766-767

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp766-767 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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matter, because in the press it has been charged that you expressed an opinion.

Mr. Blount. Yes, I understand you.

Senator Dolph. You think you did not express an opinion?

Mr. Blount. I think not, because I did not have any.

Senator Dolph. You were here during the inauguration of President Cleveland?

Mr. Blount. Yes.

Senator Dolph. Did you call on the President before you left the city?

Mr. Blount. I did not.

Senator Dolph. Or Secretary Gresham?

Mr. Blount. No; I did not see Secretary Gresham. I knew him when be was Postmaster-General.

Senator Dolph. What time did you leave Washington?

Mr. Blount. I do not recollect; I stayed here three or four days.

Senator Dolph. After the inauguration?

Mr. Blount. Yes; there was a crowd, a jam, and I did not care to start home because of the liability to accidents, etc.

Senator Dolph. Can you recall any conversation with either of the gentlemen to whom you handed a copy of that letter?

Mr. Blount. I can not. I handed it to them; and I may possibly have said to them, "I am not satisfied to make any effort on this paper; I do not think there is information enough."

Senator Dolph. How many times did you see Mr. Gresham, the Secretary of State, before you left for Honolulu—when you came here in response to the telegraphic request of Mr. Smith?

Mr. Blount. I arrived here on Sunday morning, I think. I went with the Secretary of the Interior to the State Department. I met, casually, the Secretary of the Navy in the office of the Secretary of State. That is the first time I met the Secretary of State.

Senator Gray. The first time?

Mr. Blount. Yes.

Senator Gray. The first time you met Mr. Gresham since you knew him as Postmaster-General?

Mr. Blount. Yes. And the next time I met him was the next day. I went over to his office, and he took me into a little room—you recollect where the foreign ministers are received?

Senator Butler. For consultation ?

Mr. Blount. Yes. He had the clerk read the instructions over, with the view, rather, of putting them in a more tasteful form—criticising the instructions. That was the second time. And I possibly met him a third time.

Senator Dolph. How many conversations did you have with Secretary Gresham that second time?

Mr. Blount. I can not really tell you.

Senator Dolph. Was that the time that he told you that he knew of no principle of international law which justified the raising of the United States flag in Honolulu?

Mr. Blount. I can not say exactly what time it was.

Senator Dolph. You are not certain?

Mr. Blount. No. It may have been then or at a later conversation.

Senator Dolph. Did he not couple with his remark about the raising of a United States flag one about the landing of the United States marines and the assumption of a protectorate over the islands ?

Mr. Blount. Perhaps so.

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Senator Dolph. Is that all he said? Please give that conversation as nearly as you can recall it.

Mr. Blount. That would be a very difficult thing to do. At the time I just recollect the general impression that I had that he did not think the flag ought to be there or the troops on shore.

Senator Dolph. He did not think the flag ought to be there and the troops on shore?

Mr. Blount. That was his expression. But the instructions---

Senator Dolph. Did you understand that, while he left it to your discretion, unless the facts showed that it should not be done, the flag should be haulded down and the troops ordered off the island?

Mr. Blount. My impression is that he thought that ought to be done. But the islands were a long way off, and it was a matter in which I was to be guided very largely by circumstances. There was to be carefulness lest there should be bloodshed growing out of it— disorder. He could not tell.

Senator Dolph. Was anything said about the annexation of the islands at that time in your conversation, or at any other time?

Mr. Blount. Not that I recollect.

Senator Dolph. What was said, if anything, as to the time when these troops should be landed—as to whether there was any exigency for that, calling for the landing of the troops?

Mr. Blount. Nothing that I can recall.

Senator Dolph. Could you give the substance of that conversation?

Mr. Blount. I think I have given you the substance.

Senator Dolph. How long was the conversation?

Mr. Blount. That I do not remember. It has been some months ago.

Senator Dolph. Were you there an hour or minute?

Mr. Blount. Well, I might have been about the office—not with the Secretary—a half hour.

Senator Dolph. How long were you with the Secretary?

Mr. Blount. During the reading of that paper and criticizing the language. The time was occupied in that way. There was very little said.

Senator Dolph. If you saw the Secretary again before you left for Honolulu, state where and when it was.

Mr. Blount. My recollection is that I went over to the office, and by arrangement went back there and got the instructions, as they had been finally prepared and agreed on, and I went with the Secretary over to the White House, the expectation being that I would go in and talk with the President and Cabinet. I mean to say that was his idea. When I got over there I was not invited in until they had concluded their deliberations. I was introduced. Of course I knew the President and some members of the Cabinet. I was introduced to some others. The subject of the islands was not mentioned at all. I only staid a minute or two; in fact, I could not see why I was taken in there; nobody said anything to introduce a topic of conversation. I went to the President and said, "Mr. President, I shall try not to make any mistake under my instructions down there." He said, "I do not think you will." As I passed the table going out, the President said, in a careless way, "Blount, you will let us hear from you." I said I would, when there is anything worth writing about, and that is all that occurred. I called to pay my respects on Sunday morning.

Senator Dolph. I thought that was to the Secretary.

Mr. Blount. No.


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