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ritory it claimed in the final outcome, but it got it by a judicial decree and not by force of arms. From the day that President Cleveland sent that message to Congress the nations of Europe have looked upon the United States in a different light. The Monroe Doctrine, which is the foremost positive feature of our foreign policy, is no longer a toy with which we are graciously permitted to amuse ourselves, but it is an accepted factor in international polity which commands the respect of all the world.”
In our exuberance over the success of Mr. Olney's bold and unselfish enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine we failed to realize several aspects of this question. In the first place, we had proudly declared the Monroe Doctrine to be a part of international law, failing todistinguish between law and policy.
In his message transmitting the correspondence between Secretary Olney and Lord Salisbury, President Cleveland had said :
... It may not have been admitted in so many words to the code of international law, but since in international councils every nation is entitled to the rights belonging to
it, if the enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine is something we may justly claim, it has its place in the code of international law as certainly and as securely as if it were specifically mentioned, and where the United States is a suitor before the high tribunal that administers international law, the question to be determined is whether or not we present claims which the justice of that code of law can find to be right and valid.
"The Monroe Doctrine finds its recognition in those principles of international “ law which are based upon the theory that
every nation shall have its rights pro“tected and its just claims enforced. ..."
This sounds well and reads well—so well in fact that the average American citizen was quite convinced by it. Those who refused to accept it were later criticised by Mr. Cleveland as "un-American." He even went so far as to say: “Those among us who most loudly reprehended and bewailed our vigorous assertion of the Monroe Doctrine were the timid ones who feared personal financial loss, or those engaged in speculation and stock gambling, in buying much
beyond their ability to pay, and generally in living by their wits.'
Yet among his critics were such able international lawyers as the late E. J. Phelps and Professor Theodore S.Woolsey. The latter wrote as follows concerning the fine rhetoric of the sentences quoted above:“ There
high tribunal,' no 'code of international law,' except in a metaphorical sense. If the passage means anything — which is uncertain - it means that the Monroe Doctrine is a part of the body of international law because it is in harmony with its ideas of justice. This is an error. The rules of international law are founded upon the principles of natural justice, but everything consonant with its ideas of justice is not a rule of international law."
Furthermore, Mr. Cleveland's ingenuous statement-"the principles of international law are based upon the theory that every nation shall have its rights protected and its just claims enforced” — has no legal basis. Every nation has the right of continuing and developing its existence, of giving effect to, or preserving its independence,
and of holding and acquiring property. It has the right to defend itself, but, as Professor Woolsey says: “... To say that every state has a right to be protected and to have its just claims enforced by some other state is simply ridiculous. No; it is moreit is monstrous.”
We were led into taking this extreme position by the British contention that we should not seek to apply the Monroe Doctrine to the boundary dispute because it does not embody any principle of international law; and that no statesman, however eminent, and no nation, however powerful, is competent to insert into the code of international law a novel principle like the Monroe Doctrine.
In our efforts to meet this we forgot that the Doctrine had no standing as law, and was merely an exposition of our foreign policy, which, like any other policy, could be changed at our own behest if we so chose.
The American people, however, were only too willing to believe that the Monroe Doctrine was an important section of that mysterious code known as “International
Law,” and far too large a number of us still
Before leaving this aspect of the discussion it ought to be said that there were writers who even ventured to deny that the Monroe Doctrine was involved at that time. It was felt by some that where a boundary dispute arises between a European colony and an American state which the state is willing to have settled by arbitration but the mother country of the colony is not, we have no right to compel her to do so. These writers felt that to use the full extent of our power in order to force such arbitration was a view of the Monroe Doctrine" of extensive obligation, and fraught with widespread consequences.
But whether the Monroe Doctrine was or was not involved in what was known as the “Venezuela controversy” does not concern us here. The fact remains that the whole episode disclosed how widespread throughout the United States was the determination of the American people to uphold the Doctrine.
In the second place, another aspect of the