Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

[Extract]

April 18th, 1918.  

My dear Train,

     Your letter of April 6th,1 just received a couple of days ago, containing the good news that the Italians are sending Admiral Belleni2 to take charge of affairs in Genoa. This should straighten things out.

     However, as you know, I have written the Navy Dept. requesting that an officer be sent out to take charge of this port with special reference to the conduct of our men.

     With reference to your being my representative and Navy Department representative in Rome, in addition to your duties as Naval Attache, I have received a reply from the Department in which they state that they rather fear that if that were proposed the Italian Government would feel slighted because we did not send an officer of greater rank. I don’t know whether this is true or not, and if we attempt to find out we might precipitate a request that an officer of higher rank be sent. So, for the present, I think we had better let things along. You are to all intents and purposes the Navy Department’s representative there, and your position is a very good one. I believe there is no idea of your being sent to sea. I am quite convinced that you could be more useful there than in any other place just now.

     Forty-eight 110 ft. chasers have already arrived in Bermuda and the first bunch of them are now under convoy to the Azores and will be gotten to Corfu as soon as possible. . . .

Yours sincerely,        

/s/ W.S.Sims       

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Addressed below close: “Commander Chas. Train, U.S.Navy/Naval Attache,/American Embassy, Rome.” Document is from: “Admiral Sim’s Personal File.” Document reference: “1/5/6/J/Q.”

Footnote 2: RAdm. Silvio Bellini, Italian Navy.