ARGENTINA AND THE MONROE DOCTRINE*
However, there is a slowly accumulating public opinion that Argentina can do without the foreigner, that the hour is coming when she should no longer be exploited in order that large dividends be paid to investors who live on the other side of the Atlantic. There is a sort of sub-conscious feeling that it is the genius of the Argentines themselves which accounts for the sunshine, the rich soils, the general productivity. Evidence of that state of mind can be found in other countries besides Argentina. Yet, though it is apparent to the most casual observer of the world's conditions that Argentina must wax in strength and become increasingly independent, it is clear that were she to attempt to stand, far less run, alone she would come a tremendous cropper.
The pride of the Argentine has to be reckoned upon. The nation recalls its decrepit past; it sees the abundant blossom of the present; its eyes are large when viewing the future. It declines to confound its destiny with any other South American Republic. For its northern neighbour Brazil, Portuguese and negro in population, it has a scorn which raises a smile on the lips of the outsider.
It resents the patronage of the United States. When the States preaches the Monroe Doctrine, and announces it will not allow any European Power to acquire fresh territory on the American continent, Argentina says : "It is very kind of you, but we do not require your help ; we are quite capable of looking after ourselves."
Behind this is the belief that the Monroe Doctrine is but a design to permit the United States to become the ruling factor in American higher politics, if not to extend her sphere of authority the entire length of the continent. The manner in which the United States got possession of territory in Central America in order to construct the Panama Canal rankles in the minds of Argentines, as it does in the minds of most other South Americans. Bitter though the feeling is between rival South American States, they are at one in their resentment of United States patronage.
Occasionally, United States Ministers of high position travel south, and beat the pan-American drum.
They are received politely, but there is chilliness in the courtesy. In blunt truth these Republics--be they right or be they wrong in surmise--do not trust the United States. I think I am well within the facts when I state that there is an agreement between Argentina, Brazil, and Chili--known as the A.B.C. combination--to take common action if there is any step south of the Panama isthmus savouring of aggression on the part of the United States.
Both in Argentina and Brazil, when I conversed with public men, I was given clearly to understand how deep-seated is this dislike of the United States. There is annoyance at the manner in which President Woodrow Wilson has lectured the Latin Republics of America for granting concessions to European syndicates for the development of their countries. President Wilson laid it down that the growth of foreign interests in these Republics was unwholesome, because they were sure to influence the political life; therefore, he said, it was the duty of the United States to assist in emancipating them from such subordination. This was a considerable extension of the Monroe Doctrine. The much-preached creed that the United States will not tolerate any other Power acquiring territory in the Western hemisphere had been expanded to mean that the United States is going to use its influence to free the Latin Republics from being under obligation to European countries which have given their millions of gold towards making those Republics commercially prosperous which, so far as financial assistance from the United States counts, would have remained practically undeveloped. At the latter end of 1913 Mr. Page, United States Ambassador to Great Britain, stated at a public dinner that President Wilson was determined to assert the principle that no sort of European financial or industrial control could, with the consent of the United States, be got over the weak nations of America so far as this control affected political influence.
What European countries think about this attitude of the United States in practically warning off European financiers if the investments or concessions have an influence over politics--which, of course, they must have in all trading countries--it is not for me to discuss here. But this over-lordship, this placing of the Latin Republics in a position of tutelage to the great Republic of the north, is denounced and repudiated by every Latin American public man.
I quite agree that it would be better for countries like Argentina and Brazil if they were not so dependent on the foreign capitalist. That is a view held by probably the majority of South Americans themselves. But they are not going to accept dictation from the United States, especially as they know that United States financiers and syndicates are not only endeavouring to control the meat trade of Argentina, but within the last year or so have been engaged in gigantic negotiations to secure ultimately a controlling voice in many of the most important railway concerns.
In the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies in December of 1913, Señor Pedro Moacyr questioned whether, even should the United States spare Brazil the fate meted out to Colombia, in regard to setting up the baby Republic of Panama so that the North Americans could construct the Panama Canal, Brazil would accept the tutelage over Latin America which President Wilson, improving on the imperialism of Mr. Roosevelt himself, and yet further accentuating the disquieting deviations of the Monroe Doctrine, had proclaimed ? What it came to was, said Señor Moacyr, "that the Latin Republics are no longer to have the right to grant to foreigners such concessions and privileges as it may suit them to grant, and, under pretext of preserving them from a problematical European imperialism, the United States will subject them to its own domination and control. What, in this case, becomes of the integrity and sovereignty of Latin America for which the great Republic displays so much solicitude ? More and more the Monroe Doctrine, new style, displays this manifest tendency: America for the United States. . . . Will the great Latin Republics be willing to submit to this American control, and subordinate their foreign policy and their economic orientation to the views and interests of Washington ? We do not believe it."
