https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/remarks-accepting-the-republican-nomination-for-president

Message to the Senate Returning Without Approval "An Act to Remove the Charge of Desertion from the Naval Record of John Glass"

March 11, 1902

To the Senate of the United States:

I return without approval Senate bill, No. 1258 entitled "An act to remove the charge of desertion from the naval record of John Glass."

There can be no graver crime than the crime of desertion from the Army or Navy, especially during war; it is then high treason to the nation, and is justly punishable by death. No man should be relieved from such a crime, especially when nearly forty years have passed since it occurred, save on the clearest possible proof of his real innocence. In this case the statement made by the affiant before the committee does not in all points agree with his statement made to the Secretary of the Navy. In any event it is incomprehensible to me that he should not have made effective effort to get back into the Navy.

He had served but little more than a month when he deserted, and the war lasted for over a year afterwards, yet he made no effort whatever to get back into the war. Under such circumstances it seems to me that to remove the charge of desertion from the Navy and give him an honorable discharge would be to falsify the records and do an injustice to his gallant and worthy comrades who fought the war to a finish. The names of the veterans who fought in the civil war make the honor list of the Republic, and I am not willing to put upon it the name of a man unworthy of the high position.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Theodore Roosevelt, Message to the Senate Returning Without Approval "An Act to Remove the Charge of Desertion from the Naval Record of John Glass" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/206927

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