Mr. Loomis to Mr. Hay.
Caracas , April 10, 1899 .
Sir: I have the honor to report that the North Atlantic Squadron of the United States Navy, commanded by Rear Admiral W. T. Sampson, arrived at La Guaira on the morning of April 4, and departed about 7 o’clock in the evening on the 7th of the same month.
The morning after his arrival at La Guaira, Admiral Sampson, accompanied by his staff and commanding officers, came to Caracas and were the guests of the legation till the time of their departure on the following Friday.
I informed the Venezuelan Government that Admiral Sampson’s squadron had come to Venezuelan waters on a friendly visit, and the minister of foreign affairs at once sent the inclosed reply.
The secretary of legation called upon Admiral Sampson very shortly after his arrival and gave him the essential information concerning the port and port officials and tendered him and his staff the hospitality of the legation.
The Venezuelan Government and people evinced the most friendly interest in Admiral Sampson and seemed sensible of the compliment which the visit of his ships implied. President Andrade lost no opportunity to show his kindness and friendly interest. He sent the “state carriage” to the station to convey Admiral Sampson to the legation and had the minister of war and marine there to meet him on the arrival of the train as his personal representative. Later, President Andrade gave an elaborate dinner at the “Yellow House” in honor of Admiral Sampson and his officers, and a beautiful ball under his direction was arranged and given at the Union Club.
President Andrade frequently sent his private carriage to the admiral, and indicated his good feeling by a score of charming courtesies.
Among the many entertainments organized for the American naval officers I desire to mention a garden party given by the British minister to Caracas, Mr. W. H. D. Haggard, at his residence in this city. It was a very delightful function, and one much enjoyed by Admiral Sampson and the officers who accompanied him. The cordial good feeling which prompted the British minister to offer this hospitality was sincerely appreciated.[Page 778]
On Friday morning the President of Venezuela, accompanied by his cabinet and many officers of the Venezuelan army, went on a special train to La Guaira to visit the squadron. Admiral Sampson had a coach for his own use on the same train.
The President visited the flagship and a salute of twenty-one guns was fired by each ship in the squadron. After inspecting the ship and lunching with the admiral, the battle ship Indiana was visited by the President and his party. The visitors were deeply impressed with the ships and artillery, and with the display of machine gun and rapid fire work which was performed for their diversion.
The ships during their stay at La Guaira were visited by large number of people, and when Admiral Sampson drove to the Yellow House to be officially received by the President, thousands of people lined the streets. The official reception was a very imposing and beautiful ceremony. A thousand troops presented arms when the admiral appeared, and the President’s band played “Hail Columbia,” which is always assumed to be our national air.
The visit of Admiral Sampson was in every way a happy and interesting and impressive event.
I have, etc.,