DECLARATION OF WAR


President William McKinley
Declaration of War
April 25, 1898

WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND SPAIN, MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TRANSMITTING, COPIES OF CORRESPONDENCE RECENTLY HAD WITH THE REPRESENTATIVE OF SPAIN IN THE UNITED STATES, WITH THE UNITED STATES MINISTER AT MADRID, AND THROUGH THE LATTER WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF SPAIN, SHOWING THE ACTION TAKEN UNDER THE JOINT RESOLUTION APPROVED APRIL, 20 , 1896,  Referred to the committee on Foreign Affairs and ordered to be printed – April 25, 1898,  House of Representatives, 55th Congress, 2nd Session, Document N. 428, Washington: GPO, 1898, 5 ¾ x 9 inches,  10 pp.; issued as 55th Congress, 2d Session,   light extraction, disbound,   



The document begins with President McKinley’s Declaration of War letter, dated April 25 1898:

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America:

I transmit to the Congress for its consideration and appropriate action, copies of correspondence recently had with the representative of Spain in the United States, with the United States minister at Madrid, and through the latter with the Government of Spain, showing the action taken under the joint resolution approved April 20, 1898, "for the recognition of the independence of the people of Cuba, demanding that the Government of Spain relinquish its authority and Government in the island of Cuba, and to withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters, and directing the President of the United States to use the land and naval forces of the United States to carry these resolutions into effect."

Upon communicating to the Spanish minister in Washington the demand which it became the duty of the Executive to address to the Government of Spain in obedience, to said resolution, the minister asked for his passports and withdrew.  The United States minister at Madrid was in turn notified by the Spanish minister for foreign affairs that the withdrawal of the Spanish representative from the United States had terminated diplomatic relations between the two countries, and that all official communications between their respective representatives ceased therewith.

I commend to your especial attention the note addressed to the United States minister at Madrid by, the Spanish minister of foreign affairs on the 21st instant, whereby the foregoing notification was conveyed.  It will be perceived therefrom that the Government of Spain, having cognizance of the joint resolution of the United States Congress, and in view of the things which the President is thereby required and authorized to do, responds by treating the reasonable demands of this Government as measures of hostility, following with that instant and complete severance of relations by its action which by the usage of nations accompanies an existent state of war between sovereign powers.

The position of Spain being thus made known, and the demands of the United States being denied, with a complete rupture of intercourse, by the act of Spain, I have been constrained, in the exercise of the power conferred upon me by the joint resolution aforesaid, to proclaim, under date of April 22, 1898, a blockade of certain ports of the north coast of Cuba, between Cardenas and Bahia Honda, and the port of Cienfugos, on the south coast of Cuba, and to issue my proclamation dated April 23, 1898, calling forth volunteers.

I now recommend the adoption of a joint resolution declaring that a state of war exists between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain, that the definition of the international status of the United States as a belligerent power may be made known and the assertion of all its rights in the conduct of a public war may be assured.
     WILLIAM McKINLEY
EXECUTIVE MANSION,
Washington, April 25th, 1898




List of Correspondence

1.      Telegram to Woodford, April 14. House resolution
2.    Telegram to Woodford, April 17. Senate resolution
3.    Telegram to Woodford, April 19. Resolution passed
4.    Telegram from Woodford, April 20. Prepare to withdraw
5.     Telegram to Woodford, April 20. Ultimatum




6.    Note to Mr. Polo, communicating Ultimatum etc.
7.     Note from Mr. Polo in reply, demanding passports
8.    Note to Mr. Polo in reply, inclosing passports
9.    Telegram to Woodford, April 20. Spanish Minister’s departure.  Mr. Woodford directed to remain until expiration of ultimatum unless passports handed to him.




          10.            Telegram from Woodford, April 21. Departure
11.  Telegram from Woodford, April 21. Text Spanish Note
12.Telegram from Woodford, April 21. Reply to Spanish Note
13.Proclamation, April 22, 1898.  Blockade of Cuba
14.Proclamation, April 22, 1898. Call for volunteers




Blockade of Cuban Ports
April 22, 1898

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Whereas by a joint resolution passed by the Congress and approved April 20, 1898, and communicated to the Government of Spain, it was demanded that said Government at once relinquish its authority and government in the island of Cuba and withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters, and the President of the United States was directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces of the United States and to call into the actual service of the United States the militia of the several States to such extent as might be necessary to carry said resolution into effect; and

Whereas in carrying into effect said resolution the President of the United States deems it necessary to set on foot and maintain a blockade of the north coast of Cuba, including all ports on said coast between Cardenas and Bahia Honda, and the port of Cienfuegos, on the south coast of Cuba:

Now, therefore, I, William McKinley, President of the United States, in order to enforce the said resolution, do hereby declare and proclaim that the United States of America have instituted and will maintain a blockade of the north coast of Cuba, including ports on said coast between Cardenas and Bahia Honda, and the port of Cienfuegos, on the south coast of Cuba, aforesaid, in pursuance of the laws of the United States and the law of nations applicable to such cases. An efficient force will be posted so as to prevent the entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. Any neutral vessel approaching any of said ports or attempting to leave the same without notice or knowledge of the establishment of such blockade will be duly warned by the commander of the blockading forces, who will indorse on her register the fact and the date of such warning, where such indorsement was made; and if the same vessel shall again attempt to enter any blockaded port she will be captured and sent to the nearest and convenient port for such proceedings against her and her cargo as prize as may be deemed advisable.

Neutral vessels lying in any of said ports at the time of the establishment of such blockade will be allowed thirty days to issue therefrom.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this 22d day of April, A.D., 1898, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-second.

WILLIAM MCKINLEY
By the President:

JOHN SHERMAN, Secretary of State




Calling For Volunteers - Spain
April 23, 1898

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Whereas a joint resolution of Congress was approved on the 20th day of April, 1898, entitled "Joint resolution for the recognition of the independence of the people of Cuba, demanding that the Government of Spain relinquish its authority and government in the island of Cuba and to withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters, and directing the President of the United States to use the land and naval forces of the United States to carry these resolutions into effect;" and
Whereas by an act of Congress entitled "An act to provide for temporarily increasing the military establishment of the United States in time of war, and for other purposes," approved April 22, 1898, the President is authorized, in order to raise a volunteer army, to issue his proclamation calling for volunteers to serve in the Army of the United States:

Now, therefore, I, William McKinley, President of the United States, by virtue of the power vested in me by the Constitution and the laws, and deeming sufficient occasion to exist, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, volunteers to the aggregate number of 125,000 in order to carry into effect the purpose of the said resolution, the same. to be apportioned, as far as practicable, among the several States and Territories and the District of Columbia according to population and to serve for two years unless sooner discharged. The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the proper authorities through the War Department.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 23d day of April, A.D. 1898, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-second.

WILLIAM MCKINLEY
By the President:

JOHN SHERMAN, Secretary of State



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