Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

JANUARY                  MONDAY 28                    1918

Ellis Island. Conference with Secy Wilson over letting Navy have it.1 War Dept. desires. We must man 50 ships and there is no other place for us.

Col. House called.2 In all this talk and criticism, he said, the good condition of the Navy had saved the day. Nobody was so happy as W W3

He said everybody abroad praised the alertness of the men of the Navy. Benson4 was easily the first man of the military men in the Council—towered over Jellico5 & told them what to do, & put them to doing it

Council of National Defense. Coal & food both short & shortage of both chiefly due to lack of cars & transportation Goods for abroad all rushed to NY Should go from Southern ports.

Need a Director of Shipping.

Baker heard before Senate committee.6

Source Note: D, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diaries, Roll 1.

Footnote 1: Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson. There is no evidence that the Navy took over Ellis Island.

Footnote 2: Col. Edward House, an advisor to President Woodrow Wilson. He had led a mission to Europe in November, 1917, to consult with the Allies on behalf of Wilson. See: Dairy of Edward House, 21 November 1917; and William S. Sims to Anne H. Sims, 15 November 1917.

Footnote 3: President Woodrow Wilson.

Footnote 4: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, had been part of House’s mission.

Footnote 5: Adm. Sir. John R. Jellicoe, R.N., former First Sea Lord.

Footnote 6: Secretary of War Newton D. Baker. Baker was testifying before the Senate Committee on Military affairs to allay fears that the United States would not be able to successfully field an independent army in Europe and that American troops would be amalgamated into Allied armies. Wilton B. Fowler, British-American Relations 1917-1918: The Role of Sir William Wiseman, Supplementary Volume to The Papers of Woodrow Wilson (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015), 128.

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