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 the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

IL-9261  

TRANSLATION                             <November 8, 1918>

From:  Sims

To:    OPNAV

          9261 Following message received from Rear Admiral Bullard at Corfu.1 “The delegation of Jugo-Slav Government arrived Corfu 6 p.m. Nov 6th in former Austrian destroyer number 77. After having become acquainted with the terms of the Armistice they have decided before entering into any negotiations to refer to their government for necessary instructions and the necessary power. Has Jugo-Slav government been recognized as an independent nation by the United States or can I treat with them as such”.2 Request instructions 150908 9261

Sims

4:38 a.m.  11-9-18

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The handwritten date is confirmed by the time/date stamp at the end of the text.

Footnote 1: RAdm. William H. H. Bullard, Commander, United States Naval Forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, had been named as the United States representative to the delegation of allied naval officers that was to oversee the implementation of the naval portion of the armistice with Austria-Hungary. See: William S. Benson to Bullard, 3 November 1918 and Richard H. Jackson to Sims, 6 November 1918.

Footnote 2: According to historian A. C. Davidonis, “Jugoslavia was but a name; none of the great powers serious entertained repeated requests for early recognition.” Davidonis, American Naval Mission in the Adriatic, 1918-1921, 31. Moreover, the Italian government, which had designs on entrenching itself in the eastern Adriatic region, was actively working to prevent the creation of a viable Yugoslav state. Ibid., 30-31. In fact, the Italians refused to recognize the legitimacy of Austria’s surrender of much of its fleet to the Yugoslavs. See: Sims to Benson, 8 November 1918.

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