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.


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 [the Holy Alliance] to extend their system [monarchical autocracy] to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere."

Though idealism undoubtedly played an important part in motivating this declaration, it was primarily inspired by a selfish consideration for our own "peace and safety." That it also gave assistance to the newborn nations of Latin America was incidental. Nevertheless, the Latin Americans were grateful. Nor was the Monroe Doctrine a sudden resolve in the face of an emergency. From the first day of their independence the American people had been determined not to permit Europe to interfere in affairs on this side of the Atlantic. We regarded the old continent as a center of opposition to our republican institutions and to our growing democracy. Britain's attempt in 1844 to persuade Texas not to join the Union, her intrigues to prevent American domination of the Caribbean and especially the Isthmus, the French invasion of Mexico during our Civil War in order to establish a monarchy, only confirmed Americans in these opinions, and they have never wholly lost them.

A happy relationship thus arose between the United States and Latin America, which lasted until President Polk, inspired by "Manifest Destiny" and taking advantage of a decade of frontier disturbances, entered into war with Mexico in 1846. This war, which resulted in the transfer of a vast amount of Mexican territory to the United States, not only embittered relations between the two countries involved but diminished the friendly feeling of Latin America in general towards the United States. However, for the next fifty years both the United States and Latin America were chiefly occupied with internal affairs and any latent animosity between them was allowed to slumber. This period ended for the United States with the disappearance of the frontier in the early 1890's. Under the influence of an expansionist impulse long germinating among our people -- no doubt stimulated by Kipling's glorification of the White Man's Burden -- we developed a Messiah complex which remained with us until disillusionment came after the World War. The first overt manifestation of American imperialist aspirations occurred after the Spanish-American War of 1898, when we secured possession of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, and, by means of the Platt Amendment, a disguised protectorate over Cuba. At the same time we also annexed Hawaii and in the following year gave further evidence of our new expansionist vitality by challenging the Great Powers in China with our Open Door doctrine.

The great apostle of this policy was Theodore Roosevelt. In 1903 he secured the right to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama by what Latin Americans regarded as shady and imperialistic means. In his message to Congress on December 6, 1904, Roosevelt announced what became popularly known as the "Big Stick" policy, namely, that the Monroe Doctrine justified the United States in exercising an international police power in case of "wrongdoing or . . . impotence" in the Western Hemisphere. In the opinion of Latin Americans this pronouncement transformed the Monroe Doctrine from a policy of self-defense into one which envisaged interference by the United States in the domestic affairs of the Latin American countries. As a result, resentment against the United States and apprehension as to the objectives of its policy became intense throughout Latin America. Our acts of open intervention in Mexico and the Caribbean area during the following decade, and even more so during the World War, naturally augmented these fears.

At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 President Wilson secured the incorporation of Article 21 in the Covenant of the League of Nations, stating that "nothing in this Covenant shall be deemed to affect the validity of . . . regional understandings like the Monroe Doctrine, for securing the maintenance of peace." This Article was bitterly resented by Latin Americans. They pointed out that the Monroe Doctrine had never at any time been recognized as a part of international law. Indeed the United States had not wished it to be so recognized, because, had it been, international tribunals would have had a right to interpret it -- and that right, we then insisted, belonged to us alone. But the Latin Americans maintained that, with the adoption of the League Covenant, the Doctrine had become incorporated into the very constitution of the world. Moreover, they denied that it was a "regional understanding," for an understanding requires at least two parties. And then on top of all this, the United States refused to join the League, though Article 21 remained in the Covenant to bring confusion into the foreign policy of the Latin American countries. They now found themselves members of two international organizations', the League of Nations and the Pan American Union, of which the latter was to a great extent under the domination of the United States.

On August 30, 1923, Secretary of State Hughes delivered an address before the American Bar Association at Minneapolis in which he stated emphatically that the Monroe Doctrine was a principle of self-defense for the United States and that it "reserves to itself its definition, interpretation, and application." Because of our insistence on this unilateral interpretation of the Doctrine, and also because of our intervention policy in the Caribbean area, criticism of the United States increased both in amount and bitterness throughout Latin America, as well as in certain circles in Europe and even among our own citizens.

