At the last meeting of the Cabinet, we again urged that we should convoy our own ships, but the President said that this was not possible without going to Congress, and he was not ready to do that now. The Navy people say that to convoy would be foolish because it would make a double target, but it seems to me the right thing to risk a naval ship in the enforcement of our right.
At our dinner to the President last night he said he was not in sympathy with any great preparedness—that Europe would be man and money poor by the end of the war. I think he is dead wrong in this, and as I am a member of the National Council of Defense, I am pushing for everything possible. This week we have had a meeting of the Council every day—the Secretary of War, Navy, Interior, Commerce, and Labor—with an Advisory Commission consisting of seven business men. We are developing a plan for the mobilization of all our national industries and resources so that we may be ready for getting guns, munitions, trucks, supplies, airplanes, and other material things as soon as war comes—if not too soon. It is a great organization of industry and resources. I think that I shall urge Hoover as the head of the work. His Belgian experience has made him the most competent man in this country for such work. He has promised to come to me as one of my assistants but the other work is the larger, and I can get on with a smaller man. He will correlate the industrial life of the nation against the day of danger and immediate need. France seems to be ahead in this work. The essentials are to commandeer all material resources of certain kinds (steel, copper, rubber, nickel, etc.); then have ready all drawings, machines, etc., necessary in advance for all munitions and supplies; and know the plant that can produce these on a standard basis.
The Army and Navy are so set and stereotyped and stand-pat that I am almost hopeless as to moving them to do the wise, large, wholesale job. They are governed by red-tape,—worse than any Union.
The Chief of Staff fell asleep at our meeting to-day—Mars and Morpheus in one!
To-day’s meeting has resulted in nothing, though in Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Europe we have trouble. The country is growing tired of delay, and without positive leadership is losing its keenness of conscience and becoming inured to insult. Our Ambassador in Berlin is held as a hostage for days—our Consuls’ wives are stripped naked at the border, our ships are sunk, our people killed—and yet we wait and wait! What for I do not know. Germany is winning by her bluff, for she has our ships interned in our own harbors.
Well, dear boy, I’m not a pacifist as you see. Much love,
To George W. Lane
Washington, February 20, 
Dear George,—Another Cabinet meeting and no light yet on what our policy will be as to Germany. We evidently are waiting for the “overt act,” which I think Germany will not commit. We are all, with the exception of one or two pro-Germans, feeling humiliated by the situation, but nothing can be done.