It is only right that United States financiers should receive privileges the same as are accorded to the financiers of other countries; but such a pronouncement as that of President Wilson only intensifies the distrust of South Americans, so that when looking beyond their own frontiers for money they are more disposed to direct their gaze across the Atlantic than to the people of the United States. What may be taken as quite certain is that the big Latin Republics have sufficient confidence in themselves to refuse to accept any lectures from North Americans.
* * *
"The time," said President Grant, in his late Message to the United States Congress, "is not probably distant when, in the natural course of
events, the European political connexion with this continent will cease. Our policy should be shaped to ally the commercial interests
of the Spanish-American States more closely to our own, and thus give the United States all the pre-eminence and all the advantage which Mr. Monroe, Mr. Adams,
and Mr. Clay contemplated when they proposed to join in the Congress of Panama."
(Money Market Review, 14 January 1871, page 30, col. 1.)
* * *
Differences in attitude towards the Mexican Revolution, 1910-14, caused friction between the United States and Great Britain. Unlike Britain, the US had not recognised the provisional government of General Huerta and suspected Britain (and perhaps even France and Germany) of supporting Huerta and Lord Cowdray's business interests. Lord Cowdray had been accused of aiding Huerta and of having obtained oil-field concessions from the provisional government. These matters moved Wilson to renew long-standing efforts to expand the Monroe Doctrine and carry it into the financial field. Doing so, he misunderstood the South American concept of a "concession."
PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON: An Address on Latin American Policy in Mobile, Alabama, 27 October 1913.
Your Excellency, Mr. Chairman:(1)
It is with unaffected pleasure that I find myself here today. I once before had the pleasure, in another southern city, of addressing the Southern Commercial Congress. I then spoke of what the future seemed to hold in store for this region, which so many of us love and toward the future of which we all look forward with so much confidence and hope. But another theme directed me here this time. I do not need to speak of the South. She has, perhaps, acquired the gift of speaking for herself. I come because I want to speak of our present and prospective relations with our neighbors to the south. I deemed it a public duty, as well as a personal pleasure, to be here to express, for myself and for the government I represent, the welcome we all feel to those who represent the Latin-American states.
The future, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be very different for this hemisphere from the past. These states lying to the south of us, which have always been our neighbors, will now be drawn closer to us by innumerable ties, and, I hope, chief of all, by the tie of a common understanding of each other. Interest does not tie nations together; it sometimes separates them. But sympathy and understanding does unite them, and I believe that by the new route that is just about to be opened, while we physically cut two continents asunder, we spiritually unite them. It is a spiritual union which we seek.
I wonder if you realize, I wonder if your imaginations have been filled with the significance of the tides of commerce. Your Governor alluded in very fit and striking terms to the voyage of Columbus; but Columbus took his voyage under compulsion of circumstances. Constantinople had been captured by the Turks, and all the routes of trade with the East had been suddenly closed. If there was not a way across the Atlantic to open those routes again, they were closed forever, and Columbus set out, not to discover America, for he did not know that it existed, but to discover the eastern shores of Asia. He set sail for Cathay and stumbled upon America. With that change in the outlook of the world, what happened? England, that had been at the back of Europe with an unknown sea behind her, found that all things had turned as if upon a pivot and she was at the front of Europe; and since then, all the tides of energy and enterprise that have issued out of Europe have seemed to be turned westward across the Atlantic. But you will notice that they have turned westward chiefly north of the equator, and that it is the northern half of the globe that has seemed to be filled with the media of intercourse and of sympathy and of common understanding.
Do you not see now what is about to happen? These great tides, which have been running along parallels of latitude, will now swing southward athwart parallels of latitude, and that opening gate at the Isthmus of Panama will open the world to a commerce that she has not known before--a commerce of intelligence, of thought and sympathy between North and South. The Latin-American states, which, to their disadvantage, have been off the main lines, will now be on the main lines. I feel that these gentlemen honoring us with their presence today will presently find that some part, at any rate, of the center of gravity of the world has shifted. Do you realize that New York, for example, will be nearer the western coast of South America than she is now to the eastern coast of South America? Do you realize that a line drawn northward, parallel with the greater part of the western coast of South America, will run only about one hundred and fifty miles west of New York? The great bulk of South America, if you will look at your globes (not at your Mercator's projection), lies eastward of the continent of North America. You will realize that when you realize that the canal will run southeast, not southwest, and that, when you get into the Pacific, you will be farther east than you were when you left the Gulf of Mexico. (I am reciting these things because I recently discovered them, by myself, renewing my study of geography.) These things are significant, therefore, of this--that we are closing one chapter in the history of the world and are opening another, of great, unimaginable significance.
