The country has abundant faith in its Naval officers, while it has no reason to be confident of the good judgment of the civil head of the Navy. Perhaps Secretary Daniels is as well fitted to his exhalted position as many of his predecessors, but these are perilous times and there is a widespread desire to have our defenses put in good order. It seems that the statements of an officer of the large experience of Admiral Fiske should be heeded. It is not to be doubted that he has the good of the Navy and of the country at heart.
The withdrawal of Admiral Fiske from his post as Aid for Operations in the Navy Department is not a matter of trifling importance. As the foremost among the advisers of the Secretary, his appointment to the new post of Chief of Naval Operations seemed logical. The report is that the Admiral has requested to be transferred because he is not in accord with the policy that prevails at the department. What is that policy? The people would like to know. Is it chiefly concerned with the prevention of the use of alcoholic liquor and the appointment of new chaplains? Does it depend altogether on the Secretary's conception of himself as a headmaster in a school? If so, it is perhaps an amiable and well-meant policy, but it does not meet present requirements.
The inference that an experienced officer like Admiral Fiske would prefer not to take up the responsibilities of Chief of Naval Operations under the present conditions, is somewhat disturbing.
The New York Times, April 4, 1915