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Secretaryof the Navy Josephus Daniels to Secretary of Labor William P. Wilson


March 9, 1917

My dear Mr. Secretary:-

     I am in receipt of your letter of February 20, 1917, No.16-425,1 in regard to obligations which are imposed upon naval reservists.

     There are several classes of the Naval Reserve Force, as follows:-

     (1)  The Fleet Naval Reserve: composed of ex-officers and men of the regular Navy. Officers and men of this class will be assigned to duty on ships of the Navy.

     (2)  The Naval Reserve: composed of officers and men of sea-going experience. These are to be assigned to merchant ships used as auxiliaries; but they may be assigned to service of any kind.

     (3)  The Naval Auxiliary Reserve: composed of officers and men who are now serving on ships listed by the Navy Department as desirable auxiliaries. They are to be assigned to their present or similar duties.

     (4)  The Naval Coast Defense Reserve: composed of any citizen who may be of special use to the Navy, in any way, in time of war. Their duties are restricted to those in connection with defense of the coast. They may be assigned to any position in a naval district that is considered necessary by the Commandant thereof.

     A sub-class of the Naval Coast Defense Reserve is intended for industrial service only.

     (5)  The Naval Reserve Flying Corps is composed of citizens qualified in the flying of air craft or in their design, building or operation.

     The only obligation resting upon a reservist is to keep the Commandant informed of his address and to be subject to call in case of war or national emergency. Active service for training is given a reservist only upon his own request. This is required before confirmation is made which carries two months pay per annum.

     Those reservists of the Naval Coast Defense Reserve enrolled for industrial duties only will not be given active service in time of pace; in time of war it is proposed not to call them to active service unless an emergency arises which demands this action. The attached circular explains clearly the proposed administration of this class. I have ordered enrollment for the industrial reservists to be discontinued for the present.2

Sincerely yours,

Source Note: TL, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Special Correspondence, Roll 65. Document on, “NAVY DEPARTMENT,/WASHINGTON,” stationary Addressed before salutation: The Honorable/The Secretary of Labor,/Washington, D.C.,.”

Footnote 1: This letter has not been found.

Footnote 2: The “attached circular” was probably the circular letter of 16 February 1917, from RAdm. Leigh C. Palmer, the head of the Bureau of Navigation, proposing such a policy. DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Special Correspondence, Roll 65.

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