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Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


1917                        MONDAY 16                     JULY

Cabinet- Grant1 made Vice Admiral. “I was more foxy than you thought” said the President2 “in my letter to S_3 His friends would say later that “Sims is original-If he had been given his way, he would have started along lines of such vigor as to win success” Now he has advised only what the English are doing, &c.

Report that I.W.W.4 was so determined to make trouble by burning the wheat & the President had letters wishing protection from I.W.W.’s. It was not deemed an imminent danger.

W.W. had a letter from Mr. Burnett5 who wanted to deport aliens who did not fight for this country or their own country. Gregory said: Their own countries should be allowed to draft them here. There are many aliens here who ought to serve in the army & who escape military duty6

Complaint of partisan sectionists because many camps have been authorized in the South.

Source Note: D, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diaries, Roll 1. Daniels kept his diary in a daybook so the date is printed along the top.

Footnote 1: Albert W. Grant. With this promotion, Grant became the Commander of Battleship Force 1, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 2: President Woodrow Wilson.

Footnote 3: VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Footnote 4: Industrial Workers of the World, or “Wobblies,” was a socialist organization that opposed the war, and some of its leaders openly called for sabotage against the war effort. The Wilson Administration also feared their efforts to unionize some of the most important war-related occupations, including farm workers and copper miners. In September 1917, a special task force appointed by Wilson secured indictments against 166 I. W. W. leaders. All were later convicted, some on dubious evidence. Cooper, Woodrow Wilson: 399-400, 432.

Footnote 5: Rep. John L. Burnett, D-Alabama. He served as chairman of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization. Daniels, Cabinet Diaries: 178.

Footnote 6: Immigration created major problems for the draft system. States were required to supply a quota of men based on their population size, but in many states a sizable number of immigrants who lacked citizenship papers – and therefore received draft exemptions – created a heavy burden for the U.S.-born populations. One city in New York discovered that, because such a high percentage of its draft-age population was exempted based on immigration, it would have to conscript fully half of its American citizens to meet its quota. Eventually, the U.S. adjusted the way it calculated each state’s quota to rectify this situation. Kennedy, Over Here: 156-157.

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