Naval Diplomacy

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Naval Diplomacy

William R. Braisted

The history of American naval diplomacy may be divided into three periods that correspond to technical developments in naval warfare and with the changing situation of the United States in world affairs. During the first century of the nation's history, when the United States enjoyed considerable security provided by the oceans separating it from Europe and Asia, its naval forces were largely directed toward protecting American merchants, missionaries, and government officials in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This involved showing the flag to induce non-European peoples to treat Americans according to European and American conceptions of civilized practice. During the period from 1890 to 1945, the diplomatic role of the navy was revolutionized by the emergence of the United States as one of the great naval powers. To its earlier responsibilities of police and protection, the "new navy" of steam and steel added the strategic objective of defending the Western Hemisphere and a good part of the Pacific against intrusion by the European powers and Japan. After 1945 the navy joined with the air and land arms to provide the element of force behind American global diplomacy when the great military powers were reduced initially to two and finally to one, the United States.


To protect Americans as they moved across the seas during the early days of the Republic, the navy eventually followed the example of the British Royal Navy by establishing ships on distant stations in the Mediterranean, the Far East, the Caribbean, the southern Atlantic, the Pacific, and Africa. The ships on each station, rarely more than three to six, were too few to meet all the calls from ministers, consuls, and citizens for a show of force. Only on exceptional occasions did the navy organize a squadron for impressive display, such as the Japan expedition of 18531854. The station commanders were both itinerant diplomats and administrative officers who kept their ships moving individually from port to port, reported on conditions in their areas, and watched over enlistments, supplies, and ships' fitness. Before the rank of rear admiral was introduced during the Civil War, they usually were accorded the courtesy rank of commodore.

Since the Navy Department was unable to undertake detailed direction of the distant stations before the advent of electrical communications, the station commanders enjoyed broad discretion within their domains. Their instructions were generally to protect American commerce and to heed the appeals from Americans to the best of their ability. Only rarely was a navy man placed under direction of a State Department official. Indeed, in a day when American consuls were commonly merchantsand even foreignersand when ministers were usually political appointees, naval officers were often the most reliable officials serving the United States abroad. In contrast with the independence of naval men overseas, the Navy Department in Washington was under pressure to follow the State Department's wishes. Introduction of cable and radio by the time of World War I ended most of the autonomy enjoyed by flag officers abroad.

The Mediterranean The roots of the distantstations policy extend to the late eighteenth century, when Americans sailing to the Mediterranean were overhauled by corsairs from Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. The Barbary pirates assumed that non-Muslims were subject to capture and enslavement unless they were protected by treaties involving tribute payments. In response to Algerine depredations, Congress resorted to naval diplomacy in 1794 by voting to construct six frigates for a navy. Within three years, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli had agreed to call off their corsairs in return for monetary considerations. Thereafter, however, the navy was diverted from chastising North African potentates by the Quasi-War with France (17981800) and by differences with Great Britain that culminated in the War of 1812.

Once peace with Britain was restored in 1815, Congress voted for further war against the Algerine corsairs, and Commodore Stephen Decatur quickly forced a treaty on Algiers that ended tribute payments. Decatur's decisive action halted Barbary depredations, and the Navy Department provided against further outbreaks by establishing a permanent squadron in the Mediterranean. Before 1845 its ships were based at Port Mahon, Minorca.

The navy's cruising range in the Mediterranean extended eastward to Turkey, where in 1800 the frigate George Washington (captained by William Bainbridge) was the first American warship to call at Constantinople. After the destruction of the Turkish-Egyptian fleet at Navarino during the Greek War of Independence (1827), the Sublime Porte in 1830 finally signed a treaty of commerce with Captain James Biddle and two American commissioners that included a "separate and secret" article providing for American assistance in rebuilding the Turkish navy. Although the Senate rejected the article, President Andrew Jackson overrode the Senate's veto by sending Commodore David Porter, the first resident American representative, to Turkey with instructions to help the Turkish navy.

The Mediterranean Squadron was also a symbol of American sympathy for the liberal movements in Christian Europe. After the revolutions of 1848, American and European liberals rejoiced when the steam frigate Mississippi conveyed the Hungarian hero Lajos Kossuth and fifty other refugees safely to freedom. The squadron, like other distant stations, was practically disbanded during the Civil War. After it was revived in 1865 as the European Squadron, with expanded area, it provided amiable social billets for naval officers as they watched the Mediterranean and Africa fall under an order dominated by Europe.

Asia Although the American China trade dated from the sailing of the Empress of China from New York for Canton in 1784, the East India Squadron gradually took shape only during some nine cruises to Asia between 1800 and 1839, six by single ships and three in pairs. Initially, the navy dispatched ships to the East Indies to protect American merchantmen on the high seas and to transport public officials such as Edmund Roberts, who negotiated treaties with Siam and Muscat in 1833. In the conflicts between China and the West that destroyed the traditional Chinese tribute system in East Asian relations, it was the diplomatic mission of the U.S. Navy to support the claims by Americans to the various rights that Britain, and later France, gained for their nationals by war. During the first Opium War between China and Britain (18391842), Commodore Lawrence Kearney on the frigate Constitution won from the governor-general at Canton what amounted to a promise of most-favorednation treatment for Americans in China. This principle, anticipating the U.S. Open Door policy toward China, was written into the Treaty of Wanghia (1844) secured by Caleb Cushing with support from the East India Squadron. Once China was opened under the "unequal treaties," the American navy's ships on the renamed Asiatic Station, including the famed Yangtze Patrol, were important props for the vast system of interlocking foreign treaty rights, including extraterritoriality, that Chinese nationalists bitterly resented.

The most spectacular demonstration of American naval diplomacy in the nineteenth century was the expedition led by Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry to reopen Japan after two centuries of seclusion. Planning his expedition to impress the Japanese with the wealth and power of the United States, Perry first moved up Edo (Tokyo) Bay in July 1853 with a squadron of two steam frigates towing two sloops to present letters from President Millard Fillmore and himself urging the Japanese to modify their closed-country policy. Returning seven months later with a more impressive squadron, he induced the decrepit Tokugawa shogunate to sign the Treaty of Kanagawa, which met American demands for limited intercourse. Quite unwittingly, Perry proved to be the catalyst that unleashed a furious struggle within Japan, which led within fifteen years to the full reopening of the country, the overthrow of the Tokugawa, and the great changes of the Meiji Restoration.

