PRESIDENT HAS POWER TO VETO ROOSEVELT DIVISIONS
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago today, May 14, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson was in the process of making a decision on whether or not to veto a provision in the Army Bill which would authorize him to accept four volunteer divisions, known as the "Roosevelt Divisions", for service in France.
The Chicago Daily Tribune reported that the officers of the general staff wanted the President to veto the volunteer divisions. Despite the view of "many outside the army" that Mr. Wilson would accept the volunteers and give former president Theodore Roosevelt a Brigadier General's commission, the Tribune says that there are only two individuals who know for sure, the President of the United States and "perhaps" Secretary of War Newton D. Baker.*
*On May 21, 1917, Theodore Roosevelt, after consulting with the men who signed on to raise units, informed the volunteers that the President had announced his decision not to accept the Roosevelt divisions and that accordingly they would be disbanded leaving each man free to serve his country in some other fashion.
"Wilson Holds Fate of Hopes of Roosevelt," The Chicago Daily Tribune, May 15, 1917.
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt
Photo by B. J. Falk, 1898
Library of Congress Image