Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Assistant Secretary Of The Navy Theodore Roosevelt To Captain Caspar F. Goodrich

 

[Washington, DC] May 28,1897.

My Dear Captain Goodrich:

Your letter of the 22nd instant to the Secretary was referred to me to think up a special problem for the Staff and Class at the War College.1 I enclose one which will, I think, be of interest and importance in certain contingencies.

Very sincerely yours,

Theodore Roosevelt       

 

(1 enclosure.)

May 26,1897.

 

Special Confidential Problem for the War College:2

Japan makes demands on Hawaiian Islands.

This country intervenes.

What force will be necessary to uphold the intervention, and how shall it be employed?

Keeping in mind possible complications with another Power on the Atlantic Coast (Cuba).3

Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, PTR, roll 313. Captain Caspar F. Goodrich was president of the Naval War College from 1896 to 1898.

Footnote 1: Roosevelt relied heavily on the Naval War College for strategic advice. For example, in a letter dated 29 November 1897 to RAdm. Montgomery Sicard, he wrote: “In connection with the scheme of work for the [North Atlantic] squadron I have talked over with the War College people two or three points which might desirably developed into something useful.” See, Roosevelt to Sicard, 29 November 1897, DLC-MSS, TRP, reel 313.

Footnote 2: Theodore Roosevelt was concerned about the growing naval and military strength of the Japanese Empire in light of U.S. plans to annex Hawaii.

Footnote 3: With his plans, Goodrich sent a letter dated 23 June 1897 expressing his grave concern for a Japanese invasion of Hawaii, and even the West Coast. Goodrich also wrote that:

I hope you will not suppose for a moment that any indisposition exists on the part of any naval officer to undertake, cheerfully and zealously, whatever may be assigned him; but you have done the College the honor to ask its opinion, and the College is bound to express that opinion frankly, while it regrets that facts seem to forbid a rapid, vigorous, aggressive war.

Capt. Goodrich was part of the ongoing dialogue among the naval officers which included the Sicard plan. See: Goodrich to Roosevelt, 23 June 1897, DLC-MSS, TRP, reel 313; and Plan of Operations Against Spain (1897).