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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Military


The New York Times
February 18, 1917

Secretary Hugo Takes an Automobile Census in Preparation for Any Emergency.

Special to The New York Times.

ALBANY, Feb. 17.—In preparation for any emergency, Secretary of State Francis M. Hugo is having prepared a classified list of different types of motor vehicles within the State that would be of use to the War Department for the transport of troops, ammunition and military supplies. While this was not explicitly stated at the office of the Secretary of State, it is thought likely that the lists are being made for the use of the military authorities.

The investigation made by the Secretary of State's office in connection with the preparation of these motor car statistics has shown that New York State could contribute about 25,000 motor trucks in case of war. In the immediate vicinity of New York City there are 20,000 motor trucks, large and small, that, on a few hours' notice, could be made available in the event of hostilities for the transportation of troops and war munitions, through Long Island, New Jersey, and along the Atlantic seaboard. In addition, according to the latest statistics in Secretary Hugo's office, there are 317,000 pleasure cars registered, an increase of almost 100,000 over the number registered last year.

According to an estimate worked out in the office of the Secretary of State, it would be possible with the motor cars available in New York City to send 100,000 men clear across New Jersey or the entire length of Long Island in half a day, once the machines were assembled and in the hands of the War Department. The good roads in this State and in New Jersey would make it possible to use the motor cars for such purposes here to much greater advantage than on the Mexicna border, where valuable service was performed over roads of the most primitive character by the 5,000 motor trucks employed in the campaign.

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