706-707

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp706-707 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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Senator Frye. You remember the situation of Arion Hall, the Government buildings, etc. Mr. Blount in his report—I do not know whether it was his opinion—says that it was impossible for the royalist troops to make any attempt to dislodge the people from the Government building without shooting your troops. Was that true at all?

Mr. Young. They could have fought all they pleased out in Palace Square and out in the Government grounds without ever affecting us in the slightest. But I doubt if we would have allowed them to fight out on the street down below, from the way Capt. Wiltse spoke. This American property in front of us, the Opera House, is owned by Americans, and all the residences off to the left was American property and some to the right of the palace was American property.

Senator Frye. From your observations when you were sent ashore for the purpose of observing, was not there a necessity, regardless of any request made by the Provisional Government or American minister, for the landing of the troops to protect American life and property?

Mr. Young. It was absolutely necessary, and I thought it was so on Sunday evening.

The Chairman. Allow me to ask you right there, had you ever been in Honolulu before?

Mr. Young. No; this was my first visit there. But I have landed from the ship on a good many occasions, and we simply did here what we have done before in other places.

The Chairman. In what other places?

Mr. Young. In Panama and Venezuela; and I also landed in Nicaragua once.

The Chairman. You speak now of occasions when you were present?

Mr. Young. Yes.

Senator Frye. I do not know but that I misunderstood your language. You said in your testimony—I understood you to say—that Mr. Blount ordered Admiral Skerrett to haul down the flag?

Mr. Young. And to return the troops on board the ship.

Senator Frye. Did you mean that Mr. Blount gave an order to an Admiral of the United States Navy to do that?

Mr. Young. He gave a written order to that effect.

Senator Frye. Signed by himself?

Mr. Young. Signed by himself, and Admiral Skerrett's order to the Boston was in obedience to the orders of Commissioner Blount— "You will return troops on board ship by 11 o'clock."

Senator Frye. In your experience did you ever know a minister of the United States with or without the authority of the Secretary of the Navy or officer of the Navy giving orders to an admiral?

Mr. Young. No; I never heard of it before. A minister has no authority to give orders to an admiral while a ship is in any port.

Senator Frye. Under the regulations of the Navy, if a ship is in Honolulu, the disposition of the ship and the landing of the troops is entirely with the discretion of the officer in command?

Mr. Young. He is absolutely responsible for his own acts.

Senator Frye. And he cannot be compelled to land troops by any one except a superior officer ?

Mr. Young. A military superior.

Senator Gray. I suppose if you got an order from the President of the United States.

Mr. Young. He is commander in chief of all the military forces.

The Chairman. Suppose that that order emanate from the minister plenipotentiary at a foreign port?

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Mr. Young. Then the commanding officer would be held absolutely responsible for his own act if he obeyed.

Senator Gray. Suppose he receive instructions from the Secretary of the Navy in a given emergency, given time, to conform his action to the order, if you please, of a person holding diplomatic relations with the Government, would that relieve him of responsibility ?

Mr Young. No.

Senator Gray. It would not?

Senator Butler. Do you mean to say that if the officer obeyed his orders through a civil officer, he would not be relieved of responsibility?

Mr. Young. If it was a written order accompanied by the minister's direction, he would still exercise his own discretion.

Senator Gray. If he receive instructions from the Secretary of the Navy that he must act under the order, advice, whatever you might call it—of the diplomatic person on shore when that request, order, or advice come?

Mr. Young. Still I do not believe it would relieve him entirely.

Senator Gray. Then you do not believe that the President of the United States is commander-in-chief?

Mr. Young. Yes; and that the Secretary of the Navy is the immediate military head of the Navy.

Senator Gray. When you receive an order by the Secretary of the Navy through the minister, do you not understand that the order is from the President of the United States?

Mr. Young. Yes.

Senator Gray. And yet you say receiving such order, direction, or instructions from the Secretary of the Navy in a given contingency, you are not bound to obey?

Mr. Young. Of course we must obey the Secretary's order, but the channel through which it is received would question its authenticity; the officer in command is not freed of his responsibility.

Senator Gray. I mean, the Secretary of the Navy having in general directions sent to the commander of a ship instructing him when a certain contingency arises—not commanding through the usual channel, but through any channel through which the instructions come—would you consider that he should obey it?

Mr. Young. Yes; I would consider that he should obey it, so far as it does not involve the loss of life, the destruction of property, or precipitate war.

Senator Frye. Suppose the Secretary of the Navy should order Capt. Wiltse under any contingencies to follow the discretion and obey the orders of William P. Frye, who was then resident in the island of Hawaii, would Capt. Wiltse be bound by that order at all?

Mr. Young. He would be compelled to exercise a great deal of judgment in the matter, and would be still held responsible for his acts.

Senator Butler. I understand you to make this distinction—which, of course, any military man understands at once—that an order emanating from civil officers, whether diplomatic or any other civil branch of the Government, to a military or naval officer, that military or naval officer is not bound to obey it; and if he do, it would be on his own responsibility?

Mr. Young. Yes.

Senator Butler. On the other hand, if the Secretary of the Navy, who is the military head of the Navy, transmits an order to a naval officer, if he be on the ship, he would be bound to obey?

Mr. Young. He would be bound to obey it. At the same time, if he


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