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Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


JANUARY                  THURSDAY 24                1918        

. . . Council of National Defense met: Willard had resigned.1 Who should succeed him? Discussed Baruch as successor.2 Baker inclined – I favored – Redfield rather opposed Houston decidedly opposed-3 I urged no man be appointed who was not devoted to success of Wilson administration, Chief trouble too many men in on war business who had no loyalty to Wilson-


Decided to take over wreckage companies to send over to Europe & do our own work in saving navy & merchant ships aground or in trouble-4 . . .

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

Footnote 1: Daniel Willard, chairman of the committee on transportation and communication for the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense.

Footnote 2: Bernard M. Baruch another member of the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense. Because of continuing issues involving economic mobilization of the United States for the war, the Council of National Defense gave way to the War Industries Board and Baruch became its first chairman. The War Industries Board became, according to one historian, the linchpin of “administrative state” that grew up because of the war. See, Cuff, The War Industries Board: passim.

Footnote 3: Secretary of War Newton D. Baker; Secretary of Commerce William C. Redfield; Secretary of Agriculture David F. Houston, all members of the Council of National Defense.

Footnote 4: This determination was probably in response to a cable from VAdm. William S. Sims of 16 January 2018. See: Sims to Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 16 January 1918. Despite what he wrote here, Daniels did not nationalize salvage companies and lack of tugs in the European theater continued to be an issue. Naval Investigation, 82-83. By war’s end there were nineteen tugs from the U.S. in European waters. Still, Crisis at Sea: 166.

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