To Commodore Robert W. Shufeldt fell the honor of opening the hermit kingdom of Korea to Americans. Korea was historically a Chinese tributary without desire for other intercourse. The expansionist Shufeldt embarked in 1878 on a much-publicized cruise to the Far East on the USS Ticonderoga, during which he mediated differences between Liberia and its neighbors, investigated sites for coaling stations in Africa, negotiated with the rulers of Madagascar and Johanna (Anjouan), and introduced the U.S. Navy to the Persian Gulf. Shufeldt's ultimate objective was to open Korea, which he sought unsuccessfully to do through the good offices of Japan. On a return trip to the Far East, he finally negotiated a Korean treaty with China's leading scholar-official, Li Hung-chang, which the Koreans signed in 1882. Although the treaty established relations between the United States and Korea, it also proved to be a further blow to the Chinese tribute system without winning secure independence for Korea.

The Americas The U.S. Navy established stations embracing waters of the Americas where, in addition to showing the flag in support of trade, it watched for alien intrusions into the hemisphere and occasionally intervened in its troubled lands. The West Indies Station, created in 1821 to run down pirates infesting the area, was expanded to form the Home Station in 1841 (the North Atlantic Station after 1865), when strained relations with Great Britain reminded the navy that American coastal shipping was defenseless against raids from overseas. The navy operated its ships in the Caribbean throughout the nineteenth century in the presence of the more powerful British navy. The Monroe Doctrine of 1823, proclaiming the American continent closed to further colonization, was initially rendered effective by tacit support from the Royal Navy. By the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, the United States won from Great Britain the right to participate on equal terms with the latter in building an isthmian canal at a time when the U.S. Navy was not yet dominant in the Caribbean.

South of the Caribbean was the Brazil Station, established in 1826 primarily to extend protection to Americans in feuding Brazil, Argentina, and the states of the Rio de la Plata. Usually numbering from two to six ships except during a crisis with Paraguay in 1858, the Brazil Station after 1843 included some 17 million square miles north from Cape Horn to the Amazon, eastward to Cape Negro, and then south along the African coast to the Cape of Good Hope. The station was reconstituted after the Civil War as the South Atlantic Station.

Largest and probably least well defined of the stations was the Pacific Station, dating from 1818. During the early years, the few ships on station tended to cruise between Callao, Peru, and Valparaiso, Chile, with occasional runs to Panama and to the Pacific islands: the Marquesas, Tahiti, Hawaii, and others. After the cession of California by Mexico in 1848, the focus of the station shifted northward, with San Francisco serving as home port. Although it was involved in spectacular crises with Chile in 1891, when Chilean sailors clashed with sailors from the USS Baltimore at Valparaiso, and with Germany over Samoa in 1889 and 1899, after the Civil War the navy's primary concern on the Pacific Station was the fate of the Hawaiian Islands. It habitually kept a ship at Honolulu, gave moral support to white planters against the native monarchy, acquired naval base rights at Pearl Harbor in 1887, and provided protective cover for the movement that led to American annexation of the islands in 1898.

Africa Most lonely of the distant stations was the African Station, created in 1843 after the United States agreed in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (1842) to cooperate with Britain in suppressing the slave trade. Whereas the Royal Navy seized 594 ships suspected of slave running between 1840 and 1848, the few American ships on station captured but nineteen suspected runners between 1843 and 1857. Moreover, since before the Civil War the United States denied British warships even a limited right to visit American merchantmen, the illicit trade found shelter under the American flag.


The "old navy" of wooden ships distributed to distant stations gave way in the late nineteenth century to the "new navy" of steel that operated in a world of great powers competing for empire. Men of the new navy strove to build fleets sufficiently powerful to guarantee the United States control of the sea within an American sphere that eventually embraced most of the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific. The period from about 1890 to 1945 also embraced the navy's battleship age, during which most American naval men and many civilians looked to a fleet of battleships (capital ships) as the key instrument for assuring the hegemony of the United States within its sphere and for promoting American diplomacy. From the appearance of his first major volume on sea power in 1890, Alfred Thayer Mahan was preeminently the American naval writer who conceptualized a theory of sea power for the battleship age. Mahan was an economic determinist who held that national power derives from the flow of commerce through key maritime arteries protected by naval power. In emulation of the British Empire, Mahan and his disciples conceived of an American naval line of empire protected by battle fleets and extending from the western Atlantic through the Caribbean and an isthmian canal to the Pacific and west.

Conspicuously absent during the battleship age was formal institutional provision for integrating American naval and diplomatic policies. President Theodore Roosevelt might himself serve as a one-man National Security Council, but the Navy Department and the State Department tended to plot their own courses with a minimum of exchange. Important for developing the naval officers' appreciation of their role in the world were such institutions as the Office of Naval Intelligence (1882), the Naval War College (1884), and the General Board (1900). Under the presidency of Admiral George Dewey, the General Board advised the secretary of the navy on a wide range of policies that touched foreign relations. The board's influence, however, gradually declined after the establishment in 1916 of the Office of Naval Operations, the navy's approach to a naval general staff. A step toward improved cooperation with the army was the creation in 1903 of the Joint Army and Navy Board, the often-ineffectual predecessor of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dewey's May Day victory at the outset of the Spanish-American War (1898) was perhaps inadvertently the navy's most significant act that contributed to American political commitment in the western Pacific. By the peace with Spain, the United States gained possession of the key positions of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, as well as control over Cuba. These island territories, together with Hawaii, Samoa, and the Panama Canal Zone (acquired in 1898, 1899, and 1903, respectively), included the prime sites for overseas bases that naval men wanted to support their imperial strategy up to World War II.

After the Spanish-American War, the navy followed a modified distant-stations policy in the Americas and the Far East while assembling its battle forces in the Atlantic and on the Asiatic Station. Although American naval men feared German aggression in the Caribbean, "the American Mediterranean," they also wanted a fleet in the Far East to support the Open Door in China. In 1906, however, all U.S. battleships were concentrated in a single battle fleet in the Atlantic, the area of the nation's greatest interests and of its vulnerability to German attack. It became a naval axiom that until the opening of the Panama Canal, the battleship fleet should be concentrated in one ocean so that its divided squadrons could not be defeated separately.