There is one peculiarity about the history of the Latin-American states which I am sure they are keenly aware of. You hear of "concessions" to foreign capitalists in Latin America. You do not hear of concessions to foreign capitalists in the United States. They are not granted concessions. They are invited to make investments. The work is ours, though they are welcome to invest in it. We do not ask them to supply the capital and do the work. It is an invitation, not a privilege; and states that are obliged, because their territory does not lie within the main field of modern enterprise and action, to grant concessions are in this condition--that foreign interests are apt to dominate their domestic affairs; a condition of affairs always dangerous and apt to become intolerable. What these states are going to see, therefore, is an emancipation from the subordination, which has been inevitable, to foreign enterprise and an assertion of the splendid character which, in spite of these difficulties, they have again and again been able to demonstrate. The dignity, the courage, the self-possession, the self-respect of the Latin-American states, their achievements in the face of all these adverse circumstances, deserve nothing but the admiration and applause of the world. They have had harder bargains driven with them in the matter of loans than any other peoples in the world. Interest has been exacted of them that was not exacted of anybody else, because the risk was said to be greater; and then securities were taken that destroyed the risk--an admirable arrangement for those who were forcing the terms! I rejoice in nothing so much as in the prospect that they will now be emancipated from these conditions, and we ought to be the first to take part in assisting in that emancipation. I think some of these gentlemen have already had occasion to bear witness that the Department of State in recent months has tried to serve them in that wise. In the future, they will draw closer and closer to us because of circumstances of which I wish to speak with moderation and, I hope, without indiscretion.
We must prove ourselves their friends and champions, upon terms of equality and honor. You cannot be friends upon any other terms than upon the terms of equality. You cannot be friends at all except upon the terms of honor. We must show ourselves friends by comprehending their interest, whether it squares with our own interest or not. It is a very perilous thing to determine the foreign policy of a nation in the terms of material interest. It not only is unfair to those with whom you are dealing, but it is degrading as regards your own actions.
Comprehension must be the soil in which shall grow all the fruits of friendship, and there is a reason and a compulsion lying behind all this which is dearer than anything else to the thoughtful men of America. I mean the development of constitutional liberty in the world. Human rights, national integrity, and opportunity as against material interests--that, ladies and gentlemen, is the issue which we now have to face. I want to take this occasion to say that the United States will never again seek one additional foot of territory by conquest. She will devote herself to showing that she knows how to make honorable and fruitful use of the territory she has; and she must regard it as one of the duties of friendship to see that from no quarter are material interests made superior to human liberty and national opportunity. I say this, not with a single thought that anyone will gainsay it, but merely to fix in our consciousness what our real relationship with the rest of America is. It is the relationship of a family of mankind devoted to the development of true constitutional liberty. We know that that is the soil out of which the best enterprise springs. We know that this is a cause which we are making in common with our neighbors, because we have had to make it for ourselves.
Reference has been made here today to some of the national problems which confront us as a nation. What is at the heart of all our national problems? It is that we have seen the hand of material interests sometimes about to close upon our dearest rights and possessions. We have seen material interests threaten constitutional freedom in the United States. Therefore, we will now know how to sympathize with those in the rest of America who have to contend with such powers, not only within their borders but from outside their borders also.
I know what the response of the thought and heart of America will be to the program I have outlined, because America was created to realize a program like that. This is not America because it is rich. This is not America because it has set up for a great population great opportunities of material prosperity. America is a name which sounds in the ears of men everywhere as a synonym with individual opportunity because a synonym of individual liberty. I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty. But we shall not be poor if we love liberty, because the nation that loves liberty truly sets every man free to do his best and be his best, and that means the release of all the splendid energies of a great people who think for themselves. A nation of employees cannot be free any more than a nation of employers can be.
In emphasizing the points which must unite us in sympathy and in spiritual interest with the Latin-American peoples, we are only emphasizing the points of our own life, and we should prove ourselves untrue to our own traditions if we proved our selves untrue friends to them. Do not think, therefore, gentlemen, that the questions of the day are mere questions of policy and diplomacy. They are shot through with the principles of life. We dare not turn from the principle that morality, and not expediency, is the thing that must guide us, and that we will never condone iniquity because it is more convenient to do so. It seems to me that this is a day of infinite hope, of confidence in a future greater than the past has been; for I am fain to believe that, in spite of all the things that we wish to correct, the nineteenth century that now lies behind us has brought us a long stage toward the time when, slowly ascending the tedious climb that leads to the final uplands, we shall get our ultimate view of the duties of mankind. We have breasted a considerable part of that climb and shall, presently--it may be in a generation or two--- come out upon those great heights where there shines, unobstructed, the light of the justice of God.
Typed transcript, Woodrow Wilson Collection, Princeton University.
(Arthur S. Link, editor, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 28, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978, pages 448-52)
* * *
From WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN(2)
Washington October 28,1913
My dear Mr. President:
From your speeches at Swarthmore(3) and Mobile, I take it that you are revolving in your mind the statement which you are soon to make of your Mexican policy. I take the liberty, therefore, of presenting for you[r] consideration, the conclusions that have been running through my mind.
