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 Lieutenant Commander Charles R. Train, United States Naval Attaché in Rome

February 23rd 1918.

My dear Train,

     Your letter of February 15th, just received.1 I have just written a letter to you quoting a paragraph concerning you from my weekly letter to Admiral Benson.2

     I am very glad indeed to have your account of your conversation with the “principal dignitaries” of the Italian Admiralty on the question of aggressive action in the Adriatic.3 I still believe that the resistance behind the whole thing is more political than otherwise. Perhaps they would be willing to have action taken exclusively by American forces and American troops, but I even doubt this.

     The estimate of the situation to which you refer has been printed, together with the estimate of the general situation, both made out by the Planning Section of my staff.4 These papers have been printed and will go before the meeting of the next inter-Allied Council which will be along the 12th, or 13th March. This whole matter will be examined before that time in conjunction with the British Planning staff so that all can be laid before the Council for their decision.

     I think there is little doubt but that the first of the 110 ft. chasers will be assigned to the Mediterranean. This question will be decided upon by the Council.

     While the result of the visit to Italy was not as satisfactory as it might have been, still I believe it has accomplished a great deal of good.5 I can see from what you say concerning your conversations with various officers, that the proposition to carry out some aggressive action in the Adriatic has gotten under their skin. This may result in some action being taken on their part. Nous allons voir [We shall see]!

     Please give my best love to Madame Train and your two fine kiddies, and believe me,

Very sincerely yours,  

/s/ W.S. Sims     

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 23. At the top of the page is written, “Admiral Sim’s Personal File.” And “1/5/5/J/Q”. Following the close, the letter is addressed, “Commander C. R. Train, U.S.N./Naval Attache,/American Embassy/Rome.”

Footnote 2: Neither the letter to Train nor the report to Benson referred to here have been located.

Footnote 3: These “dignitaries” were Adm. Paolo Thaon di Revel, Chief of the Italian Naval Staff, and officers associated with him.

Footnote 5: Sims was in Rome 7 and 8 February for a meeting of the Allied Naval Conference.