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Chairman. Anything else?
MacArthur. I have, by late steamer, reliable information that there is danger that the reciprocity treaty with the United States will be repealed unless the present tension is relieved. The imports from the United States under that treaty in 1892 amounted to $3,838,359.91. Nearly all this was admitted to Hawaii free, whereas as to other competing countries the Hawaiian tariff ranges from 10 to 25 per cent on such imports. With the abrogation of the reciprocity treaty goes the privilege of our acquiring the Pearl Lochs for a naval station.
There are 915,000 acres of crown lands. The rental from these is stated at about $75,000 annually. The Provisional Government has them now. In addition the other Government lands are 851,071 acres, valued at $1,729,700, on which there is a yearly rental paid to the Provisional Government from portions leased of $58,863.
SWORN STATEMENT OF ADMIRAL GEORGE BELKNAP.
The Chairman. What is your profession??
Mr. Belknap. I am a rear-admiral in the Navy, on the retired list.
The Chairman. We are interested to know, and I think the people of the United States are very much interested in knowing, whether the Hawaiian group of islands, with its base, and particularly Pearl Harbor, is of real importance to this country and its defense in a military and a naval sense; and, if you think it is, or if it is not, what are the general reasons on which you predict that opinion?
Mr. Belknap. I think it is a matter of prime importance to the people of the United States to acquire those islands. I think, in view of the present state of affairs, the coming growth of the population of the Pacific coast, and especially when the Nicaraguan Canal shall have been completed, that those islands will form the most important commercial and strategic point in the Pacific Ocean. I think it would be a suicidal policy on the part of the United States to allow Great Britain or any other European power to get any foothold on those islands.
The Chairman. That policy seems to have been anticipated on the part of the United States for perhaps forty or fifty years, so that the question would then arise, of course, whether it would be better for us in the sense of protecting our commerce and our coast to assume the control of the Hawaiian group of islands, in order that we might there establish our naval station and have in the middle of the Pacific Ocean a means of offense and defense against the fleets of Europe and Asia?
Mr. Belknap. I think we ought to assume control right away. And as to the fleets of Europe attacking those islands, I think they have their hands full in looking out for their own interests in other parts of the world.
The Chairman. You have been on the islands??
Mr. Belknap. Yes, I have been there twice.
The Chairman. And I suppose you have some acquaintance with Pearl Harbor?
Mr. Belknap. I never went to Pearl Harbor.
The Chairman. Do you know where it is located?
Mr. Belknap. I know where it is located.
The Chairman. And its general character?
Mr. Belknap. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. And you also have a general acquaintance with the Bay of Honolulu?
Mr. Belknap. Yes; in my judgment Honolulu is one of the easiest defended ports in the world. They talk about ships attacking that harbor, the fact is they can not do it successfully. A few heavy guns properly located would keep them away.
The Chairman. You speak of the rim of mountains back of Honolulu?
Mr. Belknap. Yes, Punch Bowl and other mountains back of Honolulu. It is constantly rising ground back of the city.
The Chairman. Do you think it would be feasible to establish batteries around on the reef in Honolulu Bay?
Mr. Belknap. No, it is not feasible. It is only a half mile from shore, and that would not be necessary.
The Chairman. With long-range artillery would we be able to give the harbor any perfect protection?
Mr. Belknap. Yes. They talk about long-range guns. It is all nonsense. They can not get the range on ship that they can on shore. I landed a force in Honolulu in 1874 and kept it there a week. That was when Kalakaua was elected King. If you will allow me I will tell you the circumstances.
The Chairman. I think that is what Senator Frye desires to examine you about. Proceed with your statement.
Mr. Belknap. I arrived there on the Tuscarora from San Diego. We had been engaged in making deep-sea soundings. We arrived at Honolulu on the 3d of February, 1874. As we went into the harbor we noticed a throng of people on the wharf and streets. As soon as the pilot came on board we learned that King Lunalilo had just died. It was too late to call on the minister that day, but at 10 o'clock the next morning I went on shore. The minister was then Mr. Henry A. Pierce.
The Chairman. From what State was he?
Mr. Belknap. Massachusetts. He had been in Honolulu for many years, and he made a fortune. He came back to the United States and lost it. Then Gen. Grant made him minister. Mr. Pierce told me that the Legislative Assembly would meet on the 12th of that month, and would elect a successor to King Lunalilo, he having died without designating his successor. It became necessary therefore under the constitution that the Legislature should elect the King. Mr. Pierce said there were two candidates in the field; one was David Kalakaua, the son of a high chief; the other a widow of Kamehameha IV-Queen Emma. There were large numbers of natives and a great body of Americans who favored Kalakaua as being the better person for American interests, while some of the natives, and particularly those belonging to the English church, and the greater part of the English people, headed by the British minister, wanted Queen Emma. Mr. Pierce said he thought there would be trouble, and wanted to know if I would land a force in case it were necessary to do so.
The Chairman. I want to ask right there whether or not there was a distinctive British influence in Hawaii, as there was an American interest, and were they controverting with each other for the real control of the politics of the islands?
