Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Anne Hitchcock Sims
Sunday, April 28, 1918
My darling Sweetheart:
Another lonely Sunday away from all my dear ones. . . . I got back from Paris today at 11 a.m. Here is an account of the trip[.] We left here on Wednesday, 24th at 5 PM (3 British, 3 Americans – Twining & Babby 2 French, 2 Italians, 2 Japs and some Italians), and went by the way of Southampton and Havre. . . .
The passage from Southampton to Havre takes 8 hours instead of 1½ by Folkstone and Boulogne. We went in the regular passenger steamer in company with a fast hospital ship and escorted by two destroyers. The steamer was a fine, clean new one and I had a fine stateroom, and the channel was as smooth as a pond. We arrived at Havre at 7 a.m. and boarded the train for Paris, arriving there at noon. . . . The Parisians pay little attention to them [the “mystery” guns]. The disaster in the church caused a bit of a panic, and it is said that 900,000 people left the city. . . .
On Friday 26th the conference met both forenoon and afternoon. At 1 pm all the P.Ds went to
dinner lunch with the deBon family (Chief of Staff). Such charming people! I would like to have you meet them. Ad. deBon is a fine man. Madame is a fine mate for him, and the two daughters are lovely girls. Such a nice happy family!
Friday evening I was going to dine with Peg again, but had to go to a dinner given by Sayles to meet the Ambassador. It was a stag dinner – Cone, Twining, Babby, Jackson and a few others. The Ambassador is a western man of the politician type but a very human individual, and I like him. We all had a fine talk about affairs in general, and a right pleasant dinner.
The next day, Saturday, we had another meeting of the council and finished at noon. It was presided over by the Minister, Mr. Legues, a very able man, and we accomplished a good deal.
At 7 P.M. we all lunched with the new British ambassador, Lord Derby, late Minister of war. The lunch was at the Ritz – the former ambassador, Bertie, being very sick. . . .
While in Paris I of course talked with all sorts of people about the military situation; including army and navy men, correspondents, diplomats, etc, and found them all optimistic. Grasly says he has never known the French army to be in better condition – such a contrast from this time last year. I hope this is justified, tho I must say the situation looks serious enough to me. Both the French and British seem to have unlimited confidence in General Foch, and I have also for that matter, if he only had more troops. . . .