Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Chapter 4

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Atlantic System

Forrest Davis

Reynal & Hitchcock
New York

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
Chapter 6
This site is not affiliated with the US Naval Academy.

 p128  V. A "Great Part":
Intimations of A Pacific System


The United States, John Hay remarked at Princeton in October, 1900, could "no longer cling to [an] isolated position amongst the nations." His conclusion evoked surprisingly little dissent except from the assorted ex‑Populists, Free-silverites, Anglophobes, and habitual Democrats just then marching with William Jennings Bryan into the political wilderness under the banner of "anti-imperialism." The new century, it was apparent to almost everyone, was carrying our diplomacy into a new magnitude, one which pursued, moreover, the historic westward trend of American expansion.

Entrenched behind the Atlantic System of defense, feeling secure against British rivalry in the Caribbean (although the canal controversy still dragged along), the United States was turning toward its other great ocean, beyond which Hay, recruiting the Powers in behalf of the Open Door and taking command of the Boxer crisis, was making us an Asiatic Power. In the Boxer situation in 1900 Hay, in Henry Adams's exalted view, had "put Europe aside and set the Washington Government at the head of civilization." The Secretary of State, employing initiative and dash, was taking American foreign relations (as the Mirrors of Washington later described it) "on a grand Cook's Tour of the World." His enterprise pleased the nationalists as much as it nettled the anti-imperialists.

Hay's Asiatic course, in truth, grew out of a national spirit unabashedly robust. Many Americans, including Hay, Adams, Mahan, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lodge, believed the United States to be a success as a nation, its feet planted on the high road of destiny. The Russian Ambassador, Count  p129 Cassini, might sputter to Hay over the Open Door notes: "You do not yourself see the vast portée [import] of them!" The Secretary of State, chuckling with Adams over the Russian's vehemence, had no doubt of their import. He hoped to establish a new order of things in stricken China, prevent the further partition of that empire, and fortify the American trading position. (In midsummer of 1941, with the United States confronting Japan in concert with China, the British Empire, the Netherlands East Indies, and the Soviet Union, it seemed open to doubt whether Hay or Cassini had the better insight into the future.)

Adams, writing that Hay's diplomacy had "broken history in half," shared his confidence. The most engaging luminaries of their time in Washington, Hay and Adams dwelt side by side in the famous double mansion on Lafayette Square, opposite the White House. Two of Adams's ancestors had occupied the White House; Hay lived there as Lincoln's secretary during the dark Civil War days. The neighbors were in a sense collaborators also, Adams, who called himself the "stable companion" of statesmen, interpreting, relating, and reducing to literary form the daring patterns being traced by Hay at the State Department. Nor was Adams the only absorbed and notable observer of the diplomacy of the new century.

A more somber prophet, Mahan saw the United States undertaking a mission in the Orient on behalf of the Atlantic Powers, "the sphere," as he phrased it, "of our external action [being now] clearly indicated as the Pacific and the East." American "predominance in the Caribbean," wrote Mahan in 1900, was incidental to the cause of "permanent coöperation between the communities which speak the English tongue." He had in mind especially the English-speaking countries fronting on the Pacific: Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. Mistakenly, as it transpired, Mahan regarded British and American interests in the Far East as invariably identical. Often parallel, they would not follow identical lines until the latter 1930's, when the rise of Hitler as a threat to the Atlantic System coincided with Japan's all‑out  p130 war on China. It was only then that Mahan's estimate would be fully confirmed.

Another prophet of that day, Brooks Adams, particularized the Anglo-American future in terms not only of the Far East, but of world power relations. A brother of Henry and himself a historian, Brooks prefigured the future role of the English-speaking Powers with astonishing prescience. In an article published in 1900 Adams, who had charted a theory of imperial cycles in his work The Law of Civilization and Decay, foresaw the United States becoming the center of Anglo-Saxondom, with the British Isles a "fortified outpost" along with Australia, the Philippines, and Hawaii. Within a few years Spring-Rice would be terming the United States the "stronghold of the English-speaking race," and forty years thereafter the strategical concept of Brooks Adams and Spring-Rice was to be widely accepted throughout the English-speaking world.

