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recently expressed by Secretary Root, and more recently by President Wilson in his Mobile speech.
The idea of an American interoceanic-isthmian canal, which possibly was considered as a minor factor in producing the original declaration of Monroe, was later a prominent factor in causing the United States government to assert a status of "paramount interest," which is now emphasized as a cardinal point of American foreign policy growing from the basic principle of the policy of Monroe and Adams. Seward steadily acting under the doctrine of the larger influence and interests of the United States in American affairs, in 1864 began to assert it in a series of negotiations and treaties with Central America and Columbia in regard to the proposed isthmian canal. His successor, under Grant's administration, hopefully expecting the future "voluntary departure of European government from this continent and the adjacent islands," in 1870-77 favored the acquisition of San Domingo, as a measure of national protection to prevent the apprehended danger of its control as a possession or a protectorate of a European power, and to secure a "just claim to a controlling influence" over the future commercial traffic across the isthmus. Later, he endeavored to negotiate with Columbia a treaty by which he sought for the United States a greater privileged status and more extensive rights of intervention on the isthmus-a treaty which Columbia refused to ratify. In 1880, Secretary Evarts aserted the doctrine of American "paramount interest" in projects of interoceanic canal communication across the isthmus, and the right to be a principal party to any political arrangements affecting this American question. This doctrine received new meaning in 1881 after the occupation of Egypt by Great Britain which already owned a controlling majority of the stock of the Suez Canal, and again after the events of the American intervention in Cuba which brought new opportunities, new duties and new responsibilities to the United States. The construction of the canal under American control was the logical conclusion of a long series of events; and the wisdom of the diplomacy and policy which seized opportunity by the
forelock, and terminated the long period of discussion and delay, can safely be submitted to the test of time.
Although changed conditions in both hemispheres, and of motive power on the ocean, have modified the earlier meaning of the Monroe Doctrine, and may still further modify it, its main basic principle for America has not been abandoned. This principle is not obsolete. It has been retained on the broad ground of national welfare, in spite of the defects in Latin American governments so frequently resulting in troubles due to unpaid claims; and European powers have recently shown a readiness to accept it at the Hague Conference and in connection with the Venezuelan debt question of 1902. The latter incident, according to leaders in England, gave the Monroe Doctrine an immensely increased authority. Mr. Balfour, approving the American policy, suggested that the United States should more actively enter into an arrangement by which constantlyoccurring difficulties between European powers and certain states in Latin America could be avoided.
Unless we have reached the conclusion that all Latin America might be better under European control, and that this control would not seriously threaten the peace and permanent interests of the United States, at least one important principle of the Doctrine should still be retained as a fundamental part of American foreign policy. Under whatever name, and however modified to suit the conditions and needs of American foreign policy, it is still a useful principle. It may fitly be called the doctrine of national defense, which in its results may be regarded also as a doctrine of Pan-American defense. In America the United States government has duties and responsibilities which can not be abandoned to the mercy of trans-oceanic powers, nor submitted to the decision of international conferences or tribunals. It must attend to the larger interests of the United States-without any unnecessary interference with the larger interests of other powers. Certainly, in Mexico at present, the United States has a larger interest than that of any European power. She has a far greater interest than any other power in the restoration of peace and the
establishment of a government that has proper basis or permanency in its method of selection and in its policies for adjustment of problems that press for solution. Peace in America, on the basis of good government, is more important to the United States than it is to Europe, and more important to the United States than peace in Europe.
The present basis of policy is the paramount interest of the United States in American affairs-a special interest which, especially in the Caribbean, can be shared with no other power, and perhaps would be questioned by no European power. After the war for the relief of the Cuban situation in 1898-a war which made the United States an Asiatic power and brought it in contact with European politics in the far East-American paramount interests in the West Indies, and in the Caribbean, were greatly increased and especially found expression in the messages of President Roosevelt and in various acts of the American government-including the construction of the Panama Canal which has clearly increased the importance of maintaining around the Caribbean the American policy against the interference of European powers. In this region the United States has duties and responsibilities which it may not willingly share with any European power.