Mr. Belknap. I think that was undoubtedly the case. Mr. Wodehouse, the British commissioner, was there. He is now the minister. He has been there for a number of years; I think he has been there over thirty years.
The Chairman. So that the advocacy and promotion of British interests in Hawaii, you think, were as manifest as those of the American interests?
Mr. Belknap. Beyond a doubt. Wherever you find an American minister or consul in any part of the world attempting to further the interests of the United States the English always secretly undermine the efforts of the consul and minister. That has been my observation the world over.
Senator Butler. Do you think that proceeds from the English people realizing the fact that the commercial competition is to be between the two great nations?
Mr. Belknap. I think it does in a measure. If any American goes beyond a native of Great Britain, it is continually a thorn in the side of the English people.
Senator Frye. Now I will be pleased to have you go on with your statement.
Mr. Belknap. I told Mr. Pierce that I would do everything possible. I arranged that day a system of signals by which Mr. Pierce could signal to me on board the ship if he found it necessary.
The Chairman. Was there at that time any outbreak or riot?
Mr. Belknap. No.
The Chairman. Simply expectation?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. An outbreak liable to occur at any time?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
The Chairman. You made arrangements beforehand for the landing of the troops?
Mr. Belknap. Yes. There was a British man-of-war In the harbor, and we did not want him to get ahead of us. We arranged a system of signals with lanterns and rockets at night and a flag by day. On the morning of the meeting of the Legislature I determined to attend and witness the proceedings in company with the minister. Capt. Skerrett and I-Capt. Skerrett commanded the Portsmouth which arrived in Honolulu the morning after we did-went to the legislative hall. We staid there and saw the organization of the Assembly. As a ballot was about to take place we left the hall and remained outside. Perhaps in a quarter of an hour after that the voting was finished and the ballots were counted, and it was found that Kalakaua had received 39 votes and Queen Emma 6. Kalakaua was declared elected. As soon as this news was given outside of the court-house, where the Legislature was in session, the adherents of Queen Emma broke out into a riot. They rushed up the back way, through a door in the back, into the hall, or through the windows out into the legislative assembly and then began to club the members and senators, I do not know which, broke chairs, smashed tables and windows, and threw all they could lay their hands on out into the street. A large party of them assembled about Queen Emma's residence, and they were making threats to devastate the town.
While this riot was in progress I said to Mr. Pierce, "I had better land the force now." He said: "No; wait a little while." Finally, Mr. Bishop, who was prime minister, minister of foreign affairs under the King-elect, said to Mr. Pierce: "We would like to have the force landed now." So that I immediately sent a messenger down to the wharf where D. C. Murray lived, and had a signal run up. In about ten minutes our men were landed-180 men, seamen, officers, and
marines, and they marched up to the court-house, formed a column in front of it, and sent one company up into the hall to clear it out.
Senator Frye. The legislative hall?
Mr. Belknap. The legislative hall-to clear it out. I think that in less than ten minutes after arriving on the scene of action everything was quiet there.
Senator Butler. Did that company meet with any resistance?
Mr. Belknap. No. The rioters had nothing but clubs to resist with, and they attempted no resistance. But the police of the Government had torn off their badges and some of them had joined the rioters, so that there was nothing to do but to land the troops to preserve order.
The Chairman. Was any force landed from any other ship?
Mr. Belknap. Capt. Ray, who was commanding Her Majesty's ship Tenedos, instead of staying in town that morning, went out horse riding, and his executive officer did not act at first upon the request of the British minister. They had no signals to send off to the ship to call the men on shore. But within half an hour after our men got on shore and the riot was quelled, the detachment from the Tenedos came marching up to the court-house.
Senator Butler. A detachment from the British ship?
Mr. Belknap. British ship. Mr. Pierce turned to Mr. Wodehouse and said, "You had better withdraw this force and send it up to Queen Emma's."
Senator Butler. Which force?
Mr. Belknap. The American minister said, "You had better advise your officers to go up to Queen Emma's house and disperse the crowd there." Capt. Ray did not get back into town until late in the afternoon. Some few months after he was relieved of the command of that ship, ordered home, and never had an hour's duty from that time forward.
Senator Frye. They did not like it that the Americans should get ahead of them?
Mr. Belknap. No, they did not. The Englishmen resident there in the islands were very much chagrined, particularly Mr. Wodehouse.
The Chairman. The riot was quelled?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
The Chairman. Peace restored?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
The Chairman. Order established?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. And Kalakaua was preserved on the throne?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. Did you go there to establish him on the throne?
Mr. Belknap. No, but to preserve order.
Senator Frye. And his establishment on the throne was a mere incident.
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. If you had not gone on shore, would not Queen Emma's troops have routed them?
Mr. Belknap. I think they would; I think there is no question about it.
Senator Frye. What did you go on shore for?
