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Scruggs, the former American Consul in Caracas, who had been recalled by the Cleveland administration inwas recruited by the Venezuelan Government to operate on its behalf in Washington D. This booklet attacked what he termed as British aggression and claimed that the Venezuelans were anxious to arbitrate over the border dispute. Scruggs also claimed that British policies in the disputed territory violated the Monroe Doctrine of Eventually, he managed to persuade Leonidas Livingston, a Congressman from Georgia, to introduce the February resolution passed in the United States Congress urging a settlement by arbitration.
Also, by the beginning ofPresident Cleveland has already realised that his administration was losing popularity especially among western and southern farmers and workers everywhere in the country.
To divert attention from the domestic problems that faced the country, both Cleveland and Olney decided to adopt a vigorous foreign policy.
They, therefore, decided, inter alia, to openly support the Venezuelan side in the boundary dispute with Great Britain. This Congress resolution and the subsequent statement by Richard Olney in July of the same year see belowgave the Venezuelans what they desired since - full United States intervention in favour of Venezuela.
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In this statement, Olney protested against the enlargement of British Guiana at the expense and defiance of Venezuela, thus assuming, without any specific proof, that the British had already violated the Monroe doctrine of which had declared that "the American continents by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers".
Olney stated, with no justification, that the Monroe doctrine had the full status of international law. He next proceeded to define the position of the United States of America on the border dispute: It is not because of the pure friendship or good-will felt for it. It is not simply by reason of its high character as a civilized state, nor because wisdom and justice and equity are the invariable characteristics of the dealings of the United States.
It is because, in addition to other grounds, its infinite resources, combined with its isolated position, render it master of the situation and practically invulnerable as against any or all other powers.
Unless the British Government should consent to submit the entire matter to arbitration the transaction will be regarded as injurious to the interests of the people of the United States as well as oppressive in itself. The honour and welfare of this country are closely identified with the Monroe doctrine. He added that the assumption that Great Britain was occupying Venezuelan soil was lacking in any support except the unsubstantiated claims of Venezuela.
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Further, even Olney's theory that the Monroe doctrine applied to disagreements over boundary lines was refuted by American authorities, while the view that the doctrine was law had no basis in either history or law.
In July last, therefore, a dispatch was addressed to our ambassador at London for communication to the British Government in which the attitude of the United States was fully and distinctly set forth. The general conclusions therein reached and formulated are in substance that the traditional and established policy of this Government is firmly opposed to a forcible increase by any European power of its territorial possessions on this continent; that this policy is as well rounded in principle as it is strongly supported by numerous precedents; that as a consequence the United States is bound to protest against the enlargement of the area of British Guiana in derogation of the rights and against the will of Venezuela; that considering the disparity in strength of Great Britain and Venezuela the territorial dispute between them can be reasonably settled only by friendly and impartial arbitration, and that the resort to such arbitration should include the whole controversy, and is not satisfied if one of the powers concerned is permitted to draw an arbitrary line through the territory in debate and to declare that it will submit to arbitration only the portion lying on one side of it.
In view of these conclusions, the dispatch in question called upon the British Government for a definite answer to the question whether it would or would not submit the territorial controversy between itself and Venezuela in its entirety to impartial arbitration.
The answer of the British Government has not yet been received, but is expected shortly, when further communication on the subject will probably be made to the Congress. It countered Olney's contentions, and denied that the Monroe doctrine was applicable to the border dispute. Referring to the demand for arbitration, Salisbury declared that the only parties competent to decide whether or not it was "a suitable method of procedure.
The claim of a third nation, which is unaffected by the controversy, to impose this particular procedure on either of the two others, cannot be reasonably justified and has no foundation on the law of nations.
The British Government, he concluded, "cannot consent to entertain, nor to submit to the arbitration of any power or of foreign jurists, however eminent, claims based on the extravagant pretensions of Spanish officials in the last century, and involving the transfer of large numbers of British subjects, who for many years enjoyed the settled rule of a British Colony, to a nation of a different race and language.
In my special message addressed to the Congress on the 3rd instant I called attention to the pending boundary controversy between Great Britain and the Republic of Venezuela and recited the substance of a representation made by the Government to Her Britannic Majesty's Government suggesting reasons why such dispute should be submitted to arbitration for settlement and inquiring whether it would be so submitted.
