1082-1083

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp1082-1083 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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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.


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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?

Mr. Belknap.Yes.

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.


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