Assistant Secretary of the Navy Charles H. Allen to Commodore Winfield S. Schley, Commander, Second Blockading Squadron
September 22nd, 1898.
- C O N F I D E N T I AL -
S I R : -
The Department desires you to obtain possession, when practicable, in the name of the Navy Department, of all naval stations and naval property, in Porto Rico, that may be evacuated or left behind by the Spanish Government. It is especially desirable that this Department should become possessed, as soon as practicable, of all land, buildings, wharves and docks that may be under the jurisdiction of the Spanish Navy Department, as it is possible that the United States War Department may try to obtain the custody of some of this property, and, in view of the position our Navy must necessarily occupy with reference to Porto Rican affairs, the importance of being well provided with property of the class above referred to, is evident.
Your attention is also invited to the fact that this Department can probably, at the present time, become possessed of this, and may be also other valuable property, without much difficulty, while if this property once passes into the custody of some other branch of the United States Government, a special act of congress will be necessary in order to effect a transfer, and this would undoubtedly encounter much opposition from the other Department concerned.
This letter to be returned to the Bureau of Navigation.
Source Note: CbCyS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 29, p. 449. Addressed below close: Rear-Admiral/Winfield S. Schley, U.S.N./Flagship NEWARK,/San Juan, P. R.”