Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

TELEGRAM

Washington, July 19, 1898.  

Dewey,

     Care American Consul,

          Hong Kong.1

     Avoid military occupation of the Caroline Islands or military interference with them.2

LONG.        

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 80, Entry 194, vol. 1, p. 304.

Footnote 1: United States Consul at Hong Kong Rounsevelle Wildman.

Footnote 2: This order was intended to prevent a possible conflict with German interests in the Pacific. As early as 14 May, the German Ambassador in England, Melchior Hubert Paul Gustav Graf von Hatzfeldt zu Trachenberg, approached the American Ambassador, John Hay, to discuss the possibility of Germany receiving a coaling station in the Philippines or a share of the Caroline Islands once the war was settled. Capturing any of the Carolina Islands might have further complicated peace negotiations with Spain and escalated tensions with Germany. Trask, War with Spain, 378. Moreover, as seen in a note from Sicard to Dewey on 31 July 1898, the War Board was concerned about the United States acquiring too many naval/coaling stations in the Pacific, where the American Navy was too weak to control them. See: Sicard to Dewey on 31 July 1898.

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