Wilbur Wright to Octave Chanute

Dayton, April 28, 1910

I have no answer to my last letter and fear that the frankness with which delicate subjects were treated may have blinded you to the real spirit and purpose of the letter. I had noted in the past few years a cooling of the intimate friendship which so long existed between us, but it was your letter of recent date and newspaper clippings to which I referred, that brought to my mind the fact that a real soreness existed on your side as well as on ours, which if not eradicated would make our friendship a mere travesty of what it once was. My brother and I do not form many intimate friendships, and do not lightly give them up. I believed that unless we could understand exactly how you felt, and you could understand how we felt, our friendship would tend to grow weaker instead of stronger. Through ignorance or thoughtlessness, each would be touching the other's sore spots and causing unnecessary pain. We prize too highly the friendship which meant so much to us in the years of our early struggles to willingly see it worn away by uncorrected misunderstandings, which might be corrected by a frank discussion. I realized that few friendships are able to stand the strain of frankness, but I believed that it would be better to discuss matters freely than to permit small misunderstandings to gradually grow into big ones by neglect. My object was not to give offense, but to remove it. If you will read the letter carefully I think you will see that the spirit is that of true friendship. I think the differences of opinion which threaten trouble are not so much in regard to facts as in regard to forms of expression and manner of statement. That is why I have suggested that a joint statement should be prepared which would do justice to both and injustice to neither. We have not the least wish that your helpfulness to us should be kept from the public, as one of the interviews attributed to you seemed to intimate. Our gratitude and our friendship are genuine. It is our wish that anything which might cause bitterness should be eradicated as soon as possible. If we discuss matters in this spirit I believe all serious misunderstanding can be removed.

Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright, May 14, 1910