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 Anne Hitchcock Sims

[Extract]

30, Grosvernor Gardens,

London, S.W.1

September 23rd, 1918

My dear Anne:

          We are all distressed over the enforced departure of our Ambassador, Dr.Page.1 You know of course how highly I regard him, and how much I have always felt beholden to him for his advice and assistance, particularly during the early months over here. He has nothing organically the matter with him, but simply worn out. . . .

          You will be interested to know that Padre Duff,2 Chaplain to the NEVADA, turned up here in London the other day. I think I told you that the NEVADA and two other battleships arrived on this side a little while ago.3 The Padre reports that the NEVADA is the same cheer up ship as she was when I left her. He is very enthusiastic over the spirit which she exhibits. He spent about a week down here and he got to know pretty much everybody in town in the theatrical line. He claims to have the best minstrel troupe and vaudeville artists that any ship ever had and he was very ambitious to have them come here and do their stunt at one of the Sunday evening performances at the Palace Theatre, which are for the benefit of Overseas men. He promptly got in touch with the right people and his troupe is coming down on October 6th. He visited all the places in town where our men are put up or entertained, and he is strongly of the opinion that we should have a Sailors’ Club here similar to the one in Queenstown. They have Y.M.C.A. huts to go to but that is not the same thing. What the Padre would like above all things would be to come down here and run the club for the men. Perhaps if somebody will give us a building of sufficient size we may attempt this. At all events, I am going to order him down to London on temporary duty and see what I can find out. . . .

          Admiral Mayo4 has been very agreeable in every way. The whole attitude of him and his staff is entirely different from what it was when he was here before. Just what this means, I do not at present know. I rather think it is definitely settled that there is no longer any question of his coming over here. . . .

          Do not give ear to any of the gossip about the friction between the Allies. It is what any reasonable man should suspect. There is a certain amount of suspicion of the motives which is entirely inevitable; perhaps the strongest suspicion of all is the suspicion the Allies have of us. When we came into the war we commandeered all the ships in our ship-yards that were being built for the Allies and for neutrals, and we have not made any statement that these ships will be returned after the war. We have of course paid money for them, but that is not what will be needed after the war by the Allies. They want the ships. I have officially recommended that the statement be made that these ships will be available for the Allies after the war.5 The natural suspicion is that if this statement is not made we expect to make a drive for the commerce of the world after the war. . . .

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 10.

Footnote 1: Former U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, Walter Hines Page.

Footnote 2: Chaplain Edward A. Duff.

Footnote 3: Nevada was part of Battleship Division 8, Berehaven.

Footnote 4: Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander, Atlantic Fleet.

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