In January, 1900, Albert J. Beveridge delivered his maiden speech in the Senate. The world at the moment was discussing the Open Door démarche and England's setbacks in South Africa while at home the "anti-imperialists" were demanding a policy of "scuttle" in the Philippines, where the insurrection was still in progress. It was known that the prose Kipling from Indiana would deal with foreign policy, so the Senate galleries were crowded, the British and Japanese Ambassadors being conspicuously present. Beveridge did not disappoint his audience. Glorifying our "imperial destiny" in the Far East, the fledgling Senator proclaimed that God had set His seal upon the Americans, not only as the "trustees of civilization," but as His "chosen people, henceforth to lead in the regeneration of the world." Moreover, God had "made the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples the master organizers of the world, to establish system where chaos reigns." It was less than a month since Bülow had rejected Chamberlain's "three-cousin system."

Beveridge was to become a useful Senator and a scholar­ly biographer, but to the present generation his mingling of jingoism and piety seems a caricature of the expansionist  p131 movement — a translation from the Pan‑German. At the moment he struck a responsive chord. From Albany Governor Roosevelt, impatiently awaiting a cue to step upon the national stage, telegraphed a "line to say how delighted I was with your speech." In writing his friend George W. Perkins, Beveridge vowed that isolation was "dead." Soon Roosevelt, after surpassing Hay's interventionism and playing Far Eastern power politics to the hilt, would solemnly assure his countrymen: "whether we wish it or not, we are a great people and must play a great part in the world . . . we have to play it. All we can decide is whether we shall play it well or ill." The sentiment was reminiscent of the categorical imperative uttered by Roosevelt's mentor Mahan in 1890: "Whether they will or no, Americans must now begin to look outward."

More accurately than most Europeans, the Russians evaluated Hay's new course as a break with our continental tradition. Cassini reported that the United States had "definitely started on a policy . . . whose horizons are much broader." Count Muraviev, the Russian Foreign Minister, opposed the Open Door agreements, in part because the phrase was of English origin, but he agreed that America had a larger view of her "mission in the world." That was true. Yet Hay kept the Asiatic policy in character. His Open Door structure, including both the notes asking for equal trade privileges in foreign spheres and concessions and the circular addressed to the Powers during the Boxer troubles, represented not so much a departure in ideology as a widening, an extension of principle from the Atlantic into the Pacific world. The United States was merely suggesting for China what was accepted practice in the Americas — a guarantee of territorial integrity and a ban on closed colonial trade areas. In a sense, Hay was proposing a Monroe Doctrine for China.


The broad occasion for the Open Door notes which went out to the Powers in the fall of 1899 (coincidentally with the outbreak of the Boer War) was the fracturing of Chinese territory  p132 that began in November, 1897, when Admiral von Diederichs landed 600 men and seized the unresisting port of Kiaochow. This cynical appropriation, rationalized if not justified by the murder of two German missionaries, unloosed the scramble for China that would reach its full flower in 1937 with Japan's all‑out invasion and undeclared war. Immediately, Germany's occupation of the port of Kiaochow and her demand for a 50‑mile radius about it prompted Russia to effectuate her desire for a warm-water port by seizing two harbors in Manchuria — Port Arthur and Talienwan (Dairen).

Whereupon the British, not to be outdone, obtained a lease of the negligible port of Weihaiwei on the tip of the Shantung Peninsula, midway between Kiaochow and Port Arthur. Salisbury grumblingly termed the acquisition a mere "cartographic consolation." The British also gained from the Peking Foreign Office, the Tsungli-Yamen, treaty recognition of their oversight of the Imperial Maritime Customs — a sway already theirs in fact — as well as the ceding of an area of 200 square miles on the mainland opposite the long-established Crown Colony of Hong Kong. France likewise bettered her position at China's expense, advancing from Indo-China to make good rights to the bay of Kwangchow in the south. These new leaseholds were all negotiated and ratified during 1898. Only the United States among the white Sea Powers remained aloof from this dismemberment. It was not until December, 1898, with the "purchase" of the Philippines, that America became a Far Eastern Power, and although the Peking Legation reported in August, 1898, that the Tsungli-Yamen stood ready to cede us a port also, the prospect of a Chinese concession struck no sparks in Washington.

