An appeal by the President of the United States to the citizens of the Republic, requesting their assistance in maintaining a state of neutrality during the present European war; presented in the Senate, August 19, 1914, and ordered to be printed
My Fellow Countrymen: I suppose that every thoughtful man in America has asked himself, during these last troubled weeks, what influence the European war may exert upon the United States, and I take the liberty of addressing a few words to you in order to point out that it is entirely within our own choice what its effects upon us will be and to urge very earnestly upon you the sort of speech and conduct which will best safeguard the nation against distress and disaster.
The effect of the war upon the United States will depend upon what American citizens say and do. Every man who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality, which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned. The spirit of the nation in this critical matter will be determined largely by what individuals and society and those gathered in public meetings do and say, upon what newspapers and magazines contain, upon what ministers utter in their pulpits, and men proclaim as their opinions on the street.
The people of the United States are drawn from many nations, and chiefly from the nations now at war. It is natural and inevitable that there should be the utmost variety of sympathy and desire among them with regard to the issues and circumstances of the conflict. Some will wish one nation, others another, to succeed in the momentous struggle. It will be easy to excite passion and difficult to allay it. Those responsible for exciting it will assume a heavy responsibility, [Page 552] responsibility for no less a thing than that the people of the United States, whose love of their country and whose loyalty to its Government should unite them as Americans all, bound in honor and affection to think first of her and her interests, may be divided in camps of hostile opinion, hot against each other, involved in the war itself in impulse and opinion if not in action.
Such divisions among us would be fatal to our peace of mind and might seriously stand in the way of the proper performance of our duty as the one great nation at peace, the one people holding itself ready to play a part of impartial mediation and speak the counsels of peace and accommodation, not as a partisan, but as a friend.
I venture, therefore, my fellow countrymen, to speak a solemn word of warning to you against that deepest, most subtle, most essential breach of neutrality which may spring out of partisanship, out of passionately taking sides. The United States must be neutral in fact as well as in name during these days that are to try men’s souls. We must be impartial in thought as well as in action, must put a curb upon our sentiments as well as upon every transaction that might be construed as a preference of one party to the struggle before another.
My thought is of America. I am speaking, I feel sure, the earnest wish and purpose of every thoughtful American that this great country of ours, which is, of course, the first in our thoughts and in our hearts, should show herself in this time of peculiar trial a nation fit beyond others to exhibit the fine poise of undisturbed judgment, the dignity of self-control, the efficiency of dispassionate action; a nation that neither sits in judgment upon others nor is disturbed in her own counsels and which keeps herself fit and free to do what is honest and disinterested and truly serviceable for the peace of the world.
Shall we not resolve to put upon ourselves the restraints which will bring to our people the happiness and the great and lasting influence for peace we covet for them?
Proclamation of November 13, 1914: Rules and regulations governing the use of the Panama Canal and neutrality in the Canal Zone
By The President Of The United States Of America
Whereas the United States is neutral in the present war and whereas the United States exercises sovereignty in the land and waters of the Canal Zone and is authorized by its treaty with Panama of February twenty-six, nineteen hundred and four, to maintain neutrality in the cities of Panama and Colon, and the harbors adjacent to the said cities:
Now, therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson , President of the United States of America, do hereby declare and proclaim the following [Page 553] Rules and Regulations governing the Use of the Panama Canal by Vessels of Belligerents and the Maintenance of Neutrality by the United States in the Canal Zone, which are in addition to the general “Rules and Regulations for the Operation and Navigation of the Panama Canal and Approaches Thereto, including all Waters under its jurisdiction” put into force by Executive Order of July 9, 1914, and I do bring to the attention of all concerned the Protocol of an Agreement between the United States and the Republic of Panama, signed at Washington, October 10, 1914, which protocol is hereunto annexed.
Rule 1. A vessel of war, for the purposes of these rules, is defined as follows: a. public armed vessel, under the command of an officer duly commissioned by the government, whose name appears on the list of officers of the military fleet, and the crew of which are under regular naval discipline, which vessel is qualified by its armament and the character of its personnel to take offensive action against the public or private ships of the enemy.
Rule 2. In order to maintain both the neutrality of the Canal and that of the United States owning and operating it as a government enterprise, the same treatment, except as hereinafter noted, as that given to vessels of war of the belligerents shall be given to every vessel, belligerent or neutral, whether armed or not, that does not fall under the definition of Rule 1, which vessel is employed by a belligerent power as a transport or fleet auxiliary or in any other way for the direct purpose of prosecuting or aiding hostilities, whether by land or sea; but such treatment shall not be given to a vessel fitted up and used exclusively as a hospital ship.
Rule 3. A vessel of war of a belligerent, or a vessel falling under Rule 2 which is commanded by an officer of the military fleet, shall only be permitted to pass through the Canal after her commanding officer has given written assurance to the authorities of the Panama Canal that the rules and regulations will be faithfully observed.
The authorities of the Panama Canal shall take such steps as may be requisite to insure the observance of the rules and regulations by vessels falling under Rule 2 which are not commanded by an officer of the military fleet.