Mr. Belknap. To preserve order and protect the American minister; preserve life and property of American residents. In my judgment it was necessary to land the force for such purpose; it was also in the interest of the United States that Kalakaua would rule in those islands,
S. Doc 231, pt 6----68
instead of Queen Emma, because if she had been elected Queen her influence would have been thrown in favor of England.
Senator Frye. Still, as a United States naval officer, you did not think you had any right to take sides in the fight?
Mr. Belknap. No, none whatever.
Senator Frye. But if it resulted in the retention of Kalakaua you would congratulate the American people upon that fact?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. Have you been in various other places where troops were landed?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. Were they ever landed on the order of the minister?
Mr. Belknap. No. When I commanded the Asiatic squadron Mr. Swift said to me, "You would not obey my order to land troops?" I said, "No; I could not do that; it is against the regulations-we are ordered to maintain relations of the most cordial character with the ministers and consuls of the United States, and when they make requests we are obliged to consider them in all their light and bearings and govern ourselves accordingly." We are responsible for our acts to the Secretary of the Navy alone. That is the principle on which I acted in Honolulu.
Senator Butler. If you were to receive an order from the Secretary of the Navy to take an order from a minister would you obey him?
Mr. Belknap. The orders of the Secretary of the Navy are the orders of the President of the United States.
Senator Sherman. Does not the Secretary of the Navy always speak in the name of the President of the United States?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. I read from Article XVIII of the present Naval Regulations:
"The officer in command of a ship of war is not authorized to delegate his power, except for the carrying out of the details of the general duties to be performed by his authority. The command is his, and he can neither delegate the duties of it to another nor avoid its burdens, nor escape its responsibilities; and his 'aide or executive' in the exercise of the power given to him for 'executing the orders of the commanding officer,' must keep himself constantly informed of the commander's opinions and wishes thereon, and whenever, and as soon as he may be informed or is in doubt as to such opinion or wishes, he must remedy such defect by prompt and personal application, to the end that the authority of the captain may be used only to carry out his own views, and that he may not be, by its unwarranted exercise, in any measure relieved from his official responsibilities, which can neither be assumed by nor fall upon any other officer."
Do you understand those to be the present regulations?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. Then----
"He shall preserve, so far as possible, the most cordial relations with the diplomatic and consular representatives of the United States in foreign countries, and extend to them the honors, salutes, and other official courtesies to which they are entitled by these regulations.
"He shall carefully and duly consider any request for service or other communication from any such representative.
"Although due weight should be given to the opinions and advice of such representatives, a commanding officer is solely and entirely
responsible to his own immediate superior for all official acts in the administration of his command. ٭ ٭ ٭
"On occasions where injury to the United States or to citizens thereof is committed or threatened, in violation of the principles of international law or treaty rights, he shall consult with the diplomatic representative or consul of the United States, and take such steps as the gravity of the case demands, reporting immediately to the Secretary of the Navy all the facts. The responsibility for any action taken by a naval force, however, rests wholly upon the commanding officer thereof."
Now, suppose you wore in command of a ship in the harbor of Honolulu, and. the Secretary of the Navy should send you an order to obey the order of William P. Frye, then a resident in Honolulu and not in the naval service, would you be obliged to obey any order of William P. Frye?
Mr. Belknap. No.
Senator Frye. Would not that order which had been sent to you to obey William P. Frye be illegal?
Mr. Belknap. I think it would be.
Senator Frye. Suppose you were there with a ship, and a man by the name of James H. Blount, whom you knew to be a commissioner appointed by the President of the United States to remain in those islands for certain purposes, should send you an order to land your troops for any purpose, would you, as a naval officer, feel under the slightest obligation to obey the order?
Mr. Belknap. I would first demand his authority for issuing any order of that sort.
Senator Frye. Suppose you should ask his authority, and he should read this to you:
- "Department of State,
- "Washington, March 11, 1893.
- "To enable you to fulfill this charge, your authority in all matters touching the relations of this Government to the existing or other government of the islands and the protection of our citizens therein is paramount; in you alone, acting in cooperation with the commander of the naval forces, is vested full discretion and power to determine when such forces should be landed or withdrawn."
Suppose you should receive such an order as that from the Secretary of the Navy, would you feel bound to obey such order?
Mr. Belknap. I should think that was in direct violation of the Regulations of the U. S. Navy.
Senator Frye. Then----
- "March 11 1893.
- "Sir: This letter will be handed you by the Hon. James H. Blount, special commissioner by the President of the United States to the Government of the Hawaiian Islands. You will consult freely with Mr. Blount and will obey any instructions you may receive from him regarding the course to be pursued at said islands by the force under your command. You will also afford Mr. Blount all such facilities as he may desire for the use of your cipher code in communicating by telegraph with this Government.
- "Hilary A. Herbert,
- "Secretary of the Navy.
- "Rear-Admiral J. S. Skerrett,
- "Commander in Chief U. S. Naval Forces, etc."
Suppose you, as commanding officer, had received from the Secretary of the Navy an order that you should obey the instructions and directions of a man by the name of James H. Blount, then temporarily a resident in the Islands of Hawaii and a commissioner on the part of the United States, would you then feel obliged to obey his instructions?
