Please treat this as entirely confidential. Cordially yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
The only dissension in the Council is over the use that will be made of Hoover. Houston, I think, is rather making a mistake, though it may work out all right. I hope it will.
Don’t “bat” us; we are a nervous lot right now. ...
“Lane was among the first to grasp the bigness of the danger to the allied cause,” James S. Harlan says, “in Germany’s underwater attack on the merchant marine of the world. He also realized the magnitude of the task of frustrating the new peril and the need of prompt measures to save the situation. Lane had no anxieties or hesitations in his personal contact with big men; but he had a genuine fear of small men when big things were doing. And so in this great emergency he naturally thought of Schwab. How well I recall the fine force and vigor in his expression when, rising from his chair and standing with clenched fist pointed at me, he said in substance:—’The President ought to send for Schwab and hand him a treasury warrant for a billion dollars and set him to work building ships, with no government inspectors or supervisors or accountants or auditors or other red tape to bother him. Let the President just put it up to Schwab’s patriotism and put Schwab on his honor. Nothing more is needed. Schwab will do the job.’
“This was a full year before Schwab was called down to Washington to talk over the question of building ships.”
To Will Irwin Paris, France
Washington, July 21, 1917
My dear will,—I have just received your letter. Thank you very much for what you say of my speech. I am doing my damndest to keep things going here but it is awfully hard work, because the minute my head raises above the water some neighboring ship plugs it.
I think you are dead right in staying with the Post. The feeling here is that we are not getting real facts regarding the desperateness of the U-boat situation. We need to be told facts in order to have our minds challenged. We are not cowards, and I hope you will give us realistic pictures of just what is happening if you can. ...
My boy is the youngest lieutenant in the Army—nine-teen. He goes next week to Illinois as an instructor in aviation, and I suppose in a little while when he gets the machines, he will be crossing over.
With warm affection, my dear Will. Always yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE
To Robert Lansing Secretary of State
Beverly, Massachusetts. [August, 1917]