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War News Not Publishable - 1918

President Woodrow Wilson Created the Committee on Public Information (CPI)

President Woodrow Wilson Created the Committee on Public Information (CPI) to Promote the War Domestically While Publicizing American War Aims Abroad. GGA Image ID # 192b70a6a5

The Committee on Public Information has modified its press regulations and has issued the following rules that are now presented to the publishers of America for the protection of our military and naval forces and of merchant shipping. It has been requested that secrecy be observed in all matters of:

  1. Advance information of the routes and schedules of troop movements. (See paragraph 8.)
  2. Information tending to disclose the number of troops in the expeditionary forces abroad.
  3. Information calculated to disclose location of the permanent base or bases abroad.
  4. Information that would disclose the location of American units or the eventual position of the American forces at the front.
  5. Information tending to disclose an eventual or actual port of embarkation; or Information of the movement of military forces toward seaports or of the assembling of military force» at seaports from which inference might be drawn of any intention to embark them for service abroad; and Information of the assembling of transports or convoys; and information of the embarkation itself.
  6. Information of the arrival at any European port of American war vessels, transports, or any portion of any expeditionary force, combatant or non-combatant.
  7. Information of the time of departure of merchant ships from American or European ports, or information of the ports from which they sailed, or information of their cargoes.
  8. Information indicating the port of arrival of incoming ships from European ports or after their arrival indicating, or hinting at, the port at which the ship arrived.
  9. Information as to convoys and as to the sighting of friendly or enemy ships, whether naval or merchant.
  10. Information of the locality, number or identity of vessels belonging to our own navy or to the navies of any country at war with Germany.
  11. Information of the coast or anti-aircraft defenses of the United States. Any information of their very existence, as well as the number, nature or position of their guns, is dangerous.
  12. Information of the laying of mines or mine fields or of any harbor defenses.
  13. Information of the aircraft and appurtenances used at government aviation schools for experimental tests under military authority, and information of contracts and production of air material, and information tending to disclose the numbers and organization of the air division, excepting when authorized by the Committee on Public Information.
  14. Information of all government devices and experiments in war material, excepting when authorized by the Committee on Public Information.
  15. Information of secret notices issued to mariners or other confidential instructions issued by the Navy or the Department of Commerce relating to lights, lightships, buoys or other guides to navigation.
  16. Information as to the number, size, character, or location of ships of the Navy ordered laid down at any port or shipyard, or in actual process of construction, or information that they are launched or in commission.
  17. Information of live train or boat schedules of traveling official missions in transit through the United States.
  18. Information of the transportation of munitions, or of war material.

Photographs conveying the information specified above should not be published.

Those requests do not apply to news dispatches censored by military authority with the expeditionary forces or in those cases where the Government itself, in the form of official statements, may find it necessary or expedient to make public information covered by these requests.

These regulations are not mandatory, but the people of this country will quickly condemn any failure to comply with them.

"War News Not Publishable, Publishing and Editing: Matters of Moment to the Counting Room and Editorial Room" in 237/1103 The American Printer: A Semi-Monthly Business, Technical, and News Journal, New York: The Oswald Publishing Company, Vol. 66, No. 3, 5 February 1918

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