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Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Memorandum to Naval Departments

July 11, 1917.

To:       Bureau of Navigation

                               Construction and Repair

                               Steam Engineering


                               Supplies and Accounts

                               Medicine and Surgery

                               Yards & Docks

            Commandant, Navy Yard, New York

          Navy Yard, Boston

          Navy Yard, Norfolk.1

       Copies to:-       General Board

                                  Hydrographic Office

                                  Office of Naval Intelligence

                                  War Department.

Subject:  Transports to be commissioned in the Navy.

References: (a) Opnav letter of 19 June 1917, No. 28754-31

                      (b) Opnav letter of 19 June 1917, No. 28754-31

                      Giving tentative assignment of batteries.


     1. The following named ex-German vessels shall be commissioned in the Navy, with a complete naval personnel, and prepared for transport service as soon as possible:-

             Vaterland                       now at               New York

Amerika                                                  Boston

President Lincoln                                  New York

President Grant                                     New York

Cincinnati                                                Boston

Hamburg                                                 New York

Koenig Wilhelm II                                   New York

George Washington                               New York

Kronprinzessin Cecille                            Boston

Kaiser Wilhelm II                                      New York

Grosser Kurfurst                                      New York

Barbarossa                               “                New York

Princess Irene                                          New York

Friedrich der Grosse                               New York

Rhein                                                         Norfolk

Neckar                                                       Norfolk

     2. It will be noted that the Neckar and Rhein have been substituted for the Princess Alice mentioned in References (a) and (b).

     3. Commandants of Naval Districts will take over immediately those of the above name vessels that are within their respective districts.

     4. Arrangements for transporting troops shall conform to Army practice so far as circumstances permit. Consult Army authorities for assistance and advice on all matters relating to fitting vessels for carrying troops.

     5. Contracts already made for repairs and alterations (in so far as they are necessary to fit the vessels for troop transports) shall be completed under naval direction and inspection. Contracts for additional repairs or alterations, and changes in contracts necessary to meet naval needs and standards shall be handled by the Navy exclusively.

Josephus Daniels

Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Following a 12 May Joint Resolution of Congress that authorized the seizure and commandeering of all German vessels interned in American ports, on 30 June 1917, President Woodrow Wilson issued an Executive Order turning over custody of these ships to the United States Navy; the ships listed in this memorandum were some of those named in Wilson’s Executive order. See: Executive Order of President Woodrow Wilson, 30 June 1917.

Footnote 1: These Commandants were RAdm. Nathaniel R. Usher, Capt. William R. Rush, and RAdm. Walter McLean, respectively.