Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Herbert O. Dunn, Commander, Azores Detachment

February 14th, 1918.

My dear Dunn,

     Your letter of February 3rd,1 reached me here today upon my return from a ten day visit to Italy.

     From all the correspondence that has come in from Base 13,2 I think I understand pretty well what a rather ticklish situation it is. The Portuguese are extremely touchy about their nationality and are always in fear that somebody will step on their toes.3 I am glad to see that you are making the famous camouflage on them and keeping them in good humor.

     As for the landing of the guns, I think what you have done in the way of making an arrangement to instruct them as to their efficient use will answer for the present. I think however, that I had better take this matter up through our Government and the Portuguese Government and get a distinct understanding that those guns are only to be handled by our own forces. If this is not done, it might cause complications in the future. It might be a bit disastrous some day if the Portuguese national pride should cause them to insist upon using the guns upon some occasion when they should be used effectively.

     I can quite appreciate what you say about a repair ship and I will do the best I can to get one sent there. When the PROMETHEUS arrives at Brest I will take up the matter of seeing if I cannot send you a repair ship from the coast. The PROMETHEUS is two or three times as efficient as the PANTHER. we now have at Brest, though the latter has been doing perfectly splendid service. I should think that the PANTHER might do the business for you at least in so far as our own vessels are concerned. There will be a procession of small boats passing through the Azores in the immediate future; there are a raft of 110 footers that must go that way.4

     I am very much afraid that the two French 110 footers have been lost. It is a tough job bringing these small vessels across the ocean in winter weather.

     I hope that you will find that you can get the new Governor in hand as well as you have the old one.

     You are a long way from headquarters but I would have you understand that we keep you in mind and will do the very best we can for you. Let us know in what way we can be helpful. We may not always succeed, but we will do the best we can.

Very sincerely yours,        

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 23. Addressed below close: “Rear Admiral Herbert O. Dunn, U.S.N/Commanding Azores Detachment,/Ponta Delgada, Azores.” Document is from: “Admiral Sims Personal File.” Document identifier in columnar fashion: “1/5/J.”

Footnote 2: That is, the American naval base on Ponta Delgada, Azores Islands.

Footnote 3: For an in-depth discussion of Portuguese attitudes, see: Robert Lansing to Walter Hines Page, 13 February 1918.

Footnote 4: Sims is referring to American submarine chasers.

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