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History of Communications-Electronics in the United States Navy, Captain Linwood S. Howeth, USN (Retired), 1963, pages 549-551:

Appendix  C.  The  Conclusions,  Recommendations,  and  Approval  Inter-Departmental  Board  on  Wireless  Telegraphy  [Roosevelt  Board],  24  June  1904


    The conclusions of the Board are--
    That the science of wireless telegraphy has been advanced by the able and persistent work of the Signal Corps of the Army and the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture, as well as by the experimental work of the Navy Department;
    That wireless telegraphy is of paramount interest to the Government through the Navy Department, and that its use by the Signal Corps of the Army for communication between military posts of the Army and other necessary links will be necessary both in peace and war, and that such use shall be unrestricted. When interference seems probable between stations of the Navy and War Departments, the question involved shall be mutually settled by representatives of the two Departments;
    That coastwise wireless telegraphy is not a necessity for the work of the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture, provided that the necessary meteorological data for that Department can be collected by the stations of the Navy Department from ships at sea and by them sent to the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture;
    That the maintenance of a complete coastwise system of wireless telegraphy by the Navy Department is necessary for the efficient and economical management of the fleets of the United States in time of peace and their efficient maneuvering in time of war;
    That the best results can be obtained from stations under the jurisdiction of one Department of the Government only, and that representatives of more than one Department should not be quartered at any station;
    And finally the Board concludes that the Government must take the necessary steps to regulate establishment of commercial wireless-telegraph stations among the States and between nations.


