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 Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N., Commander, Southern Ireland

September 15th.1918.

My dear Admiral,

          Upon my return from Paris today noon, I found your letter of the 12th.1 recommending that thirtysix more chasers be sent to Queenstown, with a mother ship.

          I can assure you that I would be more than glad to be able to send them if they were available. Unfortunately, on account of the submarine scare on our coast, or for some other reason of which I am not informed, the Navy Department still owes us fortytwo of the one-hundred-and-forty-four that were to be sent over. In addition to the forty-two that will complete the one-hundred-and-forty-four, I have asked the Department to send fifty more, but I have my doubts as to whether or not they will be sent.

          The distribution of chasers and so forth that come to this side, are determined on their main lines by the Allied Naval Council. This is about the only way that we can keep various principal dignitaries of the Allies from complaining directly to our Government of unfair treatment. Before these decisions were made after full discussions before the Allied Council the Navy Department and the forces over here were constantly in hot water through the Foreign Offices of the various countries by reason of the complaints that reached the President or the Secretary of State.2 Turning over this matter to the Council has relieved all of the other persons in question of any responsibility. The Admiralties now concerned now smilingly turn off Ambassadors and Naval Attaches with the information that, through an agreement of all the countries concerned, such questions would be decided by the Allied Naval Council. As a matter of fact, they are not actually decided by the Council, but it amounts to the same thing because the decisions of the Council are usually promptly agreed to by all the countries concerned.

          I have been insisting so strenuously on additional anti-submarine craft on this side, that it is barely possible that the Navy Department may decide to send over a very considerable number. We are promised thirtyone destroyers before the end of this year and I am in great hopes that there will be more than that. The question of the distribution of these destroyers was very carefully discussed by the Council, and the result made it painfully apparent that the first need is in the Mediterranean. We are sending many valuable supply ships through to discharge at Marseilles and Toulon because the ports on the western coast of France have reach their absolute limit. Sometimes we have to send two of these supply ships all the way through the Mediterranean with one destroyers and sometimes they have to go entirely unescorted.

          In any case however, you may be sure that my heart is in Queenstown, and I will always do the very best I can to help out things there.

Very sincerely yours,   

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 47. Addressed below close: “Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N.,/Admiralty House,/Queenstown. Ireland.”

Footnote 2: President Woodrow Wilson, and Secretary of State Robert Lansing.