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. <19-3-1>
Cablegram Sent March 2, 1918. TOM
To Opnav, Washington. Serial No. 4632.
Prep. by MD-B ECT D.R.
4632. Your 3252 matter discussed by all hands here, Bogert and Admiralty. Our forces scattered and no immediate demand for services of hospital ship for American forces exclusively. British experience shows that ships cannot profitably be used as floating hospitals but are best used as ambulance ships. Two British hospital ships recently lost and if our ships sent can release one British naval hospital for commercial service, British Navy ready to accept services both hospital ships HAVANA and MERCY to be allocated to Grand Fleet for service combined American and British forces. If assigned to Grand Fleet services will be more in nature of ambulance ships than as hospital ships. Recommend send both ships for service indicated with Grand Fleet. <23102.>
Source Note: CyS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.