Mr. Belknap. What is a commissioner?
Senator Frye. He is nothing, in my opinion. Call him a minister plenipotentiary.
Senator Butler. Suppose, when you called upon Mr. Blount for a copy of his instructions he should give an authority from the President of the United States, who is Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, would you then feel obliged to obey the order?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. Suppose the authority from the President of the United States was an appointment as special commissioner for the purpose of making an investigation in the Hawaiian Islands, and the President of the United States should direct you by an order to obey the orders of this commissioner, would you feel obliged to do it?
Admiral Belknap. Yes, if it implies that Mr. Blount was to exercise paramount authority in naval matters; but the authority conferred upon him is qualified by the words "acting in cooperation with the commander of the naval forces," which I submit implies consultation and joint action of the parties concerned. If he should order me to make war upon the Government of those islands I should feel that I could not do it, for under the regulations I would have been held solely responsible for the act of war.
Senator Frye. Even with these instructions from the President of the United States, under the regulations of the Navy Department does not the responsibility still remain with the commanding officer?
Mr. Belknap. It does still remain.
Senator Frye. Is there any way of relieving the officer of that responsibility? If the President of the United States or the Secretary of the Navy were to send an order direct to you to land troops or refrain from landing troops that would relieve you from responsibility?
Mr. Belknap. That would relieve me.
Senator Frye. But sending an order to you to obey the instructions of somebody else can not change the responsibility from you to somebody else?
Mr. Belknap. No, not under the terms of the regulations.
Senator Butler. That proceeds upon the theory that no naval officer is bound to obey an illegal order, and he is the sole judge as to whether it is illegal?
Mr. Belknap. Yes, in so far as law and regulation covers the particular case.
Senator Frye. This is addressed to Rear-Admiral Skerrett.
- "Honolulu, March 31, 1893.
- "Sir: You are directed to haul down the United States ensign from the Government building, and to embark the troops now on the shore to the ship to which they belong. This will be executed at 11 o'clock on the 1st day of April.
- "I am, sir, your obedient servant,
- "James H. Blount,
- "Special Commissioner of the United States."
Do you regard that as a legal order?
Mr. Belknap. I have been in the naval service nearly forty-seven years, and that is the most peremptory order I ever saw issued by anybody. If Mr. Blount wanted that done he might have requested the admiral to do it, after consultation with him. Such would have been the courteous and cooperative course.
Senator Frye. Do you think Mr. Blount had any right to give any such order?
Mr. Belknap. I do not think he had, at least in such peremptory terms. There was no cooperation there.
Senator Frye. And if the obeying of that order involved the taking of human life would you, as the commander of a ship, have obeyed it?
Mr. Belknap. No; because I would have been held responsible if anything happened. Such order would not have relieved me from the responsibility imposed upon me by the regulations.
Senator Frye. Notwithstanding the directions of the Secretary of the Navy, notwithstanding the instructions of the Secretary of State to Mr. Blount, notwithstanding Mr. Blount's direct order, under the Naval Regulations you would not be relieved from responsibility as a naval officer in command?
Mr. Belknap. I would not have been relieved, but I would have withdrawn that force if the minister wished it.
Senator Frye. I understand that. If there were no great responsibility, overwhelming responsibility, you would comply with the wishes of the minister just the same?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. Now-----
- "U.S. Legation, Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands,
- "January 16, 1893.
- "Sir: In view of the existing critical circumstances in Honolulu, indicating an inadequate legal force, I request you to land marines and sailors from the ship under your command for the protection of the U. S. legation and the U. S. consulate, and to secure the safety of American life and property.
- "Yours, truly,
- "John L. Stevens,
- "Envoy Extraordinary, etc., of the United States.
- "To Capt. C. C. Wiltse."
Do you regard that as a perfectly legitimate request, and properly made?
Mr. Belknap. That is perfectly legitimate; a request I have had made to me a half dozen times during my service.
Senator Frye. That request does not compel you to land troops?
Mr. Belknap. It does not; it is a proper, legitimate, and courteous request from one official to another.
Senator Frye. You would learn, as a naval officer, all you could with regard to the existing conditions, and if, in your judgment, the safety of the legation and the consulate and the security of life and property were of such a character as to require the landing of troops, you would land them?
Mr. Belknap. Yes. It is the business of an officer to inform himself thoroughly before taking such grave action.
Senator Frye. But notwithstanding the fact that you had received that request, if you had determined from your own investigations,
made through your own officers, that the landing of the troops was not necessary, you would not land them? In other words, the thing is still left entirely in your charge?
Mr. Belknap. Yes; but if I do not comply with the request and anything happened detrimental to the United States I am responsible. The regulations hold me to that.
