Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Secretary of War Newton D. Baker
DEC 22 1917
From: The Secretary of the Navy,
To: The Secretary of War.
SUBJECT: Re a general policy in regard to the Arming of
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of December 14, transmitting with request for an expression of the views of this Department, papers with endorsement thereon and enclosure thereto, relative to a special board to consider questions arising, and to institute a general policy in regard to the arming of transports.
I beg to invite attention to the fact that the papers originating this correspondence are under date of May 29, 1917, and since that date the Navy Department has under taken the furnishing of armament to all transports traversing the War Zone, whether troop, animal, or cargo transports, and by mutual agreement the Navy is now taking over the operation of many of these vessels as Naval Auxiliaries for Army purposes.
In view of the above it does not appear necessary for a special board to consider these questions, nor to institute a policy in regard to their arming.
If these papers refer exclusively to Army Transports not traversing the War Zone, in view of the fact that the Navy’s present limited supply of guns makes it impracticable to furnish guns to vessels not traversing this area, it would appear that the arming of these vessels is a matter of policy entirely within the purview of the War Department.
Should, however, it be your desire to have the Navy Department represented on a board to consider the Arming of this class of transports,this Department will be pleased to designate an Officer for this purpose.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identification number in the upper left-hand corner: “Op-24-A/8745-209.” The signature is a stamp. Note below signature: “Enclosures returned herewith.”