Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

 

[Extract]

June 26th, 1918.   

My dear Admiral:

          In obedience to your special directions I went up to Chaumont Monday and had a very satisfactory interview with General Pershing1 on the subject of co-operation between our Air Service and theirs. I informed General Pershing that I had had special orders from you to seek an interview with him at the earliest possible date and to inform him that you were very anxious that he know that you proposed to insist on co-operation and that if you could not obtain it with the personnel now on the job that you would get others that would, and that you hoped that there would be no misunderstanding with reference to your inability to accede to his request in its entirety concerning the turning over of our bombing efforts to the one command along the front.2

          I explained to him the matter of our bombing operations, that they were directed against naval objects and that they were incorporated under the Dover Patrol and under the direction of the English Vice Admiral at Dover,3 constituting a part of his naval weapons for use in his offensive campaign against the submarines in the Belgian ports. He seems to understand all of this and expressed with the greatest warmth his thorough knowledge and appreciation of your constant co-operation with him on every occasion.

          He touched on the question of the amalgamation of the two Services and I explained to him that I did not think the time was ripe for such amalgamation, with which point of view he expressed thorough agreement, but I could see that the idea was fixed in his mind to support amalgamating the two services as he said in parting that he hoped by next winter we would be far enough along and both sides running well enough to propose getting together. He stated quite frankly that he had not been in possession of all the facts when he had written you about our lack of co-operation and had he been, he would not have signed the letter.4 Since that time he has become acquainted with these facts and I am sure, in fact he practically said as much, that he was sorry he had impugned the lack of wanting to co-operate to me. Personally, I consider the interview most satisfactory.

          As bearing on this subject, I had a meeting with General Patrick5 in Paris on Sunday and his mental attitude, as far as I could judge, seemed changed entirely from what I gathered was the case when he left your office in London, and he seemed to fully understand our reasons for not wanting to turn over our business to the Army commander. I informed him that I had an engagement with General Pershing, who by the way he has not seen yet, and he sent <by> me very friendly messages along the lines of my interview with General Pershing. There is no doubt whatever that we are going to co-operate and hit it off all along the line without any difficulty.

          I am off tomorrow morning for the British Headquarters where General Harts, our Army’s Liaison Officer, is going to take me to see the British General Officer commanding in the Field with the R.A.F. in order that I may explain to him in detail our undertakings up there. It seems that there has been a lack of Staff work or something on the part of the R.A.F. in London, for they have not informed their people in the Field of any of our proposed activities in that locality and I thought the best way to accomplish this was to go up there and see them personally and go over the whole matter with the head man. I am writing Edwards today on this subject. I have been more busy than ordinary racing around the country since I came back from London and have in addition to my trip to British G.H.Q. [i.e., General Head Quarters] another trip ahead of me down to Bordeaux the first part of next week.

. . . . With best wishes, I am,

     Sincerely,

                    H.I.Cone

Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Addressed below close: “Vice-Admiral W. S. Sims,/U. S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters,/30, Grosvenor Gardens,/London, S.W.I.” Identification number “8419” is stamped in the upper left corner.

Footnote 1: Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander, American Expeditionary Forces.

Footnote 2: For more on this, see: Sims to Pershing, 7 June 1918.

Footnote 3: VAdm. Sir Roger J. B. Keyes, R.N.

Footnote 5: Brig. Gen. Mason M. Patrick, Chief of the Air Service, American Expeditionary Force.

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