I was in doubt as to how our country's position could be so stated as to link the new position with the earlier statements of the Monroe doctrine, and did not see daylight until the publication of that statement then attributed to Huerta, but now believed to be entirely false.(4)
The first announcement of the Monroe doctrine was intended to protect the republics of America from the political power of European nations--to protect them in their right to work out their own destiny along the lines of self-government. The next application of that doctrine was made by Cleveland when this Government insisted that European governments should submit their controversies with American republics to arbitration, even in the matter of boundary lines.
A new necessity for the application of the principle has arisen, and the application is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the doctrine and carries out the real purpose of that doctrine. The right of American republics to work out their own destiny along lines consistent with popular government, is just as much menaced today by foreign financial interests as it was a century ago by the political aspirations of foreign governments. If the people of an American republic are left free to attend to their own affairs, no despot can long keep them in subjection; but when a local despot is held in authority by powerful financial interests, and is furnished money for the employment of soldiers, the people are as helpless as if a foreign army had landed on their shores. This, we have reason to believe, is the situation in Mexico, and I cannot see that our obligation is any less now than it was then. We must protect the people of these republics in their right to attend to their own business, free from external coercion, no matter what form that external coercion may take.
Your utterance in regard to conquest was timely. We must be relieved of suspicion as to our motives. We must be bound in advance not to turn to our own advantage any power we employ. It will be impossible for us to win the confidence of the people of Latin American, unless they know that we do not seek their territory or ourselves desire to exercise political authority over them. If we have occasion to go into any country, it must be as we went into Cuba, at the invitation of the Government, or with assurances that will leave no doubt as to the temporary character of our intervention. Our only object must be to secure to the people an opportunity to vote, that they may themselves select their rulers and establish their government.
It has occurred to me that this might be an opportune time to outline the policy which I suggested a few months ago in connection with Nicaragua, namely, the loaning of our credit to the Latin American states. They have to borrow money, and it is the money borrowed by those Governments that has put them under obligations to foreign financiers. We cannot deny them the right to borrow money, and we cannot overlook the sense of gratitude and the feeling of obligation that come with a loan. If our country, openly claiming a paramount influence in the Western Hemisphere, will go to the rescue of these countries and enable them to secure the money they need for education, sanitation and internal development, there will be no excuse for their putting themselves under obligations to financiers in other lands. I believe it is perfectly safe and will make absolutely sure our domination of the situation.
If, for instance, in the stating of your policy, you propose, with the approval of Congress, that the Government lend its credit, issuing its own bonds at three per cent., and taking the bonds of other countries at four or four and one-half per cent., the difference to be put in a sinking fund and used for the retirement of the bonds, we will offer what no one else is in a position to offer, and show that our friendship is practical and sufficient, as well as disinterested.
The loan proposition is not, of course, a necessary part of the policy you are preparing to announce, but I submit that it would be a valuable addition to it, because it would not only prove our real friendship and the depth of our interest, but it would offer to those countries an escape from the obligations which have brought them into servitude to European money lenders.
I believe that the country would respond instantly and with unanimity to the plan. The purpose, namely, (1) the desire to protect these countries from outside interference--whatever the character of that interference--is a practically unanimous desire. Second, the means of furnishing this protection will depend upon the conditions which we have to meet. It may be that the withdrawal of the encouragement given to Huerta by foreign governments may enable the Constitutionalists, with such encouragement as we can give them, to compel the holding of a real election. Third, in case of intervention, it should be temporary in its character and only for the purpose of aiding to secure an election, with the promise that we will respect the integrity of the Republic, and, Fourth, that we stand ready to assist in the maintenance and development of constitutional government by lending our credit to the lawful authorities, thus enabling them to secure, at a low rate, the money needed for their proper development.
I shall be at your command tomorrow and hold myself in readiness to call at the White House upon a moment's notice, but I thought best to put these suggestions in writing and have them ready for you on your return.
With assurances of my great respect, I am,
My dear Mr, President,
Very sincerely yours, W. J. Bryan
Typed letter, signed (Woodrow Wilson Papers, Library of Congress).
(Arthur S. Link, editor, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 28, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978, pages 455-57)
* * *
From JOHN BASSETT MOORE,(5) with Enclosure
[Washington] Tuesday, October 28, 1913.
My dear Mr. President:
I beg leave to enclose herewith a draft, made on Saturday [October 25] of a telegram drawn, I believe, in diplomatic form, in the sense of your written instructions, handed to me by Mr. Bryan. (Enclosure 1.)
