From the Committee on Public Information


From the Committee on Public Information


Hurley, Edward N. (Edward Nash), 1864-1933




1918 August 23


Merchant fleet will help America fight for civilization.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence
World War, 1914-1918


Morgan Willer






Document scan was taken from Library of Congress microfilm reel of the Wilson Papers. WWPL volunteers transcribed the text.


From the Committee on Public Information
Immediate Release

The Shipping Board authorizes the following: -

To carry out her great military program America is building a large fleet of transports and food ships. After the war this merchant marine will be used in America’s enormous ocean carrying trade.

It is to be expected that enemy propagandists should endeavor to use this American merchant fleet as a basis for arousing distrust between the Allies.

Guarantees of fair dealing in this matter are found in America’s unselfish policy in fighting for democracy, in President Wilson’s devotion to the cause of humanity, and also in America’s past record.

President Wilson has demonstrated to the world that the people of the United States are not fighting for the permanency of their own liberty alone, but for the liberty of civilization everywhere. It is unthinkable that a nation fighting shoulder to shoulder with other great democracies should, after the war, turn its resources against them for trade conquests of the very kind which were largely instrumental in bringing on the war. If our ships do not bring prosperity to our neighbors as well as to ourselves, our own pride in the achievement will be diminished. Our ships will be operated after the war upon principles which recognize human and national rights and equities. This is a part of the consistent policy of President Wilson. It is made plain in his public statements. It is also plain in the history of the United States, which is free from selfish aggression in either territory or trade.

In building her merchant fleet America plans first of all to win the war, and after that to overcome her own neglect in providing ocean transportation for her own trade. To this end the people of the United States are preparing to develop transportation on their own trade routes, without disturbing the trade rights of other nations. And they, furthermore, hope that the American merchant marine will play a large part in bringing the neighboring democracies of the American hemisphere close together.

Suggestions of selfish motives will, of course, be circulated in connection with the fleet we are building. Every nation lined up against autocracy can be depended upon to detect the source of such suggestions, and discount them, and maintain the solid line for democracy and humanity till the end.

Edward N. Hurley,
Chairman, United States Shipping Board

Original Format

Press Release




Hurley, Edward N. (Edward Nash), 1864-1933, “From the Committee on Public Information,” 1918 August 23, WWP25167, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.