But the years 1927 and 1928 saw our whole Latin American policy undergo a change in the direction of conciliation. This shift became even more pronounced during the Hoover Administration. Immediately upon his election in November 1928, Mr. Hoover made a good-will tour of Central and South America. He made it clear that while every effort would be made to expand our commerce with Latin America, it would not be done in the ways of Dollar Diplomacy. In 1931 he withdrew the American administrative officers from Haiti. Already in December 1928, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., the Under Secretary of State, had drawn up an interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine at the request of Secretary of State Kellogg. In this important state paper, he stripped the original message of President Monroe of the various excrescences, such as the Roosevelt corollary, that had been fastened upon it by later Presidents and Secretaries of State. He made it clear that in its interpretation of the Doctrine the United States had returned to the original purpose for which it was proclaimed, namely, the safeguarding of the Western Hemisphere from European and Asiatic interference.[i] Nevertheless, this new interpretation failed to dissipate completely the deep-seated suspicion with which the principal Latin American countries viewed the Doctrine, though they were of course gratified by Secretary of State Kellogg's statement that the Clark Memorandum was to be regarded as officially adopted by the United States. What they awaited was a positive announcement of American intentions with reference to their own status. Such a statement did not appear until President Franklin D. Roosevelt promulgated his Good Neighbor Policy.


The Good Neighbor Policy was enunciated by President Roosevelt in his first inaugural address on March 4, 1933. He described it as a policy of "the neighbor who resolutely respects himself, and because he does so, respects the rights of others." This, together with subsequent statements by the President and by Secretary of State Hull, forms a philosophy of international relations based on a respect (1) for international law and treaties, (2) for the sovereignty of every nation, large and small, and (3) for the principle of mutual trust and good will. Mr. Roosevelt's further declaration that the sending of troops across a national frontier would be regarded as an evidence of aggression pleased the Latin Americans most of all, for they interpreted it to mean that the United States would no longer intervene in their domestic affairs. The way was thus paved for the personal triumph of Mr. Hull at the Montevideo Conference in 1933 at which the Latin American delegations gave a cordial reception to his peace program. This shift in our policy towards Latin America -- of which the repeal of the Platt Amendment was only one concrete evidence -- changed Pan Americanism from a principle founded upon mere sentiment to one based on political realities.

President Roosevelt's statement of the Good Neighbor Policy was couched in general, even vague, terms. The real problem was to apply it in specific cases. Of these there have been a good many. The limitations of space, however, will permit us to discuss only one of them in detail: the expropriation by the Mexican Government of American-owned lands and the property of American oil companies. Before the day of the Good Neighbor Policy, the United States would probably have tried to force Mexico to return the property, possibly even to the extent of blockading her ports and sending troops to the Rio Grande. But the emphasis in the Good Neighbor Policy, an emphasis much acclaimed in Latin America, is upon the sovereignty of each state regardless of size. Now, sovereignty means that a state has absolute control over its own internal affairs. At the same time, international law requires that when a government expropriates foreign property it should make compensation. In the case of Mexico the State Department declared that this compensation should be "prompt, adequate, and effective." Mexico promised to indemnify the oil companies for their surface properties but not for their vested subsoil rights. Further, this compensation was to take place at some future date and, judging by past experience, with measures of dubious value. President Roosevelt said that a "good neighbor" was one "who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with world neighbors." In its protests against the expropriation, the State Department, without accepting the Mexican contention, acted in accordance with it. In substance the Mexican contention has been that a foreign corporation which claims to have suffered injury must first exhaust the possibilities of legal redress in Mexico before requesting diplomatic intervention from its own government. The oil companies, in fact, followed this procedure. But after hearing their case, the Supreme Court of Mexico decided that the expropriation of their property was in conformity with the Mexican Constitution.

The State Department, burdened by an evil heritage of bad relations with Mexico, pursued an honorable policy in attempting to bring about a fair compromise between the oil interests and the Mexican Government, even if neither of these parties showed much of the spirit of compromise. After repeated efforts to effect an agreement, the State Department suggested to the Mexican Government on April 3, 1940, that it submit the question to arbitration. The proposal was rejected. This rejection was embarrassing to Mexico for, like all Latin American states, she has always been a strong adherent of arbitration. As these lines are written, the solid front of the oil companies has been broken by the Sinclair interests, which have come to terms with the Mexican Government. What will happen next remains to be seen. We can exert pressure on Mexico by threatening to change our silver purchasing policy, now so profitable to her. This action would undoubtedly disrupt Mexican economy. But, in any case, we must never forget that our attitude towards Mexico is regarded by most Latin Americans as the touchstone of the Good Neighbor Policy.

