Courtesy Reuters

The Western Hemisphere as a Haven of Peace?

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FOR some time the public mind in this country has shown a certain confusion concerning the realities of Inter-American relations. Considerable misapprehension prevails as to the nature and aims of such things as the Monroe Doctrine, Pan Americanism, the Good Neighbor Policy, Hemisphere Solidarity, and the Declaration of Panama. The one characteristic that all these have in common is that they all embody a firm desire to make of this hemisphere a refuge of peace.

As these lines are written, we in the Americas are faced, as we have not been faced since the days of the Holy Alliance, with the possibility that the devastation of war may be brought to our very doors. We have come to the realization that peace can be maintained in this hemisphere only if it is based on a system of adequate defense. It behooves us therefore to examine carefully the legal and organizational apparatus upon which our twenty-one American Republics can rely if they are to achieve common action against the possibility of armed interference from the Old World.

First in point of time among these implements of solidarity is the Monroe Doctrine. Let us therefore turn to it.

I. THE MONROE DOCTRINE

The Spanish colonies had hardly become free when their independence was threatened by the Holy Alliance, desirous of restoring them to Spain. In his message to Congress on December 2, 1823, President Monroe referred to this danger in several widely separated paragraphs that collectively have come to be known as the Monroe Doctrine. The two parts of the Doctrine pertinent to this article are: (1) ". . . 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," and (2) ". . . we should consider any attempt on their part [

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