Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Documentary Histories
Spanish-American War

THE Maine DISASTER

_________

Its Cause Not Yet Discovered,

and Nothing to Be

Done Until It Is.

__________

THE PRESIDENT WAITING,

BUT PREPARING TO ACT.

________

Evidences of a Determination to Adopt

Stern Measures if Necessary

___________

Senor du Bosc, Spain’s Charge d’Af

faires,1 Says There Are No Mines

in Havana Harbor.

____

     The policy of President McKinley2 and his official advisers respecting the action to follow the investigation of the Maine disaster is declared to be dependent entirely upon the findings of the naval court of inquiry. It is said, on the authority of men intimately associated with the Administration, that no news bearing upon the cause of the explosion in the harbor of Havana has been received which has not been communicated to the public, and that the President and the members of the Cabinet are as much in the dark as everybody else.

     The only course for the Administration to pursue, it is said, is to await the presentation of the report of the court of inquiry, and then to act promptly in the direction suggested by the evidence gathered by the court. While it is insisted that this position will be maintained to the letter, evidences multiply that the War and Navy Departments are pushing the preparations in every direction for the adoption of vigorous measure in case it should be necessary to employ force to carry into effect the policy to be determined upon as the result of the naval inquiry.

     One of the most interesting contributions made yesterday to the small sum of information thus far gathered respecting the cause of the disaster to the Maine was an emphatic denial by Señor du Bosc, Chargé d’Affaires of the Spanish Legation in Washington, of the published reports that the bed of the harbor of Havana is covered with mines placed there long ago by the Spanish authorities in anticipation of the possible appearance of a hostile fleet. The denial is couched in the most explicit terms, ending with the declaration that the suggestion is regarded as “an insult to Spain,” and, unless disproved by the official investigation now in progress, removes from consideration one of the theories of the disaster which has been advanced in many quarters.

     The court of inquiry continued its work in Havana yesterday, and it is announced that its members will leave for Key West to-night, at the latest. The work of the divers and wreckers in the hull of the Maine is proceeding slowly under unfavorable conditions. The Paymaster’s safe, containing money and valuable papers, was brought to the surface yesterday. No more bodies have been recovered.

     The wounded men in the hospital at Havana are all progressing favorably with the exception of Fred Holzer3 of this city, whose condition is still critical.

Source Note Print: The New York Times, February 26, 1898.

Footnote 1: Juan du Bosc, Spanish interim Chargé d’Affaires.

Footnote 2: President William McKinley

Footnote 3: Ordinary Seaman Frederick C. Holzer of Brooklyn, later died from his injuries.

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