The Good Neighbor Policy accords with the contention long maintained in Latin America that the government of one country cannot use military intervention to collect debts owed its citizens in another country. However, at the Lima Conference Mexico proposed a resolution by which the conferring states would recognize the "right" of their nationals to waive the diplomatic protection of their governments. This would have meant that there could be no redress for a foreign investor whose property had been expropriated. The United States has consistently held that diplomatic interposition cannot be bartered away by its citizens. By skillful diplomacy this question was referred to the next Inter-American Conference to be held in 1943.

Other less tangible difficulties confront the Good Neighbor Policy. First, there are political difficulties. President Roosevelt's pronouncement is only seven years old, too short a time in which to expect the long-standing antagonism of the Latin Americans towards the United States to be completely dispelled. In particular the strongest Latin American country, the Argentine Republic, has never been over-friendly towards the United States. Argentina's orientation has always been towards Europe rather than North America. She wants to pose before the world as the foremost exponent of Latin American interests, an attitude viewed with little sympathy by other countries in South America. Argentina is determined, if possible, to prevent the domination of the United States from spreading beyond the Caribbean area into the South American continent. Furthermore, Latin Americans in general simply do not understand our interpretation of democracy. To them, democratic government means merely republican government, in which the élite, not the masses, rule. Before the present war broke out in Europe, both the Germans and Italians were engaged in deliberate anti-democratic and anti-American propaganda in Latin America. A Hitler victory would unquestionably cause that propaganda to be intensified, with the accompaniment of "fifth columns."

There are economic difficulties, also. Mr. Hull has succeeded in making excellent trade agreements with some of our southern neighbors. But his trade policy is based upon the most-favorednation principle, whereas many of the Latin American states have adopted autarchic devices which prevent its application. Furthermore, the products of Argentina and Uruguay, for instance, compete with those of the United States in the European market; those two countries cannot, therefore, adopt policies which will offend their best customers. They resent not only our tariff policies, but even more our sanitary regulations excluding their meats on the ground that their cattle are afflicted with the hoof and mouth disease -- an accusation which they regard as untruthful.

Then, there are religious and spiritual difficulties. The United States is overwhelmingly Protestant. Latin America is even more overwhelmingly Catholic. The Catholic Church is afraid of what might happen if, in the countries to the south of us, education should be secularized as it is in the United States. In some countries, such as Peru and Argentina, the Church is not very cordially disposed towards the United States. The women of Latin America are shocked at the freedom prevailing in relations between the sexes in the United States, particularly among the young as depicted in our movies. They raise questions concerning the breakdown of family life here, and wonder at the place enjoyed by the divorcée in our society. In short, the Latin Americans do not regard us as simpatico. Our philosophy of life is that of the pragmatist. We ask of an idea, "Does it work?" Their philosophy is that of the traditionalist. They ask, "Does it conform to our ways of doing things?" If not, then "Why change those ways?" The Latin Americans look upon us somewhat as the Athenians looked upon the Macedonians -- as an active, virile, efficient people without culture. In our civilization it is the businessman who is everywhere given first place; in theirs, it is rather the scholar -- with the general always in the background. Until recently, Latin Americans sent their children to be educated in France, which they regard as le pays le plus civilisé.

Will these disruptive factors result in the breakdown of hemisphere solidarity when the menace of the present war is removed? It is difficult to say. But it might be pointed out that few nations differ more in language, race, religion, systems of law, and attitudes towards life, or have a longer record of hostility towards each other, than France and England; and that almost until the outbreak of the present war there was an influential element in Britain more friendly to Germany than to France. Yet today the French and British are bound together by one of the closest alliances in history. The fact of the matter is that relations between states are determined by national interests -- economic, political and strategic. True, the economic interests of Argentina and Uruguay tie them in a greater degree to England than to the United States. But what they and all other Latin American nations want most is security and peace in order to develop their national lives -- and security and peace are to be found only in hemisphere solidarity.


