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country to which he lends is to be assured that the capitalist will not demand more. If the United States can, by interposing its good offices and supervision, increase the safety of the investment which the banker makes and at the same time protect the weaker country from exploitation it will in the long run confer a favor on both the other parties. It will widen the field for profitable conservative investment of capital, American and foreign, it will open up the money market to the LatinAmerican states so that industries and resources which now lie undeveloped will be exploited. Diplomacy in Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America will be largely a matter of dollars whether we wish it or not and the only question for us is whether we will so shape our policy that concessions will be economic rather than political. Concessions will be economic only to the extent that the countries granting them are able to insure, of their own volition or by their own volition plus the good will of some other power, that public order will be maintained, property protected and public debts limited to the probable ability to pay.
The feeling in the United States against non-American investments, which may come to have a political character, is not one which is confined to the Executive Department. It is evidenced both in the action of our Congressional bodies and in the attitude of public opinion. This is well illustrated by what has come to be known as the Magdalena Bay incident.
An American company had secured from Mexico a tract of several million acres surrounding Magdalena Bay in Lower California. The land was almost value
less except for limited possibilities for lumbering. The bay and adjacent waters contained moss producing a certain dye and the fishing rights were supposed to be valuable. The company failed and its creditors tried, in 1911, to sell out its rights to certain Japanese. Before the bargain was completed the approval of the State Department at Washington was sought. Though it was shown that there was no evidence whatsoever that either the Mexican or Japanese Government was directly or indirectly connected with the proposed purchase, the opinion of the State Department, announced by Mr. Knox, was averse to the sale on the ground “that such a transfer would be quite certain to be interpreted in a manner to cause a great outcry.
Another proposition by which Japanese would hold 35 per cent. of the stock with an option on an additional 15 per cent., the rest of the stock and the management to be American, met with no more favorable reception.”
The position of the Administration was further supported by the Senate in July by the introduction and later passage, by a large majority, of the now famous Lodge Resolution, which read:
“Resolved: That when any harbor or other place in the American continent is so situated that the occupation thereof for naval or military purposes might threaten the communications or safety of the United States, the Government of the United States could not
1 P. C. Knox to F. H. Allen, Aug. 17, 1911, Senate Doc. 694, 62nd Cong., 2nd Sess., Senate Documents, Vol 38.
?P. C. Knox to W. H. Taft, April 27, 1912, Senate Doc. 640, 62nd Cong., 2nd Sess., Senate Documents, Vol. 38.
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 as to give that government practical power of control for national purposes.
Of course, as applied to the Magdalena Bay case, the resolution was apparently beside the point, for there was no information tending to prove that
such relation as was spoken of existed or was intended between the Japanese Government and those who sought to buy the concession. But the resolution was important as a declaration of opinion by the Senate. It shows a growing feeling that the economic exploitation of American countries may have a close connection with their political interests.
What the formal relation of any concessionaire may be to its home Government is not so important as its de facto relation. If the attitude shown in the Magdalena Bay incident is an expression of American policy, then we must in fact view with serious concern any attempt by the nationals of a power not American to control directly or indirectly, at least, any harbor or economic resource closely connected with military and naval supremacy in this continent.
In President Wilson's Administration there occurred another illustration of the prejudice against concessions of an economic-political character. This time the question was raised on the other side of the continent. It involved the projects for extension of the holdings of S. Pearson & Son, Limited, already discussed.
This 1 Quoted in Amer. Jour, of Int. Law, Vol. VI, p. 938.
company had extensive interests in Mexico. The extension of its holdings in another country, Colombia, in view of the fact that modern navies are coming to be oil-burning, not coal-burning, and in view of the proximity of the Panama Canal, could not but be considered by the United States as an unfortunate, if not an unfriendly, act. There was an unmistakable protest in American public opinion against the extension of such economic-political concessions to a company closely connected with the British Government. The possibility of having along the Caribbean coast a number of such de facto naval bases in the practical possession of rival maritime powers was decidedly unpleasant.
We may still protest that the German criticism that the Monroe Doctrine is an economic doctrine is unfair. It is unfair because it is not an instrument of conscious aggression against Latin America as has so often been charged. It is not a policy advocated by us in order that we may create for ourselves an exclusive trade empire or guarantee expansion of our political control. But there is a way in which the Monroe Doctrine is an economic doctrine. It is a doctrine which must take into account the economic factors which may come to influence a country's development. We cannot look upon any economic development in European hands in Latin America which would have political results affecting unfavorably the independence of the American Republics except as a development unfriendly to us. It matters not whether this development is one which, by absorbing the economic resources of the country, would make its possession by foreigners in all but name
a fact, or whether the exploitation affects but a single commodity of political importance. It is all one. To obtain an economic concession which by its political results, to paraphrase the original Monroe Doctrine again, would operate against American countries so as to “oppress them and control their destinies,” is an act unfriendly to the United States.