Note to all foreign representatives in Washington.
Washington, July 15, 1898.
Sir: With reference to the blockade maintained by the United States of various ports in Cuba, and of the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as of any other ports that are now or may hereafter be blockaded by the United States during the war with Spain, I have the honor to suggest that it is desirable that neutral men-of-war, which may wish to enter or to depart from such blockaded ports, should pay due regard to the usual naval observances in such cases. While there is no disposition on the part of this Government to restrict the courteous permission heretofore accorded to neutral men-of-war to enter blockaded [Page 1160]ports, it is advisable that all risk of error or mischance should be avoided by due attention to the rules prescribed by prudence as well as by courtesy. To this end, a neutral man-of-war desiring to enter or to depart from a blockaded port should communicate with the senior officer of the blockading force.
With respect to the port of Habana, it is advisable that neutral men-of-war desiring to enter or to leave that port should, besides observing the above suggestions, approach the port from points between north by west and north by east, and follow the same general course in departing. As the officer commanding the blockading squadron is stationed north of Morro, such a course would enable vessels readily to communicate with him, and thus not only attend to a matter of proper naval ceremonial, but also to avoid the danger of a neutral man-of-war being mistaken for an enemy in the dusk, or in thick weather.