The Secretary of State to President Wilson
My Dear Mr. President: I enclose a memorandum covering the subject of the Monroe Doctrine, its application, and the possible extension of the principle in a way to constitute a policy which may be termed a “Carribean Policy”, since it is limited in application to the territory in and about the Carribean Sea.
Briefly, the memorandum is this:
The Monroe Doctrine is based on the theory that any extension by a European power of political control, beyond that which exists over any territory in this hemisphere, is a menace to the national safety of the United States. The means of extending political control, thus far recognized, has been by occupation of unattached territory, by conquest and by cession.
Recently the financing of revolutions and corruption of governments of the smaller republics by European capitalists have frequently thrown the control of these governments into the hands of a European power.
To avoid this danger of European political control by this means which may be as great a menace to the national safety of this country [Page 467]as occupation or cession, the only method seems to be to establish a stable and honest government and to prevent the revenues of the republic from becoming the prize of revolution and of the foreigners who finance it.
Stability and honesty of government depend on sufficient force to resist revolutions and on sufficient control over the revenues and over the development of the resources to prevent official graft and dishonest grants of privileges.
The possession of the Panama Canal and its defense have in a measure given to the territories in and about the Carribean Sea a new importance from the standpoint of our national safety. It is vital to the interests of this country that European political domination should in no way be extended over these regions. As it happens within this area lie the small republics of America which have been and to an extent still are the prey of revolutionists, of corrupt governments, and of predatory foreigners.
Because of this state of affairs our national safety, in my opinion, requires that the United States should intervene and aid in the establishment and maintenance of a stable and honest government, if no other way seems possible to attain that end.
I make no argument on the ground of the benefit which would result to the peoples of these republics by the adoption of this policy. That they would be the chief beneficiaries in that their public and private rights would be respected, and their prosperity and intellectual development insured, is manifest. Nevertheless the argument based on humanitarian purpose does not appeal to me, even though it might be justly urged, because too many international crimes have been committed in the name of Humanity.
It seems to me that the ground of national safety, the conservation of national interests, is the one which should be advanced in support of this policy. It is reasonable, practical, and in full accord with the principle of the Monroe Doctrine.
In considering this policy it should be borne in mind what has been done already in Cuba, Panama, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and what may have to be done in the small neighboring republics. The Danish West Indies and the colonial possessions of other European nations in the Carribean should not be forgotten in considering this policy as through a change of their sovereignty they might become a serious menace to the interests of the United States.