« ForrigeFortsæt »
and the label "Made in Germany," testifies everywhere to commercial expansion and prosperity, but her territory is hardly sufficient to maintain her constantly increasing numbers, and she naturally seeks other localities for those who are handicapped at home by the struggle for existence. Now if Germany should take over a Latin-American country, would its people be subjugated and deprived of their liberties, or would they affiliate with the conquerors and profit by the appropriation? And how would our own institutions be affected? Would there be ground for apprehension that such an appropriation would be a menace to our democratic government? The speaker does not answer these questions, but he adverts to the fact that there are several million German-Americans; that they have been famed for their indifference to political intrigue, and have been and are equally famed for their diligence, their frugality, their thrift, and their loyalty to their adopted land. So far as is known, they have never attempted to destroy the American republic, but on the other hand have been among the foremost to contribute to its prosperity.
But how about coaling stations and the transference to American shores of the European military system? This suggests other questions. Have not the great powers of Europe all they can attend to in colonial enterprise and expansion, especially since their taking over of the available portions of Africa, under spheres of influence? Would not the maintenance of military strong-holds and coaling stations in Central and South America be an element of weakness rather than of strength? Commanding a large portion of the trade of these southern republics are not Great Britain and Germany, for example, better off than they would be if they were compelled by expensive military and naval measures to guard a commerce which prospers and increases under the protection of the countries with whom it is carried on?
The chief solicitude, perhaps, of the alarmists relates to the Panama Canal. The Clayton-Bulwer treaty has been supplanted by the Hay-Pauncefote convention. Under the direction, and at the expense of this country, the Canal is nearly completed. It is to be neutralized. The United
States may maintain such military police as may be necessary to protect it against lawlessness and disorder; belligerent vessels are restricted in method and activity, and the provisions of the treaty are to apply to waters adjacent to the Canal, within three marine miles of either end. And what
is this solicitude? Is it not that the littoral is in peril, that is the shores adjacent to the Canal, particularly on the Atlantic side; that some strong European power may appropriate a part of this littoral, and that the position of the United States may be thus rendered insecure and the Monroe Doctrine made ineffective? Great Britain may be eliminated from consideration, for there is no reason to believe that, after settling the protracted controversy over Isthmian transit, she is going to pursue a course which may weaken the alliance she has entered into to further her own trade. With the English speaking peoples in accord, is there ground for apprehending interference with the littoral, or the establishment of coaling-stations in any parts thereof, or in any of the islands of the Carribean Sea? Is not the logical conclusion that the successful operation of this great waterway will prove such a benefit to the commercial nations of the globe, that no one of them will be disposed to pursue a policy calculated to give umbrage to the others?
A matter which merits attention is the enforcement of money claims. The Latin-American republics have been frequent borrowers of European money-changers, and frequently also the disinclination or refusal to settle has led to threats of coercion. In one notable instance-a little over a decade ago-war was actually resorted to and the American people, misled by the yellow newspapers, were distracted by the bugaboo of an invaded Monroe Doctrine. The case was that of Venezuela. It is not contended that the government of Venezula repudiated its obligations; in fact, that government only objected to the amount of the claims, and proposed that they be passed upon by a board of Venezuelans, while the creditor nations urged their reference to a mixed commission. The method adopted-the sinking of Venezuelan war vessels and the bombardment of Venezuelan ports-is believed to be one of the first attempts in history to
enforce commercial demands by virtual acts of war. It is to be noted, however, that both Great Britain and Germany disavowed to the American government in advance any intention to acquire territory, the German ambassador assuring the State Department, "We declare especially that under no circumstances do we consider in our proceedings the acquisition or the permanent occupation of Venezuelan territory." The intention to acquire territory was disavowed, but were not the attitude and measures of Great Britain and Germany in a sense an interference in the affairs of Venezuela, and were the interests of South and Central America, and those of the United States in any way jeopardized?
