Page images
PDF
EPUB

leaving his family with little property, Mr. Hill “Why, Mr. Hill, how can I? I have no gave the widow $10,000 to maintain herself money."

“Don't need money.” “Why, and children. So secretly was this good deed surely, I must pay for the furniture.” “No, performed that it did not become known till you mustn't ; get a good house, get a bill for long afterwards. The unvarying desire to six months' rent, furnish the house, send bills remember and aid the friends of his less pros to me. I'll pay 'em-sorry can't let you have perous days is characteristic of Mr. Hill.

any money. Good-morning, Mrs. X." Several years ago, for example, a pioneer At another time Mr. Hill was walking down jobber of St. Paul failed. He was old, he Third street, once a flourishing thoroughfare, had a dependent family, he was practically but now deserted by the general public. He destitute. But he had given Mr. Hill a clerk- stepped into a little tobacco shop kept by a ship in a time long past, and Mr. Hill ad German who had known him in the village vanced to his old employer the means, not days of 1860. “Hello, Joe," exclaimed the merely to sustain himself and family, but to railroad president, “how's business?" “Bat, travel in search of health. This generous ferry bat. I haf der chop, but vere is der provision was maintained until the old man beeples?" Mr. Hill glanced over the shop. died and his family provided for.

There was no assistant tobacconist whose disThe widow of another early friend applied charge could be recommended. But Mr. Hill to Mr. Hill for a small loan. She said she asked for a blank check, and the following was going to open a boarding-house. “Sorry, week the old tobacconist was besieged by Mrs. X, but can't let you have it.

But you'd

“beeples" in a modern well-stocked shop on better get your boarding house started." the principal retail thoroughfare.

[graphic][merged small]

THE SOLUTION OF THE

THE CUBAN
PROBLEM

AN AUTHORITATIVE EXPLANATION OF OUR PROPOSI-
TION TO THE CUBANS, BY THE AUTHOR OF IT — THE
FAR-REACHING MEANING OF THIS SETTLEMENT - OUR
OBLIGATION UNDER THE SPANISH TREATY AND OUR
DUTY TO OURSELVES AND TO THE NEW GOVERNMENT

BY

SENATOR O. H. PLATT

CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATB COMMITTEE ON RELATIONS WITH CUBA

A

QUITE important part of the world's and the United States is the more intense,

work is now in progress in Cuba, and because it demands present settlement. The

the United States is necessarily re future welfare of both countries is directly insponsible for the wise and proper performance volved, and only patriotic and high-minded of that work. For three-quarters of a century purposes should be permitted to influence the our people have been deeply interested in the people of either. ultimate fate of Cuba. The Island is scarcely Two solutions only are possible. One, the a hundred miles from our shores. It com annexation of the island by the United States; mands the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico the other, the establishment of an independand the approach to our future inter-ocean ent republic there in which the vital and just canal. Large amounts of capital have been interests, both of Cuba and the United States, invested there by American citizens, and shall be defined and maintained. vastly larger amounts are waiting the assur The project of annexation may, and ought ance of protection before investment. Each to be, dismissed. It should not for a moment country affords a natural market for the other. be considered, except in case of the direst Cuba, then, by reason of its proximity, its necessity. The people of Cuba, by reason of strategic position and its political and economic race and characteristics, cannot be easily asfeatures is more closely related to us than any similated by us. In these respects they have other foreign country. That the United little in common with us. Their presence in States would not permit any hostile or foreign the American union, as a state, would be power other than Spain to occupy the island most disturbing, and we have already asserted, has been frequently declared to be our settled as the deliberate conclusion of Congress, that policy. Its annexation by purchase has been they ought to be free and independent. There several times suggested by Presidents and is nothing to be gained, much, even honor, to diplomatic representatives, and forcible annex be lost by the annexation of Cuba. ation has been more than once hinted at. W The real question, then, is, how can an inhave often narrowly escaped war on account dependent republic be established there under of complications arising there. Self-defense conditions and circumstances which shall best and the integrity of our institutions alike give subserve the interests of the people both of us a right to be heard now that a new gov Cuba and of the United States ? That our ernment is being established.

people have interests in Cuba which must be Thoughtful and thoughtless men alike have subserved and protected, goes without saying. anticipated that the time must come when We cannot, and will not, permit any European Spain would be compelled to relinquish her power, much less a hostile or unfriendly power, authority in Cuba as she had in her other

to acquire rights or privileges in Cuba to our American possessions. That time has at last disadvantage. The essence of the Monroe arrived, and the problem, still unsolved, of Doctrine asserted, and justly insisted upon the relations which must exist between Cuba for nearly eighty years, forbids it.

