Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

[Extract]

AUGUST                      FRIDAY 2                        1918

Meetings in Baker’s office1 to organize commission to fight venereal disease & segregate women. Congress has appropriated 3 million for this work.2

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Fosdick3 told of trip to France.

What are the three greatest crises? Asked YMCA Secy

Cowardice

Selfishness

Big Itis.

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French called for 2,000 men for special hazardous service – 2,000 Marines volunteered – They were sent to Paris to parade in Fourth of July celebration. They won the day at Chantilly4 ---

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When they saw a woman at Y.M.C.A. “Honest to goodness, there’s a real American woman – Isn’t she good to look at? Helps them more than anything”-

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

Footnote 1: Secretary of War Newton D. Baker.

Footnote 2: The Chamberlain-Kahn Act passed Congress on 9 July 1918. Its stated goal was to combat the spread of venereal disease and to this end created an Interdepartmental Hygiene Board to disperse funds to implement the act. U.S. Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board Report of the United States Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1920 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1920). The most controversial aspect was a provision that women suspected to be prostitutes could be forcibly detained, inspected, and sent to a rehabilitation center if they failed their examination. This provision led to the involuntary detention of an estimated 30,000 women. Mark T. Connelly, Response to Prostitution in the Progressive Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980), 136-51.

Footnote 3: Raymond B. Fosdick was chairman of the Commission on Training Camp Activities and Special Representative of the War Department in France. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3478029. Accessed 23 July 1918.

Footnote 4: Presumably Daniels meant Chateau-Thierry/Belleau Wood where the American Expeditionary Forces’ Second and Third Divisions, including a large contingent of U.S. Marines, helped halt the German advance along the Marne. Stevenson, With Our Backs to the Wall, 87.

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