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Secretary of War Newton D. Baker to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels




January 30, 1918.  

Dear Mr. Secretary:

                    In view of the urgent necessity of increasing at once the shipment of supplies to France, the War Department has, after consultation with Admiral Benson,1 decided that the sailing of cargo boats available for Army use shall not be delayed for the purpose of installing the usual armament,2 provided such boats are to be convoyed, and that, in the judgment of the Commander of the Port of Embarkation, the speed of such boats is, at best, equal to that of other Army ships comprising the convoy, and, that at the time of its departure are armed. The installation of the necessary armament, however, is to be expedited in every manner consistent with the prosecution of the work during the periods that such ships are in home ports.

                    The Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Force,3 in France, has been informed of this plan, and has been instructed to take similar protective measures in designating convoys for home voyages.

                    Accordingly, I have issued the requisite instructions to the Director of Storage and Traffic and I request the co-operation of your Department in making this policy effective.

Very sincerely yours,

Newton D. Baker.

Secretary of War.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Addressed below close: “The Secretary of the Navy,/Washington, D. C./Navy Dept. #8745-228.”

Footnote 1: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 3: Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander, American Expeditionary Forces.

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