Wasn't the Morgan Report only signed by Morgan?

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A common critique of the Morgan Report is that there was no majority opinion, and that three separate minority opinions existed - Morgan's, the Republicans' and the Democrats'. It is often argued that only Morgan signed the report in its entirety.

First of all, surprisingly enough, a record of Morgan's signature on any of the opinions is missing from the text, although this probably was a typographical oversight.

Secondly, it is a distortion and misunderstanding of the opinions of the report to imply that there was not a majority opinion. Neither is it fair to say that there was significant disagreement with the findings of the main report. If you look at pages 363-398, towards the end you will find that there is a break after the primary report, followed by a minor disagreement over the constitutionality of Blount's appoitnment and actions, and then the signatures of the Republicans who joined Morgan, a Democrat, in the rest of the majority opinion.

"We are in entire accord with the essential findings in the exceedingly able report submitted by the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations."

The four Democrats who disagreed with the four Republicans, and with Morgan (again, a Democrat), clearly indicate their minority dissent, signing their four names as "Members of Minority". Even though they dissented, they minority held the U.S. peacekeepers blameless:

"On the other hand, we are not inclined to censure Capt. Wiltse, commanding the United States war-ship Boston, or the officers of that vessel. Their position was one of extreme delicacy and difficulty, and we appreciate their anxiety to afford protection to the lives and property of American citizens. The force of United States marines of the Boston with their ordinary arms stationed at the American legation, and at the consulate in Honolulu, would have effectually represented the authority and power of the United States Government, and would have afforded whatever protection American interests might have required; and at the same time would have avoided the appearance of coercion or duress, either upon the people of Honolulu or the Queen in the controversy between them."

So for those who are counting, here's the score:

  • 9-0: U.S. peacekeepers were completely neutral
  • 5-4: Blount's appointment was constitutional (Morgan + his fellow Democrats)
  • 5-4: Steven's actions were justified (Morgan + 4 Republicans)

Put another way:

  • None of the senators thought the U.S. troops had anything to do with the overthrow;
  • Four senators wanted to chastise Blount's appointment and secret mission to Hawaii;
  • Four senators wanted to censure Stevens for his actions "conducive" to the overthrow.

The Morgan Report had a majority opinion which exonerated Stevens, Blount and the U.S. peacekeepers. Although the composition of the majorities for those three points differed, and the way the opinions were presented makes keeping track more complex than usual, it is clear that Morgan was not the only one who approved of the committee's report.