Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

JULY               TUESDAY 3               1917

Gordon Smith, newspaper correspondent from Servia,1 and Englishman, came with letter of introduction he said you saw Khaki everywhere in England, 1½ million soldiers on the Island with Haig2 calling for more, England was suffering from the fictitious fear of an invasion & leaving the most important front undefended. He maintained that Salonica was the important front and that England could have saved Servia if it had conceived the importance of helping & cutting off Germany from Turkey.3 Instead of recognizing its importance, England told Servia not to attack Sofia, & that she desired & was crushed by Bulgarians & Germans. Now he wishes America to mobilize all the Servs, send them Canada for training & that will save allies. Turkey would have to quit if the railroad was cut & Germany would starve.

Pres W.W. sent telegram to be sent to Sims.4 He wanted offensive in submarine warfare & merchant ships to be convoyed. I wrote that England had decided to convoy.

Worth5 went to Hospital for operation

News came that last ship convoying troops to France had arrived after heavy attack by submarines. One submarine sunk & probably others

Spent evening with Worth

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

Footnote 1: Gordon Gordon-Smith served as a war correspondent based in Serbia during the war, and remained there after the conflict. In 1920, he published From Serbia to Jugoslavia: Serbia’s Victories, Reverses and Final Triumph, 1914-1918 (New York and London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1920).

Footnote 2: Maj. Gen. Sir Alexander Haig, Commander, British Expeditionary Forces.

Footnote 3: Salonica, also known as Thessaloniki, is a city in Greece. In 1916, the Allies launched an offensive front from there, ignoring Greece’s attempt at neutrality. The hope was to provide support in relief Serbia, then on the brink of surrender, and also entice Greece into the war on the Allied side. The offensive ended in stalemate, and was consistently undermanned throughout the remainder of the war. Strachan, First World War: 159-160, 178, and 243.

Footnote 4: President Woodrow Wilson and VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces in Europe. For the telegram that Daniels mentions herein, see: Wilson to Sims, 4 July 1917.

Footnote 5: Daniels’ son Worth Bagley Daniels. It is not known what the operation was for, but it cannot have been serious as Worth Daniels left on a trip to Alaska on 18 July. Diary of Josephus Daniels, 17 and 18 July 1917, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diaries, Roll 1.

Tags
Related Content