Before dismissing the subject, we feel that the attitude, the views, the preferences and purposes of the Latin-American governments deserve attention, for it may be that today they regard the assumed protectorate of the United States as different from the very acceptable service rendered ninety years ago. Suppose that one of the Latin-American republics desires to hand over its autonomy to a European power or for a consideration to cede to that power a bit of territory for the location of a coaling-station, has the United States a right to set up the Monroe Doctrine, and, if set up, would it prove a deterrent? Without answering this question can we not say that the United States has shown too little general interest in the affairs of her Spanish-American neighbors? The matter of interrelation is one which this country should not ignore, and which means far more to the Latin-Americans than the North American people at present comprehend. During the last twenty years several of our southern neighbors have made such progress, and have so increased their resources, that they are amply able to look out for their own affairs in the event of threatened aggresion of European nations. A brief consideration of the respective attitudes of the government of the United States on the one hand and of the Latin-American countries on the other may be profitable. Let us fancy that the United States government opens the colloquy as follows:
"Greetings to our sister republics in Central and South America: We trust that you are well. We are well and are
hopeful of the future. We are at present enjoying great happiness in our remembrances. We recall that ninety years have elapsed since we espoused your cause at a time when you were weak and your European enemies were powerful, as well as hostile to the rights of the people. Your threatened resubjugation to Spain was thwarted by our endeavors, and in a brief period your independence was recognized the world over. For nearly a century we have maintained our tutelage, on four different occasions at least successfully averting the machinations and encroachments of monarchical Europe. We shall continue to regard you as our wards and whenever your liberties are endangered by the threat, or your territory is liable to seizure by the act, of any European government, we shall champion your cause and accord you our support. May peace and prosperity be within your borders, and happiness in your homes. Adieu!"
We will assume that the republics addressed respond in the following phrases:
"Thanks, oh, great and generous nation for the enumeration of your kindly offices, and for the offices themselves. Do not reproach us with discourtesy, if we observe that guardians are supposed to take a continuous interest in their wards. Hence we wonder why your people have not come down to see us during the period of your friendly protectorate. We should qualify the statement, however, for we have been favored with the society of occasional Americans, who masquerade under the cognomen of contractors, and who exact from our governments concessions, which often prove more remunerative to the visitors than to us. Our children wonder why it is that they only see the flag of your country on an occasional embassy or consulate, and why it is almost never seen on vessels in our harbors or at moorings. If the Americans whose preference is for Europe will only honor us with their presence, we will demonstrate the assertion that we can show them the evidences of advanced civilization. We have cities like Valparaiso, Buenos Ayres and Rio de Janeiro, that compare favorably with those of the United States. We have educational institutions of the highest order; we have produced men of great learning and of no
mean repute; we enjoy the advantages, conveniences, and comforts that contribute to the happiness of Europeans and North Americans. We welcome to companionship those of every clime and, with the exception of your own people, they come in generous numbers, and in our cities and settlements are a necessary and component element of our population. For example, Buenos Ayres has over 1,300,000 inhabitants, half of whom are of European birth or descent. Our trade is largely with European countries-particularly with Great Britain and Germany. The foreign merchant does not tell us what to buy, but he studies our wants, and makes his goods and products in the shapes and forms that suit us, and he favors us in matters of payments-not infrequently with long credits. Is it not a fact that you yourselves have been so intent on your home market that you have neglected Latin-American fields, that might have afforded opportunities for profitable enterprise, and that by cultivating these fields you might have brought all the American republics into a union of interest and sympathy and effort? Pardon us, if we remind you that the United States took no part in any Congress with the Latin-American States until nearly two-thirds of a century had elapsed since the declaration of President Monroe. The recent efforts of some of your Chambers of Commerce, and of your advanced men of affairs, to work up markets with us, is highly gratifying. Not the least beneficient result, if their efforts are successful, will be the coming to our shores of many of your people, who, we are sure, will deal with us as fairly as the Europeans have done and are donig. We thank you for expressions of friendship and esteem, and await the approaching day, we trust, when we may extend to your own citizens the felicitations, which we are now endeavoring to pour into your national ear.”
It is not easy to advance definite views on an indefinite subject, but it is natural to foresee possible contingencies and occurrences, and to suggest dispassionate treatment of them. Nearly thirty years ago the speaker published a monograph on the Monroe Doctrine, which was intended to be an impartial and colorless presentation of the subject, and