Senator Butler. It has become a question of tweedledum and tweedledee between Mr. Blount and Mr. Stevens-one is a request and the other a command. Suppose Admiral Skerrett had declined, on his responsibility, to take down the flag and send his troops back on the ship, and anything had happened to the American legation and American life and property, Admiral Skerrett would have been responsible?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. Would he not have been tried by a court-martial?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. And would he not have read the Naval Regulations, which are law, to determine whether he had obeyed the regulations?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Butler. The same responsibility rested on Admiral Skerrett in declining to obey the order as rested on him in obeying it-if anything had happened to American interests in Honolulu by the American troops remaining on shore, he would have been responsible. So that the responsibility is pretty well understood to be that an Army or Navy officer sent off on an expedition of that kind is vested with a certain amount of discretion?
Mr. Belknap. He is to determine in his own mind what the interests of the Government demand. During this last cruise I sent officers and men up to the capital of Korea, 40 miles from Chemulpo. I received a telegraphic order to cooperate with the minister, and when the minister sent to me for a force I dispatched it to him in conformity with the order of the Secretary of the Navy to cooperate with the minister.
Senator Butler. You did it on your own responsibility?
Mr. Belknap. On my own responsibility, in interpretation of the orders of the Secretary, the wishes of the minister, and of my own personal knowledge of Korean affairs.
Senator Frye. Before this order of the Secretary of the Navy, given to Admiral Skerrett to obey the orders of Mr. Blount, did you ever know of any such order?
Mr. Belknap. I never heard of it.
Senator Frye. Did you ever know of a minister or commissioner in a foreign country making such an order as Mr. James H. Blount made to Admiral Skerrett? I refer to the one I have just read.
Mr. Belknap. Never. As I said before, it is the most peremptory order I ever saw in print.
Senator Frye. The order of Capt. Wiltse to the officers who took the troops on shore is as follows:
"Sir: You will take command of the battalion and land in Honolulu for the purpose of protecting our legation, consulate, and the lives and property of American citizens, and to assist in preserving public order."
Now, I would like to ask you what are the rights of officers in command of ships in foreign countries touching the matter of preservation of public order? That part of Capt. Wiltse's order was not in response to the request of Mr. Stevens. He said nothing about public order;
he adopts the old diplomatic form of expression, protection of life and property; whereas Capt. Wiltse in his order uses the additional expression, "assist in preserving public order." What do you understand to be the rights of a commanding officer with regard to preserving public order in foreign countries?
Mr. Belknap. All the foreign countries are not alike as regards the conduct of ships of war. There are small governments where the fleets would act differently from what they would in larger countries; but the landing of a force is a grave act and should always be well considered.
Senator Butler. And I suppose they are in large measure controlled by the treaty stipulations of those countries?
Mr. Belknap. In great measure; but in Honolulu there is not a street, there is not a precinct, there is not a corner of it where an American is not living or has not his business and property, and to protect that property it is necessary, in case of a riot, where the police can not control, to land a force from a ship.
Senator Frye. Then you would say that Capt. Wiltse, if in his judgment he thought there was liability of a riot and the likelihood of the destruction of American property, had a right to order his troops ashore, one of his purposes being to preserve public order?
Mr. Belknap. Yes, I would have done the same thing under the same circumstances.
Senator Frye. So that when you landed your troops in 1874, notwithstanding the fact you knew the result of landing those troops and interfering with that mob to preserve public order would result in the maintenance of King Kalakaua on the throne, you would have done what you did by way of landing the troops and putting down the riot?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
Senator Frye. It is not for the officer or minister to take into consideration what would be the effect of such landings and putting down of riots; he is concerned simply in the fact that they are landed for the purpose of protecting life and property?
Senator Butler. That is true in time of peace, not in time of war?
Mr. Belknap. In time of war it would be a different question.
Senator Butler. For instance, you would not feel warranted in landing a force at Rio now?
Mr. Belknap. No, so far as I understand the situation at this distance.
Senator Butler. Mr. Frye asked you some questions with regard to the power of naval officers. Suppose you were in charge of the Charleston, we will say, at the port of Liverpool or Copenhagen, and you were ashore and a riot were about to break out, would you feel authorized to land a force to protect American property?
Mr. Belknap. No, unless the Government confessed its inability to afford protection.
Senator Butler. So that it is not universal?
Mr. Belknap. No.
Senator Frye. How about Panama?
Mr. Belknap. In Panama we have the right by treaty. I landed there myself.
Senator Butler. But it is not a universal rule?
Mr. Belknap. No.
Senator Butler. It is done in pursuance of some treaty stipulations between our Government and the government where the troops are landed.
Mr. Belknap. Yes, for the protection of the treaty.
Senator Butler. Otherwise you would not think of doing such a thing?
Mr. Belknap. No such conditions could not exist there. When I was a midshipman on board the frigate Puritan, at Valparaiso, Chile, they held a presidential election in that country, and the party defeated in that election got up a revolution, and one afternoon we lauded the troops. We landed a force on that shore, and we remained on the wharf there several hours; the British ships did the same thing. We did not proceed up into town, but we were there for the purpose of protecting the consulate if necessary. In November, 1863, the Chinese at the Barrier Forts fired on our flag. They fired from two of four forts; we captured all those forts, blew them up, razed them to the ground, and retired.