It is a common mistake to assume, because the Pan American Conference called by Bolivar at Panama in 1826 was a failure, that the effort was not worth making. That gathering provided an ideal which has remained in the Latin American mind ever since. True, no serious attempt was made to realize that ideal until 1889, when Secretary of State James G. Blaine called the first real Pan American Conference in Washington. Blaine's primary objective was to increase trade between the United States and Latin America. Bolivar's ideal had been very different -- to organize a federation of states which would maintain peace and hold periodic conferences for considering problems of all kinds concerning the general welfare of the Western Hemisphere, especially the Latin portion of it. At the first conference (held in 1889-1890) provision was made for a bureau to be established at Washington under the administration of the Secretary of State of the United States. This agency was to be a sort of publicity bureau for giving commercial information and advice. The Buenos Aires Conference of 1910 reorganized the bureau and changed its name to the Pan American Union. Until very recently, Latin Americans have regarded the Union as merely an appendage to our State Department.

At the Fifth Pan American Conference, held at Santiago, Chile, in 1923, open hostility was manifested towards the United States, partly because of the suspicions aroused in Latin America by our imperialist policy in the Caribbean, partly because of the arrogant way in which the American delegation at the Conference tried to smother any attempt to discuss political and contentious questions. In fact, the evidences of ill will towards the United States shown by the Latin American delegates at Santiago were so pronounced as to startle our State Department. The very strong delegation headed by Charles E. Hughes which we sent to the Sixth Conference (held at Havana in 1928) therefore adopted a somewhat more conciliatory attitude, though with little effect because the United States still sought to keep the proceedings on a non-political plane.

Almost simultaneously with President Roosevelt's enunciation of the Good Neighbor Policy, Adolf Hitler attained supreme power in Germany and began to rearm that country at a feverish pace. Two years later, Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia and the subsequent failure of sanctions showed the weakness of the League of Nations as an instrument for collective security. These facts made a deep impression on the Latin American countries, most of which belonged to the League. The armaments race into which Europe plunged in ever increasing frenzy also greatly alarmed peoples on this side of the Atlantic. When early in 1936 President Roosevelt suggested the convocation of an Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, all the other American Republics concurred unanimously. The Conference, which met at Buenos Aires on December 1, 1936, was opened by President Roosevelt. His reception was most cordial and the atmosphere in which the discussions were held gave evidence of happier relations between the United States and the Latin American countries.

At Buenos Aires, Mr. Hull proposed a treaty containing the following points, most of which were accepted by the Conference: (1) The coördination of the multilateral peace agreements which had been signed at previous conferences but which in no case had been ratified by all the American Republics. (2) Consultation in case of any threat to peace through a permanent Inter-American Consultative Committee. However, on the insistence of Argentina, the Conference agreed that consultation should be ad hoc. (3) The establishment of a common neutrality policy in the event of an inter-American war. In an Additional Protocol of Non-Intervention it was agreed that the procedure provided by the pact for collective security should be invoked were any country, American or non-American, to intervene in the foreign or domestic affairs of another. This practically made the Monroe Doctrine a multilateral affair. Mr. Hull's peace structure was topped by a Declaration of Principles of Inter-American Solidarity and Coöperation, which was adopted by the Conference as it closed. Mr. Hull also presented two resolutions on international trade; but since the leading South American countries followed autarchic policies, his resolutions were amended by a proviso that the signatories should act "to the extent that the several national economies permit." This amendment, of course, reduced the resolution to meaningless words.

The Buenos Aires Conference disclosed that the United States still did not see eye to eye with the Latin American nations on all questions and that even the latter by no means always acted in harmony with one another. Nevertheless, they unanimously adopted a Declaration affirming the principle of the equality of states, proscribing territorial conquests, condemning intervention and the forcible collection of public debts, and accepting the obligation to settle international disputes pacifically. In so doing they set up peace machinery which was to prove very valuable when the time came to operate it. And certainly not least among the useful achievements of the Conference was the conviction it instilled into the Latin Americans that the United States was not rendering mere lip service to the Good Neighbor Policy.

The Eighth Conference of American States met at Lima on December 9, 1938, and devoted itself almost exclusively to an attempt to organize a stronger common American front against external aggression and against the menace of Fascism. Argentina, however, opposed any effective defensive agreement in the Western Hemisphere even though Secretary Hull made it clear that such a policy did not involve isolation from Europe. The United States delegation proposed a convention providing that the American Republics should act in concert to oppose any threat from a non-American state. Argentina was willing for the states to consult, insisting that each one should act independently. Nevertheless, the United States managed at Lima to secure the machinery for consultation which it had been unable to get at Buenos Aires. The Declaration of Lima, which finally resulted from these negotiations, though expressed in vague terms, was a distinct advance in the peace program of the American Republics. At Lima, as at Montevideo and Buenos Aires, Mr. Hull's unquestioned sincerity, broadmindedness and willingness to make concessions in the interest of harmony won universal recognition, and his resolution committing the American Republics to liberal trade practices was unanimously adopted -- though not implemented.

