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Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


1917                 Friday 12               October



. . . Conference with builders of pumps, auxiliaries of destroyers -  All wished advances and some wished too much profit


Cabinet—Baker1 told of fact that most men drafted preferred infantry, small guns & artillery & few quartermaster duty & thus showed they wished to fight as much as the men who volunteered. The conscientious objectors are segregated, no harm done them, & one by one they come out and say they are ready to serve. Heads of churches opposed to fighting are writing urging that these men be put to work and not remain idle. More democratic feeling in the army


. . . . Lansing2 England should put her Australian ships into carrying wheat to her & France.


Benson to go to France with House & Bliss3

Source Note: D, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diaries, Roll 1.

Footnote 1: Secretary of War Newton D. Baker.

Footnote 2: Secretary of State Robert S. Lansing. At the end of September, the British War Cabinet had sent an “urgent appeal” to President Woodrow Wilson asking that the United States provide more allied shipping to the Allied cause. There was also discontent in Britain brought on by reports that the Americans were diverting their merchant ships to open up new trade in South America. Keith Neilson, “Reinforcements and Supplies from Overseas: British Strategic Sealift in the First World War,” in The Merchant Marine in International Affairs 1850-1950, Greg Kennedy, ed. (London: Frank Cass, 2000), 42.

Footnote 3: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations; Edward M. House, a close advisor of Woodrow Wilson; Maj Gen. Tasker H. Bliss, Army Chief of Staff. The so-called House Mission, which was to represent the United States in a general conference of the Allied nations, left Washington on 28 October and arrived in England on 7 November. Klachko and Trask, Benson, 86-88.