Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

[Extract]

NOVEMBER                  THURSDAY 8                      1917

Victor Blue1 at my request called and went over the report of investigation.2 Thoughts Gleaves & Marbury Johnson3 wished to pile up specifications so as to get him. He wished US court martial –4

 

Finland man came up with idea about air ships that could go across the ocean in 60 hours. Wished this government to build ships –

 

...Creel and O’Higgins5 here to dinner. The latter to write an article about me and my service as Secretary of the navy. Talked of the criticism and the policies I had tried to carry out...

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

Footnote 1: Capt. Victor Blue, a personal friend of Daniels prior to the latter’s appointment as Secretary of the Navy. Daniels had already been accused of playing favorites when, in 1913, he nudged out the chief of the Bureau of Navigation and appointed Blue in his place. Daniels, Cabinet Diaries: 6, 13.

Footnote 2: Blue had run his ship, the North Carolina, aground on 27 August.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Albert Gleaves, Commander, Cruiser and Transport Force and RAdm. Marbury Johnson, Commander, Divisions Three and Four, Cruiser Force.

Footnote 4: The court-martial held Blue responsible for the grounding of his ship. He interceded with Daniels not to approve the findings of the court-martial, and Daniels was obviously very conflicted about damaging his friend’s career. He recorded multiple diary entries about consulting others on whether to approve the court’s findings, with President Woodrow Wilson urging him to sign off on them. Daniels did not record in his diary whether he ultimately approved them or not. Daniels, Cabinet Diaries: 266, 271, 275.

Footnote 5: George Creel, head of the Committee on Public Information, the U.S. government’s wartime propaganda outlet, and Harvey J. O’Higgins, one of Creel’s employees.

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