Even if the gains made at Lima were largely in the imponderables, hemisphere solidarity had been reaffirmed and the principle of a "common concern" for the peace of this continent had been emphasized. Most important of all was the fact that the Latin American countries were now convinced that the United States based its relations with them upon fair play, reciprocal accommodation and mutual trust. Some American supporters of the League of Nations professed to see in these developments a tendency to isolate the nations of the Western Hemisphere from the rest of the world. But, in view of the fact that the French and British themselves were withdrawing more and more from activity in the Far East and thus leaving to the United States the burden of holding Japan in check, and inasmuch as the United States Government almost invariably took a very lively diplomatic interest in the recurring crises that arose in Europe, this criticism is a little difficult to understand. Some of our British friends, forgetting the Ottawa Agreements, also deplored what they considered an attempt to divert trade from its "natural" channels. But what really concerned most of these critics was the steady advance of Pan Americanism from ideal to reality -- and Pan Americanism is the most hopeful reality on the world's political horizon today.


The occasion for testing the strength of this newly achieved hemisphere solidarity was not long in arriving. On September 3, 1939, Great Britain and France declared war against Germany. In accordance with the procedure for consultation set up at Buenos Aires and Lima, the Government of Panama invited the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics to meet at its capital. This they did on September 23, and at once unanimously affirmed their determination to present a united front for the maintenance of their rights and the preservation of peace in this hemisphere. At this conference the delegates devoted most of their thought and time to the problem of keeping the American Republics from becoming involved in the European conflict. Towards this end they adopted the now famous Declaration of Panama.

This Declaration states that "there can be no justification for the interests of the belligerents to prevail over the rights of neutrals . . . which by their . . . distance from the scene of events, should not be burdened with its fatal and painful consequences," and that therefore "the waters to a reasonable distance from their coasts (i.e., the American Republics) shall remain free . . . from the undertaking of belligerent activities by nations engaged in a war in which the said governments are not involved." To give effect to this assertion the Declaration created a security zone large enough to contain all the normal maritime routes of communication and trade between the countries of America. Generally speaking, this zone (which is not to be construed as an extension of territorial waters) stretches to a distance of 300 miles from the coasts of all American countries save Canada and the possessions of European states. Provision is made in the Declaration to "undertake . . . to patrol either individually or collectively as may be agreed upon by common consent . . . the waters adjacent to their coasts" within the zone, and for consultation as to measures "which they may individually or collectively undertake" to secure the observance of the Declaration.

The Declaration of Panama was not in conformity with international law as understood at the time of its announcement. But international law is not static. In the past, belligerent rights have always dominated neutral rights in time of war. The depths of belligerent illegality reached in the present war prove that the rights of no neutral will receive consideration unless it has the power and will to enforce them. A single nation, even as powerful a one as Japan, would be ill-advised to make such a sweeping pronouncement. But the Declaration of Panama was made by twenty-one states (almost one-third of all those in the world) occupying contiguous territory far removed from the scene of conflict. It is by such measures, gradually accepted, that the scope and effectiveness of international law are advanced.

The Declaration of Panama is in the nature of a corollary to the Monroe Doctrine -- a sort of front line of defense to protect it. When President Monroe delivered his momentous speech in 1823, almost every state outside of this hemisphere ignored it. Metternich called it a piece of impertinence, and as late as the era of Bismarck many European statesmen referred to it in similar terms. Moreover, during the first fifty years of its existence it was repeatedly violated. Yet today it commands almost universal respect. Is it not possible that the Declaration of Panama, which is aimed solely at the protection of the Western Hemisphere and is directed against no nation's legitimate interests, may likewise gain strength with the passage of time? Admittedly, the Monroe Doctrine won acceptance from foreign nations only as the power of the United States increased. The degree to which the Declaration of Panama is accepted will likewise depend upon the power of this country to enforce it. We may need a two-ocean navy to do it, but that would be a small price to pay for our "peace and safety."

