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Playing Politics With the Panama Canal Tolls Question Injects Whole Problem Into Partisan Realm AFTKR many disconnected circuitous attempts, the wireat Panama Canal lotll problem will be m c taste solved by the Senate of the United States OOCC more is laid advisedly. because thcQrcticatl) . more than a ccnturx ago, and actually, during the last two decades, the Ittbjcct has been considered and debated from every angle. From the time that Secretary Clay dratted the first inerican note about the projected canal in 1825 to the present day. when notable Vmer'cam arc divided in opinion, the exact status, of the United Statei in relation to Its own authority over first the pro jected and thence the coeapl ted canal, ha been argued and disenssed The net resoH Ml that beyond inject ing the entire pr blew into the realm ot partisan poli tics, sometimes concealed by IOHHM international law intcrpri rations, the true own'- of tin Panama Canal the American people dt not know very much about it except that they have paid its bill through the United States Treasury. Because the platform of the Republican party has given to the administration l mandate, so to -peak, to restore the free tolls privilege to American coastwise vessels using the Panama Canal, there il I growing feeling that whatever the action of the Senate on Sen ator Borah s bill it will be in response to political urge rather than to sound inter ational thought. Of course, it is unthinkable even though such thing, have hap pened dial the Senate would at this critical pOSt-WST juncture lend Itself to political maneuvering, but it I that all activity in hehali Of the bill is looked on in variants of political scheming. Not onl i- the problem consider d a standing major dif e between the Republican and Democratic par it it has served, and still seems to serve, the purpose! ol the so-called agrarian bloc, the transcon tinental railroad-, and similar geographical or in dustrial groups. Afraid of Offending Britain HOVERING in the background. I ke a Damoclean (word over Uncle Sam's head, there has been the : itanf shadow of what is termed "friction with Brit ain." En certain quarters it has become the fashion to regai I ;,t" oner and independent action by the United Statei over the Panama Canal properties as somewhat I :sus belli, with England as the offended party. Discussing the problem in elementary Knglish. there are two groups; those who believe that the I nited States hai absolute and sole authority over the canal and it- regulation, an authority traceable not onto to ownership but the perpetual assumption of its fixed forge of maintenance, and those who believe that certain treaties, especially with England, deny this to all intents and purposes, the con struction of the canal must stand as an altruistic gift to the world The latter .roup, whuh includes such Republicans as Klihu Root .u:d (ieorge W. Wickersham. both prominent m the Etooscvelt-Tafl administrations, fall hack for their attitude on the Clayton Bulwer treaty and the Hay Pauncefotr treaty of more recent times, as well as a mass of official correspondence throughout 100 years. Thev and their co-believers assume that any action by the United S' which would be contrary to the terms of existing t sties and agreements would involve this country in technical diplomatic difficulties. The op posing group, wever, points to raglM and indetermi nate language in all treaties and correspondence, and interprets a contrary view. Inasmuch as great lawyers, in the present cabinet and in past cabinets, in this Congresi and in past Con gresses, have interpreted all available references in roughly two specific sides, without regard to politics, although the parties have assumed a definite stand, the approaching Senate decision 'makes it pertinent to ex am it e certain new phases which, surprising as it may seem, practically should eliminate all treaties from the dtscttsstssa, Every treaty and agreement based on a projected or actual Panama Canal is contrary t the word and spirit of tl e Monroe Doctrine. The United States cannot, personal wishci to the contrary notwithstanding, ob ser' the Monroe Doctrine and the Panama Canal treaties at the same time. The Panama Canal treaties are inconsistent with the Monroe Doctrine. Can't Conflict With Monroe Doctrine THE Monroe Doctrine dates from a declaration of December 2 1823, by Prescient Monroe This dec laration antecedes by one year the first formal Amer Sfl proposal fof the construction of a canal through Nicaragua President Wilson in 1(M5 r dedicated the principles f M all merican policy, and s, hv idicable are those principles that four years later they were sufficient to clash with and defeat the League of Nations. From tins it may be deduced that the Monroe Doctrine is the corner stone of Amrcican for eign policies, and that all subsequent treaties and agree ments must not conflict with the Monroe Doctrine and that cannot be said to be the case with, barring a certain technicality, the Clayton-Bulwer and Hay Pauncefote treaties. The Monroe Doctrine denied the right of foreign powers to interfere with self -determination by the vari s Latin-American republics. As fast as each Eu ropean colony in southern or central America freed itself of its yoke the rejected nation would not be per mitted, by force or other means, to restore its in duct e This is simple and understood by all Hut the Monroe Doctrine, however, operates both wayi a fact that is sjot