The sudden appearance of Russia and Germany in North China alarmed the English, who were fearful of a further incursion that might carry one or both of these unfriendly Powers into the fabulously profitable British trading reserves in the Yangtze Valley. For reasons more limited, American commercial interests likewise grew uneasy. Half the foreign trade of the generally undeveloped north of China was in American hands, a large part consisting of the sale of cotton  p133 goods. Throughout 1898 the British agitated for a means of ensuring the Open Door in China, meaning, specifically, a guarantee from the Germans and the Russians that they would not exclude other foreign traders from their special holdings. Twice the British Foreign Office approached the United States Government without success. Failing to obtain joint action there, Salisbury negotiated with Russia a railway treaty fixing the Great Wall as the boundary of their respective spheres in the field of railway-building. Downing Street also made a treaty with Germany recognizing that country's claim to Shantung in exchange for a similar commitment respecting the Yangtze Valley.

By the time Hay issued the notes, Salisbury and Chamberlain had lost whatever interest they might once have had in such pious, unimplemented affirmations regarding trade privileges. Although the Prime Minister congratulated the Secretary of State on "accomplishing a work of great importance and utility . . . especially to our respective countries," he hedged on the terms of his acquiescence, seeking to exclude Hong Kong and Weihaiwei. Ambassador Choate, calling Salisbury's attitude "rather disappointing," persuaded him to give ground on Weihaiwei, but it was apparent that the latter had little real sympathy with or confidence in the restraining effect of the Open Door pledges.

Actually, Hay's motives for intervening in China are still unclear. Ostensibly he was asking the Powers to underwrite jointly the trade treaties the United States had enjoyed with China since clipper-ship days; since Daniel Webster, as Secretary of State, directed his commissioner, Caleb Cushing, in 1843 to insist upon most‑favored-nation status for Americans in what came to be known as the Treaty of Whanghia. But Hay already had oral pledges from Germany and Russia and those Powers gave every present indication of honoring their promises. His objective was traditional enough. It was his request for a multilateral agreement binding the Powers in China to maintain the Open Door to all comers that marked the enterprise as a bold innovation in American foreign policy.  p134 Exceeding the routine safeguarding of American interests, the Secretary of State was plainly writing international law for the Powers in China, embarking this country on the co‑operative course in the Far East foretold by Mahan.

So it was with the Boxer circular. Of all the leading Powers, the United States was least affected when in the early summer of 1900 the extreme nationalist movement known as the Fists of Righteous Peace, or Boxers, burst bounds in North China, murdering foreigners and Christianized Chinese and finally penning the diplomats and missionaries in the Legation compounds at Peking. Yet Hay, independently and without consultation with London — despite the current legend — took leader­ship. According to Adams, Hay acted because the European Powers, torn by mistrust, had shown their inability to co‑operate even in the face of the tragic "drama of the Legations."

The Powers had bungled preparations for the military expedition to Peking. Russia had large forces in Manchuria, which she marched to Tientsin, where the expedition was being formed. Fearing the Russians and having only scant forces of his own in China, Salisbury offered to repay Japan's costs if she would send 30,000 troops as a makeweight against the Russians. Into this confused situation moved the American Secretary of State, announcing a policy that localized the Boxer uprising, averted what might have deteriorated into a long, general war, and saved China from punitive dismemberment. Hay insisted that the Powers treat the disorders locally and that they strengthen the viceroys of the unaffected provinces by courteous offers of assistance. In pursuit of that policy the United States Asiatic squadron conspicuously declined to fire on the forts at Taku, below Tientsin, when the Allied fleet shelled them for insufficient reasons but principally as a demonstration of force.

The siege was still unlifted when on July 3, 1900, Hay's circular went to the Powers. A definition of American policy only, it required no formal acknowledgment. None was forthcoming, although Salisbury hastily assured Choate of his approval. Yet Allied policy thereafter followed the outline contained  p135 in the statement. The American policy, Hay wrote, was to seek a "solution which may bring about permanent safety and peace to China, preserve Chinese territorial and administrative entity, protect all rights guaranteed to friendly powers by treaty and international law, and safeguard for the world the principle of equal and impartial trade with all parts of the Chinese empire."

Hay had enlarged upon the formula contained in the notes. This time he was seeking to advance the cause of China's political and territorial integrity; he had not ventured to touch on that desideratum in the notes. In informed circles here and in Europe he was credited with restricting the Boxer outrages, with moderating the opinion of the Chinese everywhere, and with quickening the Imperial Court's sense of responsibility. There seems little doubt that the Empress Dowager and her court had encouraged the Boxers, at least up to the point of wholesale pillage and murder. Adams termed Hay's coup the most "meteoric" accomplishment in the history of American diplomacy. All human "society," said Adams, "felt the force of the stroke through its fineness, and burst into almost tumultuous applause."

