The Monroe Doctrine

George Washington had warned the American people against “the insidious wiles of foreign influence.” President Monroe, writes Arnold Whitridge, further developed “the thesis of non-entanglement.”

Americans, south as well as north, have always taken for granted the far-reaching importance of the Monroe doctrine. It is only when, admitting the importance, we push on a little further, to the interpretation of the celebrated doctrine, that we find ourselves lost in the forests of controversy.

Monroe’s momentous enunciation of a foreign policy, contained in the President’s message of December 2nd, 1823, was regarded at the time merely as a corollary to Washington’s Farewell Address, in which Washington had warned the American people against “the insidious wiles of foreign influence.”

Monroe went on to develop the thesis of non-entanglement by declaring that the American continents were henceforth not to be considered subjects for future colonization by European powers. With the existing colonies of any European power the United States would not interfere, but “we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this Hemisphere, as dangerous to our peace and safety.”

The Monroe Doctrine did not recognize the existence of the Red Indian. At any rate, the indigenous population had no rights. All territory not already pre-empted by European nations, or not already carved into independent republics, belonged potentially to the United States. If that was not stated in so many words, it was certainly implied.

It was also implied that the United States would regard any attack upon a South American republic as an attack upon herself. Such an amalgam of national self-interest and international altruism was bound to produce misunderstanding and controversy.

In his original draft of the message, Monroe had coupled with his warning to the European powers to keep their hands off America a ringing pronouncement of sympathy with the peoples of Europe, particularly the Greeks, who were struggling to free themselves from arbitrary government. His Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, immediately pointed out the inconsistency of even appearing to interfere with the affairs of Europe while expressly forbidding Europe to interfere with ours.

Always an isolationist at heart, John Quincy Adams baulked at the idea of expressing sympathy without being willing to follow it up with something more substantial. He would support all policies that contributed to the moral and material welfare of the people of the United States, and he would support nothing else. The President saw the force of his reasoning and struck out the offending passage.

Adams was indeed far more the architect of the doctrine than Monroe himself. Monroe may have conceived the idea of including a vigorous pronouncement on foreign policy in his forthcoming message, but if we are to believe Adams’s “Diary” it was he who persuaded the President to take an independent stand against European intervention in the New World.

Mote than three months before the world heard of the Monroe Doctrine, certain conversations were being held in London between Canning, at that time Foreign Secretary, and Richard Rush, the Minister of the United States, on the future of the Spanish colonies. Canning made a flattering proposal to Rush that in this delicate matter “the two chief commercial and maritime states of both worlds” should act in unison to prevent the Holy Alliance of European Emperors from attempting to overthrow the new governments erected out of the old colonies of Spain in the Western Hemisphere.

As member for Liverpool, Canning was naturally the spokesman for British trading interests, and those interests were fearful of any reversion to the old Spanish colonial system which would have blocked them from the markets of South America. While he did not want to embarrass the constitutional party in Spain by an immediate recognition of the independence of the colonies, it was obvious to Canning that Spain would never win them back.

And, since neither England nor America aimed at the possession of these colonies for herself, would it not be to their mutual interest to form a solid front by declaring that they could not see “any portion of them transferred to any other power with indifference”? Such a declaration, argued Canning, would be the most effective way of discouraging the nefarious projects of other European powers.

Rush replied to these overtures cautiously. He was not authorized, as Canning had hoped, to enter into negotiations himself; but, since the proposals went “hand in hand” with American policy, he himself would be in favour of them, though Canning’s unwillingness to acknowledge the independence of the new States “immediately and unequivocally” might well prove a stumbling block.

Here the negotiations came to an end. Disappointed by his conferences with Rush, Canning now turned his attention to the French ambassador, the prince de Polignac, with whom he was more successful in reaching an agreement. By the terms of the Canning-Polignac memorandum, signed on October 9th, 1823, Britain secured the guarantees she needed against armed intervention of the Holy Alliance in South America, and on the strength of this agreement Canning announced grandiloquently that he had called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old.

While Canning and Polignac were conferring in London, the weighty despatches of Richard Rush were being studied in Washington. Canning’s offer of joint action was not one to be lightly rejected. It was the first time Great Britain had approached the United States as a fellow world power and requested co-operation. President Monroe was inclined to meet the proposal of the British Government; but, being a cautious man, a good administrator rather than a statesman, he sought the advice of two ex-Presidents, Jefferson and Madison.

