The Chargé in Mexico ( Summerlin ) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 2010

Sir: With reference to the Embassy’s telegram No. 2082, May 9, 3 P.M.,28 and for the records of the Department, I have the honor [Page 546] to send enclosed copies of the telegram to the New York World by its Mexico City correspondent, Mr. Robert H. Murray, reporting an interview with President Carranza in explanation of his opposition to the Monroe Doctrine.

I have [etc.]

George T. Summerlin

Mr. Robert H. Murray to the New York “World”

President Carranza this afternoon received me in national palace and explained exclusive interview why his Government is opposed to Monroe Doctrine in principle and practice. In his statements regarding Mexico’s position with respect to Doctrine Carranza was most unequivocal and explicit “Recent declaration of Mexican Foreign Office” said he “to effect that in reply to interrogations from various friendly governments as to Mexico’s attitude toward Monroe Doctrine Mexico never has recognized or never will recognize this or any other doctrine which attacks sovereignty or independence Mexico exactly defined our position. It may be taken as official proclamation of fixed and inalterable policy this government” “Why” I asked “Principally for reason that Monroe doctrine is an arbitrary measure which seeks to impose and does impose upon independent nations a protectorate which they do not ask for and which they do not require” replied President. [“]One of principal defects of Doctrine aside from its manifest lack of utility as world present constituted is that it is exceptional in its operation and is not sought to be applied to all countries alike. It is not reciprocal in its benefits and a doctrine which does not provide reciprocal advantages is fundamentally unsound. It is a one-sided affair if it is applied arbitrarily to the Spanish-American Republics it might with equal excuse or lack of it be applied indiscriminately all over the world” “In what manner does doctrine in your estimation constitute disadvantage to Spanish-American countries” “Because it virtually constitutes an unsought and undesired protectorate whenever United States chooses to exercise it without consent of those who are protected” President’s response “it is species of tutelage which should not exist, and for existence of which no excuse can be offered. President Wilson expressed himself in this sense in his address to Mexican editors last year[”]29 “Has Monroe Doctrine in any manner worked harm to Mexico or any other Spanish-American Republic” I suggested. “It is not necessary to cite cases” answered President “although probably they might be pointed out But aside from this principle is not tenable. Doctrine is an anachronism [Page 547] and do not doubt that so regarded by most men who are competent to judge it. One should not consider it from standpoint of whether or not it is beneficent in its operation but whether it is just the right thing to sustain and enforce. Here is situation for example: man comes to you and says he wants to do you a favor. You do not desire him to. You have no need of accepting favors from his hands yet quite against your will he imposes his favor upon you.” Carranza [sic] “assuming that Monroe Doctrine might be abrogated what could be substituted for it” was asked [sic] “Probably no specific substitute is required” was President’s rejoinder “If we set up principle of equality of all nations and adhere to it wisely justly there would be no place for Monroe Doctrine even assuming for sake argument that there is present necessity for it which I deny. This principle of national equality would serve with possibly universal acknowledgement of right of nations not concerned in threatened aggressions which Monroe Doctrine is supposed to inhibit to mediate and employ its good offices to prevent such aggressions. This principle of equality among nations should comprehend mediation by one or more nations to prevent armed conflicts or aggressions of nature which usually lead to wars. This would not be a tutelage or protectorate. As matter of fact mediation of this nature is generally practiced or at least offered when conflicts are threatened. There is no Monroe Doctrine for strong nations and there would be no necessity for such doctrine for benefit of weak ones if principle of equality is adhered to. Strong nations do not need a Monroe Doctrine or anything of its nature because among strong nations their might as a rule has been regarded as right.” “Isn’t this mediation of which you speak embodied in covenant of league of nations “was asked. “I believe so but it applies only to those nations which are members of league” “But not to Mexico question” “Mexico is not member of league” commented President who added to next query that he asked to be excused from discussing league nations Mexican exclusion from it or her interest as nation in league, “Some of the Mexican newspapers have taken position that United States in setting up Monroe Doctrine acted as much from desire to protect herself and her own interests as to shield Southern Republics from European aggression” I remarked. “How has Doctrine ever benefited United States “queried President “Has Doctrine ever been challenged by any European Power? When Doctrine was first laid down would United States which then was far from being as powerful as it later became been able to oppose successfully any European Power which might have disputed it?” “But did not the Doctrine operate to the benefit of Mexico during French intervention?” I asked. “With or without Monroe Doctrine Mexico eventually would have driven French away” answered President with emphasis. President de [Page 548] clined to comment upon report from Buenos Aires that Mexican Legation there been instructed by Foreign Office here to present to Argentina and other South American countries project organization league American nations in opposition to league nations.

Robert H. Murray