Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

<June 4, 1918>          

TRANSLATION

From: Vice Admiral Sims.

To:  Admiral Benson.

Simben #7. Referring opnav. 6183 from commander in chief Atlantic fleet.1 Not only would it throw a very undesirable additional amount of clerical work on my office force to furnish the copy requested with all the enclosures, without which the report is of little value, but this request together with certain other communications recently received seems to indicate a revival of the idea that the forces in Europe should be to some extent under the control of the Commander in Chief. I believe any such arrangement would create a situation highly detrimental to efficiency and that it is entirely unnecessary. I therefore request you to consider whether or not the Commander in Chief’s request should be complied with, and I further request you consider whether the time has not now arrived when the forces operating in Europe could be properly separated entirely from the Atlantic Fleet. I have no desire to embarrass you by preferring any such request in an official way, but I hope you will give the matter your very earnest consideration. It is axiomatic that a force cannot operate efficiently under control of a commander who is not in close touch with it and since the Commander in Chief cannot exercise such control, it seems unnecessary and undesirable that he should have the nominal command of forces in Europe.  00505  Simben #7

SIMS

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 678. Notations below close: “Op-28 (2 copies) 2:00 am 6/5/18./hsc”.

Footnote 1: This cable has not been found. The commander of the Atlantic Fleet was Adm. Henry T. Mayo. For more on Mayo’s desire to come to Europe, see: Sims to Capt. William V. Pratt, 18 May 1918.

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