Rule 4. Vessels of war of a belligerent and vessels falling under Rule 2 shall not revictual nor take any stores in the Canal except so far as may be strictly necessary; and the transit of such vessels through the Canal shall be effected with the least possible delay in accordance with the Canal regulations in force, and with only such intermission as may result from the necessities of the service.
Prizes shall be in all respects subject to the same rules as vessels of war of the belligerents.
Rule 5. No vessel of war of a belligerent or vessel falling under Rule 2 shall receive fuel or lubricants while within the territorial waters of the Canal Zone, except on the written authorization of the Canal authorities, specifying the amount of fuel and lubricants which may be received.
Rule 6. Before issuing any authorization for the receipt of fuel and lubricants by any vessel of war of a belligerent or vessel falling [Page 554] under Rule 2, the Canal authorities shall obtain a written declaration, duly signed by the officer commanding such vessel, stating the amount of fuel and lubricants already on board.
Rule 7. Supplies will not be furnished by the Government of the United States, either directly, or indirectly through the intervention of a corporation, or otherwise, to vessels of war of a belligerent or vessels falling under Rule 2. If furnished by private contractors, or if taken from vessels under the control of a belligerent, fuel and lubricants may be taken on board vessels of war of a belligerent or vessels falling under Rule 2 only upon permission of the Canal authorities, and then only in such amounts as will enable them, with the fuel and lubricants already on board, to reach the nearest accessible port, not an enemy port, at which they can obtain supplies necessary for the continuation of the voyage. The amounts of fuel and lubricants so received will be deducted from the amounts otherwise allowed in the ports under the jurisdiction of the United States during any time within a period of three months thereafter. Provisions furnished by contractors may be supplied only upon permission of the Canal authorities, and then only in amount sufficient to bring up their supplies to the peace standard.
Rule 8. No belligerent shall embark or disembark troops, munitions of war, or warlike materials in the Canal, except in case of necessity due to accidental hindrance of the transit. In such cases the Canal authorities shall be the judge of the necessity, and the transit shall be resumed with all possible dispatch.
Rule 9. Vessels of war of a belligerent and vessels falling under Rule 2 shall not remain in the territorial waters of the Canal Zone under the jurisdiction of the United States longer than twenty-four hours at any one time, except in case of distress; and in such case, shall depart as soon as possible; but a vessel of war of one belligerent shall not depart within twenty-four hours from the departure of a vessel of an opposing belligerent. The twenty-four hours of this rule shall be construed to be twenty-four hours in addition to the time necessarily occupied in passing through the Canal.
Rule 10. In the exercise of the exclusive right of the United States to provide for the regulation and management of the Canal, and in order to ensure that the Canal shall be kept free and open on terms of entire equality to vessels of commerce and of war, there shall not be, except by special arrangement, at any one time a greater number of vessels of war of any one nation, including those of the allies of a belligerent nation, than three in either terminal port and its adjacent terminal waters, or than three in transit through the Canal; nor shall the total number of such vessels, at any one time, exceed six in all the territorial waters of the Canal Zone under the jurisdiction of the United States.
Rule 11. When vessels of war or vessels falling under Rule 2, belonging to or employed by opposing belligerents, are present simultaneously in the waters of the Canal Zone, a period of not less than twenty-four hours must elapse between the departure of the vessel belonging to or employed by one belligerent and the departure of the vessel belonging to or employed by his adversary.[Page 555]
The order of departure is determined by order of arrival, unless the vessel which arrived first is so circumstanced that an extension of her stay is permissible. A vessel of war of a belligerent or vessel falling under Rule 2 may not leave the waters of the Canal Zone until twenty-four hours after the departure of a private vessel flying the flag of the adversary.
Rule 12. A vessel of war of a belligerent or vessel falling under Rule 2 which has left the waters of the Canal Zone, whether she has passed through the Canal or not, shall, if she returns within a period of one week after her departure, lose all privileges of precedence in departure from the Canal Zone, or in passage through the Canal, over vessels flying the flag of her adversaries which may enter those waters after her return and before the expiration of one week subsequent to her previous departure. In any such case the time of departure of a vessel which has so returned shall be fixed by the Canal authorities, who may in so doing consider the wishes of the commander of a public vessel or of the master of a private vessel of the adversary of the returned vessel, which adversary’s vessel is then present within the waters of the Canal Zone.
Rule 13. The repair facilities and docks belonging to the United States and administered by the Canal authorities shall not be used by a vessel of war of a belligerent, or vessels falling under Rule 2, except when necessary in case of actual distress, and then only upon the order of the Canal authorities and only to the degree necessary to render the vessel seaworthy. Any work authorized shall be done with the least possible delay.
Rule 14. The radio installation of any vessel of a belligerent power, public or private, or of any vessel falling under Rule 2, shall be used only in connection with Canal business to the exclusion of all other business while within the waters of the Canal Zone, including the waters of Colon and Panama Harbors.
Rule 15. Aircraft of a belligerent power, public or private, are forbidden to descend or arise within the jurisdiction of the United States at the Canal Zone or to pass through the air spaces above the lands and waters within said jurisdiction,
Rule 16. For the purpose of these rules the Canal Zone includes the cities of Panama and Colon and the harbors adjacent to the said cities.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington this thirteenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and [Seal] fourteen and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and thirty-ninth.
By the President:
W. J. Bryan
Secretary of State