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"ROOSEVELT'S COROLLARY" OF THE MONROE
DOCTRINE

In his message to Congress of December 3, 1860, President Buchanan dealt with the situation in Mexico and the obligation of this Government "to exert its power to avenge and redress the wrongs of our citizens and to afford them protection in Mexico," and with the request which he had made in his previous annual message for authority to use "a sufficient military force to penetrate into the interior, where the Government of Miramon was to be found." President Buchanan then declared he might have been able, if such authority had been granted, to avoid the "entire abandonment of our fellow citizens who had gone to Mexico under the faith of treaties to the systematic injustice, cruelty, and oppression of Miramon's Government. Besides, it is almost certain that the simple authority to employ this force would of itself have accomplished all our objects without striking a single blow." He then continued:

In addition and I deem this a most important consideration-European governments would have been deprived of all pretext to interfere in the territorial and domestic concerns of Mexico. We should thus have been relieved from the obligation of resisting, even by force should this become necessary, any attempt by these governments to deprive our neighboring republic of portions of her territory-a duty from which we could not shrink without abandoning the traditional and established policy of the American people.1

In his note of November 26, 1895, replying to Mr. Olney's note of July 20, 1895, regarding the boundary dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela, Lord Salisbury, speaking of Mr. Olney's contention that the Monroe Doctrine justified the United States in demanding that boundary disputes between a Latin American State and the coterminous colony of a European power, be settled by arbitration, declared:

Whatever may be the authority of the doctrine laid down by President Monroe, there is nothing in his language to show that he ever thought of claiming this novel prerogative for the United States. It is admitted that he did not seek to assert a protectorate over Mexico, or the States of Central and South America. Such a claim would have imposed upon the United States the duty of answering for the conduct of these States, and consequently the responsibility of controlling it. His sagacious foresight would have led him energetically to deprecate the addition of so serious a burden to those which the rulers of the United States have to bear. It follows of necessity that if the Government

'Richardson's Messages and Papers of the Presidents, vol. v, p. 646.

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of the United States will not control the conduct of these communities, neither can it undertake to protect them from the consequences attaching to any misconduct of which they may be guilty towards other nations. If they violate in any way the rights of another State, or of its subjects, it is not alleged that the Monroe Doctrine will assure them the assistance of the United States in escaping from any reparation which they may be bound by international law to give. Mr. Olney expressly disclaims such an inference from the principles he lays down."

In his annual message of December 6, 1904, President Roosevelt made the following statements:

It is not true that the United States feels any land hunger or entertains any projects as regards the other nations of the Western Hemisphere save such as are for their welfare. All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States. Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power. If every country washed by the Caribbean Sea would show the progress in stable and just civilization which with the aid of the Platt amendment 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.3

In his special message to the Senate on February 15, 1905, transmitting "A Protocol of an Agreement between the United States and the Dominican Republic, Providing for the Collection and Disburse

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"Moore, International Law Digest, vol. vi, p. 562.

* Messages and Papers of the Presidents (1917 ed.), vol. xvi, pp. 7053-7054. 102401--30-17

ment by the United States of the Customs Revenues of the Dominican Republic," President Roosevelt made the following observations:

The conditions in the Republic of Santo Domingo have been growing steadily worse for many years. There have been many disturbances and revolutions, and debts have been contracted beyond the power of the Republic to pay. Some of these debts were properly contracted and are held by those who have a legitimate right to their money. Others are without question improper or exorbitant, constituting claims which should never be paid in full and perhaps only to the extent of a very small portion of their nominal value.

Certain foreign countries have long felt themselves aggrieved because of the nonpayment of debts due their citizens. The only way by which foreign creditors could ever obtain from the Republic itself any guaranty of payment. would be either by the acquisition of territory outright or temporarily, or else by taking possession of the custom-houses, which would of course in itself, in effect, be taking possession of a certain amount of territory.

It has for some time been obvious that those who profit by the Monroe doctrine must accept certain responsibilities along with the rights which it confers; and that the same statement applies to those who uphold the doctrine. It can not be too often and too emphatically asserted that the United States has not the slightest desire for territorial aggrandizement at the expense of any of its southern neighbors, and will not treat the Monroe doctrine as au excuse for such aggrandizement on its part. We do not propose to take any part of Santo Domingo, or exercise any other control over the island save what is necessary to its financial rehabilitation in connection with the collection of revenue, part of which will be turned over to the Government to meet the necessary expense of running it, and part of which will be distributed pro rata among the creditors of the Republic upon a basis of absolute equity. The justification for the United States taking this burden and incurring this responsibility is to be found in the fact that it is incompatible with international equity for the United States to refuse to allow other powers to take the only means at their disposal of satisfying the claims of their creditors and yet to refuse, itself, to take any such steps.

An aggrieved nation can without interfering with the Monroe doctrine take what action it sees fit in the adjustment of its disputes with American States, provided that action does not take the shape of interference with their form of government or of the despoilment of their territory under any disguise. But, short of this, when the question is one of a money claim, the only way which remains, finally, to collect it is a blockade, or bombardment, or the seizure of the custom-houses, and this means, as has been said above, what is in effect a possession, even though only a temporary possession, of territory. The United States then becomes a party in interest, because under the Monroe doctrine it can not see any European power seize and permanently occupy the territory of one of these Republics; and yet such seizure of territory, disguised or undisguised, may eventually offer the only way in which the power in question can collect any debts, unless there is interference on the part of the United States.