In handing to me your memorandum, I understood Mr. Bryan to suggest the inquiry whether, in connection with the course of the European Powers in recognizing the administration at the City of Mexico, the Monroe Doctrine might not be invoked, especially if it should be assumed that they acted under the influence of financial interests. I answered that the Monroe Doctrine did not appear to embrace this question. Recognition is an act performed in the ordinary course of diplomatic relations. As the independent States of America are not protectorates of the United States, we do not supervise their diplomatic relations; and it has therefore never been considered necessary for foreign Powers to ask our consent to their recognition of an American government, or to explain to us their reasons for such a step. Nor can there be any doubt that the American Governments would themselves deeply resent any attempt on our part to assume such a supervision.
They would as surely resent the attempt on our part to prevent them from obtaining European capital for their industrial development or for their governmental necessities. It is an elementary and well known fact that the United States cannot today finance even its own needs. To say nothing of the money that we have borrowed for governmental purposes, we have from the beginning developed our industries and are still developing them with foreign capital, invested under what we here call "grants" or "charters," and what the Latins call "concessions," the difference being one of language. Naturally, however, the conditions required by the investor vary with the risk. Whether a grant or concession might be of such a character as to raise a political question, as Brazil conceived to be the case with the concession made by Bolivia to the Anglo-American "Bolivian Syndicate" in the Acre territory (a territory then claimed and now owned by Brazil), would depend upon its terms. But, on the whole, in Latin-America as in the United States, the use of foreign capital has helped to develop industrial and financial strength and has thus contributed to political stability and independence.
One of the latest definitions of the Monroe Doctrine is that which was given in 1901 by President Roosevelt, to whom it has not, I believe, been usual to impute undue or shrinking conservatism as a fault. It being understood that certain European Powers, particularly Germany, intended to take forcible measures in order to collect from Venezuela various pecuniary demands. President Roosevelt, in his annual message of December 3, 1901, said:
"The Monroe Doctrine is a declaration that there must be no territorial aggrandizement by any non-American power on American soil. It is in no wise intended as hostile to any nation in the Old World. * * * This doctrine has nothing to do with the commercial relations of any American power, save that it in truth allows each of them to form such as it desires. * * * We do not guarantee any State against punishment if it misconducts itself, provided that punishment does not take the form of the acquisition of territory by any non-American power."On December 11, 1901, the German Embassy at Washington presented a pro-memoria, in which it was stated that the German Government, after delivering an ultimatum to Venezuela, intended in the first instance to institute a blockade of the more important Venezuelan ports, and that, if this measure should not be found to be sufficient, it would be necessary to consider the temporary occupation of such ports and the levying of duties in them. The German pro-memoria contained the following statement:
"We declare especially that under no circumstances do we consider in our proceedings the acquisition or the permanent occupation of Venezuelan territory."Mr. Hay replied by a memorandum of December 16, 1901, which concluded as follows:
"The President of the United States, appreciating the courtesy of the German Government in making him acquainted with the state of affairs referred to, and not regarding himself as called upon to enter into the consideration of the claims in question, believes that no measures will be taken in this matter by the agents of the German Government which are not in accordance with the well-known purpose, above set forth, of his Majesty the German Emperor."Before proceeding upon the assumption that foreign governments, in recognizing and continuing to recognize the administration at the City of Mexico, have acted in a spirit of subserviency to financial interests, it would seem to be expedient to consider the subject in all its aspects. One of these is the fact that that administration has since its installation been the only government at the Mexican capital, and that we have ourselves accordingly continued to conduct diplomatic relations with it, though without formal recognition. Nor is such a situation by any means unprecedented. The Diaz government was officially recognized by various European Powers in 1877, almost a year before its recognition by the United States, our recognition having been delayed for the purpose of bringing pressure to bear to secure the performance by the new government of certain obligations, particularly with reference to the suppression of border troubles and the payment of a large sum of money due under the Claims Convention of 1868. Our Government took no notice of the recognition of Díaz by other Powers, nor was it assumed that this was a question with regard to which other Powers were obliged to consult us.
The recognition by Great Britain of the present administration at the City of Mexico was sent out on the 1st of April and was officially presented on the 3d of May. That of Spain was also despatched on the 1st of April. Colombia gave her recognition on the 5th of May. That of France was given, as was also that of Austria-Hungary, on the 12th of May. Japan and Salvador gave their recognition on the 13th of the same month; Italy, Germany, Portugal, and China on the 17th; Belgium and Guatemala on the 21st, and Norway on the 25th. Russia recognized the government on the 1st of June. Switzerland and Honduras are stated to have extended their recognition in July. It thus appears that recognition was extended by seventeen governments, four of which were American; and our records indicate that other American governments would have followed suit if the United States had extended recognition.
