Vintage Kansas


IT is always strange in proposing a new idea to see the different angles from which people will look at it. I have in times past talked with friends of the foolishness of the Monroe Doctrine, of the fact that it has been a great factor in retarding the world progress.

At once the answer is, "We do not wish European governments on our continent." "Well," I say, "but they are there now," and to my surprise, I find that not over forty per cent. of the people who uphold the dear old doctrine have any idea that on our own continent now are the English, French and Dutch governments and that in the West Indies are the British, French and Dutch again, and also the Danish. Even in Central America is England again, in Honduras. The people who do know this overlook it in talking of the Monroe Doctrine.


The wonderful effect on trade with the United States, where a good government exists, is shown by Costa Rica. There are in the Republic only 18,400 square miles of territory, yet our export and import trade is $5,000,000 per year. With Honduras, which is much nearer us, with a territory nearly three times as large as Costa Rica, 46,200 square miles, and a rich country with a splendid coast line, our trade is only $3,650,000 per year. A country much larger and a trade $1,500,000 less.

In British Honduras our trade is nearly $2,000,000 per year, although the area is only 7,500 square miles.

What a wonderful showing this is of the benefit to us of good government in Central America. Here is a country under the British Flag, only 7,500 square miles in area, and a trade with us of only $1,500,000 less than all of Honduras with its 46,200 square miles. Under good government in British Honduras our trade is equal to $270 per square mile. In Honduras our trade is equal to about $70 per square mile. If our trade with Honduras were as great in proportion as is our trade with British Honduras, instead of $3,650,000 per year we would have nearly 13,000,000.

Now if we can exist with the British flag in all Canada, Newfoundland, etc., why should we object if all Honduras had English government? That 7,500 square miles there now are under the British flag does not worry us. It benefits us and how much greater would be the benefit, if all the 46,200 square miles of Honduras were under the same flag, which perhaps it would be, if it were not for the foolish Monroe Doctrine. We would be benefited, the people of Honduras would be gainers, and so would all the rest of the world.

To prove what a blessing it is to us to have the British flag in the West Indies, the area of all these islands, Trinidad, the Bahamas, Bermuda and Jamaica, is only 20,510 square miles, yet our trade (and we are not the home country) is $24,755,000 per year. What would this trade be today if these islands had the government that all Central America has, outside of Costa Rica and perhaps Panama?

It is our duty as a nation to fix up all the world near to us, so that this section will be benefited and we will be benefited. We wish to cultivate this nation's garden, which is near us, as much as we can. If a territory near us can be made to thrive and it does not, it is our duty to help it for our own sake and for the sake of the people of the country.

Central America, with a government such as England gives British Honduras, which a joint protectorate of the United States and Mexico would give, in a few years would give us a trade reaching $100,000,000 per year or more.

To sail down to Honduras with a few troops and take possession of it for joint control by the United States and Mexico, would be an easy job, but people would say that it was stealing to take from a nation its individual existence. If proper use is not made of territory near us, if proper government is not accorded, we have the right to step in and see that it is. We would not be pulling Honduras up by the roots and bringing it up to the United States. It would all be left just where it is, but good government would be established, and every property owner would be that much richer the day it was done.

Still some will say that it is not right to take the national existence away from a nation. This sounds well, but means nothing. We thought the South was abusing the negro and we took the negro away and made him free. Now the population of Central America is not free in our understanding of the word, and if we thought it best at vast expense to free the negro, why not free Central America, Venezuela and Colombia from misrule?

If we see a man abusing his horse, we take the horse away from him and send the man to prison. If the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a good thing, why is not a Society of Combination of Nations for the Prevention of Cruelty to Nations, just as necessary? The one protects dumb animals, the other would protect human beings.

I see no reason why our Government should tolerate the hell that has existed for years in Hayti and in parts of Central and South America. And as we have now established a kind of protectorate over Liberia with the consent of European countries, why not over parts of Central and South America? Africa is far away from us while Central America is near. What foolishness it is for us to stand by and allow this present racket in Honduras!

If we are not willing to preserve order and insist on sane government, let some other nation that is willing to do so, step in, as long as the trade door is open to the United States.

We went to Cuba the second time, and the fact that the next time we return will be the final one acts as a wholesome restraint on the Cubans. We are in a way back of Santa Domingo and its finances, and the little republic is a safe, peaceful place, while on the same island is turbulent Hayti. Why pick out Cuba and leave Hayti alone? Why Santa Domingo and not Hayti?

We are a humane people, unless we get the war microbe. If Buffalo has a fire that it cannot control, the fire department of some adjoining city is sent to help it. There is no difference between sending engines to fight fire and sending men to fight graft and bad government.  A protectorate of the United States over Venezuela and Colombia would add increased values of millions and millions to the wealth of the world. Land owners in those countries, not now able to find markets of their land, would find markets at greatly increased prices. This would give them money to put in circulation and a great deal of it would find its way to the United States in purchases.

In less than two years all the inhabitants of those countries would call us blessed, and so would the world, and we as a nation would be quite "chesty" as we contemplated the good we had done.

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Arthur Edward Stilwell, Visionary

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