    In order that the above conclusions may be carried into effect, the Board recommends--
    That the Signal Corps of the Army be authorized under its chief to establish from time to time such wireless stations as he may deem necessary, and that they do not interfere with the coastwise wireless-telegraph system of the Government under control of the Navy Department; and further, that the Chief Signal Officer be requested to inform the Navy Department what stations of its system maybe utilized to transmit messages for the Signal Corps or other bureaus of the War Department, and that representatives of the Signal Corps of the Army and the Bureau of Equipment of the Navy Department be at once requested to draw up such rules as will insure the efficient and harmonious carrying into effect of the above recommendations.
    That the necessary steps be taken to have the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture turn over to the Navy Department all coastwise wireless-telegraph apparatus now under its control, and such material as it may have in its possession which can be utilized by the Bureau of Equipment of the Navy Department, and that proper transfers of funds for this purpose be made;
    That the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture furnish to the Hydrographic Office of the Navy, and to the naval wireless-telegraph stations, or to other portions of the public service, such meteorological data as it or they may desire at no cost to them;
    That the Department of Agriculture shall continue the work of its meteorological vessel-reporting and storm-warning stations, as now constituted and provided for by law, and continue the control of seacoast telegraph systems, except wireless systems;
    That the necessary steps be taken that the Navy Department may equip and install a complete coastwise wireless-telegraph system covering the entire coasts of the United States, its insular possessions, and the Canal Zone in Panama;
    That the Navy Department be directed to receive from the Signal Corps of the Army, at such points as may be requested by the Chief Signal Officer of the Army, all messages for army posts within their radii, and transmit them under such rules as may be agreed upon by the representatives of the Signal Corps and Bureau of Equipment, without cost to the Signal Corps of the Army;
    That all meteorological reports from vessels of war or commerce or other sailing craft, now being forwarded direct to the Hydrographic Office of the Navy, shall be forwarded direct to the Weather Bureau, and the control of ocean meteorology be transferred to the Department of Agriculture, which already has ample law for doing this work;
    That the estimates for the support of the Hydrographic Office of the Navy, or any other office of the Navy, for the next and succeeding fiscal years, do not contain any provision for the making of ocean forecasts, or for the publication of meteorological data, other than such as may be needed by the Hydrographer of the Navy for use on the pilot and other charts, which data shall be furnished by and credited to the Weather Bureau;
    That it is the opinion of this Board that no meteorological work need or should be done by any portion of the Navy for the purpose of publication, or for the making of forecasts or storm warnings; that all such duties, being purely civil, should devolve upon the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture in accordance with the organic act creating that Bureau;
    That the wireless stations of the Navy Department shall, without charge to the Agricultural Department, receive and promptly transmit to the ocean or to islands, or to other places where the information can be made useful, the storm warnings of the Weather Bureau;
    That the Navy Department shall request all vessels having the use of its wireless stations for the receipt of messages, to take daily meteorological observations of the weather when within communicating range and to transmit such observations to the Weather Bureau, through naval wireless stations, at least once daily, and transmit observations oftener when there is a marked change in the barometer; and that there shall be no charge against the Agricultural Department for these observations or for the transmission thereof;
    That representatives of the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Equipment of the Navy Department be directed to prepare the necessary rules for the harmonious and efficient carrying on of the above recommendations.
    We recommend that as fast as the naval wireless-telegraph stations are put in operation the Navy Department be directed to receive and transmit through these stations, free of charge, all wireless messages to or from ships at sea, provided such stations do not come in competition with commercial stations, until such time as Congress may enact the necessary legislation governing this subject.
    In asking for legislation on this point, the Board desires to invite attention to the fact that where wireless stations are needed for the merchant marine, as a rule the Navy will also require them. The Board believes it to be in the interest not only of governmental but public economy and efficiency to permit the naval stations to handle the public service, for in the present state of the art but one station is desirable for the public interests in such places. As the needs of the Navy are paramount on account of the problem of national defence, private stations should not be allowed to locate to the disadvantage of the former. Moreover, there is at present no public need for multiplication of stations at these points.
    It is admitted, however, that there may be special cases where private stations can serve a useful purpose, and the Board believes that the Department of Commerce and Labor should have the duty of issuing licenses in such cases under such regulations as will prevent interference with stations necessary to the national defence. All private stations in the interior of the country should also be under supervision of the Department of Commerce and Labor.
    This method of placing private stations under full Government supervision is desirable in order to regulate them for their mutual and public welfare, as well as from considerations of national defence. Aside from the necessity of providing rules for the practical operation of such stations, it seems desirable that there should be some wholesome supervision of them to prevent the exploitation of speculative schemes based on a public misconception of the art.
    It is believed that invention and private enterprise should be encouraged in every legitimate way, and it is the policy of the Navy Department to do this. It has the means of assisting inventors that no other Department has, and it believes that in order for it to lead the navies of the world in this matter, which is of great importance to the national defence, every reasonable facility should be given inventors, while at the same time it is working out the problems of the application of their inventions to its requirements in times of peace and war.
    To prevent the control of wireless telegraphy by monopolies or trusts, the Board deems it essential that any legislation on this subject should place the supervision of it in the Department of Commerce and Labor.
    Because international questions may arise, due to the fact that the use of wireless telegraph stations in our own possessions may affect the use of similar stations in foreign countries, it is desirable for the Congress to enact legislation which will enable the Government properly to handle such cases; a failure to do so may seriously embarrass the Government at some future time.
    It is thought that the legislation recommended in placing private stations under the supervision of the Department of Commerce and Labor will also cover this case.
    In conclusion, the Board deems it essential that the Executive take such action as in his judgment seems wise to prevent the erection of private wireless-telegraph stations where they may interfere with the naval or military operations of the Government until legislation may be had by Congress on this subject.
      Very respectfully,
          R. D. EVANS, Rear-Admiral, USN,
              Representing the Department of Commerce and Labor.
          H. N. MANNEY, Rear-Admiral, USN,
              Representing the Navy Department.
          A. W. GREELY, Brigadier-General, USA,
              Representing the War Department.
          WILLIS L. MOORE, Professor,
              Representing the Department of Agriculture.
          JOSEPH L. JAYNE, Lieutenant-Commander, USN,
              Representing the Navy Department.

Washington, July 29, 1904. WHITE  HOUSE,      

MDEAR  MR.  SECRETARY: I am directed by the President to forward to you the accompanying report from the Inter-Departmental Board on Wireless Telegraphy, which he approves and directs that the several Departments concerned put its recommendations into effect. The Navy Department being the most in interest, this communication is made to it and it will please advise the other departments of the action taken, send them copies of the report.
        Very truly yours,

WM.  LOEB,  JR.,      
Secretary to the President,
    Secretary of the Navy.

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