The officers who were responsible for the programme of the evening are certainly deserving of a very serious reprimand, which I hereby request be administered; and I cannot rid myself of a feeling of great disappointment that the general body of officers assembled at the dinner should have greeted the carrying out of such a programme with apparent indifference to the fact that it violated some of the most dignified and sacred traditions of the service.
I am told that the songs and other amusements of the evening were intended and regarded as “fun.” What are we to think of officers of the army and navy of the United States who think it “fun” to bring their official superiors into ridicule and the policies of the government which they are sworn to serve with unquestioning loyalty into contempt? If this is their idea of fun, what is their ideal of duty? If they do not hold their loyalty above all silly effervescences of childish wit, what about their profession do they hold sacred?
My purpose, therefore, in administering this reprimand is to recall the men who are responsible for this lowering of standards to their ideals, to remind them of the high conscience with which they ought to put duty above personal indulgence, and to think of themselves as responsible men and trusted soldiers even while they are amusing themselves as diners out.
The Secretary of War,
The Secretary of the Navy.