Newton D. Baker to Woodrow Wilson


Newton D. Baker to Woodrow Wilson


Baker, Newton Diehl, 1871-1937




1917 November 3


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers, 1786-1957


My dear Mr. President

I have received your note asking me to send you a memorandum of legislation desired by the War Department from the present Congress. There is no legislation desired outside of the usual routine of appropriations and minor amendments to existing laws; and, therefore, nothing of a sufficiently radical character to be entitled to mention in your address.

If a convenient place for it could be found in your address it occurs to me to suggest that it would be agreeable to the country to have you suggest to Congress the wisdom of passing a law authorizing suitable honors and badges of distinction as a reward for unusual service and bravery in action; and that such emblems as typify these services might be awarded by the Commander in Chief of our forces to men in the armies of other nations associated with us in the name of the people of the United States.

You have doubtless observed in the dispatches that the War Cross and some other decorations have been offered to Americal sailors and soldiers by both the French and British governments, and Congress might very well authorize the acceptance of these tokens, and a reciprocal use of those devised for our own Army.

Of course, the Medal of Honor is our highest military award, and corresponds to the Victoria Cross of the British. A less distinguished honor which might be more freely distributed would seem to be highly desirable.

Respectfully yours,
Newton D. Baker
Secretary of War.

The President,
The White House.

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




Baker, Newton Diehl, 1871-1937, “Newton D. Baker to Woodrow Wilson,” 1917 November 3, WWP22127, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.