Page images
PDF
EPUB

landed troops in Central America and taken an active part by way of interfering in local politics. We believed that the conditions were so bad as to justify us in carrying out the new Monroe Doctrine by aiding one side in a local revolution.

Our policy toward the republics of Central America has undergone a startling development since the beginning of President Roosevelt's administration. In the words of a recent minister to Honduras, our policy has changed “from simple mediation and scrupulous non-intervention, to a policy of active, direct intervention in their internal affairs; and secondly, these interventions have become as startlingly frequent as they have become increasingly embarrassing in character.

The dangerous trend of such a policy towards an actual intermeddling in the administration of these countries, would seem fairly obvious. Such a result, from every point of view, whether of the United States, of the state immediately affected, or of other Spanish-American states, would be as lamentable as it would appear unnecessary."

Of our armed intervention in Cuba it is scarcely necessary to speak, except to refer in passing to the newspaper story, credited and believed in Cuba, that if American troops are again obliged to intervene in the political life of that country, they will not be withdrawn as has been the practice in the past.

Finally, in 1912, the Senate of the United States, by an overwhelming majority, passed the Lodge resolution which enlarges the Monroe Doctrine by declaring that “when any harbor or other place in the American continents is so situated that the occupation thereof for naval or military purposes might threaten the communication or the safety of the United States, the government of the United States could not see, without grave concern, the possession of such harbor or other places by any corporation or association which has such relation to another government not American as to give that government practical power of control for naval or military purposes."

Practically, this amounts to saying that if any American republic chooses to exercise

her sovereign rights and sell a harbor that is within a couple of thousand miles of the Panama Canal, we could not allow the transaction to go through without very vigorous protest; although, we ourselves, by taking the harbor of Guantanamo for a naval base, are hardly in a position to enter logical protest.

This resolution was precipitated by the rumored attempt of a Japanese fishing company to secure certain privileges on Magdalena Bay.

The fact that this enlargement of the Monroe Doctrine interferes with the natural desires of any American republic to deal with foreign corporations, and so clashes with the sovereign rights of independent states, seems hardly to have been taken into account by the Senate. President Taft, however, did not approve of the resolution and it was not signed, but its passage by a vote of 51 to 4 is regarded in South America as evidence of our tendency to interfere in their affairs. [See Appendix IV.]

In short, many of the events of the past quarter-century have amply justified our

Southern neighbors in feeling that the Monroe Doctrine, under which term they include our general foreign policy in the western hemisphere, means interference and intervention.

A recent American minister to Honduras, in a carefully prepared paper before the American Political Science Association, was obliged to admit that

“Historically, the Spanish-Americans have cherished in their hearts a marked aversion for the Yankee. The taking of California from Mexico, the occupation of Porto Rico, the protectorate over Cuba, the receivership in Santo Domingo, the coup d'état in Panama, are all held to be palpable evidence of a lust for territory and warnings of the ultimate fate awaiting other countries on this continent. Every intervention of the United States, while approved by the faction immediately favored, is viewed with apprehension by all other SpanishAmericans."

The menace of intervention, armed intervention, the threatened presence of machine guns and American marines, have repeat

edly been used by Latin-American politicians themselves in their endeavors to keep the peace in their own countries. And we have done enough of that sort of thing to make it evident to disinterested observers that the new Monroe Doctrine, our present policy, is to act as international policeman for the Latin part of the western hemisphere.

Is this Doctrine worth while?

Let us see what it involves : first, from the European, second, from the Latin-American point of view.

III

By letting it be known in Europe that we shall not tolerate any European intervention or the landing of European troops on the sacred soil of the American republics, we assume very grave responsibilities.

As the “Spectator" recently pointed out, if France or Germany or Great Britain is offended by some act of a South American State -- the Monroe Doctrine offers a way out of these difficulties. “It constitutes the United States a kind of buffer between the

« PreviousContinue »