The style and execution of Theodore Roosevelt's diplomacy were on display at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in the autumn of 1905.
The impetus for peace began at sea. The Japanese victory at Tsushima Strait had not been wholly unexpected, but the magnitude of the defeat of the Russian Baltic Fleet on 27-28 May 1905 exceeded even President Theodore Roosevelt's active imagination. "No wonder you are happy!" he wrote Baron Kentaro Kaneko, a Harvard-educated Japanese diplomat. "Neither Trafalgar nor the defeat of the Spanish Armada was as complete. . . . "
Later that same day, as the full implications of Japan's success sunk in, President Roosevelt wrote Secretary of War William H. Taft: "It seems to me this country must decide definitely whether it does or does not intend to hold its possessions in the Orient. . . . If we are not prepared to build and maintain a good sized navy . . . and . . . establish a strong and suitable base . . . in the Philippines, then we had better give up the Philippines entirely."1