Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt to Henry White, Secretary of the United States Embassy in London

[Extract]

March 9, 1898.

 

Henry White, Esq.,

     American Embassy,

          London, England.

My dear White:

     . . .Yes, I knew about those Brazilian cruisers. I suppose we shall purchase them. I am not myself very much in favor of purchasing anything but 1st class armored cruisers or battleships, and large seagoing torpedo craft of the “destroyer” type. It would be a mistake to lumber our navy up with valueless craft. A year ago we could have ended a war with Spain with very little difficulty. The delay has steadily been to our disadvantage, but we can still end it without much difficulty if we act with promptness a decision. Of course the real time to strike was a year and a half ago, when we had most excuse and would have struck to most advantage. . . .1

Faithfully yours,      

Theodore Roosevelt

Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, PTR, roll 9.

Footnote 1: A reference to the American reaction to the reconcentrado policies of Gov.-Gen. Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau. More than 500,000 Cubans were forced into these camps in order cut off civilian support for the insurgents. Internees suffered from disease and starvation and fatality rates in some camps reached as high as 40 percent. Tucker, Encyclopedia of the Spanish American War, vol. 1, 155.

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