100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

President Taft Secures Harbors In US Possessions

After the Spanish-American War of 1898 the US was left with possession in the Caribbean and in Asia that added to other island possessions such as Hawaii. Europe is in a naval arms race and other countries struggle to keep up. In an effort to protect these islands while the world’s naval forces grow, president Taft takes bold steps.

On September 23, 1912 US President Taft signed Executive Order 1613.


It is hereby ordered that the following named harbors, viz:
Tortugas, Florida;
Great Harbor, Culebra;
Guantanamo Naval Station, Cuba;
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii;
Subig Bay, Philippine Islands;
Kiska, Aleutian Islands;

are not, and that they shall not be made, sub-ports of entry for foreign vessels of commerce, and that said harbors shall not be visited by any commercial or privately owned vessel of foreign registry, nor by any foreign national vessel, except by special authority of the United States Navy Department in each case.

Wm. H. Taft.
The White House,
September 23, 1912

This effectively bars foreign ships, whether commercial or military, from the waters of Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, and the Philippines’ Subic Bay. The entire island of Guam was ordered completely off limits effectively cutting its civilian population off from the outside world.

The 27th President of the United States
William Howard Taft

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