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 Anne Hitchcock Sims

 

[Extract]

The Carleton, London, November 1, 1917

My darling sweetheart:

     . . . . Before this reaches you, you will doubtless know that the Huntingdon (Robison’s1 ship) and St. Louis are coming over here with delegates to a conference of the Allies to be held in London or Paris about the middle of the month. Benson2 is one of the delegates, and I am very glad of it. It is a pity he did not come months ago.3

. . . . Some officers who have just arrived say the C-in-C4 and his staff say they think the war will be over in three six months. I don’t know how he acquired the opinion.

I am interested in what Julia says about the C-in-C being peeved over Belknap’s5 being ordered to operations while he was away. One of his complaints is that he is not even consulted about such orders. I assume that his objection was to B. being taken away from the fleet, and not as to where he was ordered. Many consider this a curious assignment as this makes three so-called pro-Huns in operations – or rather anti-British – Benson, Schofield and B. . . .6

 

Your devoted

Will.

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 9.

Footnote 1: Capt. Samuel S. Robison, Commander, Atlantic Submarine Force.

Footnote 2: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 3: On 28 October the House Mission – led by Presidential adviser Col. Edward M. House – departed Washington for a major conference with Allied leaders. In addition to Benson, the mission included representatives from the U.S. Treasury, War Trade Board, Shipping Board, Food Administration, War Industries Board, and Army chief of staff Gen. Tasker H. Bliss.  The mission lasted longer than intended due to a series of Allied setbacks, but on 7 December Benson and the rest set out on a return voyage to the United States. Despite tensions created by competing war aims, the mission succeeded in strengthening Allied cooperation and coordinating the war effort. Klachko and Trask, Benson: 86-103.

Footnote 4: VAdm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 5: Lt. Cmdr. Charles Belknap, Jr.

Footnote 6: Frank H. Schofield, Staff, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.