If these experienced elder statesmen, who had been anti-British in their foreign outlook for over half a century, approved, then surely there could be no danger in signing the joint declaration. Both of them gave it their blessing. Jefferson, in particular, was most enthusiastic. The question presented was “the most momentous which has ever been offered to my contemplations since that of independence.”

While he was as much opposed as ever to becoming involved in “the broils of Europe,” he would by all means accept Canning’s proposal as a preventive of war. “Great Britain,” he said, “is the nation which can do us the most harm of any one or all on earth; and with her on our side we need not fear the whole world.”

Only the stubbornly suspicious John Quincy Adams remained unconvinced; and it was John Quincy Adams who got his way in the end. On the assumption, probably Justified, that Canning had no love for republics whether in the Old World or the New, he argued that the real object of Great Britain, under the pretence of defending the Spanish colonies against the Holy Alliance, was to obtain a pledge from the Government of the United States not to acquire any part of the Spanish American possessions for itself.

Such a pledge would not be in the national interest; for although the United States did not covet any of the colonies in South America, it was entirely possible that Cuba, “a natural appendage to the North American continent,” would eventually gravitate into the Union. At any rate, Adams did not want to have his hands tied. Believing as he did that the whole system of modern colonization was an evil thing, he had persuaded himself that, by some mysterious law of geographical predestination, Cuba, as well as Canada, would eventually drop like ripe fruit into the hands of the United States.

A timely communication from the Russian Minister in Washington, Baron Tuyl, afforded him a suitable opportunity of taking a stand against the Holy Alliance and at the same time declining the overtures of Great Britain. “It would be more candid,” he wrote in his diary, “as well as more dignified, to avow our principles explicitly to Russia and France, than to come in as a cock-boat in the wake of the British man-of-war.”

It would have been still more candid to have admitted that isolationism, which was what he really had in mind, was made possible only by the supremacy of the British navy. Up to the end of the nineteenth century, the United States was never in a position to defend any South American country from invasion; but Adams was perfectly aware that British and American interests in South America coincided, and that he was therefore perfectly safe in urging the President to take what looked like a vigorously independent stand.

The Monroe Doctrine crystallized the sentiment of self-determination in an intensely practical people. While it is usually associated with South America, it really grew out of the question of Russian claims on the north-west coast of North America. The Emperor Alexander had issued a ukase in 1821, prohibiting citizens of other nations from navigating within a hundred miles of the north coast as far south as the fifty-first parallel. From its headquarters in Alaska, the Russia-American Trading Company, founded in 1799, had been steadily extending its activities down the coast.

Only recently it had established a new post just north of San Francisco. Protests had followed from Great Britain, as well as from the United States. Adams, who was always dreaming of the Pacific coast as the natural frontier of the United States, informed the Russian Minister that his Government would contest the right of Russia to any territorial establishment on the American continent.

His objections were later incorporated into President Monroe’s message, in which it was expressly stated that “the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.” In other words, America for the Americans.

The attempt to oust Russia entirely from the continent of North America failed; but in 1824, the year after Monroe’s pronouncement, Adams concluded a treaty with Baron Tuyl, in accordance with which Russia agreed not to establish any new outposts south of the Alaskan boundary. By means of this treaty he not only checked Russian expansion in America but also paved the way for a future claim to Oregon.

The exclusion of European powers from the New World fitted in so well with the “manifest destiny” of the United States to dominate the whole continent that it was inevitable that the two should go hand in hand. “We must bear the brunt of danger,” chanted Walt Whitman, “We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend...”

That was a somewhat poetic way of justifying the acquisition of a million square miles of territory at the expense of other peoples. It was in vain that Guizot, the most experienced politician in France, explained to the Chamber of Deputies that the time-honoured principle of balance of power was just as applicable in the New World as in the Old.

No one knew better than Guizot that the balance would be gravely affected if the United States should annex the Republic of Texas; but the deed was done while Guizot in France and Lord Aberdeen in England were trying to make up their minds whether or not it was politic to guarantee the independence of a slave-holding republic.

