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Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Secretary of State William R. Day


     Washington, July 8th 1898

The Honorable,

The Secretary of State.


     Appended you will find a letter from C. H. Allen U. S. Shipping Commissioner, Pascagoula, Miss. concerning the transshipment in Vera Cruz [Mexico] of certain coal brought there for commercial purposes by the American Schooner Clara A. Phinney, and transported by means of lighters in the harbor of Vera Cruz by parties in that city, to a Spanish cruiser.

     It is requested that the Consul, or some other appropriate officer, be directed to enquire into this matter and report, with a view of preventing, if possible, such transactions in the future.


John D. Long


Mr. C.H. Allen had written to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long the following letter on 28 June, which was enclosed:


Office of the U.S. Shipping Commissioner,

Port of Pasagoula, Miss.,

June 28th, 1898.

Hon. Secretary of the Navy,

Washington, D.C.

I feel it my duty to say, I learned through a letter which was read in my presence, that the Schr. “Clara A. Phinney,” loaded with coal from Mobile to Vera Cruz, Mexico, on arriving at Vera Cruz, was requested to land said coal on board a Spanish cruiser, but the Captain refused to do so, and afterwards the coal was put on lighters, from them transferred to this Spanish cruiser. I am an American, and shall do all in my power to defend and preserve her interests.



C. H. Allen,

U. S. Shipping Commissioner.

Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG 59, Entry 171. For the first document at top right corner: “125092.” In the center is a Department of State stamp dated July 1898 and in handwriting underneath the date: “Ans. and copy to Treas. July 11.” For the enclosure (second document): DNA, RG 59. At top right corner: “125092” and “COPY.”

Footnote 1: As requested by the Department of the Navy, the State Department cooperated by informing their consuls in the Caribbean, as well as in other parts of the world, to try to facilitate naval operations. They did so by filing protests when a neutral country could have helped Spain to obtain coal or other provisions, or conversely if it hindered the U.S. to acquire them.

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