Father south, the assertion and maintenance of the doctrine of non-intervention has been rendered less necessary by the growth of several more perfect, orderly and stable governments, which themselves are the best guarantors of the Doctrine. The larger Latin American republics, in which governments have reached sure bases of permanence, may properly be invited by the United States to coöperate or participate in the consideration of mutual larger interests in America, and to share the responsibilities incident to the American principle of defense of American nationalities. Doubtless by such a continental extension of the means of safeguarding the Monroe Doctrine, Latin American neighbors through the sobering effect of actual responsibility would cease to misinterpret the motives of the mother republic in the Caribbean and on the Isthmus.
Whether we admit Olney's declaration that "the United
States is practically sovereign on this continent," it seems clear that as a result of its geographic situation it has a "paramount interest" in the western hemisphere which imposes certain rules of policy toward Latin American neighbors-especially toward those in the Caribbean and around its shores. This doctrine was at the basis of the Cuban intervention, of the construction of the Panama canal under American control, of the declaration of policy to Germany in connection with the blockade of Venezuelan ports, of the policy in Santo Domingo, of the recent policy in Nicaragua, and of the present Mexican policy. The essential idea is to prevent the danger of European intervention which might result in the acquisition of territory.
A possible result of this policy is the intervention of the United States to set in order the conditions which invite foreign intervention. Such a policy, however undesirable, may be necessary unless the United States is ready to abandon its past policy in regard to European intervention. Actual intervention of force of arms is a possible necessity which the American government, judging for itself the action which the situation may require, would undertake only after much forbearance and as a last resort to secure peace between warring factions, and to prevent dangers more serious. Such intervention was contemplated in Mexico in 1867, but was fortunately avoided by the French withdrawal which precipitated the fall of Maximilian.
In case a European power seeks redress for an injury which can be fairly settled only by occupation of soil, the American government might logically be forced to accept the rôle of international policemen and assume responsibility of satisfying the injured party. Against Venezuela in 1902, the United States permitted a military debt collecting demonstration with the assurance that no territory would be occupied. She determined the reasonableness of the demand upon the delinquent government, and also the method of collection. In the case of Santo Domingo, she prevented the necessity of European intervention by assuming administrative control of the Dominican finances for the purpose of paying foreign credi
tors, and with no view to territorial aggression. These two cases indicate the purpose of the American government at Washington to prevent the use of the non-intervention principle of the traditional American policy as a shield to protect delinquent Latin American republics from the payment of debts, as it was used in the case of the proposed joint European expedition against Mexico in 1859.
The United States has never had a wish to interfere in the internal policies of Latin American neighbors. She has had no desire to interfere with those which are orderly, and no inclination to interfere with those which are disorderly. But in the case of Mexico she has refused recognition to de-facto governments irregularly or unfairly elected. The election of Maximilian by a reported "immense majority" was regarded as a farce.
The maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine places upon the United States a responsibility to prevent its foreign policy from becoming a shield to protect the existence of revolution, anarchy and military despotism which increases the debts of neighboring Latin American countries and results in vast foreign claims for property destroyed. The protegés of American foreign policy should more carefully seek to maintain orderly and well administered governments which will not invite foreign wrath. In Central America, the disorder might be reduced by federation; but the problem is beset by many difficulties.
The supreme need of these republics is to establish a basis by which changes of policies and parties can be made peacefully through the ballot box. The continued disorderly condition of affairs must either result in the abrogation of the Monroe Doctrine so far as it protects them, or in the alternative of a more active American policy to secure more peaceful internal conditions. It is possible that arbitration in some form may be applied to civil commotions in such a way as to afford a general remedy if elections are free and fairly conducted. Possibly, some plan for the establishment of a receivership for delinquent states could be devised by a conference of American states. Such a plan might prove of great value in securing peace and