The first thing is to let Russia and France have money. And the second thing, to see that Russia has munitions, of which they are short—depending largely, too largely, upon Japan. I shouldn’t be surprised if we would operate the Russian railroads. And ships, ships! How we do need ships, and there are none in the world. Ships to feed England and to make the Russian machine work. Hindenburg is to turn next toward Petrograd—he is only three hundred miles away now. I fear he will succeed. But that does not mean the conquest of Russia! The lovable, kindly Russians are not to be conquered,—and it makes me rejoice that we are to be with them.
All sides need aeroplanes—for the war that is perhaps the greatest of all needs; and there Germany is strongest. Ned will go among the first. He is flying alone now and is enjoying the risk, —the consciousness of his own skill. Anne is very brave about it.
This is the program as far as we have gone: Navy, to make a line across the sea and hunt submarines; Army, one million at once, and as many more as necessary as soon as they can be got ready. Financed by income taxes largely. Men and capital both drafted.
I’m deep in the work. Have just appointed a War-Secretary of my own—an ex-Congressman named Lathrop Brown from New York, who is to see that we get mines, etc., at work. I wish you were here but the weather would be too much for you, I fear. Very hot right now!
Sometime I’ll tell you how we stopped the strike. It was a big piece of work that was blanketed by the Supreme Court’s decision next day. But we came near to having something akin to Civil War. Much love, my dear boy.
F. K. L.
Grosvenor Clarkson, Director of the Council of National Defense, in recording the activities of that body says:—
“It is, of course, well known that Secretary Lane, as a member of the Council of National Defense, played a dramatic and successful part in the settlement of the threatened great railroad strike of March, 1917. By resolution of the Council of National Defense of March 16, 1917, Secretary Lane and Secretary of Labor Wilson, as members of the Council, and Daniel Willard, President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and Samuel Gompers of the Advisory Commission, were designated to represent the government, at the meeting in New York with the representatives of the railroad brotherhoods and railroad executives—the meeting that stopped the strike.”
TO FRANK I. COBB NEW YORK WORLD
Washington, April 13, 1917
My dear frank,—I have your note and am thoroughly in sympathy with it. The great need of France at this moment is to get ships to carry the supplies across the water. It is a secret, but a fact, that France has 600,000 tons of freight in New York and other harbors waiting to ship. I am in favor of taking all the German ships under requisition, paying for their use eventually, but this is a matter of months. Immediately, I think we should take all the coastwise ships, or the larger portion of them. The Navy colliers and Army transports can be put into the business of carrying supplies to France.