There was, however, a minority opinion.


The Chinese policy, principally because of a widespread feeling that Hay was pursuing a parallel course with England, was a highly controversial issue in the presidential campaign of 1900. Not since Napoleon divided the infant republic into warring camps a century before had foreign considerations so played upon the political emotions of the American voter. The Democratic platform flatly denounced what it called the "ill‑concealed Republican alliance with England." Behind Bryan, the "Boy Orator of the Platte," marched the Southern Democracy; recaptured elements of the Gold Democracy, disaffected in 1896; the Northern city machines, such as Tammany Hall; the professional Irish vote, reveling in the chance to strike an indirect blow for Irish freedom; and a large section  p136 of the organized German community, swallowing its thrifty dislike for free silver in order to damage Anglo-American understanding.

Hay's circular especially focused partisan attack. The opposition, he wrote Adams, called for his "impeachment because we are violating the Constitution," while the "pulpit" was giving "us anathema because we're not doing it enough." In the circular the Washington Times saw new evidence of the "oft‑denied, but nevertheless existent, McKinley-Salisbury alliance." When St. Clair McKelway, editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, published a widely current allegation that the British had inspired the circular, Hay wrote him swearing that "no power whatever was consulted as to the terms."

Josiah Quincy, writing in the Contemporary Review, charged that Hay had committed the United States to the concert of Powers in China, and as England's influence had "sunk almost to zero," it behooved us to "maintain a strict neutrality between England and Russia." On the other hand, a writer in the North American Review interpreted the circular to mean that America had "crossed the Rubicon of imperial responsibility" and would hereafter be found in the "Anglo-American sphere."

A partisan critic might have construed Choate's note transmitting the circular to Salisbury as referring to a prior understanding. Hay asked Choate to recall and revise the note. Privately, he stormed against the expediency dictating such craven behavior, lamenting to John W. Foster, a predecessor in the State Department, the sad state of partisan affairs that "compelled this Government to refuse the assistance of the greatest power . . . in carrying out our own policies because all Irishmen are Democrats and some Germans are fools." Pauncefote, recently created a baron, retreated before the partisan tempest, establishing his Embassy at Newport for the summer and communicating with Hay on none but the dreariest routine, an exhibition of reserve which baffled and piqued Hay.

A preponderance of the German-language press attacked England and "McKinley imperialism," apparently considering  p137 them interchangeable, echoing the mercurial Carl Schurz, who prophesied an "inevitable" revolution unless Bryan won. Throughout the campaign the well-knit German press threatened, scolded, and vilified McKinley, Hay, the "nativists," and the "Anglo-Saxons." This press, claiming to speak for 9,000,000 first‑and second-generation Germans (the population being then 76,000,000), behaved as if it were completely alien, precisely as the German minority press conducted itself in non‑German Europe. Scorn was poured on the institutions of democracy. American "corruption" was, as in the newspapers of Germany proper, a constant theme. To the Chicago Freie Presse McKinley was the "choice of the conceited Anglo-Saxon know-nothing, whose ignorance leads him to dream of world conquest." It was apparent to this journal that "McKinley is only the humble servant of England and will do nothing without orders from England." The Davenport Demokrat was certain that "McKinley, Hay, and the rest of them will only make the United States the tail of the British boa constrictor."

A study of the Anglo-American scene in 1900 discloses little or no objective reason for the "mad‑dog hatred of England" which John Hay found animating many "newspapers and politicians." On the score of grievances between the English-speaking peoples, England and Canada seem to have had the worst of it. In recent times the United States had clamorously forced the British to give ground over Venezuela, it was in process of ushering Britain out of her ascendancy of three hundred years in the Caribbean and evicting her from her nominal share in the proposed isthmian canal. Nor had it shown an indulgent spirit toward Canada's desire for a corridor to the Pacific.

Much of the Anglophobia of 1900 was undeniably imported, and many thoughtful Americans, of Irish and German as well as British descent, challenged the encouragement of such grudges by responsible political leaders. Mahan sternly and pointedly deplored both super-Americanism and hyphenism, calling it

 p138  a matter of patriotic duty to every citizen to consider whether he does well to cherish old animosities; to reflect whether the period in which, historically, these prejudices have their rise is not now as wholly past as the voyages of Columbus; or whether . . . they are simply transplanted to our soil from Europe by a process — in that case most misnamed — of naturalization. It is no true naturalization which grafts upon our politics sentiments drawn from abroad, and foreign to our interests and our duties.

