Secretary of State Robert Lansing to United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom Walter Hines Page
March 20th. 1918.
TO: American Embassy, London.
FROM: Dept. of State, signed ‘Lansing’.
DATED: March 19, 3 p.m.
RECEIVED: March 20th. 9 a.m.
TO The Ambassador:
Your are informed, with reference to your confidential telegram of January 29th, 9 a.m. No. 8431, that the Navy Department has given careful consideration to the British Government’s proposal to appoint Vice Admiral Sims an honorary members of the Board of Admiralty.
The Navy Department is highly gratified by this evidence of the cordial cooperation existing between the Naval forces of Great Britain and our own and will makeevery effort consistent with our well established international policies to continue and encourage these relations.
The Government of the United States, in pursuance of its general policy, does not permit its officers to accept any distinctive honors or decorations from foreign Governments as a reward for meritorious service or in recognition of their professional qualifications; and therefore, if the United States Government were to permit an Officer in the Naval Service of the United States to accept an honorary membership of the Admiralty Board as a complimentary expression of the good will existing between the British Admiralty and that Officer, its action would undoubtedly be looked upon as a violation of the aforesaid policy. The offer to an officer of the Navy of such an unprecedented honor is highly valued by this Government which recognizes the splendid spirit by which it was prompted, at the same time regretting to state that the offer must be declined in preservation of the principle stated above.
Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 78.