understood nor appreciated by many pro-treaty champions of the Panama Canal prob- Bv A. R. PINC1 lem. Inasmuch a the Monroe Doctrine denied the right of European lovernnsenti to perpetuate ( them- selves or their territories m the Americas, it denied the right, obviously, ot the Unhtd States to engage m any undertaking or under standing in that territory in con junction with any foreign power. Moreover, as it is admitted that Latin mericans may not DC permitted to seek or invite foreign dominion of any kind, or to re call that which they rejected, it is obvious that an isthmian republic, whether it be Nicaragua. Colombia or Panama, cannot bargain for the lease, sale, r Othrt t transfer of territory for the benefit of a foreign power. Vet under the Clayton Bulwer treaty ol 1850, the United States practically departs from this inhibition and proceeds to bargain with England on a '"joint" project ol building the canal. The Clayton-Bulwer treaty not only was a bald attempt to ignore the Monroe Doctrine, but it has led ti a continuation of this false assumption of rights on the part of the United States as to lead to the con tinual international and national difficulties besetting this country since the Panama Canal became I reality. In other words, the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, as well a- its successor, the Hay Paunceiote treaty of 1901. arc jointly inconsistent with the Monroe Doctrine, and being so have no place in American international law except as an anomaly. The Hay-Pauncefote treaty, which has been held up as an example of advanced American diplomacy, un fortunately stands as a monument to the indifference, if not ineptitude, of American diplomacy. Far from being a conspicuous feat of the late Secretary Hay it rem. tins, as it has always been (and it happens to be the standing joke in European chancelleries), an incom prehensible action. England had begun to take the Monroe Doctrine more seriously than it was thought, and expected any time a request by the United States to de nounce the treaty of 1850 Tie American propo sal of a substitute treaty, with real teeth in it. which was entirely in favor of England, was a lutnrsse The United States did not have the right in 1850 to enter into an agreement with Great Rritain or any other foreign power, for the construction of a canal and this right did not exist in 1900. To this extent the rights of Great Britain do not exist now. and did not exist then. The right of the United States to invite England in a joint undertaking on territory which the Monroe Doctrine has outlawed from Great Britain and other foreign nations cannot exist. Tied Hands of United States AT MOST it may be held that inasmuch as at that time the canal was planned in conjunction with a for eign power, or by a foreign power in conjunction with the United States, the Clayton-Bulwer treaty was rati fied to fix the respective rights of the owners, but the instrument as it stands, or as it stood during its force, is anything but a working agreement of two partners about to venture in a mastodonic undertaking As a matter of fact, it has never been believed in Europe that England ever seriously entertained the idea of building an isthmian canal, and the curious thing is that the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, which prac tically tied the hands of the United States, was isgned four years before the Suez Canal was begun. It is difficult to conceive England, after 1854. and certainly after 186, when it was opened, as embarking in the distant enterprise of a canal in America whose effect would be t weaken England's hold on foreign ship ping to the Orient. As a restrictive and self-protecting measure. Eng land's attitude is one of foresight. That England hould in 112 rely on the gratuitous rights granted by the United States under the Hay-Pauncefote treaty was to be expected, and the same protest against grant ing the free tolls privilege under the new law will fol low again as a matter of diplomatic routine. There is unmistakable propaganda in Washington agajnsl the restoration of the free tolls privilege, first granted under President Taft in 1912. Must of it. however, is of strictly American color and origin. It is quite local. It involves the so-called Middle West. It is supposed to have the sympathy of the railroads But on the other hand, inter-American interests, clash as they may, will never be so serious as the foreign. A few weeks ago, shortly before the Congressional recess, many newspapers were publishing dispatches from Washington to the effect that the President did not want the prODOl d exemption law discussed until after the limitation of armament conference, or that he preferred not to have it discussed in Congress, or that he wished to settle it by amicable "diplomatic - Kchan ." that friction with England was inevitable, and that in any event reversing the Wilson legislation meant a dishonorable national act. Thes, dispatches skirted the s,mple truth; that the Harding Administration finds it difficult to extricate the country from formal commitments And how extrication may follow unless the untenabilitv of the American position is acknowledged, and frank admis sion is made that the Hay-Pauncefote treaty is an agreement in violation of the Monroe Doctrine, cannot be imagined. In fact, a mere legislative provision exempting mer ican coastwix e,s frm the payment of tolN in other words, the restoration of a former law will not suffice for a permanent solution of the problem