Nor can

the United States permit the existence of a This preliminary condition of peace was government in Cuba in which peace and order, carried forward into the treaty of Paris in the the protection of life and property, and the first article of which it was stipulated : maintenance of all international obligations

“ And, as the island is, upon its evacuation by are not observed. In respect to the future Spain, to be occupied by the United States, the government of Cuba our interests and those United States will, so long as such occupation of the Cuban people are identical ; the gov shall last, assume and discharge the obligations ernment of Cuba must be stable, as well as that may under international law result from the republican, in form. Again, our obligations fact of its occupation for the protection of life to the world at large, created and assumed by and property." the act of intervention, demand of us that we

And in the sixteenth article it was further become responsible both for the character and stipulated that the United States would maintenance of the new government. If duty required us to see to it that Cuba was free,

“ upon the termination of such occupancy, adduty equally requires us to see to it that the

vise the government established in the island to Cuba of the future shall be both peaceful and

assume the same obligations." prosperous. The “abhorrent conditions " ex We cannot, if we would, honorably relieve isting in the island amply justified the inter ourselves from our treaty obligation to see vention of the United States. President that the life and property of Spaniards and McKinley, in his message of April 11th, 1898, those Cubans who did not join in the revoluwell outlined both the necessity and motive tion are protected by the new government. for intervention in these pregnant words : Perfunctory advice to that government will

not meet the full measure of our obligation. “ The only hope of relief and repose from a condition which can no longer be endured is the

Our work was only half done when Cuba was enforced pacification of Cuba. In the name of

liberated from its oppressor. A nation which humanity, in the name of civilization, in behalf

undertakes to put an end to bad government of endangered American interests, which give us in a neighboring country must also see that the right and duty to speak and to act, the war just and good government follows. Nations in Cuba must stop.”

have duties to perform as well as interests to When, therefore, in the name of humanity, couraging to note is being better understood

guard and protect, a truth which it is enof civilization and of American interests, we intervened to put an end to misrule and in throughout the world now than ever before. tolerable government, we made ourselves re

From the high plane of duty alone, not less sponsible for the establishment and continuance

than by self interest, the United States is

committed to the maintenance of good govof good government thereafter. More than this, we are bound by our treaty obligations be determined by this consideration. It can

ernment in Cuba, and its policy must first of all with Spain to protect the life and property of Spaniards and Cubans who did not engage in

not escape responsibility; it must meet it the revolution. In the negotiations between

In the negotiations between manfully. Mr. Cambon, the French Ambassador, and

The practical question as to how this end

may be accomplished is not without its diffiMr. Day, our Secretary of State, looking to

culties. Our responsibility for the governthe preliminary peace protocol, this was distinctly insisted upon.

ment of the island and its people began with In a message of the Minister of State of Spain, dated August which we assumed has been wisely and justly

our military occupation. That the trust 7th, 1898, submitted by Mr. Cambon, this

administered to the present time can scarcely language appears :

be questioned. We commenced our humane “ The necessity of withdrawing from the terri- policy in Cuba when we furnished its starving tory of Cuba being imperative, the nation assum

people with food, restored them to their ing Spain's place must, as long as this territory peaceful occupations and protected them in shall not have fully reached the conditions required to take rank among other sovereign powers,

their individual rights. For two years and provide for rules which will insure order and

three months the people of Cuba have been protect against all risks the Spanish residents, as

more liberally, wisely and beneficently govwell as the Cuban natives still loyal to the mother erned than ever before in their history, sencountry.”

sational newspaper criticisms to the contrary

notwithstanding. We have brought order out capable of making a treaty with the United of chaos, tranquillity out of horror, happiness States. Unless, then, the relations hereafter out of misery; we have stamped out pesti to subsist between its future government and lence, substituted education for ignorance, and the United States are defined in its Constitugrafted as rapidly as possible the spirit of tion, or in an ordinance attached thereto, American institutions upon an effete and cor which legally becomes “a part thereof," the rupt civilization. We have done for Cuba whole matter of determining these relations what no nation on earth ever did for a con must not only remain in abeyance until a new quered province.

government has been established and recogDuring this period of military occupation nized, but we must surrender any rights to be and government we have constantly had one heard as to what these relations shall be. In end only in view; namely, to afford the other words, an agreement must now be had people of Cuba an opportunity to establish by with the authorities framing the constitution, themselves, and for themselves, an inde thus binding the future Cuba ; or the United pendent republic. It was impossible for them States, waiting until the independence of Cuba to do it without our guidance. Strange as it shall have been recognized, must take whatmay seem, the fact that we have not at ever Cuba is then willing to give by treaty, tempted to dictate the features and provisions be it much or little, or be contented with of their organic law is in some quarters criti- nothing at all. cised as a blunder on the part of General The convention met on the first Monday of Wood. To have withdrawn from Cuba when last November and proceeded with the work Spain evacuated the island would have been of framing a constitution, which early in shameful and disgraceful. We have therefore February had so far progressed that its charproperly and wisely taken the steps necessary acter and general features were determined to enable the people to frame a constitution upon.

