Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

File No. 4-17 75

CABLEGRAM RCEEIVED February <18, 1918.> 19319.  SFH

Origin Opnav Washington                     Ser. No. 3079

Ref’d to  Date

CS-2      Feb. 20

C-S

A-1       21 Feb. R/T see our 1359 to Paris A.E.J.1

25D       VERY SECRET

Simsadus.

3079. Your 3866.2 Department desires to co-operate with Italian forces and to assist in any manner which will tend to increase efficiency of our joint general campaign against common enemy. It is however first desirable to have certain points more fully explained. Did suggestion to turn over 2 equipped sea-plane stations emanate from the Italians? Do they desire to operate them on account of shortage in their own personnel and material or was it their desire we should utilize their facilities for training for future operations? Is the name of one of the bases Pescara or Pecaro ? From the general outlook how would our effort here fit in with effort elsewhere? Are machines we are building suitable for operation contemplated ? Would land machines be more effective than sea-planes? Our situation is this; if stations are adequately equipped and we were to take over, our trained fighting personnel might be fit to operate by July 1st. If in addition the stations are not equipped and require material and labor from us then materials would be ready for shipment about August first.3 21018.

Benson.           

Retransmit to Cone W.A.E.4

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: This indicates that copies were sent to Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ chief of staff, and the Aviation section of Sims’ Planning Committee. This message was also retransmitted to France.

Footnote 2: The document referred to has not been found.

Footnote 3: In early 1918, Capt. Ludovici de Vascello de Filippi, the head of Italian aviation, proposed-as a part of Italy’s ambitious naval plans for 1918-that the United States operate two or three Italian naval air stations on the Adriatic coast: Porto Casini, Pescara, and San Severo. Although it took some time to work out the details, both Capt. Hutchinson I. Cone, United States Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service, and Lt. Cmdr. John L. Callan, commander, Naval Air Station Île Tudy, enthusiastically supported this proposal. In early May, the Navy Department approved a plan for the United States to take command of the naval air stations at Pescara and Porto Casini; see, Sims to Charles R. Train, 10 May 1918, DNA, RG 45, box 919.

Footnote 4: Lt. Cmdr. Walter A. Edwards, Aid for Aviation on Sims’ staff.

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