James K. Polk, the tenacious, close-lipped man who became President in 1845, left no misunderstanding in the minds of European statesmen about his foreign policy. He had been elected as a dark horse; but those who knew him best had no doubts about the course he would run. It was said of him that what he went for he fetched; and he deliberately “went for” Oregon and California as well as Texas.

While he did not get quite everything he wanted in Oregon, he succeeded in adding more territory to the national domain than any of his predecessors. Having taken office with a definite programme of expansion in mind, he began his administration by reaffirming the Monroe Doctrine which had been lying fallow for nearly twenty years.

Polk decided that it was too profitable a field not to cultivate; and accordingly, in his first presidential message, he expounded the dogma of non-intervention all over again, at the same time adding to it a significant corollary. Not only were European nations forbidden to intervene in the New World, but they were also warned, with reference to Texas, that if a former colony, after breaking away from the parent state and declaring its independence, should then wish to join the United States, that was strictly a family affair. The opinions of outsiders were not invited.

One of the consequences of this corollary was that the Monroe Doctrine gradually came to be regarded abroad not so much as a shining white sword to debar evil European nations from despoiling South America, but as a handy all-purpose weapon, by means of which the United States could carve out vast tracts of territory for itself in the northern hemisphere. Polk took another step towards justifying this charge in his dealings with the Mexican state of Yucatan.

On the outbreak of civil war in Mexico, the authorities of Yucatan offered to transfer its “dominion and sovereignty” to the United States in exchange for protection. Unfortunately, they made the same offer to Great Britain and Spain. This raised a problem never dreamed of by President Monroe. What was to be done in the case of an American country voluntarily placing itself under European protection?

Polk laid the question before Congress and, while not explicitly recommending annexation, pointed out the danger of allowing Yucatan to fall into the hands of a European power. As it turned out, not one of the countries appealed to took up the offer, and Yucatan remained a part of Mexico; but Polk had added a new gloss to the doctrine when he interpreted it as meaning that foreign intruders should be denied admittance to such regions as the United States might or might not choose to mark out for itself.

The annexation of Texas had alarmed Europe. It appeared that self-defence, freedom from European interference, and “manifest destiny,” were practically synonymous, and that they were all covered by the broad cloak of the Monroe Doctrine.

The fear that the United States coveted the territory of Mexico lying south and west of its borders, and the suspicion that President Polk had revived the Monroe Doctrine to prevent European powers from interfering with such designs, were soon confirmed by the results of the Mexican war. By the terms of the Guadalupe-Hidalgo Treaty, which ended the war in 1848, the territory of New Mexico and California were ceded to the United States. From this enormous area six states—Nevada, Utah, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado—were eventually added to the Union.

No wonder that the South American republics looked upon the Mexican war, and the filibustering expeditions in Central America that followed it, as a warning that their turn might come next. Actually, they need not have been fearful; for neither President Polk nor any other President ever had designs on any South American state.

In his message reaffirming the doctrine, Polk had stated that “no future European colony or dominion should be planted on any part of the North American continent”; and, although he did not expressly restrict the doctrine to the northern hemisphere, it was obvious that what happened south of Mexico did not really interest him. He could react vigorously to the possibility of a British occupation of Oregon, whereas he viewed British encroachments in South America, such as the occupation of the Falkland Islands, with complete indifference.

The revival of the doctrine, upon which Polk set such store, was not received with much enthusiasm either at home or abroad. In France, Guizot probably represented French opinion pretty accurately when he pointed out that the United States was not the only nation in North America, and that the other states were at perfect liberty to seek or reject alliances as they chose. In England, the statesmen in power ignored the message; but The Times refused to accept the idea that the New World could or should be separated from the Old.

At home, the great Southern statesman John C. Calhoun, who spoke with more authority on the subject than anyone else, since he had been a member of Monroe’s Cabinet at the time the doctrine was formulated, could not agree with the President that Monroe’s declarations should be construed as the settled policy of the country. He did not repudiate the doctrine; but he thought that everything must be decided according to circumstances, “without getting entangled in formulas which might be turned against you.”

Calhoun did not differ from the President as much as he implied. Both men were perfectly aware that geography had a good deal to do with the enforcement of the doctrine, and that the United States must round out its national domain before casting its eyes elsewhere. This is, in fact, the policy that the successors of President Monroe and Secretary Calhoun have always followed.

