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Secretary of Navy Josephus Daniels to Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight, Commander, United States Asiatic Fleet


January 21,1918.

Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic.

14019. Department approves patrol Yangete [i.e., Yangtze] River in accordance with mutual agreement to be reached between representatives of interested nations, namely United Sates, Great Britian, Frnace and Japan.1

Acknowledge and keep Department promptly and fully informed.2 16021.


Sgd. Josephus Daniels.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: According to historian William R. Braisted, this statement represented an important policy decision. RAdm. Knight had suggested that the river patrol be established by an agreement between Great Britain and the United States without involving “the other powers which might later prove embarrassing.” In particular, this was aimed at restricting Japan’s presence in the Yangtze region. Braisted, The United States Navy in the Pacific, 1909-1922: 318. However, as seen here, Daniels decided that the patrol should include all interested powers.

Footnote 2: The next day VAdm. William S. Sims reported that the British Admiralty had received word from its commander-in-chief in China that a British gunboat patrolling the Yangtze (Chang Jiang) had been fired upon and that an American gunboat, U.S.S. Monocacy, had come under “heavy fire” near “Kienli” [i.e., Jianli] apparently from “Southern troops.” Monocacy returned fire and reportedly killed thirty-three men. Sims to William S. Benson, 22 January 1918, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

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