1074-1075

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp1074-1075 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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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

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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."

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