Cunningham had long been the commander of the RN in the Mediteraian. Technically the Allied ships off the African coast in the Western Med were under his command. But his ability to influence events there from his HQ in Alexandria was low. Plus the Italian navy and the Axis airforces in Sicilly lay between Alexandria and Algeria. Eisenhower was dependant on a local naval commander for the actual conduct of naval operations in the western waters. Henry Arnold (Hap) was the US commander of the USAAF there & Ikes Deputy for air.