Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

[Extract]

1917                     SUNDAY 10                        JUNE

Slept very late & then went to Navy Department to catch up with correspondence that had piled up & to sign Saturday’s mail. First time I had done regular work on Sunday. . . .

Talked with Ralph Earl1 about Freylinghusens letter (anonymous) about fuses. Some one at Indian Head or Washington has been giving out letters & seems to be working for some fuse concern- Also about the Raleigh Iron Works, thinking to injure me-2 F_ is two faced3. . . .

Long talk with Braisted about what we were doing to preserve health of men in Navy3

Source Note: D, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diary.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Ralph Earle, chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. The letter had been introduced as part of the investigation into the Mongolia incident. For more on this, see: Press Notice Issued by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, 21 May 1917.

Footnote 2: Senator Joseph S. Frelinghuysen, R-New Jersey, was part of the committee investigating the Mongolia incident. These letters are printed as part of the published record of that congressional investigation. Frelinghuysen sent copies of these anonymous letters to Daniels on 9 June 1917. The letters charged that the fuses involved in the Mongolia incident were of “inferior workmanship” and that the Navy had not inspected them before accepting them. In the hearings, the makers of the fuses rebutted the charge. Casualties Aboard Steamship “Mongolia.” Hearings before the Committee on Naval Affairs United States Senate, Sixty-Fifth Congress, First Session, Pursuant to S. RES. 71 (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1917), 157-60. The charge against the Raleigh Iron Works was that they had won the contract to produce shells for the Navy but had also produced a product that was substandard. Ibid., 151-53. Indianhead, MD, was the site of the Navy’s ordnance proving ground. Ibid., 155.

Footnote 3: “F__” is Freylinghuysen.

Footnote 4: RAdm. William C. Braisted, Surgeon General and Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. For an example of the topics they might have discussed, see: Braisted to Daniels, 28 May 1917.

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