Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels
OCTOBER MONDAY 29 1917
Had talk with Lord Northcliffe who was evidently depressed & said he hoped we would build fire under English Navy. Jellico had but one thought and that was to preserve the great fleet. Not accustomed to fighting & had no real engagement since Nelson's day. Going to London to international conference, but feared there would be no commanding figure, with initiative. He saw me in Chicago and came back happy over the splendid spirit of the patriotic West.
McKean: After visiting Greece and seeing soldiers smoking and drinking in cafes & asking "Why don't the power come and save us?" he no longer believed the story of Thermopylae—did not think such men could have begotten the men now inhabiting Greece. Felt the same way about Italy.
Roosevelt after reading report of General Board for a bar[r]age across North Sea said "I told you so last May." Badger called and had long conference & said by process of elimination he had come to conclusion that the bar[r]age of mines, with closing of English Channel, in the North Sea was feasible and the only big thing the combined navies could do. All the General Board and Capt. Pratt held that view, and I authorized Pratt to Capt. Belknap at work on the mining, it being regarded he was the most capable man on mining and for Admiral Hoogewerff's division to take it in hand. A stupendous undertaking—perhaps not impossible but to my mind of doubtful practicality. North Sea too rough & will necessitate withdrawing all our ships from other work and then we can destroy the hornets nest or keep the hornets in?
Monday night. Edison spent whole evening, discussing a system of routing he thought would save many ships. He had maps showing all submarines since February.