Spanish-American War to the 1920s From 1898 to World War I, the navy's Atlantic and Caribbean policies were to build a fortified isthmian canal under exclusive American control, to acquire bases for the canal's protection, and to deny the Western Hemisphere to outside aggressors. By the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1901, Britain released the United States to construct a wholly American canal without restriction as to fortifications. When Colombia failed to reach quick agreement on terms for a canal in its Panama territory, the navy in 1903 afforded cover for a revolt in the isthmus. Within fifteen days a new government of independent Panama accorded the United States a ten-mile-wide canal zone in perpetuity. For Caribbean bases, the General Board by 1903 had settled on two sites: Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, close to the Windward Passage, and a lesser base farther east, probably the island of Culebra, off Puerto Rico. While determined to prevent non-American nations from acquiring bases in the region, the board wanted the United States to take no more than the navy could defend. The navy and the marines also intervened in Haiti, Santo Domingo, Cuba, Nicaragua, and elsewhere in the Caribbean in support of the roles of debt collector and policeman that the United States assumed under the Platt Amendment relating to Cuba (1901) and the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (1904), in order to obviate interference by others. During the British and German blockade of Venezuela (1902), the United States concentrated in the Caribbean, under Admiral Dewey's command, the most powerful fleet ever assembled for maneuvers, another potent reminder that other nations must keep out.

In the Far East after 1898, American naval men initially conceived of the United States as one of a half-dozen naval powers competing in China. Their planning assumed that the maritime nations (Britain, the United States, and Japan) were committed to the Open Door in China, in opposition to the continental powers (Russia, France, and Germany). In addition to a main fleet base at Subic Bay in the Philippines, the General Board wanted an advanced base on the China coast, within easy steaming range of the European bases in northern Asiatic waters.

After Japan's triumph in the Russo-Japanese War (19041905), the American navy's outlook in the Pacific changed radically as Japan moved from the position of sure friend to that of possible enemy. When Theodore Roosevelt ordered sixteen battleships of the Atlantic Fleet to the Pacific on the first lap of their spectacular world cruise in 1907, he was testing the navy's capacity to concentrate its power in the Pacific and reminding Japan and the world that the Pacific was an area of American naval responsibility. The navy also decided, in 19081909, to build its first major overseas Pacific base at Pearl Harbor rather than at Subic Bay, because the army insisted that it would be unable to hold the Philippine base against Japanese attack until the arrival of the battle fleet from the Atlantic. The navy's most important war plans on the eve of World War I were its Black Plan for defense of the Western Hemisphere against Germany and its Orange Plan for a war against Japan, precipitated by the immigration question or by Japanese aggression into China or the Philippines. Although the United States had no formal agreement with Britain, still the world's greatest naval power, there emerged before World War I a wholly informal system of naval power in which Britain built to contain the German navy while the United States strove for naval equality with Germany and decisive superiority over Britain's east Asian ally, Japan.

The ascent of Woodrow Wilson to the presidency in 1913 brought to the White House a leader determined to preserve civilian control over the conduct of foreign affairs but willing to employ the navy in war and diplomacy with utmost vigor. After the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Wilson administration was involved in acrimonious debates with Britain and Germany in defense of the cherished American principle of freedom of the seas. The tension of the war also moved the president to support the Naval Act of 1916, directed toward a navy second to none through the construction of ten battleships and six battle cruisers. This program would provide the United States with a powerful voice in diplomacy, whatever the outcome of the war.

Upon American entry into the war, the navy joined the Allies in a coalition wholly unpremeditated in its Black Plan and Orange Plan or its building programs. Conservatives in the navy, especially on the General Board, were reluctant to halt construction of capital ships so that American shipbuilding facilities could be devoted to building desperately needed antisubmarine and merchant craft. In addition to fearing that the United States might face greatly strengthened German and Japanese navies should the allies suffer defeat, these naval conservatives apparently were uncertain what policies Britain might adopt should the allies triumph too completely. It was to allay such anxieties, and thus to promote full U.S. naval participation in the war, that President Wilson's intimate adviser, Colonel Edward M. House, unsuccessfully sought from Britain an option on five British capital ships to meet postwar contingencies. The Navy Department finally halted its capital ship program in order to provide ways for submarine destroyers, and it reached an accord with the Japanese whereby the Imperial Japanese Navy watched the Pacific while the U.S. Navy concentrated on war in the Atlantic.

The allies' naval jealousies, subdued during the war, surfaced during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. British leaders saw President Wilson's call for freedom of the seas as a threat to the British Empire, and they strove unsuccessfully to prevent a resumption of building of American capital ships that might relegate the Royal Navy to second place. The naval advisers to the American delegation, on the other hand, opposed any division of the German navy likely to perpetuate British naval supremacy. For the American navy, however, the most significant act by the peace conference was its decision to award Germany's Pacific islands north of the equator to Japan as unfortified mandates of the League of Nations. Unfortified in Japanese hands, the islands would be open to a superior American fleet in a campaign against Japan. At the close of the war, U.S. naval representatives were prominent in the allied interventions in Russia and at Constantinople during the resurgence of Turkey under Mustafa Kemal.

The 1920s Britain, the United States, and Japan emerged from World War I as the three great naval powers. Whereas American naval authorities watched for any new evidence that Britain might attempt to retain its naval supremacy, they held as an article of faith that any new naval construction by Britain's ally Japan was directed against the United States. The General Board stated in 1921 that the United States should maintain a navy equal to the British and twice the Japanese. If the Anglo-Japanese alliance remained, however, the board wanted a navy equal to the combined British and Japanese navies. While the navy stationed the most powerful battle forces in the United States Fleet in the Pacific to guard against Orange (Japan), the estimates of naval war planners from 1919 to 1931 also dealt with possible wars against Red (Britain) or against a Red-Orange (Anglo-Japanese) coalition.

