Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

 

1918                        SATURDAY 6                  JULY

Conf. at W[hite] H[ouse] on Russia

WW – Lansing, Baker, Daniels, Benson, Marsh –1

Chezk-Slovaks have taken Vladovostock- & wish to reach the Western front- Pres. feels we must assist them, but does not believe in big Japanese army going in. Decided to send equal force J & A & to ask J to furnish guns & ammunition for Chezk-Slovak forces so they can march to join their brethren 1,000 miles in the interior – Knight ordered to land marines to help C-S hold Vladivostock- Baker fears Japs- W.W. thinks Germans can get little help from Russia in 18 months – Wishes to send a mission into Russia to help with provisions & clothes & give practical evidence of our sympathy

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Dr Jacobi came from Portsmouth to talk about man who brooded so he & Osborne thought only relief was to let him be discharged2

Source Note: D, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diaries, Roll 1.

Footnote 1: The attendees were: President Woodrow Wilson; Secretary of State Robert Lansing; Daniels; Secretary of War Newton D. Baker; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William S. Benson; and Acting Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Peyton C. March. A memorandum, prepared by Secretary of State Robert Lansing and dated 6 July 1918, summarized what was discussed and what was decided in the conference, and it is similar to what Daniels listed in his diary entry with the addition: the cost of the munitions to be supplied by the Japanese would be shared by the United States; the force of seven thousand American and seven thousand Japanese troops would protect the Czech troops’ rear as they advanced toward another force of Czechs trapped in Irkutsk; to land all available forces not only from Adm. Austin M. Knight’s force but from all the Allied ships in Vladivostok; to announce publicly from Washington and Tokyo that the United States and Japan were landing forces only to protect the Czechs and without any intention of interfering in Russian domestic affairs; and to await developments before taking further steps. The conferees also explicitly rejected the British and French aim to use the Czechs to restore an Eastern Front. Wilson Papers, 48: 542. See: Daniels to Knight, 6 July 1918.

Footnote 2: Lt. Arnold L. Jacoby, passed assistant surgeon stationed at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Thomas M. Osborne was in charge of the naval prison at Portsmouth so presumably the man in question was a prisoner. Osborne was a prison reformer who believed in rehabilitation of prisoners. Seacoast NH, Accessed on 25 June 2018, http://www.seacoastnh.com/History/History-Matters/heavenly-days-at-the-hellish-portsmouth-naval-prison.

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