Senator Butler. That was an act of war.
The Chairman. But the firing began the war.
Mr. Belknap. The commodore in command was commended by the Secretary of the Navy for such action.
Senator Butler. You would do that in Liverpool?
Mr. Belknap. Yes; if the flag was deliberately fired upon.
Senator Butler. If your flag were fired upon, you would not stop to consider the strength of the Government, but would fire in return?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
The Chairman. I have drawn up a question which, according to my view, presents the true relations of the commander of a ship in a port to the minister of the United States who may be resident there at the time. When a war ship of the United States is in a port where there is a civil commotion which threatens to become riotous, to endanger the treaty rights of the citizens of the United States, and the question arises whether it is proper to land troops to preserve order, is it not the right and duty of the minister of the United States to ascertain and determine whether the condition of the country is such as to require the landing of troops? In such a case, and as to the question whether the necessity for the landing of troops actually existed, you would feel bound, I suppose, if in command of a war ship of the United States, to respect and follow the request of the minister of the United States to land the troops?
Mr. Belknap. A minister of the United States, of course, has a perfect right to make any request of that sort of the commander of a ship, of a squadron, but it is the duty under the regulations of the Navy Department for the commanding officer of the ship to examine the matter himself and to decide for himself whether he ought to land the force or not, because the responsibility under the regulations of the Navy Department finally rests upon him. If any great mistake is made by which injury comes to the United States in their interests, or any citizen suffers harm through the action of a commander in chief or a commander of a vessel, he is responsible. On the contrary, if he make a mistake in landing the force he is also responsible under the regulations.
Senator Frye. In the recognition of a de facto government, to whom does the recognition belong-to the minister of the United States resident in such country or to the naval officer?
Mr. Belknap. It belongs to the minister.
Senator Frye.The naval officer has nothing to do with that question of recognition?
Mr. Belknap. Nothing to do with it. I was commander of the war
ship Alaska when the minister of the United States in Peru, Mr. Christiancy, recognized a new government during the Chilean-Peruvian wars. That government was overthrown, and when Mr. Hurlbut became minister he recognized another government.
Senator Frye. You were there all the time?
Mr. Belknap. Yes. When I was at Honolulu in 1874 everything was at the lowest ebb; property was worth nothing, the people could hardly get along. But that fall of 1874 Kalakaua, accompanied by the American minister, Mr. Pierce, came the United States and a treaty of reciprocity was negotiated. From that moment an era of prosperity dawned upon those islands and trade there increased several hundred per cent. I think the 35,000,000 pounds of sugar exported from there in 1875 went up to 136,000,000 pounds in 1890; and the product of rice increased in the same proportion. In fact the United States made those islands what they are-gave them all their prosperity. The town of Honolulu is as much an American town as any town in this country. In 1882, when commanding the Alaska, I was sent in great haste to Honolulu from South America because troubles were apprehended there. The reciprocity treaty was about to expire, and many people there were afraid that the United States would not renew it. Furthermore, Kalakaua had gone into such extravagant expenditures that the people were getting restive under it. After being King for eight years he took the foolish notion into his head to be crowned, a ceremony carried out at enormous expense, and the taxpayers of the islands, a majority of whom were Americans, were stirred up over it and trouble was apprehended.
I arrived there early in September, 1882, and I stayed there two months. During that time there was a meeting of all the planters on the islands in a convention at Honolulu. There was considerable excitement, but finally, after some conferences with the Government, the convention adjourned and everything passed off quietly. There was no trouble; but at that time I was prepared to land a force in case of any outbreak. The English were very anxious to know what we were going to do. Mr. Wodehouse, the British commissioner, was there. One afternoon, or one morning, rather, Mr. Dagget, our minister, and myself got an invitation to dine on a British man-of-war which was in the harbor. We were somewhat surprised at that. When we went on board to dinner that evening we found Mr. Wodehouse there. During the dinner champagne flowed pretty freely. After the coffee and cigars were brought in Mr. Wodehouse attempted to find out what we were going to do there in a certain emergency. But they got no satisfaction; Mr. Dagget and I simply confined ourselves to general talk. I commanded at Mare Island from 1886 to 1889. That was during Mr. Cleveland's first administration. Grave troubles were apprehended at Honolulu at that time, and we kept our ships constantly there. One afternoon I received a confidential telegram from the Secretary of the Navy asking me if I could be ready at a moment's notice to go over to Honolulu. I telegraphed back "yes." Two or three days after that I got a telegram from the Secretary of the Navy saying that, after a consultation with Mr. Bayard, Secretary of State, they had concluded to send an order over to the minister by a telegram through me, which I sent direct from the navy-yard to Honolulu.
Senator Frye. Do you know what the nature of that telegram was?