In 1921 civilian leaders in the United States, Britain, and Japan were united in their desire to avoid a ruinous naval race and to settle numerous Pacific questions unresolved by the Paris Peace Conference. At the nine-power Washington Conference called by the United States in 1921 to consider these issues, Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes proposed a naval holiday and a limitation on the American, British, and Japanese navies at just half the levels recommended by the General Board. Hughes's plan was incorporated in the Five-Power Naval Treaty, which limited capital ships and aircraft carriers allowed the United States, Britain, Japan, France, and Italy at a ratio of 5:5:3:1.67:1.67. At Japan's insistence, the three great naval powers also undertook, in article XIX of the treaty, to refrain from building new bases and fortifications from which their fleets could menace each other's vital territories in the Pacific. The United States thus abandoned new naval shore construction west of Hawaii, such as the proposed base on Guam that could serve the fleet in operations against Japan. The Washington naval agreements were part of a package settlement that included the Four-Power Treaty to maintain the status quo in the Pacific, the Nine-Power Treaty relating to China, and the abrogation of the Anglo-Japanese alliance.

The statesmen at Washington sought a new naval order that would provide security for the United States in the Western Hemisphere, the British Empire from the United Kingdom to Singapore, and Japan in the western Pacific. The Five-Power Naval Treaty, however, failed to limit lesser naval categories: cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. The three-power Geneva Naval Conference of 1927 broke down when British and American naval men were unable to agree on cruisers. Japan and Britain, meanwhile, built ships in the unrestricted classes more rapidly than did the United States; and Japanese naval men at the London Naval Conference of 1930 demanded a 10:10:7 ratio rather than a 10:10:6 (5:5:3) ratio in cruisers. As at Washington, the delegations at London overrode vigorous opposition from their services; and the resulting naval treaty in theory preserved the 10:10:6 ratio in heavy cruisers but in substance promised Japan higher ratios in the lesser classes through the life of the naval treaties (1936). The bitterness provoked in the Japanese navy contributed significantly to the collapse of naval limitation after 1931.

The 1930s The Washington naval system crumbled after Japan occupied Manchuria in 193l1932. While the American and British governments were unprepared to halt Japan by force, Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson looked to the navy to deter Japanese aggression. After Japanese naval forces landed at Shanghai in 1932, Stimson publicly warned that since the Washington agreements were interdependent, a violation of a political accord, such as the Nine-Power Treaty relating to China, would nullify other Washington agreements, such as the American promise to desist from building bases in the western Pacific. The U.S. Fleet was concentrated for maneuvers off Hawaii in 1932, and Stimson induced President Herbert Hoover thereafter to retain the entire fleet in the Pacific as a warning to Japan.

Stimson's gestures proved futile. The ratio of American and Japanese naval strength in the early 1930s probably approximated 10:8, rather than 10:6, and the "fleet faction" in the Japanese navy forced the Tokyo government in 1934 to seek a common upper limit (naval parity) with the United States and Britain. The intransigent Japanese stand drove the Americans and the British to unite in defense of the 10:10:6 ratio at the preliminary and main London Naval Conferences called in 1934 and 1935 to review the naval treaties. The Japanese left the second conference, and effective naval limitation ended with the expiration of the treaties in 1936.

During the London conferences, British and U.S. naval officers established cordial relations that paved the way for increasing intimacy between their services as they faced the rising threats from Germany and Italy in Europe and from Japan after the outbreak of the China incident in 1937. Only days after Japanese aircraft sank the USS Panay in December 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent the navy's war plans director to London for consultations with the Admiralty during which a plan was drawn for possible joint action against Japan by an American fleet operating from Hawaii and a British fleet based in Singapore. This scheme was modified in 1939, when Britain was prevented by the Axis menace in Europe from undertaking powerful action against Japan. Admiral William D. Leahy, American chief of naval operations, then volunteered that, should a war break out in Europe to which the United States was not a party, the U.S. Fleet would assemble at Pearl Harbor to deter Japan. Should the United States be associated with Britain in war against the Axis and Japan, Leahy expected the American navy to care for the Pacific while the British navy would be responsible for the Atlantic. When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, the Joint Army and Navy Board had already begun work on five Rainbow Plans for war situations involving the United States and the European democracies against the Axis powers and Japan.

World War II After the fall of France in June 1940, the U.S. Navy was party to a succession of measures short of war to prevent the collapse of Britain, to prepare for war in two oceans either alone or in association with the British Empire, to deter Japan in the Pacific, and to enlist Canada and the Latin American states in Western Hemisphere defense. In September 1940, Britain and the United States concluded an arrangement by which Britain granted the United States bases in British possessions in the western Atlantic in return for fifty American destroyers to be used against German submarines. This limited American naval assistance to Britain swelled in 1941, after Congress approved the lend-lease bill, American navy yards were open to British warships for repair, and the navy began patrolling the western Atlantic against German submarines.

In August 1940 representatives from the Navy Department and the Admiralty entered into urgent consultations on how the navy could best help in the war. After Japan, Germany, and Italy concluded the Berlin Pact in September 1940, the chief of naval operations, Admiral Harold R. Stark, prepared his famous Plan Dog memorandum for a two-ocean war in which British and U.S. forces would seek victory over the Axis in the Atlantic before turning to defeat Japan in the Pacific. This memorandum was the basis for the detailed ABC-1 Plan, drawn up during Anglo-American staff talks at Washington in February and March 1941. In line with this plan, the United States shifted about one-third of its battleships to the Atlantic in order to release British units for service in the Far East.

It was with gravely weakened naval forces in the Pacific that the Roosevelt administration in July 1941 finally turned to halt Japanese aggression by enlisting Britain and the Netherlands to freeze Japanese assets under their control, thereby terminating Japanese trade with the world outside East Asia. The United States and its associates thus sought to bring Japan to terms by cutting off the flow of oil and other materials vital to the Japanese economy through a distant blockade supported by naval forces divided and inferior to those of the Japanese. Facing the immobilization of their forces as their supplies ran out, Japanese leaders, including those of the Japanese navy, opted for war that closed the battleship age.

