Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Spanish Minister Plenipotentiary in Washington Enrique Dupuy de Lôme to Spanish Minister of State Pio Gullón y Iglesias

        Washington, February 7, 1898

The opinion of various person whom I have consulted in the last few days is that the movement of the American vessels has no other purpose than for its effect upon the jingoes,1 as is proved by the steadiness and security of the market and of the votes in Congress yesterday and within the past few days, refusing increase of cost for fortifications, armament, and munitions, and decreasing the appropriations asked by the Executive for that purpose.2 I continue in the belief that there was a moment when this Government believed that the Spanish régime in Cuba would not succeed; but as Lee’s3 predictions have failed, it is regaining faith and confidence. I am investigating the motive— if there is one— for the maneuver of the vessels. Now, and since the departure of the Brooklyn for St. Thomas and Columbia, it is reported that the Maine, with the Texas, will leave for New Orleans next week,4 a small cruiser taking the place of the former in Habana. The fleet at Lisbon will proceed to the north of Europe as soon as the admiral,5 who will substitute the present one,6 takes command.

Source Note Print: Spanish Diplomatic Correspondence, pp. 79-80.

Footnote 1: The U.S. Navy’s North Atlantic Squadron was then engaged in maneuvers off Dry Tortugas.

Footnote 2: Dupuy was referring to action on the Naval Appropriation Bill for fiscal year 1899. The bill was not passed until 12 April and when it did the appropriation for the Navy had been significantly increased. 55th Congress, 2d session, report no. 875.

Footnote 3: Consul General at Havana Fitzhugh Lee.

Footnote 4: The orders to dispatch Maine to New Orleans for Mardi Gras were cancelled.

Footnote 5: RAdm. John A. Howell. The European Squadron was withdrawn to American waters with the outbreak of war.

Footnote 6: RAdm. Thomas O. Selfridge.

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