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France and Venezuela. The former country had claims against the latter, and proposed to seize the customs houses and collect the sum due, a proceeding by no means unusual. To prevent this desecration of American soil by French marines, Blaine vigorously urged Venezuela to acknowledge the French claim, and suggested that the money be paid to our agent at Caracas; if it were not paid within three months, he threatened, the United States herself would seize the customs houses and collect the money. This pro
. posal to act as collecting agent came to nothing at the time, for Frelinghuysen did not continue the policy; as foreshadowing a course of action later much discussed and sometimes followed out, it is, however, important."
With regard to disputes between American powers Blaine did not claim exclusive authority. June 25, 1881, he wrote to Fairchild, minister in Spain, protesting against Objection to the proposal to submit to Spain the arbitration European
mediation beof the boundary between Colombia and Costa tween Amer
ican powers Rica. He based his protest on the fact that, since in the treaty of 1846 we had guaranteed Panama to Colombia, we should have been consulted. In using this special ground, he obviously refrained from denying the right of Spanish-American states to ask European states to serve in such a capacity under ordinary circumstances or that of European states to accept the invitation.
He planned, however, to make such recourse unnecessary by having the United States serve as a permanent and impartial umpire. Already in 1880 Colombia and United States Chili had agreed to make the president of the
as elder sister United States a permanent arbitrator between them. In 1881 the settlement of a dispute between Chili and Argentina is said to have been “due to the unremitting efforts of the representatives of the United States in both countries." In 1881 Mexico and Guatemala having a boundary dispute, the latter applied to us as the “natural protector of the
· Edward Stanwood, James Gillespie Blaine, Boston, etc., 1905.
Central American territory." Blaine offered to arbitrate. He told Mexico that we were satisfied with our own territory and that she should be content with what was justly hers; that he should consider any hostile movement by Mexico against Guatemala as "not in harmony with the friendly relations existing between us, and injurious to the best interests of all the republics of this continent. This country," he declared, “will continue its policy of peace even if it cannot have the great aid which the coöperation of Mexico would assure; and it will hope at no distant day to see such concord and coöperation between all the nations of America as will render war impossible.”
His greatest chance came in the war raging between Chili and Peru and Bolivia for the possession of the nitrate mines
situated near the junction of their national Bolivia-Chili boundaries. Evarts had already offered media
tion and protested against European intervention. Blaine emphasized both points. He informed France that the American republics were our younger sisters, removed from the European system. To Chili and Peru he sent messengers of peace. They were not, however, well chosen, for each became the partisan of the country to which he was sent. Blaine, deeply in earnest, at length sent a competent man, William H. Trescott of South Carolina, whose diplomatic experience dated back to 1852 and whose skill and scholarship were everywhere acknowledged. He was instructed to warn Chili against making excessive demands as a result of her victories, and to suggest that, if she did, we would secure the coöperation of other American powers to coerce her into reasonableness.
These instructions are to be taken in connection with the second great principle upon which Blaine was acting, Pan-American that of Pan-Americanism. November 29, 1881, arbitration
he invited all the independent nations of America to meet for a discussion of arbitration. They were not, to be sure, to take up "exciting" questions, but were to
inaugurate an era of peace in America for the future, and the emanation of their good will might serve to assuage present passions based on past lawlessness. This opportunity was lost. Frelinghuysen feared that this meeting of a “partial group of our friends” might offend Europe; accordingly, although many nations accepted the invitation, he indefinitely postponed the conference, and he discourteously recalled Trescott.
Blaine employed the leisure between his two terms of office in preparing the public mind to support his Pan-American plans on a basis even broader than he had Blaine's influsuggested in 1881. In 1882 he wrote The
ence on Con
gress and pubForeign Policy of the Garfield Administra- lic opinion tion. He secured the passage by Congress of an amendment to the consular bill of 1884, providing for a commission of three to obtain information as to the advisability of a Pan-American Congress. Charlatan and genius, he sought to recommend his plan of peace and cooperation in America by a persistent baiting of Europe. He fostered the dispute with Great Britain concerning the fisheries and Behring sea; he became discredited among the intellectual class at home as a jingo; and when he returned to office the Spanish minister of foreign affairs moved an increase in the West Indian fleet.