During the immediate prewar and war years, Franklin Roosevelt, as had his cousin Theodore, drew the integration of naval and diplomatic policies into his own hands. The State-War-Navy Liaison Committee established in 1938 was largely confined to Latin American affairs and lesser matters. After the president moved the Joint Army and Navy Board into the new executive offices in 1939, the military chiefs increasingly participated in foreign affairs without necessary reference to their service secretaries or even the State Department. Indeed, during World War II, the State Department repeatedly bowed to service interests; naval officers and other military men negotiated directly with foreign governments; and the military chiefs accompanied the president to summit meetings to which the secretary of state was not invited. It was only a year before the war's end that the State Department was restored somewhat to decision making in foreign affairs with the establishment of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee to prepare for peace. In 1942 the chief of naval operations joined with American army and air force chiefs in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which provided institutional partners for the British chiefs in the Combined Chiefs of Staff, who determined war strategy under the watchful eyes of President Roosevelt and of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Cooperation with the British in coalition war was important preparation for naval men when they turned to work for what amounted to a coalition peace.


The thirty years following the end of World War II in 1945 witnessed political, institutional, and technological changes that revolutionized the navy's role in diplomacy. In 1945 American naval officers had not yet devised a strategy geared to the atomic bomb, to a divided world in which the United States was for a time without a naval rival, and to the passing of battleship fleets as a measure of naval and national power. Insofar as they had speculated on the postwar world, they tended to assume a return to a division of responsibility in which the U.S. Navy would dominate the western Atlantic and the Pacific while the British navy would remain supreme in Eastern Hemisphere waters: the eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. The navy's one clear objective during the war was to secure the Pacific islands that Japan had held since World War I as League of Nations mandates. The navy was soon confronted, however, by the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the Chinese communist victory on the Asian mainland in 1949, and the steady retreat by Britain to Europe that left the United States increasingly alone to deal with the supposed global menace of the Soviet Union and its allies. Moreover, whereas the navy had been the strong arm of American diplomacy through most of the nation's history, the air force emerged at the dawn of the atomic age to claim for the bombers of its Strategic Air Command the preponderant responsibility for deterring war.

The period from 1945 to 1950 was a critical one for the navy, during which the service sought meaningful roles in response to claims made by the air force in the course of the movement to organize a single Defense Department. The navy survived the unification struggle as one part of the new national security structure in which the State Department and the Defense Department were institutional equals. Under the National Defense Act of 1947 and amendments of 1949, the chief of naval operations became but one of five members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose chairman conveys the chiefs' collective advice to the president, the secretary of defense, and the National Security Council. When the service secretaries lost their cabinet rank in 1949, the navy was denied separate representation on the National Security Council, the key institution responsible for integrating diplomacy and defense into national security policies. The civilian secretary of defense thereafter represented all the services in the council: the army, the navy, the air force, and, after 1978, the marines. Nevertheless, naval officers after 1945 served in unprecedented numbers in politico-military bodies concerned with foreign affairs.

While the navy thus lost its proud position as the leading force behind American diplomacy, it fought for programs of balanced defense against the claims by the air force that the threat of massive retaliation by the Strategic Air Command constituted the most effective deterrent to Soviet aggression. The navy's arguments for a variety of weapons were fully vindicated after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 demonstrated the effectiveness of carrier-based air and other capabilities in a limited war unsuited to massive retaliation with atomic bombs. This was a war provoked by an attack by communist North Korea on noncommunist South Korea. It was a war fought by Americans, Koreans, and allied forces under the auspices of the United Nations without a formal declaration of war. It also halted the spread of communism in Northeast Asia. The glamour of massive retaliation faded still more as the Soviet Union successfully tested an atomic device in 1949, achieved a thermonuclear explosion five years later, fired the first intercontinental ballistic missile in 1957, and launched the first artificial satellite (Sputnik ) two months later.

To support friends and allies as well as to deter the Soviet Union, naval planners developed a transoceanic naval strategy to project the navy's power over the land and to keep the sea-lanes open. The fleets of the transoceanic navy, like the task forces of World War II, were commonly mixed forces that included two or three carriers, an amphibious marine force, and antisubmarine units. Most spectacular for display were the supercarriers, numbering fifteen in the 1960s and ranging up to 100,000 tons, whose versatile weapons could deal with local outbreaks or convey nuclear destruction to the heart of the Eurasian landmass. Responding to the Soviet Union's missile capability, the navy after 1960 also completed forty-one nuclear-powered submarines armed with Polaris and improved long-range Poseidon and Trident missiles carrying atomic warheads. The navy claimed that its mobile, seaborne forces were far more secure against Soviet attack than the land-based bombers and missiles of the air force.

Together with the army and air force, the transoceanic navy provided the American commitment of force to the multilateral regional pacts, bilateral alliances, and other arrangements through which the United States sought to organize the nations of the free world. Since western Europe seemed the most vital area to save from Soviet domination, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), formed in 1949, assumed prime importance in American strategic planning. Through NATO the navy sought to expand its earlier "special relationship" with the British navy into a multilateral association in which the American navy provided important leadership and the largest commitment of naval force to retain control of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The NATO supreme commander for the Atlantic is the commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, based with his NATO staff at Norfolk, Virginia. The NATO powers preserve independent control of their most important naval forces, from which they contribute elements for NATO maneuvers and for a small standing force. In the Far East, when concluding peace with Japan in 1951, the United States also signed with Japan a mutual defense pact, which assured a base of operations in the western Pacific. Unlike the navies of Europe, however, the Japanese Defense Force was committed strictly to the defense of Japan.

The most visible American naval contribution to European security was the Sixth Fleet, established in the Mediterranean since 1948. In addition to its earlier role as a major segment in the maritime artery between Europe and Asia, the Mediterranean gained significance after 1945 as a deep inlet into which the United States could move naval power 2,000 miles eastward from the Atlantic, to within striking distance of the Russian homeland. It was also a sea from which the navy could support friends and allies on NATO's southern flank and in the Middle East, as well as a moat separating Europe from Africa. The United States first restored a naval presence in the Mediterranean in 19461947, when the Soviet Union pressed Turkey to open the Dardanelles to free movement by Soviet ships and when President Harry Truman extended assistance to Greece under the Truman Doctrine. The Sixth Fleet has commonly numbered more than fifty ships, including two supercarriers organized to meet the needs of a transoceanic navy. Its position in the Mediterranean became increasingly lonely, however, with the withdrawal of British naval power after the Suez Crisis of 1956, the spectacular buildup of Soviet naval forces in the 1960s, and the growing hostility among the Arab states that looked for Soviet aid to counter American support of Israel. In 1958, the Sixth Fleet, in response to a request from the president of Lebanon, landed a force in Beirut, which seemed to be threatened by domestic insurgency and foreign invasion.

