Spanish Minister Plenipotentiary in Washington Enrique Dupuy de Lôme to Spanish Minister of State Pio Gullón y Iglesias
Washington, January 24, 1898.
Since my conference of this morning with Day,1 the latter went to see the President,2 and by telephone appointed 3 o’clock p. m. for me to call. I have just seen him, and he told me that the result of our conference and the reports concerning the commercial negotiations confirmed by Woodford3 have been so satisfactory that the President has determined to send the Maine to Habana as a mark of friendship, and the Secretary of the Navy4 would so state to the press. Day has also given a similar statement to the papers. Lee5 will do the same in Habana, and the representative of the United States at Madrid. Speaking of the matter, Day said that if Lee had requested a vessel for the protection of the lives and property of Americans in Habana, naturally one would have been sent; but, the occasion for that having passed, the sending of the vessel simply as a visit must be taken as an act of friendly courtesy and not looked upon in any other aspect; that the President believes it has been a mistake not to have had an American war vessel visit Cuba in the past three years, because now what is a fresh proof of international courtesy is looked upon as a hostile act. The Secretary of the Navy has given to the press the following statement:
The rumors which were current yesterday regarding the movements of the fleet and disturbances in Habana are far from having foundation. Circumstances have become so normal, the situation so quiet, and relations so cordial that our war vessels are to renew their friendly visits to Cuban ports, entering and leaving those ports to go to ports of other neighboring friendly countries. The first vessel to make a visit of this kind will be the Maine.6
Source Note Print: Spanish Diplomatic Correspondence, p. 68.
Footnote 1: Assistant Secretary of State William R. Day.
Footnote 2: President William McKinley.
Footnote 3: American Ambassador to Spain Stewart L. Woodford. On 28 January 1898, The New York Times reported that negotiations concerning trade reciprocity between the United States and Spain were “well along toward completion.”
Footnote 4: Secretary of the Navy John D. Long.
Footnote 5: United States Consul in Havana Fitzhugh Lee.
Footnote 6: As recently as 20 January Dupuy had visited Day and informed him that the Spanish government would view a visit to Cuba by an American warship as an unfriendly act and might result in a break in relations between Spain and the United States. Day replied that the Governor General of Cuba controlled the army so how could Spain object if the United States sent a warship to protect American citizens and property. Four days later, Dupuy was summoned and told that McKinley had decided to resume the practice of friendly visits. Spain’s only recourse was to accept the visit and announce that a Spanish warship, Vizcaya, would, in turn, pay a friendly visit to New York. Blow, A Ship to Remember, 81-82.