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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908

we could subpoena from whom we thought we could get any
evidence that would give us any light.
  The case in that respect was entirely made up when the com-
mittee made its report; and as a result of the testimony so
taken and reported by the committee to the Senate, the Presi-
dent himself joining with a majority of the members of that
committee, came to the conclusion that there were innocent men
in this battalion who ought to be given permission to reenlist.
But recognizing that there was no power except in Congress to
authorize the reenlistment, the President sent us a special mes-
sage asking us to authorize the reenlistment of every man of
the battalion whom he had discharged who could establish to
his satisfaction his innocence.
  I introduced a bill which omitted that requirement and put
in some others.  Inasmuch as two years, or nearly that, had
then elapsed without any evidence being offered by anybody to
identify any individual, and inasmuch as great effort had been
made to get a clew of evidence that would identify some indi-
vidual, it seemed to me all should he reenlisted, but that the
right should be reserved--and I so provided in the bill I intro-
duced--to prosecute any and all before any civil or military
tribunal, as the case might require, against whom any evidence
might hereafter be brought by anybody to show that they did
have participation in that offense.
  I thought that would be sufficient.  I thought it was at the
time.  But now that more time has elapsed and that these
efforts are going on, and especially in view of the fact that I
am informed by these letters, and the Senate is informed by
what I have read, that it is claimed by men who claimed that
they were representing the Government that some of these
soldiers have been giving affidavits which tend to establish
their guilt, I think the whole thing should be brought out into
the open, and that the bill should be amended in the way I have
suggested or in some other proper way. I am not particular as to
the special manner in which this wrong, in so far as a wrong
has been committed, shall be righted, but I am anxious to get
a bill that will be fair to the army, fair to the soldiers, fair to
the people of this country, and fair to the Senate that is called
upon to consider it.
  Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. President, while we are upon this
subject of the Brownsville outrage I will state that my infor-
mation is that there has been communicated to the Senate this
morning a message from the President upon the subject, and in
order that we may have what appears in the RECORD to-day
consecutively I ask that the message be now read.
  The VICE-PRESIDENT  The Chair lays before the Senate
a message from the President of the United States, which will
be read.
  The Secretary read the message, as follows:
To the Senate:
  I inclose herewith a letter from the Secretary of War trans-
mitting a report of the investigation made by Mr. Herbert J.
Browne, employed by the department in conjunction with Capt.
W. G. Baldwin to investigate as far as possible what happened
at Brownsville on the 13th and 14th of August, 1906.  The re-
port and documents contain some information of great value


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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908



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