Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to Captain Charles D. Sigsbee
Secret and Confidential. Washington Dec. 7, 1897
It is possible that riots and demonstrations may take place in Havana, directed against the lives and property of American citizens, and that the Spanish authorities may fail or be unable to protect the Consulate and the lives and property of Americans.
2. In case the United States Consul General at Havana should be unable to communicate with the Department of State and should require the presence of an American man-of-war at Havana, he has been authorized to communicate, direct, with you, and should you receive from him, by telegraph, or in any other manner, the letter “A”, signed by the Consul General, you will proceed, with all despatch, To Havana, and co-operate with him in the preservation of American lives and property.
3. You will communicate with him, at the earliest possible moment, indicating your readiness to aid, if need be, in the removal from Havana, of any members of the Consulate, or other citizens of the United States, in case it become desirable they should leave that port. As to what other and further things you shall do, the Department reposes confidence in your judgment, and not being able to foresee all the circumstances that may arise, will expect you to exercise your best judgment for the preservation of American life and property.
4. Immediately upon receiving the agreed upon signal from the Consul General at Havana, direct the “Detroit” to proceed, at once, to Matanzas, Cuba, to act in a similar manner at that place. This vessel has already been furnished with orders similar to those issued to you, and in case you find, upon your arrival at Key West, that she has proceeded to Havana, in pursuance of advices received from the Consul General, you will follow her to that port, and upon arrival, order her to Matanzas.
5. This communication is to be regarded as of the most confidential character, and is not to be communicated by you to any other person than Commander J.H. Dayton, U.S.S., Commanding the U.S.S. Detroit, without specific orders from the Department.
(Sig) John D. Long,
Source Note: CyS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 225. Addressed below close: “Captain/C.D.Sigsbee U.S.N./Commanding U.S.S. Maine,/Navy Yard, Norfolk, Va.” Appearing at top of document, just below “NAVY DEPARTMENT,” which is printing on stationery, is “67015” and “EC,” which are presumably the order number and the typist’s initials.