Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/286

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ell to inform Lord Granville, on the part of the English Government, "that any movement in the sense of supplementing the guarantee contained therein" (that is, in the treaty with Colombia) "would necessarily be regarded by this government as an uncalled-for intrusion into a field where the local and general interests of the United States of America must be considered before any other power, save those of the United States of Colombia alone"; any such movement "would be an extraordinary procedure, and would necessarily be viewed by this Government with the gravest concern"; and, moreover, "would partake of the nature of an alliance against the United States, and would be regarded by this Government as an indication of unfriendly feeling."

Now, if a guarantee in this case is the right thing, and if a valid guarantee of neutrality is really wanted, commonsense fails to see how it can be so well secured as by treaty compact on the part of all the powers from whom there may ever be danger of its violation. If desired at all, the stronger it can be made the better; and, if this strengthening is objected to, what else can it mean than that the objector has a sinister object, and does not want a bona fide guarantee? The plain import of Mr. Blaine's letter is this: There shall be no comprehensive and efficacious international guarantee of the neutrality of the interoceanic canal; the United States will give such a guarantee as it thinks "proper"; it will take exclusive possession of the canal, regardless of the nation within whose territory it is, and it will itself violate its neutrality whenever its own interests may dictate such a course.

And what are those interests? They are not the bonds of commerce. The nation has gone far to put itself outside the pale of civilization by the destruction of its outside commercial relations. It has "protected" what commerce it had to death, and insanely persists in the policy by which it can never be restored to life. As a consequence, it had no need of a Panama Canal, and has no concern about it now, except to get exclusive possession of it for use in the contingency of war.

The New York "Evening Post" undoubtedly gives us the point of Mr. Blaine's letter when it remarks, "We can not say too plainly that we mean to protect the canal ourselves exclusively." But what, then, can be Mr. Blaine's meaning, when he says to Mr. Lowell:

You will be careful, in any conversations you may have, not to represent the position of the United States as the development of a new policy, or the inauguration of any advanced aggressive steps to be taken by this Government; it is nothing more than the pronounced adherence of the United States to principles long since enunciated by the highest authority of the Government, and now, in the judgment of the President, firmly inwoven as an integral and important part of our national policy.

If not diplomatic, this is certainly strange. In the view of common-sense, which is of course our only guide in interpreting the case, what Mr. Blaine says is not true; it is squarely contradicted by all the facts; and, as Lord Granville is presumably not a fool, it would be interesting to know what kind of a time Mr. Lowell had in carrying out his very curious instructions. The policy now advocated is emphatically a "new policy"—a policy that has taken shape only when there began to be some danger that the canal would be made; and it is not merely a change in our course of action, but it is an entire inversion of the historic policy of the Government. This nation has again and again explicitly proclaimed, and is now under solemn covenant, that it will hot do exactly the thing it is now proposed to do. If the "new policy" is not in the teeth of an existing treaty, why are its advocates so frantic to have that treaty "torn up"—abrogated and got out of the way?

If it be said that our policy is that