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Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Newspaper Editors



Washington, D.C.        

March 25,1917.     

     The President has signed an executive order directing that the authorized enlisted strength of the navy be increased to eighty seven thousand.1 He was authorized by congress in case of emergency to direct such increase in enlistment.2 New ships and ships in reserve are being fully commissioned as rapidly as possible and the need is imperative for a larger enlistment to man them. There has been a net increase of over sixty five hundred in enlistment since congress recently authorized an increase, but many more are needed and needed now.

     Will you not emphasize this need by giving special prominence on the first page of your paper to the President’s order and also by making an editor[i]al appeal for new recruits for the navy.

     The navy offers exceptional advantages to young men of stuff and ambition to serve in the first line for national defenses. In this emergency you have the opportunity and the privilege of performing this public service, and I am confidently appealing to you for your cordial and helpful cooperation.3

Josephus Daniels.       

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, reel 95.

Footnote 1: President Woodrow Wilson issued Executive Order 2559 on 24 March increasing the authorized strength of the U.S. Navy., accessed 31 January 2019.

Footnote 2: Congress granted Wilson this authority on 29 August 1916. Ibid.

Footnote 3: In his diary entry for this date, Daniels wrote that, upon receiving word that Wilson had signed this executive order, he “decided to send [a] telegram to every editor in America asking him to emphasize the need of this number of men” and that he told Adm. Leigh C. Palmer, head of the Bureau of Navigation (which handled personnel matters for the Navy), to “telegrap[h] every recruiting station to increase their force and engage doctors to examine applicants so there would be no delay.” DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diary, reel 1.

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