There is nothing in the record to show that the governments that recognized the administration at the City of Mexico in May, June, and July last felt that they were doing anything unusual or requiring explanation, or that they were actuated by any other design than that of recognizing, in conformity with practice, what appeared to them to be the only governmental authority holding out the prospect of being able to re-establish order in the country. Nor had the United States said anything to indicate to them that it entertained a different view of their conduct. On the contrary, the first statement made by the United States of its own position was that which was conveyed to Mr. Henry Lane Wilson, then Ambassador to Mexico, on the 15th of June; and this was a statement called forth by his urgent request. It appears by the records that Mr. Wilson tendered his resignation as Ambassador on the 5th of March. On the 17th of May he insisted upon its immediate presentation to the President. On the 9th of June, his resignation not having been accepted, he asked to be furnished with a statement by telegraph of the views and policy of the President, in a confidential way, in order that he might reflect them. It was in response to this request that Mr. Wilson was furnished with a "personal statement" of the President's position. This message was declared to be confidential and to be intended for his personal guidance in response to his request of the 9th of the month, and not to be intended as a message to the Mexican authorities. Nor was it communicated to foreign governments. The first public announcement of the policy of the United States was made in the President's message to Congress of the 27th of August. The circumstance that other governments have not since withdrawn their recognition is by no means remarkable. Recognition, once given, continues till the government falls or is replaced, or till severance of diplomatic relations, which is in itself an unfriendly act. The mere withdrawal of a Minister, leaving relations in charge of a secretary, does not operate as a withdrawal of recognition. Of these facts it is pertinent to take note in judging the motives and conduct of other governments, as well as in discussing the grounds on which they may be asked to reconsider their action.
A striking illustration of the spirit in which the governments have been acting has come to me only this morning. The Italian Ambassador [Marquis Cusani Confalonieri], calling on a matter of business, stated that a new Minister was on his way from Italy to Mexico and intimated the hope that this would not be considered as being in any way offensive to the United States, the press having intimated that we were offended at the presentation by Garden of his credentials. He said that the sending of a new Minister by Italy was in fact primarily due to his own suggestion; that when the government of the United States in August, in view of a possible crisis growing out of the sending of Mr. Lind to Mexico, invoked the aid of the European and other governments to impress upon Huerta the propriety and necessity of giving serious consideration to what Mr. Lind had to say, the Italian government was obliged to reply that it had no Minister at the City of Mexico and was able to speak only to the Mexican Minister at Rome. The Ambassador then suggested to his government that it was hardly respectful to the United States not to be able to meet its wishes more directly, and that it ought to send out a new Minister, which has now been done. He seemed to be much disturbed lest he had misinterpreted our wishes and done something to displease us.
Before inferring that other governments, in failing to act in accordance with views which we subsequently announced, were actuated by motives that were either unfriendly or censurable, it is important to reflect upon our telegram of the 8th of August, above mentioned.
In considering the effect of a particular or special imputation to the government of Great Britain of improper or sordid motives for its course in Mexico, it may be expedient to view the situation somewhat broadly. I do not refer particularly to the fact that, while British oil interests are said to have given Huerta their support, certain oil interests in the United States have been equally pronounced in antagonism to him. There are still other matters to be taken into account. Among these may be mentioned the following:
1. The exemption by act of Congress of America "coastwise" vessels from tolls in the Panama Canal is regarded and is no doubt deeply resented by Great Britain as a violation by the United States of a solemn treaty. Without regard to the question whether this view is necessarily correct, account should be taken of the fact that the contention of the British Government has been unreservedly sustained by many persons of authority in the United States, including a former Secretary of State [Elihu Root] of great distinction, who has in the discharge of his public duties had occasion to discuss the effect of the treaty. The exemption was advocated by the coastwise shipping interests, which constitute perhaps the closest monopoly in the United States.The clause in the new tariff act providing for a five per cent discount on goods imported in American vessels opens to us the prospect of serious questions with the leading maritime powers.
2. Various arbitration treaties, of very limited scope, made for the purpose of simply renewing similar treaties previously existing, remain unacted upon in the Senate; and it is a notorious fact that this is due to the apprehension that the treaty with Great Britain embraces an obligation to arbitrate the tolls question.
3. On the eve of the meeting of an International Congress, which we ourselves were instrumental in convoking and in which we are to be ably represented, the Senate has adopted what is known as the Seamen's Bill, which not only embraces matters on which we have agreed to confer with other Powers but which proposes to deny to other governments the right to regulate even the terms of shipment of their own seamen on their own vessels in their own ports, and to subject these matters to our own legislation. It is not denied that this strikes most directly at Germany and Great Britain.
4. Because of the opposition of local interests in Michigan and Puget Sound, our treaty with Great Britain of April 11, 1908, for the preservation of food fishes in waters contiguous to the United States and Canada, has remained unexecuted on our part, although it was carried into effect on the part of Canada two years ago.
