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Philip A. S. Franklin, Chairman, Shipping Control Committee, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

March 29, 1918.         

Hon. Josephus Daniels,

  Secretary of the Navy,

     Washington, D. C.

My dear Mr. Daniels:

          Your valued favor of the 27th instant, with copy of your letter to the Chairman of the Shipping Board, dated March 25th, regarding the utilization of vessels that are too slow for trans-atlantic service, received:1

          Our recommendations regarding this situation, and the policty that we are pursuing, is as follows:

          First:  All steamers not capable of maintaining 8 1/3 knots sea speed, should at once be withdrawn from the Army service to France, and as far as possible, and as rapidly as conditions will permit, be withdrawn from the War Zone trades, and used by us in the nitrate and other safe trades.

          Second:  Steamers now being used by General Pershing2 in the coal trade and in transporting stores, that are of large carrying capacity, should be withdrawn, and where they have sufficient speed, be utilized in the Transport Service between the United States and France, and where they have not sufficient speed, be utilized by us in commercial trades outside the War Zone.

          Third:  For steamers withdrawn from General Pershing, should be substituted steamers now being constructed on the Lakes,3 which steamers are particularly adaptable for the coal and store-carrying trades between England and France, but not suitable for long voyage necessary-import trades; such steamers to be armed with one gun.

Very truly yours,                      


(signed) P.A.S. Franklin.    


Source Note: Cy, RG 45, Entry 517B. There is a note attached to the top of this copy: “March 29, 1918./Letter from Shipping Control committee to Secretary of the Navy/re utilization of vessels too slow for trans-Atlantic service.”

Footnote 1: While neither of these letters have been located, see: George W. Goethals to Benson, 27 March 1918, for additiional information on this topic.

Footnote 2: Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander, American Expeditionary Forces.

Footnote 3: For more on Lake steamers, see: George W. Goethals to William S. Benson, 27 March 1918.

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