THE Freedom of the Seas, like the Monroe Doctrine, is understood to be a phrase representing an aspect of the policy of the United States. Every nation has the right to define its own policy, and a British Secretary of State once provoked indignation by sending a dispatch to Washington in which it was argued that the Monroe Doctrine was not what the President of the United States described it to be. It is for the United States alone to define the Monroe Doctrine as being part of her own policy. But as other nations also have the right to define their own policies, it is for them to say how far the declared policy of another nation is compatible or conflicts with their own policies.
As far as the Monroe Doctrine is concerned, no friction except on the one occasion referred to above has arisen or is likely to arise between America and Britain. I am not aware that the United States has ever given any definition or declaration of the Monroe Doctrine which conflicts with British policy or aims. It is therefore unnecessary that there should be any discussion of the subject or exchange of views upon it. The United States has declared her policy to the world at large, and there is no likelihood of British policy running counter to it.
It is different with the Freedom of the Seas. The policy thus named applies not to one geographical area, as the Monroe Doctrine does, but to the whole world. Differences of opinion about right of capture at sea still exist. Even in peace time the sense of this difference causes a feeling of uneasiness between Britain and the United States; in the event of future war this might be not only serious but dangerous. It is therefore very desirable that the two nations should discuss the subject freely, when this can be done calmly and at leisure.
It is necessary, however, that we should know what is