These things are enumerated not for the purpose of offsetting a grievance on one side with a grievance on the other, but for the more important purpose of suggesting whether anything short of the clearest proof would at this juncture justify us in attributing to other governments, by means of a direct diplomatic communication, motives the imputation of which they would necessarily repel and resent. Expressions in the foreign press during the past week indicate a great reluctance in England and in other European countries to get into difficulties with us over Mexico under any circumstances whatever. It is not desirable to check this disposition.
With regard to the present proposed communication to foreign governments, there is, finally, one thought to be borne in mind. As we have, since the sending of Governor Lind to Mexico, held towards that country an attitude of interposition in its internal affairs, though not as yet in the physical sense, it may not be advisable too strongly to urge those governments to follow our example. For this reason they are not asked to "cooperate" with us.
I beg leave to annex hereto two documents relating to Mexican affairs in and prior to 1860,(6) mentioned them to Mr. Bryan yesterday, and, as he expressed an interest in them, I enclose them.
One is an extract from President Buchanan's Annual Message of December 19, 1859. (Enclosure 2.)
The other is a summary of two treaties between the United States and Mexico concluded at Vera Cruz on December 14, 1859, for the purpose, among other things, of providing the Mexican Government with some ready cash. (Enclosure 3.)
These treaties were not approved by the Senate.
Very respectfully yours, John B. Moore.
Typed letter, signed (Woodrow Wilson Papers, Library of Congress).
(Arthur S. Link, editor, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 28, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978, pages 458-63)
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From JAMES BRYCE(7)
[London] Nov. 7th 1913
My dear President
Thank you very much for the message you were kind enough to send through your Ambassador and which he read last night at a dinner given to me here.(8) It is an unusual honour, and one which my wife and I deeply appreciate.
I congratulate you heartily on your wonderful success with the Tariff Bill, to which there has been, I think no parallel in U, S. history for many & many a year. My wife unites with me in warm regards to Mrs. Wilson and your daughters, I am
Very sincerely yours James Bryce
Page has won golden opinions here, as I gather on all sides and has every prospect of fully justifying your choice.
P.S. I am deeply concerned at the situation that confronts you in Mexico. From what I saw of that country when I travelled there and from what I have since seen of other Spanish American countries, I should fear that nothing can be done from outside to better their condition except at a dangerous cost to the benevolent neighbour. There is not now all through "Latin America" except possibly in Chile, such a thing as an honest election. Every Government 'takes care' of the elections, with fraud, or violence, or both; and the social conditions are such that this must happen. The best thing that can happen to one of these so-called republics is to get as soon as possible a dictator who will keep order and give a chance for material & educational progress. Porfirio Díaz did this, especially on the economic side; and if there had been a succession of such rulers for two or three generations, Mexico might be where Argentina is now, with the beginnings of a middle class capable of learning how to use free institutions. But Argentina has scarce any Indians: Mexico's population is two thirds Indian, & the mestizos little more advanced
Autograph letter, signed (Woodrow Wilson Papers, Library of Congress).
(Arthur S. Link, editor, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 28, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978, pages 506-07)
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From WALTER HINES PAGE(9)
London 7, Nov. 1913
My dear Mr. President:
Your kind message made public at the dinner to Mr. Bryce last night pleased him immensely, and it will have a most excellent effect. The audience, which included several important members of the Government, loudly cheered it. Old Lord Morley, next whom I sat, talked to me the rest of the evening about you and your thoughtfulness of Mr. Bryce.
Heartily Yours, Walter H. Page
Autograph letter, signed (Woodrow Wilson Papers, Library of Congress).
(Arthur S. Link, editor, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 28, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978, pages 507)
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WALTER HINES PAGE to Edward Mandell House(10)
London. Nov. 26. 13
Won't you read the enclosed(11) & get it to the President? It is somewhat extra-official but it is very confidential, & I have a special reason for wishing it to go thro' your hands. Perhaps it will interest you.
The lady that wrote it is one of the very best-informed women I know, one of those active and most influential women in the high political society of this Kingdom, at whose table statesmen and diplomats meet and important things come to pass. Her husband, a Liberal and now in the service of the Government, comes of one of the most illustrious of the great families. I am sure she has no motive but the avowed one-except, of course, the unconscious scorn of the old gentry for the newly rich, which alone wd. not have caused her to write this letter. She has taken a liking to Mrs. Page & this is merely a friendly and patriotic act.
I had heard most of these things before as gossip-never before as here put together by a responsible hand.
Mrs. Page went to see her & as evidence of our appreciation & safety, gave the original back to her. We have kept no copy & I wish this burned, if you please. It wd. raise a riot here, if any breath of it were to get out, that would put bedlam to shame.
