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Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


JUNE                WEDNESDAY 27                1917

Council of National Defense – Selected three on Board of War Industries Daniels dissenting1

Would we send dreadnaughts to Norway?2 GB [i.e., Great Britain] is very careful of her ships said WW3

Funeral for Capt Chase4

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

Footnote 1: Just two days earlier, the Council of National Defense met to discuss the creation of a Munition Board as conceived by Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, but the meeting went poorly when the attendees realized the names Baker had in mind to fill the Board would be overwhelmingly Republican. Out of this failed idea, Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo and Bernard M. Baruch, a member of the Council of National Defense, managed to get traction for their proposed War Industries Board. Baruch would go on to chair this body. See: Diary of Josephus Daniels, 25 June 1917. Cuff, The War Industries Board, 101-4.

Footnote 2: Norway declared neutrality at the outset of the war and maintained it until the armistice, but that did not prevent both sides from acting in Norwegian territorial waters. German mines and U-boats sank Norwegian ships, while Britain’s blockade of the North Sea stifled its trade and created frustrations. In an effort to force the German High Seas Fleet to do battle, Britain decided to send its battleships to protect convoys traveling to and from Norway, but not until early 1918. Halpern, A Naval History of World War I: 28; Still, Crisis at Sea: 418.

Footnote 3: President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson had been critical of the Royal Navy since the United States entered the war. He believed the British naval leaders were being too cautious and avoiding going on the offensive against Germany because they feared risking the Grand Fleet. Still, Crisis at Sea: 408-9.

Footnote 4: Capt. Volney O. Chase, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, died very unexpectedly of a heart attack on 24 June 1917. See: Emmet to Sims, 25 June 1917; and Diary of Josephus Daniels, 25 June 1917.