The answer of the British Government, which was then awaited, has since been received, and, together with the despatch to which it is a reply, is hereto appended.Scared of getting hurt again? Use this mindset...
Such reply is embodied in two communications addressed by the British Prime Minister to Sir Julian Pauncefote, the British ambassador at this capital. It will be seen that one of these communications is devoted exclusively to observations upon the Monroe doctrine, and claims that in the present instance a new and strange extension and development of this doctrine is insisted on by the United States; that the reasons justifying an appeal to the doctrine enunciated by President Monroe are generally inapplicable "to the state of things in which we live at the present day," and especially inapplicable to the controversy involving the boundary line between Great Britain and Venezuela.
Without attempting extended argument in reply to these positions, it may not be amiss to suggest that the doctrine upon which we stand is strong and sound, because its enforcement is important to our peace and safety as a nation and is essential to the integrity of our free institutions and the tranquil maintenance of our distinctive form of government. It was intended to apply to every stage of our national life and can not become obsolete while our republic endures. If the balance of power is justly a cause for jealous anxiety among the Governments of the Old World, and a subject for our absolute noninterference, none the less is an observance of the Monroe doctrine of vital concern to our people and their Government.
Assuming, therefore, that we may properly insist upon this doctrine without regard to "the state of things in which we live" or any changed conditions here or elsewhere, it is not apparent why its application may not be invoked in the present controversy. If a European power by an extension of its boundaries takes possession of the territory of one of our neighboring Republics against its will and in derogation of its rights, it is difficult to see why to that extent such European power does not thereby attempt to extend its system of government to that portion of this continent which is thus taken.
This is the precise action which President Monroe declared to be "dangerous to our peace and safety," and it can make no difference whether the European system is extended by an advance of frontier or otherwise.
It also suggested in the British reply that we should not seek to apply the Monroe doctrine to the pending dispute because it does not embody any principle of international law which "is founded on the general consent of nations," and that "no statesman, however eminent, and no nation, however powerful, are competent to insert into the code of international law a novel principle which was never recognized before and which has not since been accepted by the government of any other country.
It may not have been admitted in so many words to the code of international law, but since in international councils every nation is entitled to the rights belonging to it, if the enforcement of the Monroe doctrine is something we may justly claim, it has its place in the code of international law as certainly and as securely as if it were specifically mentioned; and when the United States is a suitor before the high tribunal that administers international law, the question to be determined is whether or not we present claims which the justice of that code of law can find to be right and valid.
The Monroe doctrine finds its recognition in those principles of international law which are based upon the theory that every nation shall have its rights protected and its just claims enforced. Of course this Government is entirely confident that under the section of this doctrine we have clear rights and undoubted claims. Nor is this ignored in the British reply. The Prime Minister, while not admitting that the Monroe doctrine is applicable to present conditions, states: It will be seen from the correspondence herewith submitted that this proposition has been declined by the British Government upon grounds which in the circumstances seem to me to be far from satisfactory.
It is deeply disappointing that such an appeal, actuated by the most friendly feelings toward both nations directly concerned, addressed to the sense of justice and to the magnanimity of one of the great powers of the world, and touching its relations to one comparatively weak and small, should have produced no better results.
The course to be pursued by this Government in view of the present condition does not appear to admit of serious doubt. Having labored faithfully for many years to induce Great Britain to submit this dispute to impartial arbitration, and having been now finally apprised of her refusal to do so, nothing remains but to accept the situation, to recognize its plain requirements, and deal with it accordingly. Great Britain's present proposition has never thus far been regarded as admissible by Venezuela, though any adjustment to the boundary which that country may deem for her advantage and may enter into of her own free will can not of course be objected to by the United States.
Assuming, however, that the attitude of Venezuela will remain unchanged, the dispute has reached such a stage as to make it now incumbent upon the United States to take measures to determine with sufficient certainty for its justification what is the true divisional line between the Republic of Venezuela and British Guiana.