The "melting‑pot" was, however, simmering effectively in 1900, which was the peak year of German political activity in this country. The offspring of Pan‑Germans were abandoning that narrow racism, conforming to the more civilized pattern of American life. German-language newspapers, which echoed their German contemporaries (even to the point of belittling Dewey's achievement at Manila out of loyalty to Admiral von Diederichs) when not intentionally serving the German Foreign Office, dwindled in numbers, prosperity, and influence. The owners and editors of such newspapers were of course courted by the German Foreign Office, steamship lines, and the Pan‑German and German Navy League functionaries. Their survival depended upon keeping alive a sense of group superiority and a powerful attachment to the Vaterland. Fortunately theirs was a losing endeavor. Even in 1900 they spoke for only a minority of the Americans of German descent.

Up to the First World War the German Government used its embassy, consulates, and German-American organizations as instruments of its drive for world power; but as it did so the "German vote" diminished, and when America entered the war the German-Americans supported the war effort with conspicuous devotion. By 1917 most German-stock Americans had ceased thinking of themselves as Germans. They were Americans, along with descendants of the numerous Germans who helped settle colonial America, the "blessed '48‑ers," and the 200,000 Americans of German birth who fought for the Union in the Civil War.

In the Nazi attempt to establish a fifth column only the terminology is new. Before the last war the Pan‑Germans, to  p139 whom the Nazis are indebted for a part of the nationalistic element in their ideology, fostered a politically conscious racial minority. The failure of this minority to retain its isolated character was due not only to the excellent judgment of the German-Americans themselves, but also to the underlying factor that the United States, unlike Switzerland, was not a federation, but a compound, of races. In 1900 the anti-English furor missed its desired effect in domestic affairs, McKinley and Roosevelt obtaining the largest electoral plurality up to that time. It did, however, enfeeble our foreign policy and, by a curious irony, at the expense of Kaiser William's ambition to cut a large figure at Peking.

The Kaiser, pulling wires in St. Petersburg, Paris, and London, gained assent to the appointment of Field Marshal Count von Waldersee as generalissimo of the Allied forces. In bidding farewell to Waldersee and a sizable German force, William delivered the celebrated "Hun" speech, enjoining frightfulness and supplying the English-speaking world in 1914 et seq. with an epithet. When his men were to close with the enemy, the Kaiser bade them "remember this: spare nobody. Make no prisoners. Use your weapons so that for a thousand years no Chinaman will dare look askance at any German." An example of mischievous rhetoric, the Kaiser's injunction alarmed the American Government as well as the British. McKinley was already wincing under isolationist demands that he withdraw American troops. Salisbury in a talk with Henry White grumblingly hoped that means would be found to "exhaust Waldersee" before he could execute his instructions.

When the Legations had been relieved, McKinley carried his distrust to the point of threatening to withdraw from the Allied front at Peking to the coast, forming a momentary concert with Russia and leaving England to moderate the "much-prepared Waldersee" (Elihu Root's phrase). The suggestion of Russo-American retirement materially weakened the German position at Peking and it became Waldersee's task to placate the Americans and the Russians in order to preserve German prestige. The motives of the Russians, it  p140 was supposed, were wholly selfish, St. Petersburg wishing to draw the other European forces out of an area in which Russia claimed a special position, thereby gaining also the gratitude of the Imperial Chinese Court. McKinley's motives, it appears, were simpler. Although swept by the timidities that beset a President seeking re‑election, McKinley did not propose to give up the field so long as American interests required the troops. But the last thing he wished before election was a revival of bloodshed in China, and in view of Waldersee's instructions McKinley imposed a condition on the German. He would stay, but only if Waldersee and his imperial master observed the policy of the Hay circular. Root, the able, ironical corporation lawyer from New York, was Secretary of War, but in Hay's absence while ill he was advising the President on foreign policy. Writing the Secretary of State, Root rejoiced at the opportunity to clarify the American position vis‑à‑vis Waldersee, recounting: "There was danger that after all the Emperor's windy eloquence, he might feel the necessity of kicking up a row to justify the appointment of Waldersee. I was very glad . . . that Russia gave us an opportunity to say that we would stay under definite understanding and not otherwise." Root believed that the incident had improved the position of the Open Door policy.

