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COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
All Rights Reserved
The Plimpton Press Norwood Mass.
Within the limits of a single volume, it is impossible to do more than to touch in brief and general outline the incidents and experiences which I have here sought to cover. The work is therefore suggestive rather than exhaustive. Experiences whose full recital would require a volume are necessarily dismissed with a few pages of comment. Volumes might be filled with the story of each year of the intervention. The first four chapters, serving as an introduction to the major purpose, are easily capable of expansion into other volumes; while the brief review of Cuba's experience as an independent republic dismisses in a few words an abundance of material for still other volumes.
My information regarding the period of American intervention in Cuba comes primarily and mainly from personal experience as a student of the situation. My visits to the island were made in the capacity of a newspaper correspondent and magazine writer whose work and interest were limited to observation, investigation, and analysis of conditions and processes, in their details and their influences.
I arrived in Havana on January 4, 1899, three days after the transfer of Cuba to American control, and remained in the island for four months, visiting the principal cities and making such study as was then possible concerning the welfare of the peasantry in rural areas.
In September, 1901, I returned from a trip of sixteen months in the Philippines and South Africa, where I was sent to study and to report the activities of war and the initial steps of reconstruction. In November, of that year, I again went to Cuba, to follow in detail the work of the Constitutional Convention, and to
which I may
note the processes and the results of American administration in the island. I remained until May of the following year. In March, 1902, I returned for a third visit, during which I was a spectator and student of the establishment and of the opening steps of Cuban government. I thus saw the beginning, the middle, and the ending, of the period of intervention.
During these visits, my chief aim and object was to watch the situation from the Cuban rather than from the American point of view. Unlike so many who visited the island I did not limit my observations to the view presented from the windows of the Palace in Havana. That, through official reports and through the major portion of the news reports, I could have had almost as well in Washington or in New York as in Havana. Nor did I accept official statements as necessarily accurate and final. I sought contact with Cubans to obtain their opinions, and met many Spaniards from whom I obtained other opinions. Many in both groups, to
add a third, that of the many officers of our Regular Army stationed in administrative positions throughout the island, were and still are among my personal friends. I count myself fortunate in that I secured from many in these different groups a pe onal trust and confidence which led them to talk with me with entire freedom and honesty.
My correspondence for the publications which I represented, and others to which I was an occasional contributor, was at all times unhampered and unrestricted by any editorial or managerial policy. I was free to tell what I saw and to make my own comments on it. In the preparation of this book I have paid no further attention to that published correspondence than has been desirable and necessary to refresh my memory regarding special incidents or events, and to obtain special figures. The volume is not in any way a compilation of that correspondence, but, with the possible exception of an occasional paragraph, consists entirely of newly written matter, all experiences of the time being weighed in the scales of later developments. Yet I have seen little or nothing to alter materially the opinions and convictions formed during the immediate time.
I submit the work with a full realization that some of its views and some of its statements may come perhaps as a surprise to many, perhaps as an offence to others. To many it will, I believe, furnish the key to, and the explanation of, features in that complex situation which they have hitherto been unable clearly to understand. If I shall have accomplished that, and if I have contributed anything which shall make for a better and a clearer understanding of those "relations which ought to exist between Cuba and the United States,” I shall feel that my work has not been done in vain.
ALBERT GARDNER ROBINSON.
("A. G. R.")