Woodrow Wilson to Committee
At the White House
My position is this: The only way I have been able to do my work here has been by denying myself liberties and pleasures of the sort you so kindly urge upon me now, and I have so consistently followed that rule that I should be at a hopeless disadvantage in explaining to large bodies of my fellow-citizens why I made an exception. I am caught in that difficulty. I have been trying to go to a celebration commemorative of the battle of Lake Erie, which is of national significance and in which the Government had a part by way of a subscription of money and a delegation of army officers who superintended the construction of that affair, but I am estopped from accepting an invitation of this sort unless occasion should arise in which it were necessary that I should say something that the public ought to know. Of course, occasions of this sort and of the character you so generously suggest do not lend themselves to that purpose. They are merely commemorative of great things which have happened and, of course, have an unpolitical character.
The President expressed the wish that the Committee do him the honor to bring the matter up at a later date.