Mr. Belknap. I do not remember it, but it must be on file in the Navy Department. For the last ten years we have kept our ships in
Honolulu all the time. Admiral Kimberly was there a solid year. Admiral Brown was there for more than a year, and for some reason or other our Government has been obliged to keep that port guarded by our ships of war. I take it that the interests of the United States have gotten so great that that was a necessary policy to pursue. Since the Canadian Pacific line has been opened (they have a line of steamers now from Vancouver to Australia and New Zealand, touching at Honolulu) it has become vastly more important for the interests of Great Britain to acquire those islands than it has ever been before. I believe today that the Canadian authorities are making every effort to divert trade from those islands to Canada.
Senator Frye. I suppose in landing troops for the preservation of American life and property you do not feel it incumbent upon you to wait until an outbreak has actually happened?
Mr. Belknap. Not always.
Senator Frye. If a certain thing is to happen which is likely to produce an outbreak, like an election, such as that of Kalakaua, you feel yourself at liberty to get ahead of that?
Mr. Belknap. That was what was done at Corea. There was no outbreak; but the minister requested the presence of the troops, and the King was afraid for his life.
Senator Frye. If you found that the Provisional Government on a certain day, say Monday, at 2, 3, or 5 o'clock, or at any time in the day, was going to take actual possession of the Queen's public buildings, and dethrone her absolutely, you would not deem it necessary to wait until that had taken place for the landing of the troops?
Mr. Belknap. No, not if convinced that riot would ensue.
Senator Frye. But owing to the liability of its taking place and the likelihood of a riot, you would land your troops?
Mr. Belknap. Yes, under the peculiar condition of affairs at the moment.
Senator Frye. What is your judgment as to what it would cost to fortify Honolulu?
Mr. Belknap. I have not any doubt that $5,000,000 would put Honolulu in a most perfect state of defense, with guns mounted in earthworks.
The Chairman. If you desired to control the Pacific Ocean, North Polynesia, in a military sense, either for an offensive or defensive operation in reference to the protection of the western coast of the United States, including Alaska, is there any place on that coast or elsewhere in the Pacific Ocean which you would consider so important to the United States as the Hawaiian group, if we had there a fortified port or naval station?
Mr. Belknap. I know of no point in the Pacific Ocean which we should hold as good as the Hawaiian Islands, especially Honolulu.
The Chairman. You think it would be a great national misfortune to have any other flag than ours put there?
Mr. Belknap. Yes, most emphatically.
The Chairman. Or if the flag of any foreign country should be put there would that alter your opinion as to the merit or value of the possession for the protection of our western coast and our commerce in the Pacific Ocean?
Mr. Belknap. So long as there is no other flag there it is always an open question; it involves the liability of troublesome questions arising all the time. Our flag should be there, in my opinion.
The Chairman. Suppose some foreign power should close the question by coming in and occupying the islands, if they saw fit to do it, as a base of operations against the United States, would you not consider that a great calamity to this country?
Mr. Belknap. A very great calamity. Great Britain now has Puget Sound, which she ought not to be permitted to hold a single day, in my judgment. Especially with the Nicaragua Canal Honolulu will be a port of call of all the ships in the Pacific Ocean.
The Chairman. Is it indispensable to have a port to recoal in the Pacific Ocean?
Mr. Belknap. Yes, and Honolulu is a splendid harbor.
The Chairman. Well sheltered?
Mr. Belknap. Well sheltered. Another peculiarity of the Hawaiian Island is, the climate is so fine and equable, they have no violent storms, such as they usually have in the tropics. We ought to have our flag there, and we ought to have a cable connecting the islands with the United States.
The Chairman. In your survey for the route for the cable between San Diego and Honolulu, did you find any practical obstructions?
Mr. Belknap.No. We have made a closer survey since my survey and found that a cable can be very readily laid.
The Chairman. I am informed that you made a survey for a cable route also, extending from the coast of Japan in the direction of the United States along the Aleutian range?
The Chairman. State whether you found the route practicable for a cable.
Mr. Belknap. I found the route practicable, except the very deep water, which I think would be obviated by going a little further north.
The Chairman. A large part of that route would be on land if you chose to make it?
Mr. Belknap. It would be cheaper to have it in water.
The Chairman. Is that ocean troubled with icebergs to interfere with the laying of a cable?
Mr. Belknap. Not where you would lay the cable. I think possibly sometimes the Pacific mail steamers have encountered them, when they have gone north, in very high latitudes; but I have not seen icebergs in the Pacific Ocean except off Cape Horn.
The Chairman. Did you take the temperature of that ocean current?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
The Chairman. What would you say was the average temperature?
Mr. Belknap. It was 8° or 10° higher than the rest of the ocean, so far as I remember.
The Chairman. It is decidedly a warm current?
Mr. Belknap. Very warm current.
The Chairman. A heavy flow of water?
Mr. Belknap. Very heavy, similar to our Gulf Stream.
The Chairman. It is that current which keeps warm the coast of California and Oregon?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
The Chairman. And also keeps open Bering Straits?
Mr. Belknap. Yes.
The Chairman. [exhibiting a newspaper article from the Boston Journal of December 20, 1893]. Is this a correct statement?
Mr. Belknap. (after examining). Yes.
