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Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack, Commander, Patrol Forces Based at Gibraltar, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters



Patrol Squadron Based on Gibralter.

U. S. S. BUFFALO          Flagship.

Reference No. . . . . .                      3 September 1918

Dear Billy:

     My Blake,1 our Consul General at Tangier, went north on the BIRMINGHAM and I have asked him to see you in London. I hope you will give him a chance to explain the Morocco situation. Fortunately General Layuty2 is a resourceful man with great initiative, and he has been able to sit on the “lid” in Morocco in spite of German intrigue, and the restlessness of the natives. The French are handling the Morocco situation with great cleverness. <and ability>3

     I am putting in an application for leave of absence to begin the latter part of September

     The BUFFALO has been the best thing that has happened to us yet, and she has taken the pressure off the DOCKYARD here so that there is no necessity for sending any more ships to Lisbon or Algiers. Captain Tozer4 has orders which attach the DYER and GREGORY to his ship as Destroyer Tender and we are hoping soon to get more destroyers, because the DYER and GREGORY are pushed too hard just now, and are unable to do all the work required.

     I have no idea how long Admiral Mayo and his Staff are going to remain over here or whether or not he contemplates visiting Gibraltar.5

     About the middle of October, or a little earlier, I would like to come up to England by Ocean Escort and have orders to Headquarters, London to talk over affairs in general. Hope it is possible for me to visit Inverness (Invergordon)6 and possibly the Grand Fleet for a few days, returning by Ocean Escort. It would be my intention to bring one of my staff with me. However, it is difficult to foresee any emergencies now days, and it may not be practicable to do so at that time.

     Vice-Admiral Calthorpe, British Commander-in-Chief, in the Mediterranean7 was here from August 25th to 28th August. He was perfectly delighted with the situation here so far as cooperation was concerned, because he seems to have his troubles in Malta. He made a surprised visit to the DYER about 9 a.m. on the 28th, she had arrived at 6 a.m. from Marseilles but was in beautiful condition and he was delighted with her. He was also very much interested in the BUFFALO. He is a charming man and his visit here will result in lots of good. I find that in the end they pay great attention to the suggestions made by any of the commanding officers of our Escort Ships, or to any representations made by me, which only makes me all the more careful not to try to change things without study and consideration. So many suggestions come through that one has to be rather conservative. We are expecting the Brazilian Squadron here in a few days and how to utilize them so as to do the most good will be the first big problem. They will not be given all the confidential publications for obvious reasons, and they will have to show what they can do before they will be given independent duty of any kind. I understand the Brazilians very well for I have been Naval Attache in their country and shall play up to them as required.

     Vice-Ad miral Calthorpe inspected all my shore plant and was very much astonished at the amount of our stores on hand, and the extent of our holdings here. What he expressed himself most feelingly on, was our absolute cooperation, hinting that he had troubles of his own at Malta. To my mind he is satisfied that we do not have any Liaison Officer at Malta and feels that the present arrangement is best.8 He had with him on his flagship a French Liaison Officer and he intimated that he was having a good deal of trouble with the Italians.

     I am giving a letter of introduction to you to Mr. F. B. Glover, R.M.S(Representative Ministry of Shipping)9 here. He is really a very able man and is doing fine work here. He is coming up to England on leave and is going to ask you to let him come back on the BIRMINGHAM or CHESTER are not leaving about the time he is ready to return.

     I understand that the EDGAR10 is coming to do Ocean Escort duty and Admiral Grant|11| is proposing that the SACRAMENTO be taken off and used in the Mediterranean. That has been my idea all along as she can only make twelve knots.

                                        Very sincerely yours,

                                                  A.P. Niblack.

Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Container 24. Running header Admiral Sims/Personal File” appears on both pages of document. Document identifier: “1/5/C/H/J” appears in upper right corner of both pages of the document. Document identifier “WHW-18” appears in upper right corner of first page of document.

Footnote 1: Maxwell Blake, Consul General in Morocco.

Footnote 2: Gen. Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey, Resident General of French Morocco.

Footnote 3: For additional context, see: Sims to Niblack, 29 July 1918.

Footnote 4: Capt. Charles Maxson Tozer, Commander, U.S.S. BUFFALO.

Footnote 5: RAdm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander, Atlantic Fleet. Exact dates for R.Adm. Mayo’s visit to Gibraltar have not been found.

Footnote 6: Invergordon (Inverness) was headquarters of the North Sea Mine Barrage.

Footnote 7: VAdm. Sir Somerset A. Gough-Calthorpe, R.N., Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.

Footnote 8: Sims wanted to send a liaison officer to Malta. See: Sims to Niblack, 15 July 1918.

Footnote 9: No further information found.

Footnote 10: H.M.S. EDGAR was a first class cruiser of the Royal Navy.

Footnote 11: VAdm. Sir William Lowther Grant, Commander-in-Chief, North American and West Indies Station.