In 1863, for instance, the United States was so involved in the Civil War that it could not protest effectively against the French occupation of Mexico, the most flagrant breach of the Monroe Doctrine that has ever occurred. Lincoln and Seward bided their time and the situation solved itself; but it is significant that, in all his correspondence on the subject, Seward never once mentioned the doctrine by name.

The wisest statesmen have always known that no doctrine can be enforced rigidly without regard to time or place. In the enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine, North America naturally came first. It was only towards the end of the century, by which time, as Tocqueville had predicted, the United States had become a great power, that Americans woke up to the fact that there was a world elsewhere. More particularly, they woke up to the existence of a great continent to the south of them, of which they knew very little.

The immediate issue that brought South America into the limelight was the disputed boundary between Venezuela and British Guiana. Up till 1895, South America had played only a minor role in the drama of Anglo-American relations; but, in that year, this age-old boundary dispute thrust its way on to the centre of the stage. Venezuela had repeatedly invoked the good offices of the United States; but the mild requests for arbitration that the United States had passed on to Great Britain had so far been ignored.

The controversy might have simmered for another fifty years if President Cleveland and Richard Olney, his Secretary of State, neither of whom had any patience with the methods of old world diplomacy, had not decided that this question of boundaries involved the Monroe Doctrine, and that the prestige of their Administration demanded vigorous action.

The roots of the controversy reached far back into colonial history; and the ancient Spanish and Dutch records to which both sides might appeal were indefinite and confusing. In 1840 England had sent out a well-known engineer, Sir Robert Schomburgk, to survey the line. Venezuela denounced the line immediately; and Lord Aberdeen explained that the Schomburgk fine was only a preliminary survey, and that the subject was open to further discussion.

Since then, gold had been discovered in the disputed region; and both Great Britain and Venezuela assumed a stiffer attitude as their settlers spread out on either side of the line. Friendly relations between the two countries had been discontinued in 1887, by which time Venezuela was claiming two-thirds of British Guiana. British demands were more moderate; but, as time passed, she was more and more adamant in insisting on them, whereas Venezuela was anxious to refer the whole question to arbitration.

By the time Cleveland entered on his second Administration, the appeals of Venezuela were ringing in his ears. Believing that the whole validity of the Monroe Doctrine was at stake, he resolved to bring Great Britain to the point of setdement of the Venezuelan affair, or of refusal, even at the risk of war. Olney, who liked disposing of difficulties prompdy, buried himself in the Venezuelan dossier and emerged a month later with the draft of a truculent and most undiplomatic despatch.

Cleveland referred to it afterwards as “Olney’s twenty-inch gun.” Olney stated categorically that the determination of the boundary between Venezuela and British Guiana came within the scope and spirit of the Monroe Doctrine, and that a doctrine so firmly established could not easily be ignored, since it rested “upon facts and principles that are both intelligible and incontrovertible.” In a more bombastic vein, he went on to assert that:

“the United States is practically sovereign on this continent, and its fiat is law upon the subjects to which it confines its interposition. Why? It is not simply by reason of its high character as a civilized state, nor because wisdom and equity are the invariable characteristics of the dealings of the United States. It is because in addition to all other grounds, its infinite resources combined with its isolated position render it master of the situation and practically invulnerable as against any or all other powers.”

Being determined, as he confessed later, to “jolt” Great Britain out of her habit of profitable procrastination, he demanded a reply in time for the President to take notice of it in his next annual message to Congress.

Lord Salisbury, whose Government had only just come into office (August 1895), must have been startled by the peremptoriness of Olney’s note. It was practically an ultimatum; and Lord Salisbury, whose calm temper and massive wisdom had won the respect of every chancellery in Europe, was not accustomed to being handed ultimatums.

As Foreign Minister in his own Cabinet, it fell to his lot to receive Mr. Bayard, the American Ambassador, when he called at the Foreign Office to deliver Olney’s “grave instructions.” Lord Salisbury listened patiently to the reading of the despatch. At the conclusion, he thanked the Ambassador and expressed surprise that Mr. Olney should have seen fit to bring to bear on this comparatively unimportant matter such a formidable array of principles.

Bayard, himself a diplomat of the old school, who thought he understood the niceties of Anglo-American relations far better than Olney, commented on the importance of keeping such questions “in the atmosphere of serene and elevated effort.” There the matter rested. Quietly disregarding the threatening words at the end of the despatch, Salisbury let the autumn pass without giving any indication of his answer.

