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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Vice Admiral Sir Cecil F. Thursby, Commander-in-Chief, Devonport

September 24th, 1918.   

My dear Admiral:

          Your letter of September 19th1 reached me a day or so ago and I am very glad indeed to know that you are in agreement with me as to the general principles that should govern the employment of the submarine chasers and that you think well of the tactics so far developed.

          As for what you say concerning the organization and localities in which the vessels should be employed, I of course have no personal opinions on this subject that would be worth anything, as I am necessarily not familiar with the details.

          My idea about the manner in which these vessels should be handled is, that your people and my people should get together in the same Planning Section and fight it out to a conclusion among themselves, and all hands abide by the tentative decision until, as a result of subsequent discussions, they see fit to change it.

          Perhaps I can make my meaning clear by stating that I should like the relation of our chasers and their personnel with you and your personnel to be in all respects exactly the same as they would be if you and your personnel were American. This is a policy which I have adopted with all our forces from the time we first arrived here.

          I have informed all out [i.e., our] people to this effect, and I am sure they will be more than willing to co-operate with you in any way. They have been made distinctly to understand that the military control of their operations is entirely under you. We have found this method of procedure entirely satisfactory in the other areas where our forces are employed. As a matter of fact there is no other arrangement which could possibly be efficient.

          I have been informed that Rear Admiral Bristol2 will report to me in the immediate future to take command of the chasers stationed at Plymouth.

          I have also been informed that the remainder of the hundred-and-forty-four chasers that the Navy Department intended sending here will start almost immediately. There are forty-two in all to make up the hundred-and-forty-four. At least eighteen of these will be based on Plymouth.

Very sincerely yours,        

Source Note: LT, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Container 24. Addressed below close: “Admiral Sir Cecil Thursby,/Commander-in-Chief,/Devenport.”

Footnote 2: RAdm. Mark L. Bristol, Commander, Submarine Chaser Detachment, Plymouth.

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