Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Lieutenant William S. Sims, Naval Attaché in Paris, to Commodore Arent S. Crowninshield, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation

TRANSLATION OF CIPHER DISPATCH

FROM PARIS,                       

Received Washington, July 18, 1898.  

Bureau of Navigation,

     From Special Agent at Canary Islands:1

          One hundred and sixty thousand to 200,000 tons of coal at Canary Islands. Batteries being rapidly mounted, but service badly disorganized and with insufficient ammunition. Example: two guns at Arrecif de Lanzarette, Canary Islands,2 were supplied with ammunition of different caliber. The Spanish officers severely criticize the government and believe they will make a stout but unsuccessful resistance.

     At Palma, Canary Islands, 6500 men.3 Four batteries of 24-centimeter guns completed between La Luz and the city,4 and battery being mounted behind port on peninsula north of Palma, Canary Islands, also three batteries of artillery.

     At Santa Cruz de Teneriffe5 same number of guns and troops.

     At Lanzarette, Canary Islands, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Palma, Canary Islands, Gomers, Canary Islands, Hierro, Canary Islands, each two modern guns and 5000 men in all.6

     Arneas and Guia and Galdar and Agnaete and Telde and Ingenio and Aguimes each 250 men. All abovementioned troops do not include militia.7

     Sentiment of islanders very lukewarm for Spain: bitterly hostile to United States and to England. They would welcome annexation to France. Further details later.

SIMS.             

Source Note: TCy, DNA, RG 313, Entry 47. Document was forward by Secretary of the Navy John D. Long to RAdm. William T. Sampson, commander, North Atlantic Fleet, on 19 July.

Footnote 1: The Eastern Squadron was considering stopping at the Canary Islands, a possession of Spain that was located off the coast of Africa.

Footnote 2: That is, Arrecife on the island of Lanzarote.

Footnote 3: That is, La Palma, the most northwesterly of the Canary Islands.

Footnote 4: La Luz is today a neighborhood in Santa Cruz de la Palma, which is undoubtedly the “city” referred to here.

Footnote 5: That is, Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Footnote 6: Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro are all names of islands in the Canary Islands.

Footnote 7: Playa de la Arena and Guiade Islora are on the island of Tenerife; Gáldar, Agaete, Telde, Ingenio, and Agüimes are on the island of Gran Canaria.

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