The statement is as follows:
- Rear-Admiral George E. Belknap writes to the Journal the following very interesting letter regarding Hawaiian matters:
- To the Editor of the Boston Journal:
- "The letter of ex-Minister P.C. Jones, of Hawaii, published in this morning's Journal, is in error in one point.
- "He says that 'in 1874 Minister Pierce ordered Capt. Belknap to land a force of marines at Honolulu, which was done.'
- "Mr. Pierce gave no order of that character, nor was he empowered to do so by the regulations controlling the intercourse of diplomatic and naval officers on foreign stations. The regulation governing the intercourse of naval commanders with ministers and consuls of the United States at that period was as follows: 'He (the naval commander) will duly consider such information as the ministers and consuls may give him relating to the interests of the United States, but he will not receive orders from them, and he will be responsible to the Secretary of the Navy, in the first place, for his acts.'
- "But the undersigned was in thorough accord with Minister Pierce, and, at his request and that of the King-elect, landed the force of bluejackets and marines at Honolulu on the occasion referred to-12th February, 1874-suppressed the riot, restored order throughout the town, and occupied the most important points at that capital for several days, or until assured by the King's ministry that protection was no longer necessary.
- "This action was taken, first, for the protection of American citizens and their property; second, because it was deemed imperative for the conservation of the interests of the United States to take decisive action at the Hawaiian capital at such crucial time. The English party, as it was called, had worked and intrigued for the election of Queen Emma to fill the throne made vacant by the death of Lunalilo, while Kalakaua was the candidate favored by most of the Americans at the islands.
- "The party favoring the election of Emma were not content to abide the result of the election, for she having been defeated in the legislative assembly by a vote of 39 to 6 her partisans broke forth at once into riotous proceedings. The legislative hall was invaded, some of Kalakaua's adherents in the assembly were clubbed nearly to death, the furniture was destroyed, and the archives thrown into the street. Meanwhile the police had torn off their badges and mingled with the rioters, the Government troops could not be trusted, and the Government was powerless to act.
- "At such juncture the request was made to land the force. Trouble had been apprehended, and preconcerted signals had been arranged, and in fifteen minutes from the time the signal was made companies comprising 150 officers, seamen, and marines, together with a Gatling gun, were landed from the Tuscarora and Portsmouth and marched to the scene of action. At the head of the column was a sergeant of marines, whose great height and stalwart proportion seemed to impress the wondering Kanakas more than all the rest of the force. He was some 6 feet 9 inches in height and his imposing appearance on that occasion is among the notable traditions at Honolulu to this day.
- "The riot was soon suppressed and order restored. Half an hour after such action a detachment of blue jackets and redcoats was landed from H.B.M. ship Tenedos, but there was nothing left for such force to do. It has been asserted by some credulous people that Great Britain has no eye toward the Hawaiian group, but the English residents
- at Honolulu were much chagrined at the tardy action of the Tenedos, and it is a significant fact that her commanding officer was soon relieved, ordered home, and never got another hour's duty from the admiralty. Comment is unnecessary."
- "Geo. E. Belknap.
- "Brookline, December 19, 1893."
Adjourned until to-morrow, the 31st instant, at 10 o'clock.
SWORN STATEMENT OF NICHOLAS B. DELAMATER.
Senator Frye. Give your name, age, and residence?
Mr. Delamater. My name is Nicholas B. Delamater; I am 47; I live in Chicago, Ill., and I am a physician.
Senator Frye. Have you ever been in the Hawaiian Islands; if yes, when; how long were you there, and when did you leave?
Mr. Delamater. I went there in August, and left this last June.
Senator Frye. What was your business while in the islands?
Mr. Delamater. Rusticating.
Senator Frye. Did you become familiar with the islands and people while there?
Mr. Delamater. Somewhat.
Senator Frye. Did you, at the request of Senator Cullom, make a written statement of facts that came under your observation while in the islands just before and during the revolutionary proceedings in January, 1893?
Mr. Delamater. I did.
Senator Frye. I purpose reading that statement. During the reading, should you discover anything that you may desire to correct, you may do so:
- "There are vast possibilities waiting capital. The coffee industry can be increased more than a hundred fold; the rice, banana, cocoanut vastly increased. Pineapples will in a few years be a large export. They can be raised there with comparatively small capital and quick and large returns, of a very superior quality. Sugar lands enough, yet wild, to supply all comers for many years to come.
- "There is a very small fraction of the available lands under cultivation.
- "Heretofore everything has gone to sugar on account of the enormous profits in it, the average per acre being from 5 to 10 tons.
- "This country is destined to be a very rich one.
- "Now, as to the revolution."
The Chairman. What are the prospects of coffee culture in the Hawaiian group?
Mr. Delamater. I judge that they are very good. There are many quite good-sized plats there in between little mountain peaks where they can raise an exceedingly good coffee, and they raise a quality of coffee which one of my friends, a coffee man in Chicago, says is among the best of coffees in the world.
The Chairman. Is coffee an indigenous plant there?
Mr. Delamater. No; I think there is nothing indigenous among those things.
The Chairman. It is very much like California?
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