[Untitled]

[Circular—Confidential.]

Sir: I append for your information copy of a circular instruction sent to-day to the United States consuls in maritime ports, directing them to watch and report the movements of Spanish ships of war and of all suspicious vessels.

Inasmuch as Spain has not adhered to the first article of the declaration subscribed by the signatories of the treaty of Paris of 1856, by which privateering was abolished, there may be reason to apprehend that, in the event of the present strained situation between the United States and Spain resulting in war, the Spanish Government may endeavor to resort to privateering as a means of increasing its offensive sea power. The inclosed instruction has especial reference to this contingency. It is expected that the vigilance of the consular officers will, the case arising, be efficiently supplemented by your own instant action in notifying the Government to which you are accredited of any information you may receive showing or reasonably suggesting that any vessel in a port of that country is being, or is proposed to be, fitted out for service as a privateer against the United States; and in such case you will ask that due diligence be employed to prevent any infringement of international law or of the laws of neutrality. Should the facts reported to you by the consul appear to require further evidence to support a remonstrance on your part, you will at once instruct the consul, by telegraph if need be, as to his duty in the premises.

In the event of any action by you in the sense of this instruction becoming necessary, you will fully advise the Department, using the telegraph if the matter be urgent or important.

Respectfully yours,

John Sherman.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

[Inclosure—Confidential.]

To the Consular Officers of the United States.

Gentlemen: You are hereby instructed to keep a sharp lookout for the arrival and departure of Spanish war ships or other suspicious vessels that may possibly be fitting out as privateers, and to telegraph [Page 1170]at once to the Department full information in the matter when in your discretion it seems of sufficient importance. In the case of suspected privateers you will also inform the diplomatic representative of the United States, if there be one in your country, in order that he can make proper representations to the Government, with a view of preventing the vessel’s departure, if possible. If there be no diplomatic representative in the country where you are stationed, or if you be in a colonial dependency, like representations should at once be made through the consul-general, if there be one, or if not, by you directly to the local authority. You will also be alert to catch anything that will be of interest or value in case hostilities begin, and keep the Department fully advised.

All consuls will be expected to remain at their posts during the continuance of the present conditions, and leaves of absence will only be granted in very exceptional cases and for reasons of the greatest urgency.

Respectfully yours,

William R. Day,
Assistant Secretary.

Sir: I transmit herewith copies of each of the following documents:

1.
House Doc. No. 405, Fifty-fifth Congress, second session, being the message of the President to Congress on the relations of the United States to Spain by reason of the warfare in the island of Cuba;1
2.
Senate Doc. No. 230, same Congress and session, containing the reports of the United States consular officers respecting the condition of the reconcentrados in Cuba, the state of war in that island, and the prospects of the projected autonomy; and1
3.
Senate Report No. 885, same Congress and session, being the report of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate relative to affairs in Cuba.1

These documents fully present the facts touching the situation in Cuba and show the reasons for the present attitude of this Government toward the question.

In addition to the copies now sent you a copy of each of the first two mentioned documents were mailed to you a few days ago without an accompanying dispatch.

Respectfully yours,

John Sherman.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

Sir: I confirm my telegram of the 22d instant, reading as follows:

In the event of hostilities between the United States and Spain the policy of this Government will be not to resort to privateering, but to adhere to the following recognized rules of international law:

  • First. The neutral flag covers enemy’s goods, with the exception of contraband of war;
  • Second. Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under an enemy’s flag, and
  • Third. Blockades in order to be binding must be effective.

Respectfully yours,

John Sherman.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

Sir: In connection with my telegram of the 22d instant, a copy of which is appended on the overleaf, I inclose herewith three copies of the President’s proclamation1 announcing the institution of a blockade of the north coast of Cuba between Cardenas and Bahia Honda, and the port of Cienfuegos, on the south side of the island.

Respectfully yours,

John Sherman.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

[Inclosure—Telegram.]

By proclamation to-day, under resolution of Congress approved 20th, President announces blockade of ports on north side of Cuba between Cardenas and Bahia Honda; also Cienfuegos, south side. Notify minister for foreign affairs.

Sherman.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

Sir: In connection with the Department’s telegram of the 25th instant, confirmed on the overleaf, I inclose herewith six copies of a proclamation2 by the President touching the existence of war between the United States and Spain.

You will communicate one copy to the Government to which you are accredited.

Respectfully yours,

J. B. Moore,
Acting Secretary.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

[Inclosure—Telegram.]

A joint resolution of Congress, approved April 20, directed intervention for the pacification and independence of the island of Cuba. The Spanish Government on April 21 informed our minister at Madrid [Page 1172]that it considered this resolution equivalent to a declaration of war, and that it had accordingly withdrawn its minister from Washington and terminated all diplomatic relations. Congress has therefore, by an act approved to-day, declared that a state of war exists between the two countries since and including April 21. You will inform the Government to which you are accredited, so that its neutrality may be assured in the existing war.

Sherman.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

Sir: I inclose for your information two copies of the instructions issued by the Treasury Department for the guidance of collectors of customs and others in the clearance of vessels and shipments therein during the war with Spain.