The Seventh Fleet became the navy's Far East counterpart to the Sixth Fleet. At the close of World War II, the navy and the marines helped the Chinese Nationalists receive the Japanese surrender in eastern China, but U.S. forces withdrew from the Chinese mainland in advance of the communist victory in 1949. In January 1950, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, voicing recommendations from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined an American defense perimeter in the western Pacific, extending from Alaska through Japan, for whose defense the Seventh Fleet would assume major responsibility. Acheson's omission of Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia suggested that the United States was disengaging from the Asian mainland. American participation in the Korean War in 1950, however, demonstrated that the U.S. government would employ its naval and other forces to counter aggression on the mainland that threatened a key area on the American defense perimeter such as Japan, which after 1949 replaced China as the most important U.S. partner in East Asia.

The Korean War also brought the first public American commitment to the Chinese Nationalists on Taiwan, when President Truman in 1950 ordered the Seventh Fleet to interpose its power between Taiwan and the mainland, to neutralize the Taiwan Strait, and to prevent the Chinese communists and the nationalists from attacking each other across the strait. After the United States and the Chinese Nationalists signed a mutual defense treaty in 1954, the Seventh Fleet provided massive cover in 1954 for the Nationalist evacuation from the Tachen Islands and again in 1958 for Nationalist logistic operations to sustain their garrisons defending the islands of Quemoy and Matsu against Chinese communist bombardments. During the relatively placid year of 1961, the Seventh Fleet included some 125 ships and 650 aircraft based at Subic Bay, Okinawa, and Japan. When formal relations were established with the communist government in Peking in 1979, relations between Taiwan and the United States were maintained quietly on an extradiplomatic basis. The United States provided Taiwan with arms and ships, and the Seventh Fleet remained an important presence in the western Pacific. South of Taiwan lay a former colony and ally, the Philippine Islands, where the United States retained its important naval base at Subic Bay until all American naval and military facilities were returned to the Philippines in 1992.

Although the Seventh Fleet's commitments to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization under the Manila Treaty of 1954 were unclear, the United States in 1962 landed marines in Thailand to deter communist infiltration from neighboring Laos. The fleet also fought in the Vietnam War after Congress, in the Tonkin Gulf Resolution (1964), authorized the president to employ American armed forces in defense of freedom in southeast Asia. With the winding down of the war after 1969, the Seventh Fleet resumed its station in defense of a western Pacific perimeter.

Between the normal cruising ranges of the Sixth Fleet and the Seventh Fleet, the Indian Ocean area, including the oil-rich Persian Gulf, remained free of a significant American naval presence after 1945. Responding to growing Soviet naval forces in the ocean during the 1960s, however, the navy occasionally dispatched units from the Seventh Fleet to show the flag and to participate in Central Treaty Organization maneuvers. After 1966 the navy also joined with Britain to construct a communications station, landing fields, and other amenities on the British island of Diego Garcia.

Three decades after World War II, the navy was again adjusting to major world changes as the Cold War confrontations gave way to bitter rivalry between the Soviet and Chinese communist camps, détente between the United States and the Soviet Union, and accommodations between Washington and Peking. Even as the United States and the Soviet Union moved to limit their atomic arsenals, including their seaborne missile forces, through accords at the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, however, American naval men watched the emergence of the Soviet navy as a contender on the high seas and the spread of Soviet and Chinese influence in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere. The modest easing of tensions between the United States and the communist world, therefore, was followed by no lowering of the American naval guard. Indeed, the thaw in the Cold War was overshadowed in many areas of the world by the emergence of strong regional sentiment hostile to the United States and to any American naval presence. While the navy still strove to provide global force sufficient to honor security arrangements negotiated two decades earlier, when conditions were very different, it was increasingly regarded in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even Europe as an agent of outside interference rather than as a protection.

The navy's responsibility during the Cold War, however, was not confined to the Old World. In the Western Hemisphere, Fidel Castro, after winning power in Cuba, threatened to export communism to his Latin American neighbors. President John F. Kennedy in 1961 inherited from the Eisenhower administration a Central Intelligence Agency project to support an invasion of Cuba by Cuban refugees. The consequence was the socalled Bay of Pigs incident, which was a humiliating failure, at least in part because the administration was unwilling to provide the refugees with necessary naval and air support. This was followed the next year by discovery that the Soviet Union had built in Cuba some forty-two launching pads for intermediate ballistic missiles with striking range of more than 1,000 miles. President Kennedy immediately responded by ordering the navy to establish a blockade of Cuba, described as a "quarantine," to halt arms shipments to Cuba and demanding that the Russians withdraw all missiles from the island. It seemed that nuclear war was at hand, but the Russians bowed to the president's demand in return for a promise to withdraw American missiles from Turkey.

Close on the heels of the Cuban missile crisis came war in Vietnam. There, following the withdrawal of the French from their former colony, the Americans became increasingly concerned that noncommunist South Vietnam would fall to communist North Vietnam. When President Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, U.S. "military advisers" numbered 16,700. Large-scale U.S. intervention was sparked the following year by a clash between the American destroyer Maddox and several North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. The U.S. Congress forthwith adopted the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which authorized President Lyndon Johnson to take "all necessary measures to repel armed attacks against the armed forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The Vietnam War was an undeclared war fought without United Nations support and subject to increasing public criticism in the United States and abroad. It was also a war limited by American unwillingness to provoke serious intervention by China or the Soviet Union. Task Force 77, composed of carrier forces attached to Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf and Dixie Station off South Vietnam, sent strikes against North Vietnam and supported ground forces in the south. Search patrols along the southern coast sought to interrupt movement of supplies from the north to insurgent Vietcong in the south, and numerous small boats of a "brown water" patrol moved through the Mekong Delta and along other inland waters to apprehend the Vietcong. The Vietcong Tet Offensive in 1968, although itself a failure, was followed a year later by President Richard Nixon's decision to "Vietnamize" the war. The last Americans and numerous Vietnamese refugees were airlifted out of Saigon in 1975, thereby ending perhaps the most humiliating war in American history.

