Chicago Tribune

Navy Chief Confers with Churchmen and Others on Drink Peril.

Pledging himself to do everything in his power to prevent uniformed men being served liquor in Chicago, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels last evening promised a delegation of Chicago churchmen and representatives of civic welfare societies that he will investigate the situation created by the granting of special bar permits and the presence near training ships of bumboats which sell liquor.

Mr. Daniels committed himself to no definite action, stating that the special bar permit and its results is something with which he is entirely unfamiliar. His attitude, however, raised high hops among members of the delegation that the government will take steps to end the granting of special bar permits.

Bishop Heads Delegation

The delegation, headed by Bishop Samuel Fallows, represented the Chicago Church federation, the Catholic and Episcopal diocese of Chicago, the Citizen’s League of Chicago, and the Committee of Fifteen. Bishop Fellows read the complaint at a reception held at the University club. It said in part:

"We have within hailing distance of where we no stand the Grant Park naval station, where 300 men and officers are billeted. Moored about the two training ships are houseboats engaged in no other business than the prostitution of our soldier boys for gain through the sale of liquor.

"Ten thousand men in uniform walk the streets of Chicago each week where they are in constant temptation from 500 dance halls where liquor is sold from 3 o’clock in the afternoon until 3 in the morning by virtue of the special bar permit.

Urge Daniels to Act

The complaint cited that at these dances investigators have found uniformed men being served with liquor, and ended by asking Mr. Daniels, through his power as secretary of the navy and the authority it gives him to establish vice zones about naval training camps; to put an end to such sales.

Mr. Daniels declared that he heard what the committee had to say with "the greatest concern," adding:

"I have never before heard of the special bar permit, and did not know that it existed in Chicago or in any other city in the United States. The situation is new to me, but I promise you that I will give it careful consideration."

Mrs. Bowen’s Charges

A letter from Mrs. Joseph T. Bowen, chairman of a delegation of women representing various women’s organizations of the city, was also read to the secretary. It stated that while the saloons of the city are obeying the law prohibiting the sale of liquor to sailors and soldiers, the special bar permits make it possible for "fly by night" organizations to violate that law.’

Mr. Daniels gave evidence earlier in the day that he would do everything he can to prevent liquor reaching men in the navy, when he told newspaper men at an interview that the rout of John Barleycorn from the navy had been beneficial.

"When I first abolished the use of liquor in the navy there was a furor." he declared. "Many officers thought I intended it as a reflection upon the character of the men in the navy. That thought was the farthest from my mind. A naval battle doesn’t last long, and while it lasts men have to think and act quickly. I know that they can’t do that with drink befuddled brains, and that is why I abolished it."

The secretary said he could see no reason why officers should be allowed to drink when the men are prohibited from doing so.


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