Thursday, May 19, 2011

Roosevelt Attacks Successor's Foreign Policies

In this week's issue of Outlook Magazine, former President Theodore Roosevelt attacked his successor's plan to sign a general arbitration treaty with Great Britain (and France). The treaty would submit to arbitration any future disputes between the two nations, which Roosevelt argues restricts to harshly the sovereign rights of the United States. What follows is a excerpt from Roosevelt's article:
Hypocrisy never pays in the long run. Even if the indifference of the majority of the nation should permit such a specific agreement to arbitrate such vital questions, that same majority would promptly and quite properly repudiate the agreement the moment that it became necessary to enforce it.

No self-respecting nation, no nation worth calling a nation, would ever in actual practice consent to surrender its rights in such matters.

Take this very case of the agreement between Great Britain and ourselves. Thank heaven, it is now impossible-and I use the word literally-that there shall never be war between the English-speaking peoples.

If Great Britain now started to exercise the right of search as she exercised it 100 years ago, with its incidents of killing peaceful fishermen within the limits of New York Harbor, this country would fight at the drop of the hat, and any man who proposed to arbitrate such a matter would be tossed contemptuously out of the popular path.

We should be very cautious of entering into a treaty with any nation, however closely knit to us, the form of which it would be impossible to follow in making treaties with other great civilized and friendly nations.

In this case [the killing and injuring of Americans on this side of the border due to fighting in Mexico] we have chosen to submit to such invasion, as is our right and privilege if we so desire. But it would be absolutely intolerable to bind ourselves to arbitrate the questions raised by such invasions.

If, for instance, instead of its being Mexican troops firing into our inland towns and killing our citizens, it happened to be an English or a German or a Japanese fleet which not once, but again, fired into our coast towns, killing and wounding our citizens, this nation would immediately demand not arbitration, but either atonement or war.

In the same way, if a dispute arose between us and another nation as to whether we should receive enormous masses of immigrants whom we did not desire from that nation, no one who knows anything of the temper of the American people would dream that they would for one moment consent to arbitrate the matter. In such a case we should say that our honor, our independence, our integrity, and our very national existence were involved, and that we could not submit such a question to arbitration.

The treaty should make no explicit declaration of a kind which would brand us with cowardice if we live up to it, and with hypocrisy and bad faith if we did not live up to it. Also, it is well to remember that as there is not the slightest conceivable danger of war between Great Britain and the United States, the arbitration treaty would have no effect whatever upon the armaments of either country.
In other news, Robert T. Lincoln, the only living son of Abraham Lincoln, resigned yesterday as the president of the powerful Pullman Company. He will now take up the newly created position of chairman of the company's board of directors.

In Mexico, 3,000 rebels under Madero are in Vera Cruz to prevent a landing by General Bernardo Reyes, who is thought to be taking up the War Minister position following the pending resignation of President Diaz. Reyes is deeply unpopular among the Madero's revolutionaries and believe that with Reyes in a cabinet, de la Berra will be interim president in name only, and Reyes will actually be pulling the strings.  President Diaz is expected to resign on May 24 or 25.

New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson was in Portland, Oregon yesterday to give an address at the Portland Commercial Club. Gov. Wilson praised the "Oregon system" of primary elections but he pointed out that he was against the ability for voters to recall judges. He said that during his stay he will be studying the "Oregon system" and he may introduce some of its good measures in New Jersey when he returns. On whether he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in 1912, Wilson replied, "I certainly have not the audacity to seek the nomination, but no man is too big to refuse it."

Link: Roosevelt Hits President's Plan [The Washington Herald]
Link: Lincoln Resigns [The Washington Herald]
Link: Rebels Demand Head of Reyes to Bring Peace [The Washington Herald]
Link: General Madero will go to Mexico City to Confer with de la Berra [The Bisbee Daily Review]
Link: Wilson objects to Judges' Recall [The Washington Herald]
Link: Gov. Wilson not a Radical [The Bisbee Daily Review]

Link: The Arbitration Treaty With Great Britain by Theodore Roosevelt [The Outlook]

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