In 1970, when Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., was called from Vietnam to Washington to serve as the youngest chief of naval operations in history, the navy was in poor shape to meet the possible challenges ahead. The nation's resources had been expended on the Vietnam War, while the Soviet navy, under the leadership of Admiral Sergei G. Gorshkov, had been expanded to establish awesome capacity to operate in multiple seas. Moreover, three years earlier, Britain had abandoned its imperial responsibilities east of Suez. To meet this situation, Zumwalt proposed a "highlow mix" by which the navy would build large numbers of less expensive "low" ships to assure "sea control" of areas where expensive "high" ships were unnecessary or would be in danger. For instance, he proposed to build a patrol frigate, half the cost and size of a destroyer, and a 17,000-ton sea control ship that would be far less expensive than the 100,000-ton supercarriers. His proposals were vigorously opposed by Admiral Hyman Rickover, the promoter of nuclear submarines and other high-tech ships, and Zumwalt's sea control ship was eventually rejected by Congress. The navy may also have suffered from the diversions that attended the resignation of President Nixon following the Watergate scandal. The decade ended with the embarrassing capture of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, by Islamic radicals and the Soviet naval ships operating out of Cam Rahn Bay in Vietnam.


The outlook for the navy and naval diplomacy improved with the arrival of President Ronald Reagan's energetic young secretary of the navy, John F. Lehman, Jr., who with forceful chiefs of naval operations (Admirals Thomas Hayward and James Watkins) pressed for an aggressive "maritime strategy" supported by a 600-ship navy composed of fifteen supercarriers, four battleships called back into service, 100 attack submarines, a powerful marine amphibious force, and numerous lesser craft. The program would increase by 20 percent the navy's combat ships over those in 1980. This aggressive strategy, however, did not rule out lesser actions to keep the Third World in proper order, such as the capture of the small island of Grenada (1983), a disastrous landing in Lebanon that ended with the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut (19821983), clearing mines from the Red Sea, protecting Kuwaiti tankers in the Persian Gulf, denying with naval air Colonel Muammar Qaddafi's attempt to close the Gulf of Sidra (1986), the capture of Panamanian strongman General Manuel A. Noriega on charges of drug trafficking, and much more.

The decade of the 1990s was as revolutionary for the navy and naval diplomacy as had been the 1890s following the publication of Alfred Thayer Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power on History and the shift of the navy from wood and sail to steel and steam. The 1990s opened with the breakup of the Soviet Union, the freeing of the nations of Eastern Europe to join the Western powers, and the disappearance of the Soviet navy as a serious challenge to the U.S. Navy on the high seas. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, this left the United States claiming to be the sole super-power, NATO deprived of much of its original reason for being, and the navy in need of either a greatly revised strategy or a wholly new strategy. All this and more can be summed up by the statement that the Cold War had ended. It ended as the navy was adding such high-tech innovations as the Aegis air defense system, new Ticonderoga-class cruisers that carry long-range Tomahawk missiles, Ohio-class submarines mounting improved Trident missiles, and much more.

The navy's new strategy substituted "power from the sea" for the older "control of the sea" or "sea control." Since the majority of the world's population lives within fifty miles of the sea, the navy developed a littoral mission by which it would mount "power from the sea" to control the world's coasts as well as dispatch terrible destruction deep into the interior. The new strategy assumed that the oceans were safe and that the navy, by attacking the land "from the sea" would prepare for unopposed amphibious landings by the marines and the army.

The new era opened in early 1991 with the outbreak of the Gulf War in which Iraq attempted to annex the neighboring Persian Gulf state of Kuwait, a move that threatened the stability of the strategically vital, oil-producing region of the Middle East. Like the Korean War, the Gulf War sparked a United Nations response in which the United States provided by far the largest land and sea forces. At the height of the conflict, 130 American naval ships were joined by 50 allied ships in a multinational naval force. The marines contributed 92,000 officers and service personnel, the largest marine operation in history. The United States initially reacted by concentrating six supercarriers in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf and enough marines to afford protection for Saudi Arabia until the arrival of reinforcements, largely army, to turn the tide and drive the Iraqis from Kuwait. The navy and the marines also assembled an amphibious force in the gulf to prevent the Iraqis from evacuating Kuwait and joining the main battle of Operation Desert Storm. After the war the navy provided forces to enforce UN punitive sanctions against Iraq.

The vital importance of this region that holds 70 percent of the world's oil reserves was reorganized in 1994 by the establishment of a new Fifth Fleet whose water areas included the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Gulf. The Fifth Fleet was subject to the Central Command, located in Tampa, Florida, whose theater of operations extended inland to Central Asia. The fleet in January 2001 comprised seventeen ships, including a carrier group, and 7,700 marines with support facilities at Bahrain within the Persian Gulf and at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The bombing of the destroyer Cole in Yemen in 2000 was a very sharp reminder of the religious, drug, and other terrorist groups that the navy works with others to oppose.

By far the most powerful of the American fleets on distant stations at the turn of the twenty-first century was the Seventh Fleet, whose area embraced the western Pacific, especially East Asia, and the Indian Ocean. Notwithstanding the practical disappearance of Russian naval power, the Seventh Fleet in 2001 numbered fifty-one ships, including two carriers, and 29,000 sailors and marines mostly operating out of Japanese home ports. China was probably the most unpredictable major power in the area, and the troubled relations between China and Taiwan remained potentially dangerous. The Seventh Fleet lost important shore support with the return of the Subic Bay naval base to the Philippines and British restoration of Hong Kong to China. Numerous exchanges between the American and Chinese high commands to promote understanding were seriously jeopardized by Chinese outrage following the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the war in Kosovo. A port call by the U.S. cruiser Chancellorsville at Tsingtao in August 2000 brought public expressions from both sides that seemed to be evidence of a desire to return to stability.

