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Cuba has shown since our troops left the island, and which so many of the republics in both Americas are constantly and brilliantly showing, all question of interference by this Nation with their affairs would be at an end. Our interests and those of our southern neighbors are in reality identical. They have great natural riches, and if within their borders the reign of law and justice obtains, prosperity is sure to come to them. While they thus obey the primary laws of civilized society they may rest assured that they will be treated by us in a spirit of cordial and helpful sympathy. We would interfere with them only in the last resort, and then only if it became evident that their inability or unwillingness to do justice at home and abroad had violated the rights of the United States or had invited foreign aggression to the detriment of the entire body of American nations. It is a mere truism to say that every nation, whether in America or anywhere else, which desires to maintain its freedom, its independence, must ultimately realize that the right of such independence can not be separated from the responsibility of making good use of it. In asserting the Monroe Doctrine, in taking such steps as we have taken in regard to Cuba, Venezuela, and Panama, and in endeavoring to circumscribe the theater of war in the Far East, and to secure the open door in China. we have acted in our own interest as well as in the interest of humanity at large.



Declaration at the Second Hague Conference

At the ninth plenary meeting (October 16, 1907) of the Second Hague Conference, Mr. Hill representing the United States made the following announcement:

The delegation of the United States of America renews the reservation it made in 1899 relative to Article 48 of the Convention for the pacific settlement of international disputes in the form of the following declaration:

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Nothing contained in this Convention shall be so construed as to require the United States of America to depart from its traditional policy of not intruding upon, interfering with, or entangling itself in the political questions of policy or internal administration of any foreign State; nor shall anything contained in the said Convention be construed to imply a relinquishment by the United States of its traditional attitude toward purely American questions.**

Secretary Knox


Secretary Knox, speaking before the American Society for the Judicial Settlement of International Disputes on November 8, 1911, made the following comments:

The maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine is considered by us essential to our peace, prosperity, and national safety. Other nations know we so regard it. The doctrine does not need to be founded upon a technical legal right of international law, for it is a matter of grave, far-reaching, and, to us, vitally



Messages and Papers of the Presidents (1917 ed.), vol. xvi, pp. 7053-7054. Proceedings of the Hague Peace Conferences: the Conference of 1907 (translation of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), vol. 1, p. 329.

important policy. A nation putting itself in the attitude toward the United States of deliberately violating the Monroe Doctrine could not expect to find in the treaty terms protection against the consequences of such an act. The doctrine has been respected and is now respected and it will continue to be respected so long as we seem reasonably able to uphold it. It does not depend upon technical legal right, but upon policy and power. Therefore, it is not, and no reasonable man or set of men would claim it to be, a justiciable question any more than they would hold that the question of the European balance of power is justiciable. It is not to be thought that any Power would suggest either question as a proper subject for arbitration in the future as no Power has sought to do so in the past.85

Secretary Knox was speaking of the treaties of arbitration which had been negotiated between the United States and Great Britain, and the United States and France, and which were then pending before the Senate of the United States.


Mr. Lodge

Mr. Lodge introduced into the Senate, July 31, 1912, Resolution 371 (which subsequently was passed), which read:

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 communications 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 place by any corporation or association which has such a relation to another Government, not American, as to give that Government practical power of control for national purposes."


In discussing this resolution, Senator Lodge used this language:

this resolution rests on a generally accepted principle of the law of nations, older than the Monroe doctrine. It rests on the principle that every nation has a right to protect its own safety, and that if it feels that the possession by a foreign power, for military or naval purposes, of any given harbor or place is prejudicial to its safety, it is its duty as well as its right to interfere.

The Monroe doctrine was, of course, an extension in our own interests of this underlying principle the right of every nation to provide for its own safety. The Monroe doctrine, as we all know, was applied, so far as the taking possession of territory was concerned, to its being open to further colonization, and naturally did not touch upon the precise point involved here. But without any Monroe doctrine the possession of a harbor such as that of Magdalena Bay, which has led to this resolution, would render it necessary, I think, to make some declaration covering a case where a corporation or association was involved.

The resolution is merely a statement of policy, allied to the Monroe doctrine, of course, but not necessarily dependent upon it or growing out of it."

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Mr. Root

Mr. Root, speaking before the American Society of International Law on April 22, 1914, on the subject "The Real Monroe Doctrine " made the following declarations:

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It is a declaration of the United States that certain acts would be injurious to the peace and safety of the United States and that the United States would regard them as unfriendly. [P. 10.]

The doctrine is not international law, but it rests upon the right of selfprotection and that right is recognized by international law. [P. 11.]

We frequently see statements that the doctrine has been changed or enlarged; that there is a new or different doctrine since Monroe's time. They are mistaken. There has been no change. [P. 12.]

The scope of the doctrine is strictly limited. It concerns itself only with the occupation of territory in the new world to the subversion or exclusion of a preexisting American government. [P. 16.]