He believed that Olney was making a mountain out of a molehill. Why should he get so excited over a mere question of boundaries? Diplomats had been haggling over boundaries since the beginning of time; but they had never written peremptory notes about them, least of all if they were boundaries in a South American jungle. Anyway, a country like Venezuela, that was always being torn by revolutions, never had a government with whom Great Britain thought it was worth while to arrange anything.

No doubt Lord Salisbury would have echoed the remark made by Theodore Roosevelt, a few years later, about a neighbouring country in South America: “You could no more make an agreement with the Colombian rulers than you could nail currant jelly to the wall—and the failure to nail currant jelly to the wall is not due to the nail; it is due to the currant jelly.”

When he finally did answer the letter, Salisbury conceded nothing. Olney had stated that “when a European power has a frontier difference with a South American community, the European power shall consent to refer that controversy to arbitration.” Salisbury indignantly repudiated the theory that, if any independent American state advances a demand for territory of which its neighbour claims to be the owner, and that neighbour is the colony of a European state, the United States has a right to insist that the European state shall submit the demand to arbitration.

As for the Monroe Doctrine, “no statesman, however eminent, and no nation, however powerful, are competent to insert into the code of international law a principle which was never recognized before, and which has not since been accepted by the Government of any other country.” He noted that the famous doctrine had undergone a remarkable development at Mr. Olney’s hands.

Whereas President Monroe had expressly stated that he would not interfere with the existing colonies of any European power, Olney now maintained that any permanent union between an American and a European state was “inexpedient and unnatural.” That statement Her Majesty’s Government emphatically denied.

In the second part of his reply, Lord Salisbury agreed to arbitrate “large tracts” west of the Schomburgk line, but declined to admit or arbitrate any claims to territory within that line, “based on the extravagant pretensions of Spanish officials in the last century, and involving the transfer of large numbers of British subjects, who have for many years enjoyed the settled rule of a British colony...”

The issue was now squarely joined. Olney had demanded that Great Britain should submit to arbitration the whole area under dispute; and Lord Salisbury had refused, without offering any alternative solution or inviting any further discussion. Olney had based his demand on the Monroe Doctrine; and Salisbury had denied that the Monroe Doctrine embodied any principle of international law. If the American note was bumptious, the English reply was condescending, at least so it sounded to American ears.

The two men had succeeded admirably in antagonizing each other, and in making it still more difficult for reasonable men to find a way out of the forest. It remained now for President Cleveland to stoke up the fires of controversy, and to bring the two nations to the brink of war. So far Cleveland’s whole career in the White House had been so conciliatory on matters of foreign policy that he had been accused by his enemies of always taking the line of least resistance.

Lord Salisbury’s suavely insulting reply, gently shutting the door in his face, gave him just the opportunity he needed of posing before the country as Mr. Great-Heart. In a special message to Congress (December 17th, 1895), he published the whole correspondence and requested authorization to appoint a commission to investigate the merits of the dispute.

Once the report of the commission was made and accepted, it would be “the duty of the United States to resist by every means in its power, as a wilful aggression upon its rights and interests, the appropriation by Great Britain of any lands or the exercise of governmental jurisdiction over any territory which after investigation we have determined of right belongs to Venezuela.”

That was serious enough; but the final paragraph of the message, in which he sprinkled such inflammatory phrases as “supine submission to wrong” and “the loss of national self-respect, and honour,” touched off a blaze of jingoism that very nearly swept the country into war.

The message was received with tremendous applause. Republican senators, many of whom had been highly critical of the President on other issues, streamed into the White House to offer their congratulations. So irresistible was the spell cast by the very words “Monroe Doctrine” that Cleveland declared that those few who did not agree with his vigorous assertion of its principles were merely “the timid ones who feared personal financial loss.”

Fortunately, the British press ignored the threatening cloud of Anglophobia in the west; and a breeze from a strange quarter relieved the atmosphere. The Jameson Raid (January 2nd, 1896), followed by the Kaiser’s astonishing telegram of sympathy to President Kruger, diverted the attention of the British public to the prospect of war with Germany. In the London music halls, the crowds suddenly began cheering “Yankee Doodle” and booing “The Watch on the Rhine.”

