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

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE    

HÔTEL de CRILLON

     PARIS                        Monday, Oct. 28, 1918.

My darling Nani:

              Here we are in Paris again – but how different are the conditions! The enemy’s power of resistance is broken, and we are here practically to help determine the conditions of peace. All around the Place de la Concorde and along both sides of the Champs Elysee are hundreds of captured guns of all calibres surrounded by crowds of men, women and children. It is a great pleasure to see their satisfaction in these evidences of victory – after the strain of four years with the enemy’s guns about within sound, and with some of them actually bombarding the city.

          I arrived here last night at 9.30 after a pleasant trip. Lord Reading, Sir Eric Geddes, Admiral Wemyss were of the party.1 I brought Schofield, Knox, McNamee and Babby2 with me and found Admiral Benson3 and his staff at this hotel. We have all (the Naval Allies) been in conference today and have practically come to an agreement. We will continue tomorrow. The Supreme War Council meets the next day. You can imagine how wonderfully interesting these conferences are. Today we have news that Austria wants a separate peace at once.

          I will be very busy for a time and not able to write much, but here is a bit of news that will interest you, and I will mail this letter at once so that it will catch the first mail.

          I quote from a letter that Admiral Benson wrote me on the way over intending to send it to London.

          “No doubt it will interest you to know that in a recent shake up of Flag Officers my recommendations to the Secretary4 was to have W. L. Rodgers5 relieve Admiral Knight6 without any increase in rank; to advance you to full Admiral and to make Gleaves7 a Vice Admiral and remain on his present duty.

          “The Secretary approved this recommendation to take place when Knight hauls down his flag. This should take place sometime between the 20th of November and the first of October December.”

          Benson did not say that this had been approved by the President,8 and I have not questioned him about it, but I assume that he would not have informed me if it had not been approved. So, this may be accomplished shortly after this letter reaches you. This will make it sure that the C-in-C9 will remain where he is.

          I telephoned Peg this morning and will see her soon, but cannot see her tonight, as Capt. Jackson10 is giving a dinner to all the U. S. and British officers. I must leave for the dinner in a few minutes so will close this and put it in the mail – give it to Jackson to put in the official mail.

          I will write you when I can. I have no idea how long I will be detained here. That will depend upon the Supreme War Council.

          Now that Austria has gone out of the war, it really looks as tho Germany would be forced to make peace on our terms, and it is therefore quite possible that before any long I may be able to come home for at last a nice visit. But do not count on this.

          All my love, my Sweetheart. I am loving you and the precious ones more than ever.

Your devoted

     Will

Excuse this badly written letter. I have my proper pens with me, all right, but French ink is always thick and muddy.

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 10.

Footnote 1: Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the United States Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading, First Lord of the Admiralty Sir Eric Geddes, and First Sea Lord Adm. Sir Rosslyn Wemyss.

Footnote 2: Capt. Frank H. Schofield, Capt. Dudley W. Knox, Capt. Luke McNamee-all members of Sims’ Planning Section-and Cmdr. John V. Babcock, Sims’ personal aide.

Footnote 3: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 4: Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.

Footnote 5: RAdm. William L. Rodgers, Commander, Training and Service Force, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 6: Adm. Austin M. Knight, Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet.

Footnote 7: RAdm. Albert Gleaves, Commander, Cruiser and Transport Force.

Footnote 8: Woodrow Wilson.

Footnote 9: Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 10: Capt. Richard H. Jackson, United States Staff Representative in Paris.

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