With the passing of the Soviet Union, the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean lost one of its principal justifications. Its ships in January 2001 were down to fifteen, with no carrier representation. The eastern Mediterranean in particular included a number of potential trouble spots within the range of the navy's littoral strategy. Among these was the disintegrating Yugoslav state, which was a NATO concern, and therefore an American one. The ethnic feuds climaxed in the Kosovo war of 1999, during which American carrier air provided perhaps 50 percent of the guidance and support missions for the air force.

From 1794, when Congress voted for the construction of the first six frigates, the United States Navy was a prime support for American diplomacy as the nation's interests changed and expanded. During the nineteenth century, the navy was employed principally to show the flag on distant stations where pirates and potentates were not always respectful toward American missionaries and merchants. After 1890, as the United States came to claim the rank of a great power, the navy concentrated on building fleets to dominate the western Atlantic and the Pacific. The battleship age ended with World War II, from which the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union emerged as victors. After 1945, as the British Empire gradually came to an end, the U.S. Navy's role in the Cold War was dictated by the American determination to halt the spread of Soviet power and communism. The demise of the Soviet Union left the United States and the navy committed to helping in the solution of regional problems throughout the world. The United States, as in the nineteenth century, continued to follow a sort of distant-stations policy. Although Americans would deny that they aimed to form an American empire, American power inevitably provoked such protesting acts at the end of the twentieth century as the attack on the USS Cole off Yemen, the demands of Okinawans that U.S. forces withdraw, and New Zealand's quest for a nuclear-free South Pacific.


Albion, Robert G. "Distant Stations." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 80 (1954). The most useful brief survey of the distant-stations policy.

Baer, George W. One Hundred Years of Sea Power: The U.S. Navy, 18901990. Stanford, Calif., 1994. A fine general survey with much material on naval diplomacy.

Braisted, William Reynolds. The United States Navy in the Pacific, 18971909. Austin, Tex., 1958.

. The United States Navy in the Pacific, 19091922. Austin, Tex., 1972. This and the previous volume are concerned chiefly with the navy's relation to American diplomacy in eastern Asia from the Spanish-American War through the Washington Conference.

Buckley, Thomas H. The United States and the Washington Conference, 19211922. Knoxville, Tenn., 1970. A monograph on the major naval conference following World War I.

Challener, Richard D. Admirals, Generals, and American Foreign Policy, 18981914. Princeton, N.J., 1973. A magnificently documented study of the relation of both the army and the navy to American diplomacy from the Spanish-American War to World War I.

Davis, Vincent. The Admirals' Lobby. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1967. Deals with institutions, planning, and politics of the navy during the twentieth century.

Field, James A., Jr. America and the Mediterranean World, 1776-1882. Princeton, N.J., 1969. Includes the best treatment of the navy in the Mediterranean during the distant-stations era.

Friedman, Norman. The Fifty Year War: Conflict and Strategy in the Cold War. Annapolis, Md., 2000. A fine survey of the Cold War by a distinguished writer on naval matters.

George, James L. The U.S. Navy: The View from the Mid-1980s. Boulder, Colo., 1985. A collection of essays dealing with the navy during the Reagan presidency.

Hagan, Kenneth J. American Gunboat Diplomacy and the Old Navy, 18771889. Westport, Conn., 1973. Concerns Commodore Shufeldt's cruise on the USS Ticonderoga.

. This People's Navy: The Making of American Sea Power. New York, 1991. A fine survey with much material on naval diplomacy.

Howarth, Stephen. To Shining Sea: A History of the United States Navy, 17751991. London, 1991. A useful survey that places the navy in world affairs.

Johnson, Robert Erwin. Thence Round Cape Horn: The Story of United States Naval Forces on Pacific Station, 18181923. Annapolis, Md., 1963. The best survey of the first century of American naval diplomacy in the eastern Pacific.

O'Connor, Raymond Gish. Perilous Equilibrium: The United States and the London Naval Conference of 1930. Lawrence, Kans., 1962. The most complete study of the conference, based on American archival materials.

Paullin, Charles Oscar. Diplomatic Negotiations of American Naval Officers, 17781883. Baltimore, 1922. A pioneer work that has never been completely replaced.

Pelz, Stephen E. Race to Pearl Harbor: The Failure of the Second London Naval Conference and the Onset of World War II. Cambridge, Mass., 1974. Views the naval approach to Pearl Harbor through British, American, and Japanese sources.

Pokrant, Marvin. Desert Storm at Sea: What the Navy Really Did. Westport, Conn., 1999. A view of the navy in the Gulf War.

Sprout, Harold, and Margaret Sprout. The Rise of American Naval Power, 17761918. Princeton, N.J., 1946.

. Toward a New Order of Sea Power: American Naval Policy and the World Scene, 19181922. Princeton, N.J., 1946. This work and The Rise of American Naval Power, 17761918 are the classic surveys of the navy's history through the Washington Conference, including illuminating comments on naval diplomacy.

Sweetman, Jack. American Naval History: An Illustrated Chronology of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1775Present. 2d ed. Annapolis, Md., 1991. Strictly a chronology of events without interpretation.

Trask, David F. Captains and Cabinets: Anglo-American Naval Relations, 19171918. Columbia, Mo., 1972. A superb multiarchival study of Anglo-American naval cooperation during World War I.

Tuleja, Thaddeus V. Statesmen and Admirals: Quest for a Far Eastern Policy. New York, 1963. A survey of the navy in the Far East from 1931 to 1941.

Walworth, Arthur. Black Ships off Japan: The Story of Commodore Perry's Expedition. New York, 1946. A good-humored account of the navy's most important diplomatic venture in the nineteenth century.

Wheeler, Gerald E. Prelude to Pearl Harbor: The United States Navy and the Far East, 19211931. Columbia, Mo., 1963. The standard study of the navy in eastern Asia during the decade before the Manchurian incident.

Zumwalt, Elmo R., Jr. On Watch: A Memoir. New York, 1976. A rewarding memoir by one of the most gifted American admirals of the Cold War years.

See also Blockades; The Continental System; Embargoes and Sanctions; Extraterritoriality; Freedom of the Seas; Imperialism; Protectorates and Spheres of Influence .