« AnteriorContinuar »
protected from raiding parties landing out of range of the guns to attack it in the interior, is a strong one. Nor could it be surely protected against attack by aeroplanes and airships, but the Government would, of course, take all possible precaution to prevent such attacks, and it could do so much more effectively if the canal were fortified than if it were not.
4. Finally, the strongest argument for fortification is that, even granting that by some mishap or by development of new war means, we were not ourselves able to keep its beneficial use in war time, its fortification would at least assure that the waterway should not be used against us. If we cannot double the strength of our fleet in war time by its use, we can by fortifying at least assure that the enemy shall not be able to turn its possession to his profit.
The War Department has consistently favored fortification. In 1911, the Secretary of War, in his Annual Report, called attention to the question of fortifications at Panama as follows:
“The exits and locks of the Panama Canal must now be protected, and it has become necessary to send a mobile force of at least a brigade to the Isthmus of Panama as well as coast artillerymen for this purpose. This not only gives protective insurance, but turns the Navy free for its legitimate functions.” 1
In the same year, Major General Leonard Wood reported the garrison necessary. He declared: “The work on the Panama Canal has now reached a point where it is most necessary to provide a garrison adequate for its protection and to insure the neutrality of the Canal. Twelve companies of Coast Artillery troops, four regiments of Infantry at full strength, one battalion of Field Artillery, one squadron of Cavalry, and certain auxiliary troops constitute the force considered necessary by the undersigned for these defenses.” 1 Congress appropriated $3,000,000 for the beginning of the work which has proceeded continuously since. By the next year, 1912, excavation work was well advanced and construction of gun and mortar batteries was be
1 Report of the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, in War Department Annual Reports, 1911, Vol. 1, p. 15.
During 1913, the detailed surveys for location of the land defenses were undertaken and the Chief of Ordnance reported: “The issues of 14-inch guns on disappearing carriages, 12-inch mortars and carriages of the latest type, and 6-inch guns on disappearing carriages will begin shortly for the coast defenses of the Panama Canal.” 3 In 1914, the fortifications were reported as nearing completion and manning in process. The chief of the Coast Artillery reported: “The fortifications at the Atlantic and Pacific ends of the Panama Canal are practically completed, and it has been necessary to send Coast Artillery troops from the United States to the Canal Zone to man them. Six companies have already been ordered there, and it will be necessary to send six other companies during the next few months from the fortifications of the United States.” 5 The completion of the fortifications is the last step taken to insure that those who built the canal shall be secure in its control. The military advantages which we have hoped to gain and the force necessary to make them secure are thus stated by former Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson.
1 Report of Major General Leonard Wood, Chief of Staff, in War Department Annual Reports, 1911, Vol. 1, p. 146.
? Report of the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, in War Department Annual Reports, 1912, Vol. 1, p. 56.
3 In report of Chief of Ordnance, Brigadier-General William Crozier, in War Department Annual Reports, 1913, Vol. 1, p. 723.
• Ibid., p. 479.
5 Report of Chief of Coast Artillery, C: P. Townsley, in War Department Annual Reports, 1914, Vol. 1, p. 561.
"By the control of this highway between the two oceans the effectiveness of our fleet and our general military power will be enormously increased. It is therefore obvious that the unquestioned security of the canal is our most important military problem. The permanent garrison must be strong enough to guard the locks and other important works and to prevent a naval attack which, under modern conditions, may even precede a declaration of war. We must, therefore, be able, even in peace, to man the seacoast guns that cover the approach to the canal, and we must have enough mobile troops to protect the rear of the forts and to defeat naval raids. A modern fleet can land a raiding party of several thousand bluejackets, and such a force landing out of range of the seacoast guns could penetrate to some vulnerable part of the canal within a few hours. The permanent garrison must therefore include a mobile force strong enough to anticipate and defeat naval raids at the beginning of hostilities, and to secure the canal until reinforcements can be expected from the United States.” 1
1 In Appendix A to Report of Secretary of War, H. L. Stimson, in War Department Annual Reports, 1912, Vol. 1, p. 73.
OUR RELATIONS WITH THE NORTHERN REPUBLICS
OF SOUTH AMERICA
THE relations of the United States with Colombia and Venezuela, the two republics of northern South America, are important not only because of the size of our interests, present and prospective, within their borders, but because they illustrate the trying situations which are apt to thrust themselves more and more upon our attention as better transportation facilities and increased international commerce bring the countries of the world into closer contact.
The coasts of these republics were skirted by the early Spanish voyages of discovery and have had in point of time a long contact with European civilization. But this connection has not brought with it large numbers of European colonists, and even at the present time the color of the population is still largely other than white. Near to the West Indies, both Venezuela and Colombia bear traces of the African slave trade which formerly furnished the main supply of labor. In Colombia, for example, in 1915 the population was
1 Bigelow, John, American Policy, New York, 1914, p. 7.
reported to have been 50 per cent. white, 35 per cent. black and 15 per cent. Indian. In the coast towns there is a considerable mixture of negroes with the Indian stock, the product being known as “zambos.”
Lying as they do in the full tropics, where nature demands the expenditure of but little energy to assure the minimum of subsistence, and peopled largely by a race satisfied with a low standard of life, these countries have up to the present time felt only slightly the influences which have spurred on the people of other lands to a full utilization of the natural resources within their reach. The isolation of these countries from the outside world has not meant freedom from internal strife. Some of the most sanguinary of South American "revolutions” have been staged here, to be followed by dictatorships as absolute as the world has known. The constitutions are modeled in large part upon that of the United States, but in actual affairs their provisions are too often observed in the breach.
The relations of the United States and Colombia, up to the beginning of the nineteenth century, were uniformly cordial. There were upon her borders no European colonies to raise questions which might force the United States to act as her protector, as was the case in Venezuela in 1896, and the commercial connections of the two countries were not important. There was little to bring the two nations into intimate contact. At one point there was a common interestthe promotion of good traffic conditions across the Isthmus of Panama. This was important for the
* Commerce Reports, Supplement, August 20, 1915.