There was in it no recognition of the and establish a government thereunder. By

By United States, no expression of gratitude or the treaty of Paris, Spanish subjects were even friendliness. As the convention neared given twelve months in which to determine the completion of its work it became apparent whether they were to retain or relinquish their that a false pride on the part of a majority of allegiance to Spain. Until the end of that its delegates was likely to induce them to period it was impossible to determine who ignore the requirement that they should as might rightly participate in the work of re part of that constitution, by agreement with construction. A census of the people was the government of the United States, proquite as necessary. Municipal elections, the vide for the relations to exist between Cuba establishment of municipal governments, and and the United States. Great haste was prescribing the right of suffrage were equally manifested to complete the constitution so essential. All these steps, under the direction that it could be submitted to Congress before of the President, were taken, and then an the close of its session without in any way election of delegates who should frame a con considering the question of future relations. stitution was ordered. The order for the A majority of the delegates to the convenholding of a constitutional convention very tion seemed to assume that nothing was to be properly declared that the delegates in fram done except to submit to Congress a constiing and adopting a constitution should, “as a tution, ignoring the United States and any part thereof, provide for and agree with the relations in future between the two countries, Government of the United States upon the and that thereupon Congress' would direct relations to exist between that Government the withdrawal of our troops from the island, and the Government of Cuba."

leaving all further stipulations to the Cubans In no other way was it possible that future themselves. To have acceded to this would relations between the two countries could be have been fatal folly on the part of the definitely agreed upon.

That such agree

United States. ment was necessary will not be questioned. A word here as to the constituency of the Cuba was, and is to-day, a foreign power in constitutional convention may not be inapthe military occupation of the United States. propriate. Unfortunately the conservative It was not, is not yet, and will not be until element in Cuba is not largely represented in its dependencies shall be properly recognized the convention.

the convention. The most active, and, per

[ocr errors]

haps, therefore, the most influential delegates,

V. represent rather the revolutionary and reac “ That the government of Cuba will execute, and tionary element, and apparently are more as far as necessary extend, the plans already anxious to obtain control of the new govern

devised or other plans to be mutually agreed ment than to establish it upon a basis which upon, for the sanitation of the cities of the island, will insure lasting peace and prosperity in the

to the end that a recurrence of epidemic and in

fectious diseases may be prevented, thereby asisland. In this emergency, the Cuban delegates showing little or no disposition to enter

suring protection to the people and commerce of

Cuba, as well as to the commerce of the south-
into
any agreement or to formulate

any
state-

ern ports of the United States and the people
ment of the relations which should exist be- residing therein.
tween the two countries, it was felt to be the

VI. duty of Congress to advise the convention of “ That the Isle of Pines shall be omitted from conditions, a compliance with which our the proposed constitutional boundaries of Cuba, government deemed essential. Accordingly the title thereto being left to future adjustment Congress, on the second day of March, by an by treaty. amendment to the Army Appropriation bill,

VII. authorized the President to withdraw from “ That to enable the United States to maintain the military occupation of Cuba

the independence of Cuba, and to protect the

people thereof, as well as for its own defense, so soon as a government shall have been estab

the government of Cuba will sell or lease to the lished in said island under a constitution which,

United States lands necessary for coaling or naval either as a part thereof or in an ordinance ap stations at certain specified points, to be agreed pended thereto, shall define the future relations

upon with the President of the United States.
of the United States with Cuba, substantially as
follows:

VIII.
I.

“ That by way of further assurance the govern“ That the government of Cuba shall never

ment of Cuba will embody the foregoing provisenter into any treaty or other compact with any

ions in a permanent treaty with the United

States." foreign power or powers which will impair or tend to impair the independence of Cuba, nor in Unless it be conceded that we have no right any manner authorize or permit any foreign power whatever to indicate the character of the govor powers to obtain by colonization or for military ernment to be established in Cuba, or the reor naval purposes or otherwise, lodgment in or

lations which shall exist between the new control over any portion of said island.

government thereof and the United States, II.

nothing could be more fair and just than the “ That said government shall not assume or con foregoing statement of conditions on which tract any public debt, to pay the interest upon the President is authorized to withdraw from which, and to make reasonable sinking fund pro the military occupation of the island. The vision for the ultimate discharge of which, the conditions thus proposed by Congress are as ordinary revenues of the island, after defraying manifestly in the interest of Cuba as of the the current expenses of government shall be in United States. The keynote of these propoadequate.

sitions is that Cuba shall be and remain indeIII.

pendent under a stable republican government “ That the government of Cuba consents that the

which the United States will assist in mainUnited States may exercise the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the

taining against foreign aggression or domestic maintenance of a government adequate for the

disorder. Cuba needs this, because it will be protection of life, property and individual liberty, practically powerless either to repel foreign and for discharging the obligations with respect to aggression or to maintain peace and order at Cuba imposed by the treaty of Paris on the home if the turbulence of the past shall reUnited States, now to be assumed and undertaken

appear. by the government of Cuba.

The new government of Cuba will have
IV.
neither an army nor a navy.

There are “ That all acts of the United States in Cuba something like six hundred millions of dollars luring its military occupancy thereof are ratified of Spanish bonds outstanding, for which the and validated, and all lawful rights acquired revenues of Cuba were pledged at the time thereunder shall be maintained and protected. of their issue. These bonds are held largely

« PreviousContinue »