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Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to All Commandants and All Branch Offices, Office of Naval Intelligence




August 14, 1918.

From:          The Secretary of the Navy.

To:            All Commandants (Aids for Information)

              and all Branch Offices.

Subject:       Activities connected with Labor troubles.

     1.   It has recently come to the attention of the Office of Naval Intelligence that there have been isolated cases of ill-advised zeal in dealing with certain labor leaders and with labor problems, such as subjecting agitators and representatives of Unions to severe cross-examination and to intimidation.

     2.   Your attention is, therefore, again directed to the fact that the function of the Office of Naval Intelligence is primarily that of investigation of purely Naval interests. In accordance with previous instructions, you must investigate and report promptly upon labor troubles affecting work for the Navy, particularly those inspired by enemy influence. You are under no circumstances to deal with labor leaders, or other representatives of employees in plants engaged on work for the Navy Department. You are not charged with any duty outside the Naval interests. It is expected that all Departments of the Government will act in harmony and assist one another. But the initiative by the Navy must be confined to matters concerning the Navy.

     3.   The Navy Department is particularly anxious to insure continuance of production of what is needed for the Navy. At the same time, it is not our problem to determine the justice or injustice of any demands or of controversies or differences between employees and employers, and you must be very careful not to do anything which might be so construed. Regardless of what the facts in the case may be, you must not under any circumstances appear as espousing the cause of either the employee or employer.

     4.   Acting upon the information which you supply to this Office, the authorized Departments or Officers of the Government in charge of Labor problems will take such action as the circumstances warrant; and it is, therefore, imperative that the reports be rendered with the utmost promptness.

Josephus Daniels

Source Note: DTS, DNA, RG 38, Entry 86.

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