Letter to the National Amateur Wireless Association
Secretary Daniels' Views Regarding the Organization
Washington, Dec. 11, 1915.
Sir:--I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from you, a copy of which has just been brought to my attention by the Superintendent of Naval Radio Service.
I am in entire sympathy with the object of the proposed association which plans for the banding together of the thousands of amateur wireless operators in this country so that they may all be actuated by a common desire and impulse to uphold the laws relating to radio communication, to strengthen the hands of the Federal authorities in their endeavors to see that the radio stations of this country shall not be used for unfriendly or unneutral purposes, and further to promote a clear understanding of mutual rights by which radio communication at times of peace may be made effective and reliable by the elimination of unnecessary interference. Further, I can see in such an organization a means by which those young operators can play a considerable part in the large scheme of National Defense. It must be admitted that the reliable and rapid transmission of information constitutes a very important element in National security and defense, and if properly organized with some such object in view, I can conceive of great possibilities from the banding together of the many amateur operators in this country.
As to the acceptance of a post of honorary vice-president in such an organization, I feel that under present circumstances I must decline to accept, following a line of policy which has guided my actions since my advent into public life, and I am sure you can appreciate the reasons which prompt me to take this action.
With this declination, however, I beg to be allowed to suggest some ideas which may redound to the benefit of the government, if the policy of the organization is so shaped as to allow it, and your interest in practical plans for national defense may be enlisted. Some office of the proposed organization will undoubtedly be charged with the duty of recording the names and addresses of such amateurs as join the association. The Naval Radio Service will be particularly anxious to increase its operating personnel in time of public peril, when it would undoubtedly be called upon to man many more shore and ship stations than at present, and it may happen that many of the amateurs would desire to enlist in the naval service at such time for duty, thereby showing their desire to voluntarily serve their country in a way for which they are best fitted. Could I then request that the names and addresses of such amateur operators that may join your association be furnished to the Superintendent of Naval Radio Service who will be charged with the duty of communicating with them to obtain an expression of their desire or willingness to serve their country in time of need, and who will furnish them with information that will make easy the manner of expressing their willingness to thus become a factor in the large scheme of national defense?