As the Monroe Doctrine neither asserts nor involves any right of control by the United States over any American nation, it imposes upon the United States no duty towards European Powers to exercise such a control. It does not call upon the United States to collect debts or coerce conduct or redress wrongs or avenge injuries. If matters ever come to a point where in any American country the United States intervenes by force to prevent or end an occupation of territory to the subversion or exclusion of an American government, doubtless new rights and obligations will arise as a result of the acts done in the course of the intervention. Unless such a situation shall have arisen there can be no duty on the part of the United States beyond the exercise of good offices as between equal and independent nations. [P. 18.]

Since the Monroe Doctrine is a declaration based upon this nation's right of self-protection, it cannot be transmuted into a joint or common declaration by American states or any number of them. [P. 19.]

A false conception of what the Monroe Doctrine is, of what it demands and what it justifies, of its scope and of its limits, has invaded the public press and affected public opinion within the past few years. Grandiose schemes of national expansion invoke the Monroe Doctrine. Interested motives to compel Central or South American countries to do or refrain from doing something by which individual Americans may profit invoke the Monroe Doctrine. Clamors for national glory for minds too shallow to grasp at the same time a sense of national duty invoke the Monroe Doctrine. The intolerance which demands that control over the conduct and the opinions of other peoples which is the essence of tyranny invoke the Monroe Doctrine. Thoughtless people who see no difference between lawful right and physical power assume that the Monroe Doctrine is a warrant for interference in the internal affairs of all weaker nations in the New World. Against this suppositious doctrine, many protests both in the United States and in South America have been made, and justly

[P. 21.]


To the real Monroe Doctrine these protests have no application.


President Wilson

On January 6, 1916, President Wilson, addressing the Second Pan American Scientific Congress, made the following statement pertaining to the Monroe Doctrine:

The Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed by the United States on her own authority. It always has been maintained, and always will be maintained, upon her own responsibility. But the Monroe Doctrine demanded merely that European Governments should not attempt to extend their political systems to this side of the Atlantic. It did not disclose the use which the United States intended to make of her power on this side of the Atlantic. It was a hand held up in warning, but there was no promise in it of what America was going to do with the implied and partial protectorate which she apparently was trying to set up on this side of the water; and I believe you will sustain me in the statement that it has been fears and suspicions on this score which have hitherto prevented the greater intimacy and confidence and trust between the Americas. The States of America have not been certain what the United States would do with her power. That doubt must be removed. And latterly there has been a very frank interchange of views between the authorities in Washington and those who represented the other States of this hemisphere, an interchange of views charming and hopeful, because based upon an increasingly sure appreciation of the spirit in which they were undertaken. These gentlemen have seen that if America is to come into her own, into her legitimate own, in a world of peace and order, she must establish the foundations of amity so that no one will hereafter doubt them.

I hope and I believe that this can be accomplished. These conferences have enabled me to foresee how it will be accomplished. It will be accomplished in the first place, by the States of America uniting in guaranteeing to each other absolutely political independence and territorial integrity. In the second place, and as a necessary corollary to that, guaranteeing the agreement to settle all pending boundary disputes as soon as possible and by amicable process; by agreeing that all disputes among themselves, should they unhappily arise, will be handled by patient, impartial investigation, and settled by arbitration; and the agreement necessary to the peace of the Americas, that no State of either continent will permit revolutionary expeditions against another State to be fitted out on its territory, and that they will prohibit the exportation of the munitions of war for the purpose of supplying revolutionists against neighboring Governments.

Mr. Hughes



In an article printed in the American Journal of International Law," Mr. Hughes made these statements:

88 Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, 1914, pp. 10-22. The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson: The New Democracy, vol. 1, pp. 443-444.

"Vol. XVII, 1923, p. 611.

The Monroe Doctrine is not a policy of aggression: it is a policy of self-defense. It still remains an assertion of the principle of national security. As such, it is obviously not exclusive.

The decision of the question as to what action the United States should take in any exigency arising in this hemisphere is not controlled by the content of the Monroe Doctrine, but may always be determined on grounds of international right and national security as freely as if the Monroe Doctrine did not exist.


The Monroe Doctrine rests upon the right of every sovereign state to protect itself by preventing a condition of affairs in which it will be too late to protect itself.”

Speaking to the American Academy of Political and Social Science, on November 30, 1923, on "The Centenary of the Monroe Doctrine," Mr. Hughes declared:

It should be recognized that the Doctrine is only a phase of American policy in this hemisphere and the other phases of that policy should be made clear.

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The principle of exclusion embodies a policy of self-defense on the part of the United States; it is a policy set up and applied by the United States. While the Monroe Doctrine is thus distinctively a policy of the United States maintained for its own security, it is a policy which has rendered an inestimable service to the American Republics by keeping them free from the intrigues and rivalries of European Powers.

But fully recognizing the value of the Doctrine, it still remains true that it simply states a principle of opposition to action by non-American powers."1


International Conciliation, Documents for the year 1924, No. 194, pp. 14-15.

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