and then departed from the French port on 14 July. Gleaves, History of the Transport Service, 32-55. “Rue Royale” refers to the French Naval Ministry which was housed in the Hôtel de la Marine located adjacent to Rue Royale on Place de la Concord.

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