Key Pittman to Woodrow Wilson


Key Pittman to Woodrow Wilson


Pittman, Key, 1872-1940




1918 November 11


Senator Pittman asks if he would be more valuable at home or in Paris.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920)


Danna Faulds






Document scan was taken from Library of Congress microfilm reel of the Wilson Papers. WWPL volunteers transcribed the text.


My dear Mr. President:-

It would afford me great happiness to see you in person so that I might express to you the feeling of pride and moral elation your message stimulated in my mind and soul for our country and for our President. It invincibly arms us all in our now fixed will to fight with you patiently and against every obstruction and harrassment and without counting the temporary cost until your great ideals become realisms. I know, however, that it would be inconsiderate in my to ask even a moment of your time, so I must content myself with these poor expressions of my feelings. I am enclosing a copy of a statement that I have given to the press.

There is another matter that disturbs me greatly, with regard to which I trust that you will briefly advise me. Since the beginning of the war I have desired deeply to view the situation with my own eyes. Partly it is true from natural curiosity, but partly for a higher purpose. I am confident that your principles will be adopted--I hope not reluctantly by the Peace Conference. Some of these principles have already been denounced by Republican leaders, and I have no doubt that any treaty embracing them will be fought upon the floor of the Senate. These principles, in the very nature of things, will affect every phase of our life. I had hoped to watch and listen to the actions and arguments of the statesmen and business men of the countries with whom we must deal. I desired the local atmosphere for my own information and for the prestige that it might give me in the debates in the Committee on Foreign Relations and upon the floor of the Senate.

Mr. Hoover, with whom I have cooperated on a number of occasions, on last night told me of his intended departure, and was kind enough to urge that I go upon the same steamer. I realize the danger of a member of the legislative body going to Europe at this time. I understand that the giving of any interviews might be embarrassing to the Executive. This matter, however, does not concern me, as I take no extraordinary pleasure in advertisement. The question in my mind is whether I could be of more value in the support of your Administration by remaining here or going to Europe. I am not on the Finance Committee, yet I might be of some assistance if I remain here in presenting to the individuals, or such as are my friends, your view of the situation. This, however, could probably be done by members of the committee in a far more effective way that could be accomplished by me.

I trust, Mr. President, that you will not take the trouble to answer this letter by mail but will have me notified of your views over the telephone.


Key Pittman

The President,
The White House.

Original Format



Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




Pittman, Key, 1872-1940, “Key Pittman to Woodrow Wilson,” 1918 November 11, WWP25441, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.