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- U.S.R.S. Dale, 3d Rate,
- Navy-Yard, Washington, D. C, January 19, 1894.
- Sir: (1) In compliance with your request I submit, with diffidence, my views on the Hawaiian Islands, more especially from a military standpoint, and with reference to their value to the United States in this respect.
- Contrary to the views expressed by others, I have differed with them in their conclusions thereon, as to their military value as a colonial possession, holding, that, in time of war and without a navy equal or nearly equal to that of the greatest naval power, their possession would be a source of weakness rather than strength.
- (2) In coming to this conclusion I have accepted, as a strategic fact, two conditions existing in our national life, and which will continue to exist for many years to come, which are either ignored or not accepted at their just value, by other writers, in dealing with such fact.
- (3) The first condition is, as stated before, the nonpossession of a naval force equal, or nearly so, to that of the greatest naval power; and the second is, the improbability of Congress or our people ever permitting the creation and maintenance of such force. These two conditions, therefore, are, in themselves, sufficient to establish, from a military standpoint, the fact above referred to, as being of a strategic nature, and which must be taken into consideration in dealing with this problem. Being so, we need seek therefore no further for reasons for not acquiring the islands, such as are now being discussed in the public press.
- (4) On the assumption that the wish is father to the thought, some military writers are hoping that the islands once being acquired, the United States would perforce be obliged to gradually create a large naval force; to be led into it, as it were, and thus, on the jesuitical plan that the end justifies the means, ultimately find ourselves in a position to successfully defend what we acquired, from their point of view, more for that purpose than anything else. A careful scrutiny of this has convinced me of the fallacy of their reasoning, and, if followed out, will only lead, in my opinion, to further mortification without creating the force desired. Much as I wish, and think necessary, for other just reasons, a larger Navy than that which we now possess, I yet feel convinced that not until a distant future will we have one sufficiently large to warrant our launching out on a policy of colonial acquisition with any degree of military safety.
- (5) Turning to the question (Hawaii being our colony) as to what we would do with it in case of war with a great naval power, I could only say that we would ultimately have to let it go after having wasted a lot of money.
- With Hawaii as our colony, national prudence would at least dictate that we should at once have to set about putting it in a state of defense, and that in no small way, either.
- (6) We can not presume that no great naval war will occur, but we can presume that when such does come, the side which has the greater force and is ready first, stands the better chance of winning. If, then, our first duty is to be ready to defend our colony, and the more so that it is an island, wisdom would dictate that it should be a defense not against the weakest naval power, but against the strongest; and this, as said before, requires such a force as the country is not willing to create. Without, then, we immediately prepare, and on the required scale, we would not be in that state of readiness demanded by the situation. The great time essential to the creation and mobilization of
- battle fleets with all their accessories is now too well known not to be seriously taken into account.
- (7) The last military consideration that I have to note relates to the probable results of a war between ourselves and a greater naval power, with respect to our island colonies, coupled with our non preparation and non possession of a nearly equal naval force. The breaking out of hostilities would undoubtedly witness the attempt of a fleet of battle ships to wrest the islands from us and hold them by keeping the sea. This would ultimately be done by bringing a second or third fleet to reenforce the first if necessary, nor is the point sustained, which is sometimes advanced, that a great naval power would hesitate to weaken itself elsewhere in order to do this, especially when the result to be attained absolutely requires such action.
- (8) In these days of great speeds, large coal radii, with cables and coaling stations, naval forces can quickly be massed, or moved from place to place, while the balance of power among the great nations nowadays in Europe is too precious and too carefully established to risk its disturbance simply to take advantage of each other.
- (9) The true American policy with respect to Hawaii, from a military standpoint, would seem to be their neutralization by international treaty, so that all could come to coal and refit there; in all other respects, save perhaps the sentimental side, we have already all the advantages that can ever accrue to us by actual possession.
- I am, dear sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
- E.S. Houston,
- Commander U.S. Navy, Commanding.
- Hon. George Gray, M.C,
- Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Washington, D. C.
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, February 13, 1894.
The subcommittee met pursuant to notice.
Present, the chairman (Senator Morgan) and Senators Sherman and Frye.
Absent, Senators Butler and Gray.
SWORN STATEMENT OF Z.S. SPALDING-Continued.
The Chairman. You can make any statements in explanation of your deposition, which you have just examined, with a view to its correction, that you may think necessary to make more plain your meaning.
Mr. Spalding. I find upon examination of the stenographic report of my former statement that I may be misunderstood regarding my estimate of the capacity of the Hawaiian Islands for supporting a larger population than is now to be found in the country.