After much secret diplomacy in London and Washington, a treaty was concluded between Great Britain and Venezuela, submitting the boundary question to arbitration, subject to the understanding that settlement of any district for a period of fifty years should be considered a genuine title. By this ingenious arrangement, both sides could claim a victory.

Cleveland and Olney secured their principle that the whole territory in dispute should be subject to arbitration; and Salisbury secured his, that the British title to “de facto” possessions should not be questioned. The tribunal, which included the Chief Justices of Great Britain and the United States, awarded to British Guiana the larger part of the disputed area.

As a result of this controversy, the claim of the United States to guardianship over South America was now clearly established. The fact that the American people, waving the banner of the Monroe Doctrine, had threatened Great Britain with war, on an issue in which they had not the slightest personal interest, added immeasurably to the national self-esteem. Never before had a great nation acted so altruistically.

The Latin American countries were not quite so elated. Olney’s dictum that “the United States is practically sovereign on this continent and its fiat is law” sounded ominous. Might not the doctrine of non-interference by Europe in the affairs of the New World develop imperceptibly into a doctrine of very definite interference by the United States?

This fear of American domination seemed to be justified by the outcome of the Spanish-American war. Aroused by the Cuban struggle for independence, the American people had plunged light-heartedly into a war against Spain, the oldest offender among the colonial powers. Once again America was espousing the cause of the oppressed.

When the smoke of battle cleared away, it appeared that, as a result of a noble gesture, Uncle Sam had gained possession of Guam, Puerto Rico, the Hawaiian islands and the Philippines. Cuba had been liberated from the Spanish crown; but, although it was nominally free, it was to become, as Theodore Roosevelt put it, “a part of our international system.”

Under Theodore Roosevelt the prestige of the Monroe Doctrine reached its high water mark. Never before had the doctrine been invoked so freely to justify intervention in South American affairs. While assuring the world that under no circumstances would the United States use the Monroe Doctrine as a cloak for territorial aggression, he extended the circle of American protectorates, until the Caribbean became practically an American Mediterranean.

The Dominican Republic was the first country to quail under the flourish of the big stick. In order to avert foreign intervention for the collection of debts long overdue, Roosevelt placed an American financial expert in charge of its revenues, with power to arrange for the gradual payment of foreign bondholders.

To Latin Americans, the difference between annexing territory and controlling the finances seemed immaterial; but, however offensive Roosevelt’s policies might be to what O. Henry called the “banana-stand republics” of Central America, they were widely approved by all those who, while deprecating imperialism, had come to believe in the responsibility of the United States for the behaviour of the “lesser breeds.”

Roosevelt interpreted these obligations as involving international police power. In his annual message of 1904 he explained, to the satisfaction of his own countrymen, but not at all to those of South America, how the business of keeping order in the Western Hemisphere harked back to the Monroe Doctrine:

“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.”

The disinterestedness of Roosevelt’s motives can not alter the fact that, in claiming police powers, he stretched the Monroe Doctrine almost to the breaking point. In the building of the Panama Canal, he once again found his authority for intervention in the already overworked dogmas of Monroe.

Roosevelt was so disgusted, when the Senate of Colombia rejected a treaty by which the United States was granted an indefinite lease on a six-mile-wide belt of land across the isthmus of Panama, that he ignored their objections and recognized the new Republic of Panama. Before recognizing it, he made sure that the new Government would sign the treaty rejected by Colombia, which would enable him at last to go ahead with the building of the Canal.

Subsequent Presidents have played down the policeman, and have tried to appear, instead, in the role of a good neighbour. In the eyes of South American statesmen, the Monroe Doctrine has become merged in the Pan-American ideal; but, in the United States, the Monroe Doctrine, however little it may be understood, is still regarded as the main-stay of foreign policy. Few people can define it; but that does not matter. One does not have to analyze in order to believe.

Americans believe that the Monroe Doctrine is inextricably bound up with their success story. Under its shadow, the nation grew to manhood. It is not a legislative pronouncement; it is not defined by treaty; and, as Lord Salisbury pointed out, it is not a part of international law.

It is merely a policy enunciated by President Monroe and repeated, in one form or another, by other Presidents, for the guidance of the nation in its conduct of foreign affairs; but this policy expresses a conviction that even the upheaval caused by two world wars has not uprooted or fundamentally changed.