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Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels


JULY                  THURSDAY 19                          1917

W l Saunders1-lunched-the unsinkable boat. He had a plan which he thinks would let a boat float even if torpedoed. It would reduce cargo carrying space 20-30 per cent

Attended funeral of Bo Sweeney2 – Cremated. He had been with me in oil fight and he & Lane3 were not on good terms. He refused to sign certain papers without written instructions.

Dined with Winterhalter-Mayo, Usher4 and others. W-5 said he was dined by V.P. of China, & champagne flowed. When W entertained him, he said “it is against navy regulations.” The Chinese VP said “that is very interesting to me. I would like to put it in effect in our navy.”

Usher told of Russians in N.Y. Navy Yard.After revolution, enlisted men did not salute officers & they became so lazy Usher said they let their ships get dirty & he had to tell them they must salute while they remained under American control.

Went to see Senator James6 & talked about the Penrose resolution.7 He still following his partisanship

Long conference will Tillman & Swanson8 Will write letter to Tillman about the conference statement of attack of the boats given out by me on July 3rd

Ordered 20 new destroyers

Source Note: D, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diaries, Roll 1. Daniels kept his diary in a daybook so the date is printed along the top.

Footnote 1: William L. Saunders, Chairman, Naval Consulting Board.

Footnote 2: Assistant Secretary of the Interior Bo Sweeney died unexpectedly on 15 July.

Footnote 3: Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane.

Footnote 4: Adm. Albert G. Winterhalter, former Aide for Materiel; Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet; RAdm. Nathaniel R. Usher, Commandant, New York Navy Yard.

Footnote 5: President Woodrow Wilson.

Footnote 6: Senator Ollie M. James, D-Kentucky.

Footnote 7: Senator Boies Penrose, R-Pennsylvania, was a member of the Naval Affairs Committee. He was calling for an investigation into the Committee of Public Information, the U.S. government’s wartime propaganda organization, alleging that the CPI exaggerated a story of a German attack on an American troopship convoy. Daniels, Cabinet Diaries: 179.

Footnote 8: Senator Claude A. Swanson, D-Virginia, who was also a member of the Naval Affairs Committee.