Skip to main content

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

Subject Copy.                                File No. <38/3/1>

Cablegram Sent 3 June <1918.>  EWC

To Opnav Washington                          Serial No. 8955

Prep. by                         D.R.

8955.  Referring Department’s 6397.1 The sole object of our Naval forces in Europe is to get on with the war. To this end our battleships, cruisers, destroyers and other vessels are working in perfect harmony and good fellowship with the Allies, not alongside of them, but actually with them wherever and however they can render most efficient service; and both our ships and those of the allies are doing their best to protect General Pershing’s troops on the seas.

          We know that all those at home earnestly wish to help your men at the Front, but we know that some of you feel that you cannot do much at such a great distance.

          That is a great mistake. There is not a men, woman or school child in the United States who cannot help the fighting men to win the war. We of the Army and Navy can do nothing without destroyers, guns, ammunition and food. These cannot be brought to us without ships. All these essentials must be supplied from home, and in this everybody can help by doing his own work with all his might.

          The men who are building destroyers and merchant ships are really on the fighting line. Every blow of their hammer is a blow at the enemy.

          These men in turn must be supplied by the work done in factory, farm, office and home. No task is too small to be important. The cumulative effect of millions of jobs well and quickly done is very great. Everybody can help by working cheerfully. Everybody can help by wasting nothing – neither food, nor money, nor clothing, nor time.

          The success of your army and navy depends upon two things work and fighting. Those at home must work that those at the Front may fight. Give us what we need and we will defeat the enemy.

          The war cannot be won on the battle fronts without the moral and material support of the people at home – without their unalterable will to victory and their willingness to make the necessary sacrifices. 17403. 8955.


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

Footnote 1: This cable has not been found, but from what follows, it appears that it was a request made on behalf of the Committee on Public Information that Sims provide a statement that could be released to the American public in support of the war effort. Certainly, the themes in Sims’ cable were those the Committee on Public Information was pushing. Kennedy, Over Here: 62-3, 72.