Lord Cowdray has been to see me for four successive days---- eats out of my hand. He's scared to death. I have a suspicion, too, (tho' I don't know) that instead of his running the Gov't, the Gov't has now turned the tables & is running him. His Gov't contract is becoming a bad thing to sleep with. He told me this morning that he (thro' Lord Murray(12)) had withdrawn the request for any concession in Colombia. I congratulated him. "That, Lord Cowdray, will save you as well as some other people I know a good deal of possible trouble." I have explained to him the whole New Principle in extenso, "so that you may see clearly where the line of danger runs." Lord! how he's changed! Several weeks ago when I ran across him accidentally he was humourous, almost cynical. Now he's very serious with hints of abjectness. I explained to him that the only thing that had kept Southern America from being parcelled out as Africa has been is the Doctrine and the U. S. behind it. He granted that. "In Monroe's time," said I, "the only way to take a part of South America was to take land. Now finance has new ways of its own." "Perhaps," said he. "Right there," I answered, "where you put your 'perhaps,' I put a danger signal. That, I assure you, you will read about in the histories as The Wilson Doctrine.'"
You don't know how easy it all is with our friend & leader in command. I've almost grown bold. You feel steady ground beneath you. They are taking to their tents. "What's going to happen in Mexico City?" "A peaceful tragedy, followed by emancipation." "And the great industries of Mexico--" "They will not have to depend on adventurers' favors." "But in the meantime, what?" "Patience, looking toward justice."
Yours heartily & in health, (you bet!) W.H.P.
Autograph letter, initialled (E. M. House Papers, Yale University).
(Arthur S. Link, editor, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 28, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978, pages 593-94)
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To the above, Lord St Davids (John Wynford Philipps), Chairman, Buenos Ayres & Pacific Railway, had this to say at the meeting of shareholders held 4 November, 1913:
I observe the tendency that is going on to-day-- you see it in the newspapers--for the United States of America to exercise pressure--I do not say rightly or wrongly; I am not interfering with anybody else's business; but the undoubted tendency of the United States of America is to exercise pressure on the Spanish American Republics. What does that mean in the long run? It means they will be bound together, forced to bind themselves together by outside pressure, just as our own colonies in Australia have been forced to bind themselves together by the existence of the strength of the Japanese Navy in the Pacific. The same thing will have the same effect in South America, and, looking ahead, I can see the Argentine Republic at the centre of a great confederacy, probably much in the same position in South America that the United States is in North America---the centre of a great confederacy, perhaps even the most important member of all the Latin-speaking countries in the world.(The Railway Times, November 8, 1913, pages 448-49)
1. Governor Emmet O'Neal of Alabama and Duncan Upshaw Fletcher, senator from Florida and president of the Southern Commercial Congress.
2. William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925), Secretary of State, several times nominated for the presidency and witness for the prosecution in the Scopes Trial of 1925.
3. At Swarthmore College, 25 October, 1913, reproduced in Arthur S. Link, editor, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 28, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978, pages 439-42)
4. He referred to the following portion of a report of an alleged address to the diplomatic corps on October 23; "Should the United States fail to recognize the established Mexican Government, Gen. Huerta declared, it would incur the risk of precipitating in this country a crisis, which might bring Washington face to face with the Governments at London, Paris, and Berlin, and which might lead either to the setting aside of the Monroe Doctrine, or to the appalling injustice of intervention by the United States in Mexico, bringing two friendly nations into hostile conflict, which the people of neither country wished, and which ought to be avoided." New York Times, Oct. 24, 1913. O'Shaughnessy reported on the following day that Huerta had said no such thing and that the report was "a gross exaggeration and misstatement." N. O'Shaughnessy to the Secretary of State, Oct. 24, 1913, Typed telegram (Woodrow Wilson Papers, Library of Congress).
5. John Bassett Moore (1860-1947), professor of international law, member of the Hague Tribunal, etc., at the time of this letter Assistant Secretary of State.
6. This and the following enclosure were not printed in the source volume.
7. James Bryce (1838-1922), historian, British Ambassador to the US, 1907-1913. Author of South America, Observations and Impressions, Detroit: Macmillan Co., September, 1912, reprinted October, November, December, 1912; January 1913; revised February, July 1914.
8. The message read: "Few men have done more than James Bryce in strengthening the ties of friendship and brotherhood which unite England and America, and have been the cause of the common aspiration and high example to the whole world." New York Times, Nov. 7, 1913.
9. Walter Hines Page (1855-1918), journalist and publisher, partner in Doubleday, Page & Co., US ambassador to the United Kingdom.
10. Colonel Edward Mandell House (1858-1938), Texas landowner, Wilson backer and adviser, Wilson's deputy at the Paris Peace Conference.
11. About this letter and its destruction, see the extract from the House Diary printed at December 12, 1913.
12. Alexander William Charles Oliphant Murray, First Baron Murray of Elibank, former Liberal party leader in Parliament. For his activities in Colombia, see Peter Calvert, The Mexican Revolution, 1910-14, The Diplomacy of Anglo-American Conflict (Cambridge, 1968), pp. 174-75.