Mr. Hay to Mr. Bryan.
Washington, February 26, 1904.
Sir: As long ago as last June it was planned by the Navy Department that after the winter and spring maneuvers of the United States battle-ship squadron in the Caribbean Sea, that squadron should make a voyage to European waters accompanied by the European squadron.
It was proposed that the vessels should visit Lisbon, Trieste, and possibly one of the French Mediterranean ports, remaining in each port about three weeks, after which they would proceed together to Gibraltar, the battle-ship squadron then returning to the United States and the European squadron, of course, remaining on its station.
The object of this visit being simply to afford the vessels and their crews the opportunities for practice incident to an extended trans-Atlantic voyage, and as the visit is without significance of any kind, this Government would be gratified if the courtesies and attentions to the squadrons were limited to the simple, ordinary formalities of such occasions on entering the port visited.
The date of the proposed visit is not yet fixed, but it will be shortly after the conclusion of the maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea now about to take place. You will be advised further so soon as the time shall be set.
I am, etc.,