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 Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotillas

March 19th. 1918.

My dear Pringle,

          Referring to your letter of March 11th.1 I am taking up the question of the SANTEE with the Admiralty.2 I have had a talk with old Bill3 about it, and he agrees with me that it is a waste of time and good material for his crew to hang on until July, and probably August before this ship can be finished.

          I will let you know the final conclusion as soon as it is reached.4

          It has not yet been definitively decided whether Doctor Cannon and Doctor Moore will actually visit Queenstown.5 These gentlemen are in a hurry to get back to America and seem to be a bit more interested in visiting points around England than in actually inspecting the Force. They have gone up first to Invergordon, but I think the decision in that case was reached because they wanted to see the country up that way and Edinburgh.

          All our arrangements were made to leave here on Friday the 22nd. with Admiral Wemyss6 for a visit to Queenstown, but today a message was received announcing the arrival here on Friday the 22nd. of Secretary Baker for a visit of three days to London. I am afraid I will have to remain here and do the polite for this interesting principal dignitary.7 It is barely possible that Admiral Wemyss might defer his visit for a few days. That would depend upon whether he really cares a cent as to my presence in Queenstown at the time of his visit. I was informed by his naval aide8 that he wanted me to be there at the time. However, you will doubtless hear from us by telegraph before this letter reaches you.

          I note in the last paragraph of your letter that you escuse yourself for not writing with the pen. I do not see any reason why you should ever take the trouble to do so, unless there is something so desperately confidential that you would not wish to trust it to anybody.

          In case I do not go to Queenstown with Admiral Wemyss I will doubtless be able to get up there a bit later.

Very sincerely yours,       

Source Note: LT, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 79. Following the close, the letter is addressed, “Captain J.R.Poinsett Pringle, U.S.N./U.S.S. MELVILLE./Queenstown.”

Footnote 3: Cmdr. David C. Hanrahan, Commander, Santee.

Footnote 5: James Cannon and E. J. Moore were officers in the Anti-Saloon League of America and visiting the European Front as part of an investigation into the consumption of alcohol by American troops. For more on their trip, see: Sims to Pringle 6 March 1918, and Pringle to Sims, 11 March 1918.

Footnote 6: First Sea Lord Adm. Sir Rossyln Wemyss.

Footnote 7: Secretary of War Newton D. Baker. Sims and Baker did not meet as planned, see: Sims to William S. Benson, 25 March 1918.

Footnote 8: Paymaster-in-Chief Hamnet H. Share.

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