I realize that if it goes through it will be greatest jewel of my administration.... It is strange how one happens on this sort of thing. When I made that speech in New York advocating the arbitration of questions, even those affecting the honor of a nation, I had no definite policy in view. I was inclined, if I remember rightly, merely to offset the antagonism to the four battleships for which I was then fighting, and I threw out that suggestion merely to draw the sting of the old [Andrew] Carnegie and other peace cranks, and now the suggestion threatens to become the main fact of my four years as president.
William Howard Taft (1857–1930), U.S. president. Butt to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Clara F. Butt, April 30, 1911. Archie Butt, Taft and Roosevelt: The Intimate Letters of Archie Butt, Military Aide, 2: 635, Doubleday, Doran & Company (1930).
Written while serving as military aide to President Taft.