I would explain that I mean to convey the idea or opinion that the country is not and never can be a manufacturing or commercial country based upon its own products. It lacks in mineral resources everything required for manufacturing, and can hardly be said to have even agricultural advantages necessary to compete with more favored countries to the point of exporting enough to pay for what necessary imports would be required from abroad. Sugar, coffee, rice, and other staples
may be produced in a limited way, but not in sufficient quantities or at low enough cost to compete in the world's market and furnish a revenue to be depended on.
As a part of the United States, and useful as the commanding point in the North Pacific Ocean, Hawaii would become a land of high civilization and attract to its shores a large and intelligent population. Left to itself, and without connection or encouragement from some great nation, Hawaii might support even a million inhabitants, but they would necessarily be restricted to the commonest modes of living and be confined to the bare necessaries of life.
The Chairman. You have been to the island of Cuba since you gave your former statement to the committee. Was your purpose in going there connected with the production of sugar on that island? If so, will you please give any data or facts that have come under your observation which tend to show the comparative value of Cuba and Hawaii as sugar-producing countries, in those parts of Hawaii which were adapted to the culture and production of sugar and also coffee. In what does labor employed in Cuba differ from that in Hawaii, and what differences are there, if any, in the methods of cultivation and production of the sugar from the cane? How does the general population of Cuba, including the persons who are engaged in the raising of sugar, compare with the population of Hawaii in respect of education, cultivation, civilization, and general improvement? How does Cuba compare with Hawaii, and any other facts that you might consider to be instructive connected with these suggestions.
Mr. Spalding. My visit to the island of Cuba was made on account of my interest in the sugar-producing industry, but not in a financial or business way.
I found Cuba to be almost the opposite from Hawaii in every sense. The island is some 750 miles long and an average of about 100 miles width, covering over 25,000,000 acres of land of which probably 5,000,000 acres are arable, and most of it good sugar, tobacco, coffee, cotton, corn, or pasture lands. Some of the finest timber trees in the world are standing in its untouched forests, and its mineral wealth has been demonstrated but not developed. I think the country has within itself the natural resources and ability for supporting 10,000,000 of people and give them every luxury of life in proportion to and in compensation for their labor. Hawaii, on the other hand, has but about 100,000 acres of arable land, or such as will admit of profitable cultivation with the plow, even making no deduction for lack of rainfall, and has no minerals whatever. The immense plains and plateaus of Cuba, where hundreds of thousands of acres of rich sugar land may be brought within economical reach of the factories by means of cheap transportation, are entirely unknown in Hawaii, where the country is almost wholly mountainous and the fertile valleys few and far between.
But while Hawaii has, under the fostering influence of the United States, developed from a state of barbarism in the beginning of this century to a condition of universal education unknown in any other part of the world, Cuba has been four hundred years demonstrating the problem of how not to advance. Within less than a hundred miles of the United States, and receiving from this country nearly its entire revenue, amounting to, say, $100,000,000 per annum, there is not the first trace of "Americanism" to be found in the whole island. That the natives of Hawaii would prove more apt in acquiring the manners and customs of the United States and become better citizens than the average Cuban, I have no doubt.
In regard to the particular business you inquire about, viz, the sugar industry, I may say I found much to astonish me. The methods of cultivation are such as would have ruined the country long ago had there not been such an enormous amount of virgin soil to fall back upon. The yield of sugar cane does not average more than 25 tons per acre, and this cane (by their methods of treatment) does not average more than 2 tons of sugar. By the introduction of proper methods and more intelligent labor these averages might be nearly doubled.
I found no attempt at fertilizing the lands or improving the yield and quality of the sugar cane. The system in vogue is that known as the "central factory," and the cane is all bought by weight (without regard to quality) and paid for in proportion to the price of sugar. The labor used is a combination or result of the changes that have been made in the country by the abolishing of slavery and the introduction of Chinese and others. The price for labor is very high during the few months of the year the factories or mills are at work, and during the "dead season" (as it is called) there is little done, the growth of the sugar cane being left pretty much to the generous efforts of nature. With a population of 1,500,000 people they are able to produce less than 1,000,000 tons of sugar per annum, although one man's labor is generally considered quite sufficient to produce 10 tons.
With every natural advantage in its favor Cuba stands today almost on the brink of ruin. But few of its plantations are really remunerative; its mining industries are practically stopped; manufacturing is at a standstill, and its towns and cities almost without business. The administration of the Government is defective to extremes, and the lack of intelligence, lack of comfort, and even lack of cleanliness among the lower classes are all certainly in very great contrast to Hawaii.
If you ask my opinion as to why this is so, I answer, because of the "Americanism" which has been instilled into Hawaii, even to its lowest strata. And if this Americanism shall be allowed to grow and increase under the fostering influence of a close commercial and political union or relationship with the United States, Hawaii will make another star in the galaxy, not less bright, and repay tenfold the favors that have been lavished upon her. That is why I am an "annexationist."
S. Doc. 231, pt 6----74
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