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Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


APRIL                        Monday 30                    1917

     Admiral Gleaves complained that destroyers were taken from him & given to Sims. Then Mayo plead for him & wished him made a Rear Vice Admiral. Never.1

     Council of National Defense. Houstons resolution to give President power to fix prices and make prohibition.2 . . . Denman3 wished U.S. to build ships instead of England so after the war we would have them. Opposed Schwab’s plan of building for England.4

     12.40: Went to see President. Talked about sending our ships to England & France & decided to send 36 & try to secure other small craft-5 Must act now- He did not like Com: named by L & W — all of them had fought shipping bill.6 . . .

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

Footnote 1: RAdm. Albert Gleaves, Commander, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. Gleaves was promoted to Admiral in 1919 while Daniels was still Secretary of the Navy. Mayo was Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 2: The Council of National Defense was an advisory group formed to coordinate transportation, industrial and farm production, financial support for the war, and public morale. It included the Secretaries of War, Navy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Labor as ex-officio members. David F. Houston was the Secretary of Agriculture.

Footnote 3: William Denman, Chairman, United States Shipping Board.

Footnote 4: Charles M. Schwab, chairman of the board of Bethlehem Steel Corporation. According to Daniel’s diary entry dated 27 April, Schwab had told the Council that British First Lord of the Admiralty Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe had cabled him and requested that Bethlehem Steel’s shipbuilding subsidiary construct “100 steel ships at $1 million each” or offered to advance the company $25 million “to construct new plant” to build ships for the British. In the end, Schwab accepted the second offer. However, RAdm. Dudley R. S. De Chair’s cable to Jellicoe of 29 April makes it clear that it was Schwab who came up with and promoted the plan that the British build the plant for Bethlehem Steel. If given the plant, Schwab promised to deliver the “first batch” of ships in sixteen months and the remainder one year later. UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/656.

Footnote 5: Daniels added “small” as an interlineation above the line.

Footnote 6: That is, the committee on transportation and communication headed by Daniel Willard (“W”), one of the committees of the Advisory Council of National Defense, which was formed at the instigation of Franklin W. Lane (“L”), the Secretary of the Interior. In his diary entry of 25 April, Daniels wrote that this committee was in conflict with the Shipping Board.