Respectfully yours,

J. B. Moore,
Acting Secretary.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

Clearance of vessels and shipments therein during the war with Spain.

[1898.—Treasury Department Circular, No. 72, Bureau of Navigation.]

To Collectors of Customs and others:

Your attention is directed to the following act of Congress, approved April 28, 1898, entitled “An act declaring that war exists between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain”:

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

  • “First. That war be, and the same is hereby, declared to exist, and that war has existed since the twenty-first day of April, anno Domini eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, including said day, between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain.
  • “Second. That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces of the United States, and to call into the actual service of the United States the militia of the several States to such extent as may be necessary to carry this act into effect.”

The following instructions are issued for your guidance:

  • First. Clearance will be refused to any vessel for a port or place blockaded by the United States. (The President, on April 25th, proclaimed a blockade of the north coast of Cuba, including ports on said coast between Cardenas and Bahia Honda and the port of Cienfuegos on the south coast of Cuba.)
  • Second. Clearance will be refused to any vessel carrying goods which are contraband of war for any Spanish port.
  • Third. Clearance will be refused to any vessel carrying coal for any Spanish port.
  • Fourth. Clearance will be refused to any American vessel for any Spanish port.
  • Fifth. Up to and including May 21, 1898, clearance will be granted to any Spanish merchant vessel now in any port or place of the United States for any foreign port, except a port blockaded by the United States, provided that such vessel shall not have on board any officer in the military or naval service of Spain, or any coal (except such as may be necessary for the voyage), or any other article prohibited or contraband of war, or any dispatch of or to the Spanish Government. Collectors will issue a certificate to any such vessel on clearance, reciting that said vessel has complied with [Page 1173]the provisions of the proclamation of the President of the United States, signed April 26, 1898, and by virtue of that proclamation is entitled to continue her voyage if met at sea by any United States ship, except to a blockaded port. To the certificate shall be attached a copy of the proclamation aforesaid.
  • Clearance in ballast will be granted to any Spanish merchant vessel which, prior to April 21, 1898, shall have sailed from any foreign port bound for any port or place in the United States, as soon as her cargo is discharged, for any foreign port, except a port blockaded by the United States, provided such vessel shall not have on board any officer in the military or naval service of Spain, or any dispatch of or to the Spanish Government. Collectors will issue a certificate to any such vessel on clearance, reciting that said vessel has complied with the provisions of the proclamation of the President of the United States, signed April 26, 1898, and by virtue of that proclamation is entitled to continue on her voyage if met at sea by a United States ship, except to a blockaded port. To the certificate shall be attached a copy of the proclamation aforesaid.
  • Sixth. Clearance will be granted to any American or neutral vessel destined for a neutral port, with a cargo also destined for a neutral port, without regard to the kind of cargo, on compliance with the provisions of law.
  • Where officers of customs have reason to believe that coal or articles considered contraband of war are destined for the use of enemies of the United States, clearance will be withheld until a report has been forwarded to, and instructions issued by the Department.
  • Seventh. Clearance will be issued in all other cases in compliance with the provisions of law.
  • Eighth. Collectors in doubt in any particular application for clearance will telegraph promptly the facts to the Department and withhold clearance until instructed.
  • Ninth. The Department declines to give general advice to masters and owners of vessels, shippers, consignees, etc. Any specific case requiring action by the Department must be submitted by those concerned to the proper officer of the customs, who, if in doubt, will communicate with the Department and await instructions before taking action.

O. L. Spaulding, Acting Secretary.

Sir: I inclose two copies of a general order of the Navy Department in regard to the service assigned to the Solace as an ambulance ship.

Respectfully,

J. B. Moore,
Acting Secretary.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

General Orders,
No. 487.]

The Solace having been fitted and equipped by the Department as an ambulance ship for the naval service under the terms of the Geneva convention is about to be assigned to the service.

The Geneva cross flag will be carried at the fore whenever the national flag is flown.

The neutrality of the vessel will under no circumstances be changed, nor will any changes be made in her equipment without the authority of the Secretary of the Navy.

No guns, ammunition, or articles contraband of war, except coal or stores necessary for the movement of the vessel shall be placed on board; nor shall the vessel be used as a transport for the carrying of dispatches, or officers or men not sick or disabled, other than those belonging to the medical department.

Information as to the special work for which the Solace is intended will be communicated to the commander in chief of the squadron by the Department.

John D. Long, Secretary.
[Page 1174]
[Circular.]

To the Diplomatic Officers of the United States:

Gentlemen: At the request of the Secretary of War and in view of the inquiries which have been made and are being made at the embassies and legations of the United States by officers of foreign armies who wish to take service in the American Army in the present war with Spain, you are instructed to notify such persons that the United States Government does not find it practicable to avail itself of their offer for the following reasons:

The Regular Army is now officered exclusively by natives or naturalized citizens of the United States, and aliens are not allowed to enlist as private soldiers.

