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Commander Charles R. Train, United States Naval Attaché at Rome, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

U.S.Naval Attache

Telegraphic Address




April 6, 1918.

Dear Admiral:

     I have just telegraphed you that Rear Admiral Belleni1 has been sent to Genoa. This officerwill assume complete command of the port, so that I believe conditions will undoubtedly improve as regards loading and discharging of vessels and discipline within the port proper. In addition, they are sending a large force of police up there to help out.

     The old Consorzio is shelved. This was the municipal control board, and the Government has never been able to touch it before; but war conditions have given the loop hole desired, and therefore as long as the war lasts it will be abolished, and the operations of the port carried out under the direct orders of Rear Admiral Belleni. I am rather pleased with this, as I feel that my close contact with the Capo Di Gabinetto to the Minister2 has helped materially in bringing this change about. This officer asked me to bring in privately to him all I could get on Genoa conditions (which I did daily). The British Embassy did not know of these conditions until I requested Larking,3 many months ago, to get a report on them. Then the ball started rolling, and I am looking for early improvement.

     Leigh4 came through, and I was sorry not to go south with him, but conditions did not permit. I think the gasoline condition for the chasers is cleared up considerably, which he will undoubtedly soon report, if not already.

     I am sending you a fitness report for myself according to your suggestion.5 With many thanks.

Very sincerely,         

C. H. Train.       

Source Note: TLS, DLC-MS, William Sims Papers, Box 23. Document is from: “Admiral Sim’s Personal File.” Addressed below close: “To Vice Admiral William S. Sims, U.S.N./Force Commander in European Waters,/London.” Document reference: “1/5/6/J/Q.”

Footnote 1: RAdm. Silvio Belleni.

Footnote 2: Luigi Aldrovandi Marescotti, Chief of Staff to Minister of the Navy Alberto del Bono.

Footnote 3: Capt. Dennis A. H. Larking, British Naval Attaché at Rome.

Footnote 4: Capt. Richard H. Leigh, Commander, Submarine Chasers, Distant Service. For more on his mission, see: Sims to Oswyn A. R. Murray, 28 March 1918.

Footnote 5: The referred to fitness report was not attached.