Woodrow Wilson on How the Bodies of America's WWI Dead Are Handled Prior to Eventual Re-Burial in the US

October 9, 1918

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Woodrow Wilson on How the Bodies of America's WWI Dead Are Handled Prior to Eventual Re-Burial in the US
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 1320

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      Background

      With “The Great War” almost over, there were some 54,000 American bodies with which to contend; here Wilson explains, delicately, the system of burial currently employed, and states that as soon as the war is over, “the bodies of these heroes will be brought back to the United States.”

      Typed Letter Signed, as President, 1 page, quarto, The White House, Washington, October 9, 1918. To William C. Motter in St. Paul.
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      THE WHITE HOUSE
      WASHINGTON

      9 October, 1918.

      My dear Mr. Motter:

      Immediately upon the receipt of the letter signed by yourself, Mr. Bird, and Mr. Froelick, I took the matter of removing Mr. Reid's body, at once to this country, up with the War Department and am sorry to report that they have convinced me that it is not possible now.

      The system of taking care of the bodies of our soldiers who die in France is very carefully worked out. The graves are all marked, identified, identification tags are buried with the corpse, and we have a regular grave corps or burial corps by whom this whole matter is cared for.  After the war is over, the bodies of these heroes will be brought back to the United States.
        
      I need not tell you how gladly I would cooperate in this matter, if it seemed wise to make an exceptional case.

      With much regret,

      Cordially and sincerely yours,

      WOODROW WILSON


      Mr. William C. Motter,
      Merchants National Bank Bldg.,
      St. Paul, Minn.

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      Page 2 transcript
      THE WHITE HOUSE

      [...]SHINGTO[...]
      OCT 11
      930P
      [...]


      Mr. William C. Motter,
      Merchants National Bank Building,
      St. Paul, Minn.