The officers of the volunteer forces are appointed by the governors of the several States, and the General Government could not consistently recommend the appointment of foreign officers in the State troops when they are debarred from the Regular Army.

Respectfully yours,

William R. Day,
[Circular.]

Sir: I inclose herewith three copies of a circular1 and papers relating to the adoption by the United States of the additional articles of the Geneva convention as a modus vivendi during the present hostilities with Spain.

You will furnish one copy to the minister of foreign affairs.

Respectfully, yours,

William R. Day.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

Sir: I inclose herewith for your information a copy of Advance Sheets of Consular Reports2 for May 16, 1898, containing translations of the war decrees of Spain.

Respectfully, yours,

William R. Day.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

[Consular.]

To the Diplomatic Officers of the United States.

Gentlemen: In connection with the Department’s circular instruction of the 12th ultimo, concerning the exclusion of foreigners from [Page 1175]the military service of the United States, I append herewith, for your information and guidance, copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy on the subject of enlistment in the United States Navy.

Respectfully yours,

William R. Day.
[Inclosure.]

The Acting Secretary of the Navy to the Secretary of State.

Sir: Referring to your letter of the 27th ultimo, requesting to be furnished with such information regarding enlistments in the United States Navy as can be incorporated in the circular which it is proposed to send to the representatives of the United States abroad, embodying the law and regulations on the subject of enlistments, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a letter from the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation on this subject.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully,

Chas. H. Allen,
Acting Secretary.
[Subinclosure.]

Chief of the Bureau of Navigation to the Secretary of the Navy.

Sir: 1. Referring to the letter from the Department of State, dated May 27, 1898, the Bureau has the honor to inform you that all persons enlisted for the United States Navy have to be enlisted by regular naval recruiting officers at permanent or temporary recruiting stations in the United States; and by the commanding officers of vessels cruising on foreign stations in time of peace. During war no one can be recruited in a foreign country.

2. Certain aliens, who declare, their intentions of becoming naturalized citizens, and, in exceptional cases, those who do not, are enlisted, provided they can understand the English language sufficiently well for receiving instructions. There is no fund for paying traveling and other expenses before enlistments are made.

3. If aliens are enlisted, they are eligible to any position for which they can qualify, but the customs and regulations of the service have been that only men of long and continued service receive the higher ratings; and it is the opinion of the Bureau that not even a citizen of the United States residing abroad can enlist in time of war without coming to the United States, unless neutrality laws are violated.

* * * * * * *

Very respectfully,

A. S. Crowninshield,
Chief of Bureau.
[Circular.]

Sir: In connection with my telegram of the 29th instant, which I confirm on the overleaf, I inclose herewith three copies of the President’s proclamation1 announcing the institution of blockade of all the [Page 1176]ports on the south coast of Cuba, from Cape Frances to Cape Cruz, inclusive, and also of the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

One copy may be communicated to the minister for foreign affairs.

Respectfully yours,

J. B. Moore,
Acting Secretary.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

[Inclosure—Telegram.]

In addition to blockade of ports specified in his proclamation of April 22, 1898, President, by proclamation dated June 27, announces blockade of all the ports on the south coast of Cuba from Cape Frances to Cape Cruz, inclusive; also San Juan, Puerto Rico. Notify minister for foreign affairs.

Moore, Acting.
[Circular.—Confidential.]

To the Diplomatic and Consular Officers of the United States.

Gentlemen: This Government is in receipt of information that ships carrying the Spanish flag have been, or are about to be, furnished with British or other neutral papers upon colorable transfers of ownership, made for the purpose of avoiding belligerent capture. It is desired that any such cases coming to your notice should receive your immediate attention, and that steps should be taken to prevent the colorable and void transfers of vessels under the Spanish flag to a neutral flag.

You will promptly report your action in such case to this Department.

Respectfully yours,

William R. Day.
[Circular.]

Sir: I append on the overleaf copy of the Department’s telegram of the 12th instant, advising you of the signing of a protocol concluding the preliminaries of peace with Spain, and inclose herewith for your information, two copies of the President’s proclamation1 suspending hostilities thereunder.

Respectfully, yours,

J. B. Moore,
Acting Secretary.
[Page 1177]
[Inclosure—Telegram.]

A protocol signed to-day by representatives of the United States and Spain concludes the preliminaries of peace. Spain relinquishes sovereignty to and evacuates Cuba; evacuates and cedes Puerto Rico and other islands in the West Indies and cedes an island in the Ladrones to be selected by the United States. The United States occupies and holds city, harbor and bay of Manila pending the negotiation of treaty of peace which shall determine the control, disposition, and government of the Philippine Islands. Hostilities are forthwith suspended pending execution of these terms. Plenipotentiaries not more than five on each side will meet at Paris on or before October 1 to conclude definitive treaty of peace.

Day.

(To all United States legations abroad.)

  1. Not printed.
  2. Proclamation printed, p. 769.
  3. Printed, p. 772.
  4. Circular printed, p. 1107.
  5. Printed p. 774.
  6. Proclamation printed p. 774.
  7. Proclamation, printed p. 830.