Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack, Commander, Patrol forces based on Gibraltar, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
U.S. NAVAL FORCES OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS.
PATROL SQUADRON BASED ON GIBRALTAR.
U.S.S. DECATUR, FLAGSHIP
Reference No. 16 July, 1918.
The mail from Genoa has just this minute arrived and the courier for London is leaving in an hour. I enclose the only copy which I have received of the Wireless Telegraph Conference at Corfu, dated June 26th-27th and 28th, 1918. Lieutenant Jenkins will probably bring me another copy, or I will get another copy probably through Malta. At any rate, Admiral Grant will get a copy and I will have access to it.
General Layuty, the Resident General of France in Morocco,telegraphed me on the 30th of June, inviting myself, and a number of officers to Morocco, where he guaranteed us free transportation and lodging during our visit to whatever part of Morocco we should choose to go. I was obliged to decline but it was very tempting. The way to go is by way of Casa Blanca from here by boat, or from Tangier to Casa Blanca by automobile. At Casa Blanca General Layuty’s invitation would become effective. Our Consul General at Tangier (Minister Resident) is a splendid man and very keen on his job. He seems to be expecting you to send some agent there to look over the situation. I do not know what grounds he has for this. I have simply put Decker and Crosley next to the situation and kept out of it.
The Naval Overseas Transportation Service sounds like a mushroom growth but on the other hand, it seems to be a real live and efficient service. The GREGORY got here just at the right minute in order to take two of them to Marseilles. There is nothing in the question of fitting kite balloons to our ships, they have only eight winches here and fourteen British ships are being fitted. So far only four British ships have been taken in hand. With slow convoys, and with kite balloons mounted on slow ships, they tend to advertise the presence of a convoy. One of our slow wachts [i.e., yachts] had to overtake a convoy and only found it because of the kite balloon. Admiral Grant is very unenthusiastic, except for fast work and hunting. In case any of our ships are to be fitted with winches, Admiral Grant would have to cable to England and have them sent down.
Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 76. For Sims’ reply, see: Sims to Niblack, 29 July 1918.