Mahan: The Life and Work of Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, U.S.N.

By W. D. Puleston | Go to book overview

Chapter XXIX Peace Negotiations

THOUGH busy on the War Board with purely naval questions, Mahan kept in touch with Senator Lodge, who was doing his utmost in Congress to harvest the fruits of American victories. Lodge and Roosevelt were also in continuous correspondence. These three were determined to do all they could to obtain the Spanish possessions in the Pacific and in the West Indies. In addition, they wanted to carry out the often-proposed annexation of the Hawaiian Islands. Lodge, an influential member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, took the lead. He was "in no hurry to see the war jammed through"; rather he thought we would "come out better if we take our time." He wanted Porto Rico and the Philippines as well as Cuba. So did Roosevelt and Mahan. "You must get Manila and Hawaii; you must prevent any talk of peace until we get Porto Rico and the Philippines as well as secure the independence of Cuba," Roosevelt wrote the Senator.

Early in June Lodge was doing everything he could "to force Hawaii to the front." By the middle of the month the House of Representatives had voted in favor of annexation, and he was able to write Roosevelt that "the Hawaiian business is practically settled." Nevertheless, it encountered determined opposition in the Senate. Mahan was called before the Senate Committee "to prove that the possession of Hawaii was essential for the defense of the Pacific coast." He had satisfied himself of that fact as early as 1891, but it required three weeks before the Senate would pass the annexation bill.

Simultaneously, Lodge and Mahan were urging on Secretary of State Day the desirability of retaining the entire

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