In spite of all this, the Declaration of Panama was received with considerable skepticism in this country; many critics regarded it as an unrealizable and possibly even dangerous program. As for the belligerents, they all rejected it. The British Admiralty declared that it was for the belligerents to decide "whether or not to accept restrictions which would limit their enjoyment of certain well established rights." Apparently it is not for the neutrals to decide whether or not to accept restrictions which limit their rights. One frequently hears the statement that it would probably be impossible to patrol so vast an area as that provided in the Declaration. That is certainly true. And indeed, both sides in the present war have violated it, and instead of imposing penalties, the American Republics have only issued warnings. But it is doubtful whether the conferees at Panama originally intended to apply penalties during this war. It is more likely that their intention was merely to issue warnings in order to keep the record straight until the close of the war, at which time the entire problem could be considered calmly and deliberately in the light of whatever experience had been gained.

Some of the Declaration's critics have pointed out that an attempt to implement it by force might lead to war. This also is probably true. But there is no need to implement the Declaration by force in order to secure its observance by the belligerents. The American neutrals need only refuse entrance into their ports by naval ships of a nation violating the Declaration. Such exclusion would be entirely within their rights, and when applied impartially ought not to arouse resentment. During the First World War, Norway, Sweden, Holland and Spain forbade belligerent submarines to enter their territorial waters except in case of distress. None of the belligerents in this war except Canada possesses territory on the Pacific coast of this hemisphere. Britain and France have colonies in the Caribbean area, access to which is of course their right. To prevent any of the belligerents from refueling and revictualing their naval vessels in western hemisphere ports might seriously cripple them. It is, however, difficult to see what redress they would have. None of them would be likely to declare war upon the twenty-one American Republics. If necessary, the prohibition might be extended to merchant vessels. That such a policy will be undertaken is highly unlikely, but it might be valuable as a deterrent in another kind of war.

A more immediately urgent problem than the enforcement of the 300-mile neutrality zone was recently presented the American Republics by the German occupation of Denmark and The Netherlands. Both of those countries possess colonies in the Western Hemisphere, and the question naturally arose as to what would become of them. The Monroe Doctrine states that we will not interfere with the existing colonies of any European Power. A change of sovereignty over these possessions would, however, be quite another matter, for the Doctrine characterizes any attempts by European Powers "to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety." The extension of Nazi totalitarianism would certainly come within the meaning of this declaration. Furthermore, a resolution was passed at the Panama Conference of September 1939 calling for immediate consultation among the American Republics whenever the question of such a change in sovereignty should arise. In the case of Greenland, Canada would also presumably be consulted.

Thus far there has been no question of transferring the sovereignty of either the Danish or Dutch possessions. Denmark is still nominally an independent country, though under German "protection." Shortly after the German invasion of Holland, Allied forces occupied the Dutch islands of Curaçao and Aruba in the Caribbean in order to prevent possible destruction of the oil tanks and refining plants located there. This action was taken without the previous consent of our State Department, but we can assume that assurances have been given that these forces will withdraw at the end of the war no matter who should be victorious. If the Allies are victors, we can take it for granted that the islands will revert to The Netherlands. If Germany is victorious and retains control of Denmark and The Netherlands, will she be allowed to inherit their colonial possessions in this hemisphere? Not unless the Monroe Doctrine has become a "scrap of paper."

The present war has admirably illustrated one significant difference between Europe and America. The Europe of 1939 consisted of some twenty-five sovereign national states, divided by race, language and tradition, and often warring with each other. The fact that Hitler is now in the process of imposing Nazi domination on most of them must not obscure the further fact that this domination will not last forever; for no matter what happens, Europe will always remain split up into many quite diverse cultural units. The Western Hemisphere, in the large, is made up of only two great civilizations, the Iberian (Spanish and Portuguese) and the Anglo-Saxon. These two civilizations differ from each other in many ways, but they are now united in one most important resolve, namely, to make this hemisphere a haven of peace and to arrange for its adequate defense. In this they have given a splendid illustration of one kind of Union Now. Europe might profit by their example.