It Sfil tend, ms'ead. to restrict the question to r,t,e of ; arty politics, with the Republicans favoring exemp tion and the Democrats favoring tolls, both basing the (.pinions on interpretations of international aw "j existing treaties and it has been shown that th treaties are unsound and un-American. That fact i enough to warrant the administration in denouncing the Hay-Pauncefote treaty, but as it would he too much to expect the Republican party to acknowledge that a previous administration and a highly praised one made such an absurd mistake, poli tics may be served it need be by falling back upon proper diplomatic procedure. It is iry true, to forestall objectors, that records never fail to include such phrases as these : fc. fits of it (the canal) ought not to be exclusively ap propriated to any one nation." or "... of securing forever, by such (treaty) stipulate ns, (he tree and equal right ol navigating such canal to all such na tions." or such an enterprise ihould bi tor the benefit of the world's commerce, and in no proposition that it has ever made has it sought for its citizens or its commerce social advantages." of ". , . .It would be our earnest desire and expectation to lee the world's peaceful commerce enjoy the same just, liberal, and rational treatment." These declaration arc condi tional and non-inclusive; the owner remains the owner with all rights. The Hay-Pauncefote Agreement THE "free and equal" canal policy of the United States, as set forth in the Hay-Pauncefote treaty, is based on this agreement: "The canal shall be free and pcn to these vessels of commerce and of war of all nations observing these rules, on terms of entire equal ity, so that there shall be no discrimma' tinst any such nation, or its citizens or subjects, in respect of the conditions or charges of traffic, or otherwise. Such conditions and charges of traffic shall be just and equitable." It i indeed difficult to see, in all these declarations, which are from official American records, where the United States is bound to deny itself certain priv ileges for the benefit of the world. As it has been pointed out, the Hay-Pauncefote treaty is made from a rib of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, yet the second treaty entirely ignore the fact that the 1850 treaty was drafted when it was considered that England would assume one-half the responsibility, expenses, and fixed charges, t',r the construction and iti ot the canal ai then projected. But most indicative of any, and at the same time rarely referred to, is President Grant's consistently American, pro-Monroe Doctrine, (ieorge Washmgtonian policy, as made known by Hamilton Fish, his Secretary of State. "The President," Secretary Kish wrote to Minister Uurlbut at Bogota, ' is disinclined to enter into any entanglement in participation of control over the work with other powers. He regards it as an American enterprise, which he desires to be undertaken under American auspices, to the benefit of which the whole commercial world should be fully admitted." Forty years or so afterward the Panama Canal was under construction, by American engineers, at Amer ican expense, as an American enterprise, for the benefit of the commercial world, but somewhere, .somehow. President Grant's disinclination to enter into any en tanglement in participation or control with other pow ers was forgotten. Kngland, at no expense except that of diplomatic routine, was given the lion's share (as a European ambassador described it to the writer). Taking things away from a lion is always delicate work and this occasion will prove no exception. But little will be gained by the United States by beating aOOUt the hush; by try Bg to conceal causes. A coura geous handling of the entire difficulty will not diminin I England s rights to equal participation, but it will givj the United States certain rights which no treaty could ever take away from American citizens. Rights of American Shipping IT HAS been alleged that coastwise shipping American-owned, has no rights in the canal. The allega tion has been advanced frequently, backed by the treaty stipulations, but a verv practical situation in its ta has been wholly ignored. There is no ore fsw whv American shipping shall not enjoy the 1 anam ( anal as an all-American enterprise than there ou be in prohibiting free access to continental canals. When the Panama Canal project was the cynoswj of politics, under Roosevelt, the popular lnin that American coastwise ships could make ports ;i one Coast to the other, carry. ng freight much 'n than railroads Hut somehow the Panama ( anai J never become even an active competitor Ol trie roads, and at the present pace will never do so. This is due to the fog of hostile thought ot po" cians. who have reduced the waterway to a v plank, so to speak, as well as a mistaken idea m part of unyielding, .ingle-track minded J "gLfc to acknowledge that nothing is owed to rca r , tecapfcufetsnsL England never dJ7 canal; not intending to do so she decided to snan thoritv with the United States, which ImtgW D w , E ugland favored and built the Suez Canal, an , competitor of the Panama waterway, tnoimn u different foreign trade program Suez s value w d secondarv ; and that the I nited States, havinf ssj -jj the entire burden of Panama waterway buUOTJ OperatttM, Kngland will depend on the worn treaties to hamstring it as much as possible. ) interpretation of the treaties. . m0rc Denounce the treaties and there will Do "u Panama Canal tolls problem.