Selections from the Journal of Charles G. Dawes
March 22. . . . The President1 talked again of the Cuban situation. His policy is being assisted by events. He had hoped and still hopes to stop the suffering in Cuba without war. But he expects that it will be stopped. He does not expect to send a long message or recommendations to Congress on Monday with the report from the Naval commission. Intervention will be on broader grounds than the question of responsibility for the disaster to the Maine.
March 25. The report of the Naval Commission arrived. The Cabinet remained in session nearly all day. Did not see the President and as I write this I do not know what the nature of the report is.
March 26. Saw the President at 1 o’clock. A peace delegation of Quakers called and came into the Cabinet room while I was there. The Naval Commission reports the Maine explosion was an external one first, followed by an explosion of one of the smaller magazines. This report will go to Congress with a brief note of commitment. It will be followed Tuesday by a message from the President on the Cuban situation, asking an appropriation to feed the starving in Cuba. This aid granted, he will proceed to feed these people whether Spain objects or not. He will not intercept the Spanish flotilla now en route to Porto Rico. He will not request their recall, as this might be acceded to by Spain placing him under obligation. Again, if they were recalled by his request and hostilities should open shortly after in Havana harbor, he would be accused of treachery and bad faith.
March 27 . . . Neither the President nor Sagasta2 desire war. But the President proposes to intervene to stop the suffering. His purpose is in accord with the dictates of humanity. If this purpose of relieving suffering is interfered with, he will use force and his conscience and the world will justify it. He is making a magnificent fight for peace and God grant he may succeed. He will have won a greater victory for peace than was ever won by an Emperor in war. Nothing disturbs him in his great and good resolves.
Source Note Print: Charles G. Dawes, A Journal of the McKinley Years (Chicago: Lakeside Press, 1950), pp. 147-49. Dawes, who was a personal friend of Pres. William McKinley and met regularly with him, served in the administration as comptroller of the currency.
Footnote 1: President William McKinley
Footnote 2: Spanish Prime Minister Práxedes Mateo Sagasta.