Woodrow Wilson Papers

The Secretary of War ( Baker ) to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: I am inexpressibly grieved at the resignation of Mr. McAdoo, though I can readily understand that the terrible burdens of his work have made it necessary for him to have more rest than it would be impossible [sic] for him to get, here in Washington continuing at the pace he has gone for the past two or three years.

It seems to me that Mac’s resignation changes essentially the possibility of my going abroad as a member of the peace commission. Of course, with you in Europe neither I nor anybody else is necessary to the presentation of America’s case, but here at home, particularly during your absence, I can perhaps be helpful in conference with the remaining members of the Cabinet. The next two or three months are likely to present situations of uncertainty of opinion and hesitancy on the part of business and labor in process of readjustment, and while no fresh legislative policy perhaps needs to be worked out, I am persuaded that the country would feel more concerned about your own absence if two members of the Cabinet were with you now that the Secretary of the Treasury’s post will have to be filled by a man new to those responsibilities.

I trust you will understand the spirit of this suggestion, but I am really deeply concerned not only to have your own stay in Europe made as free from anxiety as possible but to have the situation here kept on the even balance and public feeling and opinion kept in sympathy with both the things you are doing abroad and the policies of the economic and political readjustment here which you desire to have our peace-time establishment take.

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May I not suggest for your consideration the possibility of making General Bliss a peace commissioner? And then after the conferences have gone so far that you feel you are able to return here, and leave the details to be reduced to writing for signature, if you then thought it wise I could be sent over to join the commissioners at the windup.

Respectfully yours,

Newton D. Baker