Lieutenant Commander Joseph .F. Daniels to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
Dear Admiral Sims-
Arrived in Paris O.K. Have met Captain Fletcher and go with him to Brest tonight. Have had conference with French Ministry, and plans for work to be done by one ship practically complete. Will take several days to complete details – but have to doubt that we will be at work this week.
It would be bad ball for Captain Fletcher to go to sea with his flag boat so it has been decided that he will remain ashore and direct operations from there (Brest).
Repair facilities at Brest may be considered good, but there are few workmen there. There are none to be had. The yachts need some work done now – not important nor heavy work – but the usual tuning up and bearing work necessary after a long run.
There are 8 yachts here now. Can you get Washington to tell us exact date next flotilla will arrive? It is important that we buck up the French. They are too polite to say what they think, or feel, but I can see a decided feeling exists to the effect that the assistance being given to English is real and working but the assistance given to French is more in the nature of promises than anything else. Here is the present estimation roughly.
2) )_ _ _ _ _ about 14 knots
5---------) _ about 10 to 11 in good weather.
7---------) _ about 9 to 9 1/2 in good weather.
How the first 4, can take transports out after unloading, but for the time being we will have to call upon Queenstown to escort troops in? No other solution is possible at this time.
We must take up the question of depth charges for the slower boats. Vessels that can make 14 knots can be equipped with large (300 pound) depth charges. Others will have to have smaller ones, perhaps. Will you tell us what is the slowest speed used to safely use heavy depth charges?
We will forward to you an outline plan of the organization here in a few days.
A repair ship is absolutely necessary. Please cable for one of the following:
In the order named. we would like to have a good repair ship. Failing in getting Vestal or Prometheus – the Panther would do for the time being. I am so impressed with the necessity of having a Base Repair ship that I am of the opinion we should send DIXIE here until we get a ship from the other side.
I know that we can do best work by keeping our ships centralized. I know also that the French are not satisfied with present arrangement. I believe we will make a mistake if we do not make a serious effort to get everything here as quickly as possible.
The coal burners coming from Manilla should come here, (Brest). Also the coal burner from the United States should come here. We can send all sorts of ships here but some of them must be destroyers or the French will not be satisfied.
As to the Base at Brest – I will write you after I arrive there.
Owing to the delay in discharging transports – Seattle will not sail until 14th July. Please cable to U.S. and tell them to turn back escorting cruisers when transport is met by escorting destroyers. It only means another ship to take care of an they are a nuisance here. Officers from cruisers all on leave – or those that can go, and all bothering French authoritives to go front.