Captain Alfred W. Hinds, Commanding Officer, Rochester, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
1 January 1918.
Dear Admiral Sims:
I do not know how I have the temerity to take up your valuable time, - I suppose the real reason is you are always so nice to your juniors that none of them are afraid to write to you. You have the happy faculty of always making us believe you are in sympathy with what little we accomplish in a professional way.
There are many Naval Officers who are giving a great deal of thought as to the best way of accomplishing our mission, - which is to lick Germany. The more that I have given the matter the more reasonable it seems that we ought to get at her is some weaker place than in France or Italy where she is strongest.
Of course, you men at the top know whether the Allies can afford to break through in France. If we can do it, it will probably be the quickest way, but we must go clean into the heart of Germany to win. Can we get by the Rhine?
The more thought I have given to the Turkish question the more vulnerable the Central Powers seem down there. A win gives us the Black Sea, holds Southern Russia for us; takes Bulgaria out of the war; bolsters up Roumania and gives us a chance to strike through Austria. A year ago we could put pressure on all sides of the Central Powers; now we cannot get press on the long Russian line.
The turks were tricked into this war by superior diplomacy on the part of Germany. They are awfully tired of it, and hate the Germans. Would there be any dishonor in doing a little diplomatic trickery ourselves? It is not necessary for our diplomats to “Turn the other cheek”. The Turks would like nothing better than to get at the Bulgarians. I believe they would welcome a separate and fair peace and the presence of the Saloniki Army would guard them against attack by Germany.
With the submarines bottled up in the Adriatic, the campaign against Bulgaria could be carried on by Japanese and it would not interfere with any plan already made for work in the west or in Italy.
I wish you a successful and happy year.
|aut:Alfred W. Hinds
Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 23. An armored cruiser, Rochester had participated in escorting a convoy to France in December 1917, whereupon its return to Hampton Roads (where the ship had been based), it began target and defense instruction of armed guards. In March 1918 the ship would resume escorting and convoying duties that it would continue for the duration of the war.