Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
MAY TUESDAY 8 1917
Conference with McAdoo and Baker about Commissioner to buy everything. McAdoo wanted Baruch[,] Baker liked him, but said country regarded him as daring speculator on Wall Street- No conclusion. McAdoo’s plan would centre everything, including food, in one hand, Baker thought Council of National Defense could do it very well.
Council of National Defense. Geo[r]ge Wharton Pepper wished to Enroll for Service – Only one more of the plans that sound very well, but get no service – Wait till after selective draft-
Newspaper men all hot at Lansings order that nobody should talk.
Cabinet — President brought up resolution giving him power to fix priority in shipments upon RR & by water & to let RR violate letter of law against preference. If only lawyers would let us alone. They are so technical
Shall we bring German prisoners from England to this country?
Prof Abbot of Yale wished to know if boys should leave college to enlist in the Navy? No. Should doubt[les]s be getting ready, but best preparation is for young boy to stay at school
Sperry and others of Naval Consulting Board, with us at dinner – After discussed practical plans to meet sub marine menace. Aerial torpedo, carrys T.N.T. could be sent 50 miles & create Lane. Also Elia mine – when sub marine struck the net, it would turn on a light & a bouy would whistle 1½ hour & patrol boats could arrive
Source Note: D, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diary, Roll 1. At the top of the page Daniels has written “Lane 254.” This is a reference to a page in Franklin K. Lane, The Letters of Franklin K. Lane Personal and Political, ed. By Anne W. Lane and Louise H. Wall (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1922). On the page referred to in Lane’s diary entry for 8 May, he detailed a discussion in the Council of National Defense concerning how to use Herbert Hoover. On that same page is a discussion attributed to Lane on how Charles M. Schwab of Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding should be given essentially a blank check and carte blanche and be set to work building ships for the nation. Daniels added this notation some years after the diary entry.