Mr. Welles to Mr. Seward

Sir: In reply to your communication of the 31st of July last, transmitting a copy of a communication from the British minister in regard to the establishment of a system of marine signals, and asking to be informed whether in my opinion any benefit would arise from its adoption in the navy, I have the honor to state that its adoption would not be of any material benefit to the navy, and further, that as the code of signals designed to be international by [Page 203] the English and French governments was prepared especially for the benefit of the mercantile marine, the subject belongs properly to the Treasury Department.

I return herewith the copy of the work which accompanied your communication.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy.

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State,