Statement given out by Ex-Secretary of the Treasury


Statement given out by Ex-Secretary of the Treasury


McAdoo, W. G. (William Gibbs), 1863-1941




1921 March 4


William G. McAdoo sends a statement to the press defending the Wilson Administration's actions during the Paris Peace Conference.


Gilder Lehrman Collection, New York Historical Society, New York


New York

Statement given out by Ex-Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo in response to a request from the Editor of the New York Globe.

It is with hesitation that I comply with your request for an expression of my views on Woodrow Wilson, because my intimate relationship may incline cynical or prejudiced minds to say that I am not an impartial observer. His retirement from the Presidency marks, however, an epoch of such profound significance to the world that I cannot resist the temptation to say a few words about one phase of his career.

I do not agree with those who hastily and inconsiderately adjudge the President’s work at the Peace Conference a failure. Whatever may be the imperfections of the Treaty from a political or economic standpoint, Woodrow Wilson did not fail. The outstanding thing for which he fought, the thing that transcends political and economic considerations, is the permanent peace of the world. Unless this is secured all else is failure; without this the sublimest hope of humanity is sunk in the black abyss; without this all political and economic adjustments are unstable and sooner or later will disappear.

Woodrow Wilson laid the foundations of world peace and a new order in the Versailles Treaty. This is the supreme need of civilization; this is his greatest work. The fact that the crowning structure has not yet reached completion, that it has been halted by the selfishness of designing politicians and the greed of materialistic national interests, has neither impaired nor destroyed those foundations. The tides of reaction will ignominiously exhaust themselves and the work of Woodrow Wilson will emerge unscathed and stand like the eternal rocks as the support of a new and better order of which peace and justice will be the keystone.

This is Woodrow Wilson’s matchless contribution to his time. Great and noble as have been his other unparalleled achievements in the fields of politics, economics and letters; this is his enduring monument. He has put a new star in the American flag – like the Star of Bethlehem, with its eternal message of peace, good will and hope. No one can tear that star from the flag. With it America will lead the vanguard of humanity and civilization to a new day of human brotherhood and world order. This will not come immediately, but it will come inevitably in the slow and sure processes of time.

Woodrow Wilson, the man, will die; but Woodrow Wilson, the Apostle of Peace, will live forever. Out of his sacrifice and suffering – borne with admirable dignity and sublime courage – the good he has sought to do for mankind will come to a noble fruition and receive a splendid though perhaps belated recognition. In his martyrdom there is not defeat – there is triumph! History will do him justice. He can await its verdict with serenity.

WG McAdoo

Original Format



New York Globe




McAdoo, W. G. (William Gibbs), 1863-1941, “Statement given out by Ex-Secretary of the Treasury,” 1921 March 4, WWP15063, Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History Woodrow Wilson Documents, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.