Allegations of Mismanagement in Aircraft Production

Identifier

WWP20632

Description

Gutzon Borglum and Newton D. Baker correspond regarding an investigation about potential significant errors and bad practice in the production of aircraft.

Publisher

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library

Subject

Language

English

Text

Telegram

Darien, Georgia.

The President
:

Charges of dishonesty have been made against the Aircraft Board which demand the fullest inquiry. I request and urge that an official inquiry be had in order that the reputations of innocent men may not be ruined.

HOWARD COFFIN.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Telegram.

Washington, DC.

Hon. Howard Coffin,
Darien, Georgia.

Your telegram received. You may be sure I shall cooperate in every way to prevent what you rightly foresee might happen. The Department of Justice will cooperate to the utmost in seeing that all charges are probed and the truth got at.

WOODROW WILSON

- - - - - - - - - - -
THE WHITE HOUSE
Washington

My dear Senator:

You were kind enough to consult me the other day about the wholesale charges in regard to the production of aircraft which have been lodged by Mr. Gutzon Borglum. I take the liberty of writing you this letter in order to say more formally what I said to you then informally, namely, that every instrumentality at the disposal of the Department of Justice will be used to investigate and pursue charges of dishonesty or malversation of any kind, if the allegations made by Mr. Borglum are considered worthy of serious consideration, and I sincerely hope that the matter will be treated as one for searching official investigation by the constituted authorities of the Government. Only in this way can the reputations of those whose actions have been perfectly regular and blameless be protected and the guilt, if there is any, definitely lodged where it should be lodged.

Sincerely yours,

WOODROW WILSON

Hon. Charles S. Thomas,
United States Senate.

- - - - - - - - - - -

COPY

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

My dear Mr. Borglum:

Your letter of November twenty-second to Mr. Tumulty he was kind enough to show me, and I had meant to write to you sooner about it. Of course, what you say disturbs me not a little and I write to ask you if you will not do me the great favor of indicating as specifically as possible the weaknesses you see in our present organization in the matter of aeronautics. I would also appreciate it very warmly if you would tell me what men of practical gifts not now connected with the service of the Government you think could be serviceable to us in working towards a successful result.

Cordially and sincerely yours,
WOODROW WILSON


Mr. Gutzon Borglum,
Stamford, Connecticut.

—oOo—

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

My dear Mr. Borglum:

I have your letter of December 25.

Knowing the earnest and loyal purpose with which you have written me, I have conferred with the Secretary of War and, at his request and my own hearty concurrence, I urge you to come at once to Washington, lay the whole matter frankly and fully before the Secretary, and by your own investigation discover the facts in this business. The Secretary of War assures me that he will be delighted to clothe you with full authority to get to the bottom of every situation, and that he will place at your disposal the services of Mr. Stanley King, a member of his own personal staff, if you desire to have his counsel in your inquiries. The Secretary further says that he will bring you into personal contact with General Squier, whom you doubtless already know personally, and will direct that every facility of inquiry be placed at your disposal. When you have thus investigated, if the other experts whom you suggest in your letter of December 25 still seem desirable to be appointed you can say so to the Secretary; and in the event of any difference of judgment between you, which seems to me impossible, I would be most happy to have a report from you personally to me on any phase of the matter which remains in the slightest degree doubtful in your mind.

Cordially yours,
WOODROW WILSON


Mr. Gutzon Borglum,
Borgland, Stamford, Conn.

—oOo—

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

My dear Baker:

Hrere is Mr. Borglum's preliminary report. Is there not someone entirely disconnected from aeronautics and from those who are prominent in carrying out the aeroplane programme whom you can ask to go over this thing with an unbiased mind and give us his naive impressions of it? There may be something worthy of our consideration, and suggestions worthy to be adopted.

Cordially and sincerely yours,
WOODROW WILSON


Hon. Newton D. Baker,
Secretary of War

—oOo—

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

My dear Mr. Borglum:

I have your letter of March eleventh and thank you for it. I am writing in great haste to say that the whole aircraft matter is undergoing a very thorough review.

In haste,
Sincerly yours,
WOODROW WILSON


Mr. Gutzon Borglum,
Stamf0rd, Connecticut.

—oOo—

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

My dear Mr. Borglum:

In view of your telegram of yesterday, I am very glad to explain to you what my telegram to you meant. It meant this, that I have now instituted a very systematic inquiry into the whole aviation situation and think it wise that all processes of investigation should be in the charge and under the direction of the gentlemen to whom I have committed this task. I have placed at their disposal the material you were kind enough to furnish me with and can assure you that they will go to the bottom of it all.

I know your own judgment will approve of this.

Sincerly yours,
WOODROW WILSON


Mr. Gutzon Borglum,
c-o Hotel Pontchartrain,
Detroit, Michigan.

—oOo—

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

My dear Mr. Borglum:

Thank you very much for your letter of yesterday. You may be sure that the whole matter will be and is being gone into to the bottom.

Cordially and sincerely yours,
WOODROW WILSON


Mr. Gutzon Borglum,
c-o Metropolitan Club,
Washington, D.C.

—oOo—

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

My dear Mr. Borglum:

I am afraid that you have for some time been under a serious misapprehension. You call my attention to the fact that you were not supplied with suitable expert assistance in the investigation which you, of your own motion, undertook of the aircraft production.

You will remember that at the beginning you wrote to me saying that you feared and believed that there were very serious errors not only, but serious bad practice, in the aircraft production, and after consulting with the Secretary of War I wrote you that if that was your impression, you were, of course, at liberty to examine any evidence that was in our possession. I never at any time constituted you an official investigator. I merely gave you the right to look into the matter of your own motion, and I am sure that the letter which the Secretary of War provided you with he gave you with the same purpose and idea. We have wished at every point to assist you and to make possible for you what you wished to do, but we have at no time regarded you as the official representative of the administration in making the investigation. If I had so regarded you, I would, of course, have supplied you with such assistance as you feel you have lacked.

You will understand, of course, that I write this in the most cordial way and only because it is evident from your last letter that you have been laboring under a misapprehension

.I hope that you will be willing and that you feel that it is your duty to put at the disposal of those whom I have constituted official investigators all the evidence that may be in your possession.

Coridally and sincerely yours,
WOODROW WILSON


Mr. Gutzon Borglum,
Metropolitan Club,
Washington, D.C.

Original Format

Miscellaneous

Files

D30247.pdf

Tags

Citation

Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924, “Allegations of Mismanagement in Aircraft Production,” 1917 December 5, WWP20632, Woodrow Wilson Press Statements, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.