The inquiry to that end should of course be conducted carefully and judicially, and due weight should be given to all available evidence, records, and facts in support of the claims of both parties. In order that such an examination should be prosecuted in a thorough and satisfactory manner, I suggest that the Congress make an adequate appropriation for the expense of a commission, to be appointed by the Executive, who shall make the necessary investigation and report on the matter with the least possible delay.
When such report is made and accepted it will, in my opinion, be the duty of the United States to resist by every means in its power, as a wilful aggression upon its rights and interests, the appropriation by Great Britain of any lands or the exercise of governmental jurisdiction over any territory which after investigation we have determined of right belongs to Venezuela. In making these recommendations I am fully alive to the responsibility incurred and keenly realize all the consequences that may follow.
I am, nevertheless, firm in my conviction that while it is a grievous thing to contemplate the two great English-speaking peoples of the world as being otherwise than friendly competitors in the onward march of civilization and strenuous and worthy rivals in all the arts of peace, there is no calamity which a great nation can invite which equals that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice and the consequent loss of national self-respect and honor, beneath which are shielded and defended a people's safety and greatness.
Actually, almost immediately after his statement to the United States Congress, American military forces were put on combat alert in case war should break out with Great Britain. The effect of Cleveland's bellicose statement reverberated all over the United States. In some quarters there were expressions of enthusiasm for war on the British, while at the same time imperialist sentiments were expressed. General public opinion was thus manipulated to turn in support of Cleveland, and on the 18 DecemberCongress voteddollars for the United States Commission on Boundary Between Venezuela and British Guiana which was to be formally established on the 1 January President Cleveland, undoubtedly, scored political mileage with his special message to Congress.
The New York Times on the 18 December stated: However, the article revealed that the United States was "in no condition to carry on a conflict with a naval power so opulent in strategic equipment and so determined and intelligent in modern warfare as England must be.
One of the leaders of the Republican Party, Theodore Roosevelt, who had just left the US Civil Service Commission to become New York City's police commissioner, wrote to his friend Massachusetts Republican legislator, Henry Cabot Lodge, then in his first term in the Senate, that he did not care whether America's coastal cities were bombarded or not, since the United States would have an opportunity of seizing Canada. Roosevelt added that he hoped the fight would come soon since he was convinced that the United States needed a war.
Indeed, in the United States, the expectancy of hostilities against Great Britain was so great that the Irish National Alliance, a strong anti-British organization representing Americans of Irish ancestry, revealed that it would supply one hundred thousand volunteers for the war.
But there were also strong expressions of opposition to Cleveland's statement. Scores of newspapers printed scathing criticisms of the President's policy over the Venezuela-British Guiana border dispute saying that it was extreme and provocative.
Even in Government circles there came opposition. Many newspapers, traditionally anti-British and pro-expansion, were stunned by the possibility of an actual war with Great Britain. Joseph Pulitzer's New York World denounced Cleveland's statement as a terrible blunder and called for a peaceful end to the conflict.
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The Springfield Republican wrote that while it supported a stiff attitude towards the British, it could never agree to the President's position in asserting in advance that the findings of the Commission must be given military support by the United States. And the Nation expressed the view that Cleveland had received "the most unanimous and crushing rebuke that the pulpit of this country ever addressed to a President. Nevins, in his book, quoted part of Moore's letter that Wilson later turned over to Cleveland: The whole system of arbitration presupposes that nations will be reasonable in their claims.
The claim of Venezuela to all territory west of the Essequibo is not a scrupulous claim. The talk of Dutch usurpations is but an admission of Dutch title.
We have arbitrated boundary disputes and so has Great Britain, but never, so far as I am informed, where a line has not previously been agreed upon by direct negotiation.
Governments are not in the habit of resigning their functions so completely in the hands of arbitrators as to say, "We have no boundary; make some for us!
Yet it is fact that Great Britain has again and again offered to yield that point, if Venezuela would only settle. Sanderson, Under Secretary of State, acting for Lord Salisbury, offered to negotiate directly for a frontier of mutual convenience, following as far as possible all natural boundaries and to relinquish freely all territory adjacent to the Orinoco.
That condition was that the United States should declare a protectorate over them and take responsibility for their wrongdoings and liabilities, "in fact, assume toward them in deed as well as in word the part or a wet nurse.
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