Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

 

[Extract]

1918                       WEDNESDAY 4            SEPTEMBER

War Dept Council – Better news from Europe & more cheer – Ships making better time & making turn-around trip quicker

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Cong. Butler returned from France1 – saw men as heroes who before the war were not deemed worth $10 a week – He had bets that war would not end til 1920. Now he is ready to pay bets – It will end in 1919 he thinks or sooner- Confident our boys are too much for the Germans. Says his son is going next week – never expects to see him again, “but it is all right”2. . . .

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Ought to take over coal oil & ore3

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Meeting Board on Immoral Diseases & disbursing officers elected4

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

Footnote 1: Thomas S. Butler was the senior Republican on the House Naval Committee that had just returned from a visit to Europe. On Butler and this visit, see: William S. Sims to Daniels, 16 August 1918; and Lewis Bayly to Sims, 12 August 1918.

Footnote 2: Butler’s son was Gen. Smedley D. Butler, an officer in the Marine Corps. When he arrived in France, he was not given a combat command but placed in command of a camp at Brest, France, where the troops of the American Expeditionary Forces debarked and were organized before travelling to the front. For more on Butler, see, Hans Schmidt, Maverick Marine: General Smedley D. Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1998).

Footnote 3: Daniels here is advocating the nationalization of those three industries.

Footnote 4: The Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board. Daniels was its chairman. Daniels, Cabinet Diaries: 334.

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