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Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Secretary of War Newton D. Baker


June 7, 1917.

From:     Secretary of the Navy.

To:       Secretary of War.      

SUBJECT:      Policy with regard to handling of supply ships,

etc., chartered or owned by the War Department.

     1.   With a view to facilitating cooperation between this Department and the War Department in the matter of supplying any troops which may be sent abroad, I have the honor to suggest that, in handling the supply ships owned or chartered by the War Department, the same policy be followed respecting escort as is now adopted by the Navy in the case of its own supply ships, colliers, etc. It is understood that supply ships here referred to merely carry stores, equipment, etc., for the Army, and do not carry troops.

2.   The policy suggested is

(a) That all Army supply ships be armed with at least two guns and have Navy gun crews on board;

(b) That the destination and time of sailing be fixed by the War Department and communicated to the Navy Department;

(c) That supply ships join any convoy that may be proceeding under Naval escort, provided the speed of the supply ship is as great as that of the convoy;

(d) That, if impracticable to furnish Naval escort, a point of rendezvous be obtained from the French Naval Attaché in Washington1 with a view to having the French Government furnish protection from the point of rendezvous to port.

3.   I shall be glad to be informed of your opinion in regard to this matter.2

Josephus Daniels.

Source Note: DTS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Cmdr. Bernard A. de Blanpré.

Footnote 2: Baker agreed to Daniels’ proposal on 10 June 1917. See, Baker to Daniels, 10 June 1917, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. For a fuller description of the matters Daniels addresses in this document, see: Sims to Daniels, 8 June 1917.

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