Except for arbitrary wrong, done or sanctioned by superior authority, to persons or to vested property rights, the United States Government, following its traditional usage in such cases, aims to go no further than the mere use of its good offices, a measure which frequently proves ineffective. On the other hand, there are governments which do sometimes take energetic action for the

protection of their subjects in the enforcement of merely contractual claims, and thereupon American concessionaires, supported by powerful influences, make loud appeal to the United States Government in similar cases for similar action. They complain that in the actual posture of affairs their valuable properties are practically confiscated, that American enterprise is paralyzed, and that unless they are fully protected, even by the enforcement of their merely contractual rights, it means the abandonment to the subjects of other Governments of the interests of American trade and commerce through the sacrifice of their investments by excessive taxes imposed in violation of contract, and by other devices, and the sacrifice of the output of their mines and other industries, and even of their railway and shipping interests, which they have established in connection with the exploitation of their concessions. Thus the attempted solution of the complex problem by the ordinary methods of diplomacy reacts injuriously upon the United States Government itself, and in a measure paralyzes the action of the Executive in the direction of a sound and consistent policy. The United States Government is embarrassed in its efforts to foster American enterprise and the growth of our commerce through the cultivation of friendly relations with Santo Domingo, by the irritating effects on those relations, and the consequent injurious influence upon that commerce, of frequent interventions. As a method of solution of the complicated problem arbitration has become nugatory, inasmuch as, in the condition of its finances, an award against the Republic is worthless unless its payment is secured by the pledge of at least some portion of the customs revenues. This pledge is ineffectual without actual delivery over of the custom-houses to secure the appropriation of the pledged revenues to the payment of the award. This situation again reacts injuriously upon the relations of the United States with other nations. For when an award and such security are thus obtained, as in the case of the Santo Domingo Improvement Company, some foreign government complains that the award conflicts with its rights, as a creditor, to some portion of these revenues under an alleged prior pledge; and still other governments complain that an award in any considerable sum, secured by pledges of the customs revenues, is prejudicial to the payment of their equally meritorious claims out of the ordinary revenues; and thus controversies are begotten between the United States and other creditor nations because of the apparent sacrifice of some of their claims, which may be just or may be grossly exaggerated, but which the United States Government can not inquire into without giving grounds of offense to other friendly creditor nations. Still further illustrations might easily be furnished of the hopelessness of the present situation growing out of the social disorders and the bankrupt finances of the Dominican Republic, where for considerable periods during recent years the bonds of civil society have been practically dissolved.

Under the accepted law of nations foreign governments are within their right, if they choose to exercise it, when they actively intervene in support of the contractual claims of their subjects. They sometimes exercise this power, and on account of commercial rivalries there is a growing tendency on the part of other governments more and more to aid diplomatically in the enforcement of the claims of their subjects. In view of the dilemma in which the Government of the United States is thus placed, it must either adhere to its usual attitude of nonintervention in such cases-an attitude proper under normal conditions, but one which in this particular kind of case results to the disadvantage of its citizens in comparison with those of other States-or else it must, in order to be consistent in its policy, actively intervene to protect the contracts and concessions of its citizens engaged in agriculture, commerce, and transportation in competition with the subjects and citizens of other States. This course would

render the United States the insurer of all the speculative risks of its citizens in the public securities and franchises of Santo Domingo.*

In connection with the suggestions made by President Roosevelt in his message as to the results which might flow from the failure of governments to meet financial obligations, the following instruction dated January 10, 1870, sent by Secretary Fish to Mr. Motley, our Minister to England, is of interest:

Rumors reach here that an attempt is being made to negotiate a loan in London or in Paris in favor of the Spanish Government and it is suggested that the revenues of the Island of Cuba may be offered as security.

It is desirable that this Department be kept fully advised of any movement of this nature, as this Government would not look with favor upon any negotiation of the kind which may hypothicate or pledge the revenues of that Island or compromit any interests connected therewith, or give to any foreign Government a right to interpose in the affairs of Cuba.

You will be pleased to make enquiry as to the correctness of the rumors alluded to to keep watch upon any movements that may tend in that direction and keep me advised.

Should you find any attempt being made to effect a loan on any such security you will cautiously interpose such objections as you may be able to present, and you may say that in view of assurances given to this Government by the Spanish authorities, the United States cannot regard such hypothication or pledge with favor, at the same time you will avoid presenting this Government, or yourself in an offensive attitude of interference. A similar letter to this is addressed to Mr. Washburne with whom you will correspond on the subject if necessary."

Toward the end of the year Secretary Fish (December 1, 1870) instructed Mr. Moran, our Chargé at London, as follows:

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Information reaches me that the Government of Madrid proposes at an early day to ask authority from the Cortes to raise a considerable loan on the pledge of the revenues of the Cuba, for the purpose of funding the debt incurred in the effort to repress the insurrectionary movement in that Island, and to meet the expenses of the present campaign; and further that efforts are making to find a market in London, for such negotiations.

It seems to this Government so apparent that the retention of Cuba will cost Spain, in the future, the full amount of the annual revenue to be derived therefrom, that the pledge of any revenue from that Island can be but a nominal security, and cannot form the basis of a legitimate loan, and that the object of attempting a negotiation on such pledge can be only to induce lenders to loan their money on such nominal security, with the expectation that the Government of the parties lending, may interpose for their protection, in case of failure of payments, and may look to the mortgaged security for the indemnification of its subjects.

The relations of this Government towards the Island of Cuba are such that while ourselves abstaining scrupulously from any effort to hasten the time when we believe that the connection of the Island with Spain must cease, we cannot contemplate with indifference, or in silence, any measures which may promise

* Ex. Doc. No. 5 (Confidential), 58th Cong., 3d sess., pp. 1-4.

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MS., Instructions, Great Britain, vol. xxII, pp. 161–162.

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