Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

PERSONAL               AZORES DETACHMENT

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

14 July 1918

My dear Sims:

     Your good letter of May 7th was received in due course.1 I was much pleased with the fine polish you put on my fitness report. It is very gratifying to feel that ones work is satisfactory and appreciated -- not that I claim that I have done anything more than my duty. One of the great secrets of your success is that you always give the other fellow credit, and incidentally, thereby spurring him up to fresh endeavor. It is good doctrine and always works.

     Your letter of June 18th just received via Paducah.2

     I am glad that you had a good talk with Dresel.3 Concerning the submarines, I don’t want to have the mistaken idea that I do not appreciate their value. My plaint is that the present submarines which I have here were pretty well shop-worn when they arrived and of course owing to constant duty have necessarily deteriorated since. I had an idea that it would be very difficult to get new boats to replace them so I considered that the modern chasers with depth charges could take their places and be very useful at this base. As a matter of fact, I would be very much pleased to have both the submarines and the chasers. About six chasers for patrol duty around the Islands would be of tremendous value to me. Of course you know that I am a trifle handicapped with my present force, the Tonopah having lost a propeller, the Marietta with a cracked shaft, the Montauk with a bent propeller and the Galatea and Margaret unable to leave the harbor. Apart from these small difficulties I am pretty well off, or at least will be when you send me the new aeroplanes that can fly and send back information. The two articles which I have and which I consider sound are the seven inch guns, which are always ready for business.

     Political matters on shore are progressing favorable. The High Commissioner has dethroned the Civil Eng Governor, Teixeira, and appointed Dr. Joao Correa da Silva in his place, all of which is in the interests of the allies.4

     We made the Eagle screech on the 4th of July and gave a garden party in the evening which came up to all of the traditions of the service -- incidentally I had to dip into my contingent appropriation about $300. worth on this fiscal year’s allowance.

     I am enclosing a translation from the local newspaper which will give you an idea of our activities on the glorious fourth. The papers published a picture of President Wilson5 and myself with several articles written by the leading officials, one by the High Commissioner which enclosed.6 These translations from the Portuguese are more or less literan and they read like the Opera Hernani.

     I expect Mr. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy,7 to arrive here in a few days, when I shall be very glad to show him the place and explain to him our activities. I presume he is on his way to Europe.

     From all that I can gather from the air, ships at homemust be crowding themselves off the ways. Please remember when the favors are dealt out, that I could use a few surface crafts at this base to a good advantage. I am reminding you of this so that I may have a look in when the cards are dealt.

     In regard to the war, I have very strong opinions concerning the final outcome, a fight to a finish. My slogan is “No pussyfoot peace, St.Helena for the Kaiser and hoist the flag in Berlin.” In other words, Germany must be given a knockout blow, otherwise, this job will all have to be done over again by our children.

     I hope our people at home will resolutely close their ears to any peace talk until the German is so thoroughly licked that there can be no question in anyone’s mind. We have got all the necessary men and money to do the trick thoroughly and in my opinion the only answer is a fight to a finish.

     Trusting you are in your usual cheerful frame of mine, [i.e., mind] and tackling the job with your customary energy, I remain as ever, yours,

Very sincerely,         

O. Dunn.           

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 24. A header notes that this document is part of “Admiral Sim’s Personal File” and the identification number “1/5/J” appears in the upper-right corner.

Footnote 1: See: Sims to Dunn, 7 May 1918.

Footnote 2: See: Sims to Dunn, 18 June 1918.

Footnote 3: Lt. Alger H. Dresel. For Sims’ conversation with Dresel, see: Ibid.

Footnote 4: Dunn enjoyed a good working relationship with Portuguese officials on the Azores and was well-liked by the islands’ population. This despite a somewhat strained relationship between the U.S. and Portugal, with the latter suffering from government instability and internal tensions. See, Still, Crisis at Sea: 134-139; Tucker, Encyclopedia of World War I: Portugal.

Footnote 5: President Woodrow Wilson.

Footnote 6: This enclosure was not included with this copy.

Footnote 7: Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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