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Rear Admiral George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Squadron, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long


Hong Kong, June 27, 1898.

     Receipt of telegram of June 14th is acknowledged. Aguinaldo,1 insurgent leader, with thirteen of his staff, arrived May 19th, by permission on Nanshan. Established self Cavite, outside arsenal under protection of our guns, and organized his army. I have had several conferences with him, generally of a personal nature. Consistently I have refrained from assisting him in anyway with the forces under my command, and on several occasions I have declined requests that I should do so, telling him the squadron could not act until the arrival of the United States troops. At the same time I have given him to understand that I consider insurgents as friends, being opposed to a common enemy. (He has gone) to attend a meeting of insurgent leaders for the purpose of forming a civil government. Aguinaldo has acted independently of the squadron, but has kept me advised of his progress, which has been wonderful. I have allowed to pass by water, recruits, arms and ammunition and to take such Spanish arms and ammunition from the Arsenal as he needed; have advised frequently to conduct the war humanely, which he has done invariably. My relations with him are cordial, but I am not in his confidence. The United States is not bound in any way to assist insurgents by any act or promise and he is not to my knowledge committed to assist us.2 I believe he expects to capture Manila without my assistance, but doubt ability, they not yet having many guns. In my opinion, these people are far superior in their intelligences and more capable of self government than the natives of Cuba, and I am familiar with both races.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 80, Entry 194, vol. 1, pp. 233-34. Addressed before opening: “Secnav,/Washington.”

Footnote 1: Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy.

Footnote 2: This is Dewey’s response to a previous message from Secretary Long ordering him not to make any political alliances with the insurgents. See: Long to Dewey, 26 May 1898.

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