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


<May, 5, 1918>

Dear Sims—

     This is personal for your own private ear.

(1) You are right your job should be an independent command. However I think [I] can say with confidence that the C-in-C, or no [one] senior to you will come over.1 Wait, perhaps the independent matter will come.

(2) About the Admiral2 and my health. There was a reason. Nobody appreciates the value of the system under which you work more than I do. I observed that when I was with you. Fortunately I could do it as you are a peach to work with.

     Several problems confronted me on taking on this job

(a) to create the same system

(b) get the men

(c) get decisions

     The value of such a system was not entirely appreciated.

Details ran rampant.

Decisions were hard to achieve. It wore the Admiral threadbare trying to get them.

     The thing is on its way to fulfillment now & the Admiral & I both are recovering at least I can say I am.

     My big job, or one of them is brushing into the waste basket the details and keep to the front the big policies.

(3) If any cables are sent having a jolt in them don’t mind. Usually something follows which you need.

(4) About Daniels.3 Better let him come as soon as he can. This is my scheme. As a matter of policy we attach the Secretary’s aid to this office. He handles the Press, or tries to. That job is vacant now & we are trying to keep it warm for the right man. If it could be managed I should try to keep him here, make him the liaison & chase up man & seat him as Aide to Secty. Daniels.4 I think the name & the fact that Danny was an Enlisted man once would be entirely satisfactory, but don’t for heaven’s sake say a word to a soul about it.



Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 78.

Footnote 1: Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 2: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 3: Lt. Cmdr. Joseph F. Daniels, Sims' Flag Secretary (“Danny” below).

Footnote 4: Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.

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