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Rear Admiral Montgomery Sicard, President of the Naval War Board, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long



Washington, D.C., May 19, 1898.


     The Board is more than ever impressed with the absolute importance of paying liberally for information from abroad, mostly conditioned upon the correctness of the information. For example, we are in the dark now concerning the whereabouts of both Cervera’s squadron and the Cadiz squadron,1 and quite likely a liberal disbursement would have put us in possession of correct information on both points.

     The Board thinks that the attaches at London, Paris, Berlin, and in Italy,2 should be made to understand that there is a considerable sum to the credit of the information department, which can be drawn upon judiciously, say fifty thousand dollars. What we appear to suffer from most seems to be an absence of correct information from abroad.



Rear Admiral, President of Board.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 80, Entry 194, vol. 1, p. 109. Addressed before opening: “To the Honorable/The Secretary of the Navy.”

Footnote 1: The squadrons of Adm. Pascual Cervera y Topete and Vice Adm. Manuel Cámara y Libermoore

Footnote 2: Lt. John C. Colwell in London, Lt. Albert P. Niblack in Berlin and Rome, and Lt. William S. Sims in Paris. The use of naval attachés, especially with Lt. William S. Sims in Paris with his network of informants in Spain, comprise the Navy’s European an intelligence effort. Patrick E. McGinty, “Intelligence and the Spanish American War” (PhD diss., Georgetown Univ., 1983), 378-89.

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