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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Hutchison I. Cone, Commander, United States Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service


January 25th, 1918.

My dear Cone,

     Your personal letter of January 22nd, just received.1 I am sorry to see that things are not going as well as could be desired in the army aviation business. I hope that after things boil awhile they will all come to their senses and get down to business. In the meantime you are to [i.e., of] course perfectly wise to keep out of the row.

     As for the letter you are writing to Irwin,2 quoting a letter from the other side, I do not think there is much in that. It bears the ear marks of the ordinary growl. However, it is perfectly good business to keep Irwin informed of the criticism that comes from the other side.

     In reference to rows and such as you describe between Bolling and the new General in command, and unless these rows develop serious proportions and it is apparent that they are not going to be settled, I think it would be well to exercise caution as to whom you inform of the circumstances outside of this office. Naturally, this must be a question for you to decide as you know from being on the spot what the conditions. are. I would suggest that in all cases where you send me condidential [i.e., confidential] letters that you put them in small envelopes and address them on the outside with a pen. The reason of this is that as there are hundreds of envelopes reach here every day it not infrequently happens that the fellow who splits them open performs this service indifferently whether they are marked condidential or not – but he does not open the small ones.

     We have just recently finished the sitting of the Allied Naval Council,3 and one of the decisions was that a Committee be formed of officers detailed by each one of the representatives to visit Italy and look into the situation there. As I have no available officer of suitable rank for this and as there has been continual pressure to have one of our officers go to Italy, I will probably go down myself.

     I do not know whether I will stop over in Paris any particular length of time while that way but I shall try to do so for a short time at least. This expedition will not start for ten days or two weeks, so please let me know if you will probably be in Paris along about that time.

Very sincerely yours,

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 23. A filing note in the upper-left corner reads: “Admiral Sims/Personal File.” with an identification number to the right: “1/3/G/J/S” in a ladder. Address below close: “Commander Hutch ' Cone,U.S.N.,/U. S. Naval Aviation Forces./4 Place d’Iena,/Paris.”

Footnote 1: See: Cone to Sims, 22 January 1918. Cone lamented the strained state of Army aviation in France after Gen. Benjamin Foulois took command from Col. Raynal C. Bolling. “There are,” he warned Sims, “dozens, I might say hundreds, of U.S.Reserve Officers from all walks of life, high and low, who are voicing their discontent at conditions, and who are making no secret of their discontent, in fact are talking freely all around Paris.”

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Noble E. Irwin.

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