Word comes to the Associated Press that you and Mayor Schmitz are having some conflict of jurisdiction in respect to police matters. Of course as long as you are assisting him, his orders must control, and you must merely conform to his judgement so far as police matters are concerned.
With respect to army supplies and government property generally, you should listen to and co-operate with him in their distribution. You are responsible for the distribution of supplies and the sole judge, ultimately.
Please advise me whether the report of the Associated Press has any foundation. It would be much deplored if you and Schmitz could not get along together. I rely on your good sense to avoid conflict and friction, unless the situation is such that it is impossible for you to harmonize matters and in such case you should advise me before taking final action.
Secretary of War
There was cause for the Associated Press report. Captain Frank Nichols of Truck Co. 4 witnessed a heated discussion on Van Ness Avenue over "who was in charge," during dynamiting operations. It was Nichols' view that acting Fire Chief Doughtery was in charge. However, Brig.-Gen. John Koster of the National Guard reported the debate between the Army and municipal officials, and between municipal officials themselves, was so bitter that:
When ready to proceed with the work of dynamiting, the wagon containing the explosive had been removed from the position assigned to it by me, and could not again be located. It is presumed that, being a portion of the equipment of the Fire Department, the same was withdrawn by direction of the chief of this department in order to prevent the carrying out of the Mayor's orders. After a lapse of considerable valuable time, during which the conflagration was rapidly approaching the [Van Ness] avenue, a quantity of dynamite was obtained from a quarry in the Mission District and the work proceeded with.
Mayor Schmitz responded immediately to Sec. Taft after hearing of the telegram to Gen. Funston.
Supplementing my telegram of yesterday, I wish again even in the midst of our great troubles to express my indignation at the presumably malicious and decidedly untruthful suggestion that a conflict exists between General Funston and myself. I wish to emphasize the pleasantness and harmony of our relations and co-operation.
E.E. Schmitz, Mayor.
Return to the 1906 Earthquake Exhibit.