Nevertheless he made progress. Congress had already, in 1888, passed a bill calling a Pan-American Congress, which Cleveland allowed to become a law without his signature. It was to discuss not Pan-American arbitration alone, but customs union, weights
Congress and measures, copyright, trademarks and patents, communications, common coinage, and indeed anything that seemed suitable. Europe scoffed, and Spanish America was not enthusiastic. The president of Chili told his congress that he had accepted “out of polite regard for a friendly government.” Señor Romero, the veteran Mexican minister at Washington, said that there was a general fear that its object
Call for first
was “to secure the political and commercial ascendency of the United States on this continent.” 1
The congress was well attended and ably managed by Blaine, who was elected its president. Nothing could be Meeting of the done on the subject of arbitration; but uniform Congress
sanitary regulations were drawn up, the survey of an intercontinental railroad was arranged, the principle of the free navigation of international rivers was endorsed, and agreements, not quite universal, were made concerning trademarks, patents, and extradition. The formation of reciprocity treaties between the several nations was recommended. One thing of real importance was accomplished, -the foundation of the Bureau of the American Republics, located at Washington, supported jointly by the nations concerned, and charged with the collection of information. Actually permanent, its functions grew till it became a lasting, though not a strong, element of union.2
The vitality of the whole scheme rested on the development of commercial relations, a process that Blaine sought
to stimulate by treaties of reciprocity. Such Reciprocity
treaties had been authorized in 1884, and a few were drawn up under Arthur, but they were withdrawn by Cleveland. In 1890 the Republican majority in Congress was working over the McKinley tariff bill. In this document sugar, coffee, hides, and other such commodities, our most important assets for international customs bartering, were put on the free list. If the bill passed in this form, therefore, we should have no favors to offer American countries. Blaine threw himself into opposition. July 11, 1890, he wrote to
, Senator Frye, “There is not a section or a line in the entire bill that will open a market for another bushel of (American wheat or another barrel of pork." His position was supported by western sentiment, and Senator Hale of Maine offered a
Romero, M. “The Pan-American Conference,” North American 1890, cli. 354-367, 407-421.
? Bureau of the American Republics, Bulletins, 1891, etc.
amendment representing his views. His plan provided for a duty on the commodities in question, but empowered the President “to declare the ports of the United States free and open to all products of any nation of the American hemisphere upon which no export duties are imposed, whenever and so long as such nation shall admit to its ports, free of all ” duties of whatsoever nature, certain enumerated products of the United States, or such other products as might be agreed upon. This amendment was not passed, but in substitution for it one proposed by Senator Aldrich was adopted, which left the enumerated articles on the free list, but authorized the President, when in his judgment the duties imposed on the agricultural and other products of the United States by nations producing the enumerated articles were “reciprocally unequal and unjust,” to declare in force a prescribed list of duties.
This rule, being applicable to all the world, deprived Blaine of his weapon for specially cementing together the nations of America. Nevertheless he went
Nevertheless he went Reciprocity in to work actively to use it to open markets for operation American exports, and his efforts were continued by his successor, Foster, with the result that agreements were entered into with Brazil, Spain (for Cuba and Porto Rico), Austria, Nicaragua, Honduras, and with France for herself and her colonies. Colombia, Hayti, Venezuela, and Spain with reference to the Philippines, were informed that unless certain specified duties were removed by March 15, 1892, the President would enforce the duties provided by the act. In 1894, before it was possible to determine what effect this policy was to have on our trade, the Democratic Wilson tariff was enacted, and Cleveland's first secretary of state in his new term, Gresham, informed the countries concerned hat the duration of these agreements depended on the dura
of the act, and were therefore void. W. Taussig, “Reciprocity,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, ii. 314 93), vii. 26-39.