Commodore George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Station, to United States Consul at Manila Oscar F. Williams
Hong Kong, February 17, 1898
Having recently assumed command of the United States Naval Force on this Station, and being without definite information regarding the Philippines and our relations with them, I beg to address myself to you in that connection. I am considering the question of sending one of the smaller vessels of my squadron to Manila to communicate with you and to exchange salutes and calls with the Spanish authorities and will be glad if you will inform me if in your opinion this is advisable in view of the recent strained relations between the United States and Spain.
I beg also that you will inform me what Spanish war vessels are at present at Manila and in the Philippines and what if any, changes there have been in the land defenses of that port in recent years.1
I regret that it is not practicable for me to visit Manila in person at present.
respectfully sincerely yours
(Signed) George Dewey.
Commodore, U.S. Navy.
Source Note: CyS, DLC-MSS, PGD. Addressed before open: “O.F. Williams, Esq.,/U.S. Consul, Manila.” Signature was edited, crossing out “respectfully” and adding “sincerely” and “(Signed) George Dewey./ Commodore, U.S. Navy.”
Footnote 1: Williams received this letter and sent Dewey a reply through the United States Consul at Hong Kong Rounsevelle Wildman. Williams corresponded regularly with Dewey, sending him information on the state of the insurgency, Manila’s defenses, and the situation of the Spanish Navy at Manila. He joined Dewey as an advisor at Mirs Bay on 27 April, and was aboard the Baltimore at the Battle of Manila Bay on 1 May. See: Dewey to Long, 27 April 1898; and Williams to Asst. Sec. of State William R. Day, 4 May 1898.