Thus far we have not taken Canada into consideration. Yet this nation is one of the most important in the Western Hemisphere. What is its relation to the Monroe Doctrine, the Good Neighbor Policy and Pan Americanism? The answers to the first two are easy to give. Canada has been the most secure nation in the world, for she could rely upon both the British fleet and the Monroe Doctrine to protect her. She believes wholeheartedly in the Monroe Doctrine. She believes equally wholeheartedly in the Good Neighbor Policy and has for years been a real exemplar of the good neighbor. But what about her relation to Pan Americanism? When the Pan American Building in Washington was erected in 1910, Canada's coat of arms was built into it alongside those of the other American nations. But the Dominion has never been invited by the Pan American Union to become a member and has never asked or shown any desire to join. Indeed, even if she wanted to join she could not, because membership in that body is at present restricted to "American Republics." However, the Union would find little difficulty in changing its membership rules if it became desirable to admit Canada. In the last analysis, of course, it is for Canada herself to decide whether she will gain more or lose more by joining the Pan American Union.

In actual practice as distinct from legal forms, Canada is an independent and sovereign state. She is at the same time a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations and of the League of Nations. She demonstrated her loyalty to Britain and the Commonwealth by voluntarily declaring war on Germany. She nevertheless decides her own foreign policy, as was shown in 1922 when she refused to respond to Lloyd George's request for help in his imperialistic attack upon Turkey. After the League's failure to enforce drastic sanctions upon Italy, Canada notified Geneva that henceforth the Canadian Parliament would decide in each specific case whether the Dominion would participate in other such attempts. At present, only ten of the twenty-one American Republics still remain members of the League. The question therefore is: Will the débâcle of the League make Canada more likely to join the Pan American Union in the near future and thereby become a member of a third international group?

It is doubtful whether Great Britain would favor this. The first principle of British foreign policy today is to strengthen in every possible way the bonds that bind the members of the Commonwealth to the mother country and to one another. The second is to maintain peace and cordial relations with the United States. To what extent would Canada's joining the Pan American Union affect those principles? Great Britain might well look on it as a weakening of the British Commonwealth. Economically, Britain profits greatly by Canada's place in the Commonwealth because of the tariff preference she enjoys in the Canadian market. Also, Britain is about the only market for Canada's great annual wheat surplus. But there is much to be said on the other side. The major portion of the capital invested in Canada has come from the United States, and American control over Canadian industry is steadily growing.

Spiritually, allowance must be made for the tremendous attraction which the United States exercises over Canada. According to the last American census (1930), 1,278,000 of the inhabitants in this country were born in Canada. This represents a considerable proportion of all Canadian-born persons. Americans and Canadians are at bottom much more alike than Englishmen and Canadians. Canadians read American, not English, magazines, listen to American radio broadcasts, see American movies. Canadians and Americans cross their undefended frontier practically without hindrance. The first objective of Canada's foreign policy is to retain friendly relations with the United States. This was made clear in 1922 when Great Britain put an end to the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902 largely because of Canadian pressure. Both of the principal political parties in Canada believe that the Dominion should preserve its membership in the British Commonwealth; in recent years, however, the Liberals have shown a tendency to favor a stronger emphasis on Canada's North American connections. What influence the present war will have upon this division of opinion, only time can tell.

In the British Commonwealth of Nations, Great Britain is -- because of her large population, wealth and military strength -- the most influential member; but it does not compare in this respect to the position of the United States in the Western Hemisphere. Canada occupies a very influential place in the British Commonwealth of Nations. She would not have the same degree of importance as a participant in the Pan American Union. Moreover, such participation might endanger her first principle of foreign policy: she might by the force of circumstances be impelled to take a position on a contentious problem at variance with the United States. At present, Canada's relations with the members of the Pan American Union are on a happy basis. To the suggestion that she shift the focus of her loyalty from the Commonwealth to Pan America, may not Canada therefore with justice reply -- Cui bono?

But the law of life is change, and never more so than in the world of today. At the end of the present war, Canada must decide what is to be her attitude toward Pan Americanism. The other nations in this hemisphere stand firmly for a decent respect for the rights of neutrals in order that the Western Hemisphere may remain a haven for peace in any future conflict. None of these nations wishes to see Canada withdraw from the British Commonwealth. Yet will they in the future look kindly upon the Dominion if it brings armed conflict to this hemisphere every time Great Britain goes to war? Unless Hitler wins this war, Canada may be called upon to make her choice.

[i] Asia was included because of the Magdalena Bay Incident in 1912, when Japan was suspected of seeking naval privileges on the west coast of Mexico.

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  • STEPHEN DUGGAN, Director of the Institute of International Education since 1919; author of "The Two Americas: an Interpretation" and other works
  • More By Stephen Duggan