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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

20th March, 1918.  

FROM:     Force Commander.

TO:       Secretary of the Navy (Operations)

SUBJECT:       Placing U.S.S. SANTEE out of commission.

     1.  After conference with Admiral officials it has been decided that the U.S.S. SANTEE should be placed out of commission and the vessels returned to Admiralty custody.1

     2.  It has been found that the repairs to this ship will extend well into the summer and it is not considered justifiable in view of the demand for personnel, to allow the officers and men of this ship to be unemployed for that length of time.

     3.  It is also the opinion that the Mystery Ship campaign [h]as about served its usefulness and particularly that it is not justif[i]able to use cargo ships which are available for cargo carrying purposes.

     4.  It is, of course, true that the Mystery Ship serves as a means of affecting the norale [i.e., morale] of the enemy submarine personnel by keeping them constantly in doubt as to the character of a merchant ship which they attack. The use of Mystery Ships together with that of submarines for anti submarine work leaves a constant doubt in the minds of enemy submarine commanders as to their immunity from counter attack in the case of both merchant ships and other submarines when sighted. Mystery Ships also tend to restrict the submarine from using his guns forcing him to use his torpedoes.

     5.  So many Mystery Ships have recently been torpedoed and seriously damaged without the submarine being seen at all that it is becoming very difficult to keep a sufficient number of these ships in operations to justify the expense and effort expended upon them and the employment of the personnel they require.

     6.  It is possible that with the further development of listening devices, ships of the Mystery Ship character might be further utilised to advantage but it is an open question whether the listening device cannot be much better employed on destroyers and other anti submarine types.

/s/ WM S. SIMS.    

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 415. Document identifier in top left-hand corner: “AC 11724 43-4-IN.”

Footnote 1: On this same day, Sims wrote Secretary of the Admiralty Sir Oswyn A. R. Murray confirming the return of Santee to Admiralty custody. Ibid.