612-613

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp612-613 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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-p612-

The Chairman. Do you mean through the legal course of bankruptcy?

Mr. Spalding. They had failed; they had passed into other hands; sunk their original capital.

The Chairman. You have announced that you are an annexationist?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. And loyal citizen.

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. As loyal to your country as ever before?

Mr. Spalding. Yes; just as when in 1861 I stood guard at this Capitol in the cold nights of April.

The Chairman. What made you an annexationist?

Mr. Spalding. Because I believe the possession of the islands by the United States would give the United States practical possession of the Pacific Ocean.

The Chairman. The commercial control?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. How about the military control and naval control?

Mr. Spalding. The Hawaiian Islands are so located that an American fleet could be located in Pearl River harbor and with a cable from San Francisco those ships could be sent at will to any part of the ocean by the authorities at Washington.

The Chairman. You read Gen. Scofield's report on that?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. Do you agree with the general's statement on that question?

Mr. Spalding. Fully.

The Chairman. He goes into the question of the width of the bar. The depth is 14 feet.

Mr. Spalding. You mean in Honolulu harbor.

The Chairman. No; the entrance to Pearl River harbor.

Mr. Spalding. The entrance to Pearl River harbor is practically closed by the coral reef outside.

Senator Frye. That is a soft coral?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. There are 13 or 14 feet of water at low tide.

Mr. Spalding. I do not know. We have never spent any money in making a survey of that harbor, and there has never been any survey made except by the crews of the warships there, at very little expense.

The Chairman. Still, light vessels can run into Pearl River harbor?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. Have you any idea of its width?

Mr. Spalding. How far it extends out into the ocean?

The Chairman. Yes.

Mr. Spalding. NO. I have been by there a great many times on a steamer. I could see about how far it runs out; but it would be more a matter of opinion.

The Chairman. Is it a mile wide?

Mr. Spalding. Less than a mile. From my observations I should say less than a mile.

The Chairman. In order for the United States to avail itself of that harbor for a naval station it would be necessary for the United States to dredge out the harbor?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. There is plenty of water?

-p613-

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. And the configuration of the harbor is such that the vessels can get protection?

Mr. Spalding. Yes; get way in behind the island. It is a sort of lagoon.

The Chairman. You could have forts there?

Mr. Spalding. Yes; right at the front entrance of the sea.

The Chairman. And they would command the Honolulu district?

Mr. Spalding. I do not know about their commanding Honolulu from Pearl River. That would be a very long reach. But Honolulu could be defended from the hill back of it.

The Chairman. The Punch Bowl?

Mr. Spalding. The Punch Bowl right behind it.

The Chairman. Honolulu Harbor is formed, as I understand it, by a bight in the land and this coral reef?

Mr. Spalding. There is not much of a bight in the land. There is this coral reef that runs all around the island, and wherever there is a stream of fresh water that prevents the coral insect from working, there is the channel. Now, in Honolulu there is a small harbor inside the reef where the stream of fresh water has been in the habit of flowing down and then running out through the coral. But this coral reef is covered with water, sometimes not more than a foot or foot and a half deep, because the tide at Honolulu is not more than 3 feet at the outside, and very seldom as much as that.

The Chairman. The entrance is through this coral?

Mr. Spalding. Right through this coral reef. This entrance to Honolulu is marked by a line of buoys and is only a few hundred feet wide.

Senator Gray. Not more than a few hundred feet?

Mr. Spalding. Not more than a few hundred.

The Chairman. The breakers define the reef

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. And inside is this little bay?

Mr. Spalding. It is very small, but it is very well protected by this reef on the outside and the shallow water on the reef.

The Chairman. Protected against the Pacific Ocean?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

Mr. Spalding. Yes; a natural protection.

The Chairman. Is Pearl River harbor a full land-locked harbor?

Mr. Spalding. The only place where you can combine sea and land defenses.

The Chairman. And that is perfectly practicable?

Mr. Spalding. Perfectly practicable at Pearl River harbor; to get the passage through the reef is the only thing to do.

The Chairman. Is Pearl River surrounded by forests?

Mr. Spalding. There are a few trees in the neighborhood, but it is some little distance back in the mountains.

The Chairman. But the nation that has possession of Pearl River harbor and fortifies it has virtually the military and naval control of all those islands?

Mr. Spalding. Yes.

The Chairman. And, to extend the inquiry, that nation would have a seat in the center of the Pacific Ocean that is valuable in a military sense and valuable in a commercial sense?


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