Using the incident as pretext, the Kaiser, intent on discord between England and America, reported to British statesmen in January, 1901, that the United States and Russia were secretly linked in China. Queen Victoria's fatal illness had taken William to the Isle of Wight, where he improved the opportunity to talk politics. With the Prince of Wales, he enumerated the "symptoms" of Russo-American rapprochement. To Lansdowne, he reported (largely on the basis of the anti-imperialist campaign utterances) that America "hates England." Wall Street, he asserted, was financing Russian munitions purchases in the United States in exchange for Russian military support in an American drive on the English sphere in the Yangtze Valley. A bit earlier Hatzfeldt had sought to affright Salisbury by confiding "evidence"  p141 that the United States was "aiming at monopolistic trade in China and, in general, toward treating the Pacific as an American inland sea." Salisbury had not been impressed.


Whatever goodwill for Russia was generated by the joint stand at Peking had been dissipated by the time of the Kaiser's report. In the Boxer negotiations, opening early in 1901, the Russians flatly laid claim to all Manchuria for their services in policing those provinces. The demand, outraging the principles of the circular, overnight converted Russia in American eyes into the chief aggressive threat to the well-being of China — and the China trade. Unbrokenly thereafter until the Russo-Japanese War, the Czar's Government was regarded in Washington with dread and suspicion, and American policy was consistently shaped toward Japan.

Roosevelt was barely seated in the vice-presidential chair when Mahan wrote him lengthily on the Russian menace. If the United States and Great Britain so desired, said Mahan, they could check the Russian advance into China by the exercise of sea power alone. External assistance to China, however, he thought insufficient. Only if the "sea powers will require of China . . . liberty for the entrance of European thought as well as European commerce," the historian reasoned, could China actually be saved from partition and explosion. Roosevelt agreed, holding Mahan's conclusion "eminently sound," but he despaired of America's taking an intelligent hand in the problem, since public opinion was "dull on the subject of China."

Early in 1902 England and Japan signed the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, destined in the words of a Nipponese statesman to be the "cornerstone of Japanese policy for twenty years." A military covenant, the alliance recognized special British and Japanese interests in China; gave Japan a free hand "politically, as well as commercially and industrially" in Korea; sanctioned Japanese intervention on the mainland in case of disturbances "arising in China or Korea";  p142 and pledged the help of each party if engaged in war with more than one other Power. Dedicated, as by custom, to peace, the treaty nodded in Hay's direction by acknowledging the Open Door and the "independence and territorial integrity" of China and Korea. The aging Salisbury, author of "splendid isolation," had relaxed his grip; his successors, nervously in dread of adverse combinations in both Europe and Asia and regarding the United States as excluded from genuine alliance, had protected their Chinese flank at what seemed only the negligible expense of Korea. Japan, having the backing of the greatest Sea Power, was now free to challenge Russia and embark on her own mainland adventures.

Although Hay had not been taken into the confidence of Downing Street, he received news of the treaty without misgiving. When Russia and France hastily announced their own Far Eastern understanding, the Secretary of State blessed both undertakings, describing them as "renewed confirmation" of the Open Door and circular policies. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance, which in 1922 would be scrapped under pressure of American uneasiness, was actually welcomed in 1902 as a counterweight to Russia. What Holstein of the German Foreign Office feared had come to pass in a limited sense. In July, 1898, Holstein, noting reports that England was showing solicitude for Japan, advised Hatzfeldt of the profound consequences that would flow from a linking of English, Japanese, and American sea power. "For England," wrote Holstein, "an alliance with the United States and with Japan would create an absolutely ideal situation, ensuring this group for years the mastery of the seas, while the other partners would leave England a free hand in Africa."

It was at this time, parenthetically, that Holstein proposed "shattering" Britain's hope of an American alliance, setting "to work not in England, but in America."

Russia progressively closed the door to trade in Manchuria. As a consequence, the United States and Great Britain were drawn closer together. In April, 1903, President Roosevelt and Secretary Hay speculated about the possibility of concerted action with England and Japan, Hay voicing doubt  p143 that the public would "support" an "openly hostile" course. Roosevelt's ire rose during that year. In June, talking with Lyman Abbott, he called Russia's policy "very irritating." To Spring-Rice he wrote that Russia had engaged in a "consistent career of stupid mendacity." By mid‑July the President announced to Hay that, being now "more confident that the country would back me in going to an extreme," he would not "give way" endlessly. On that same day Choate, under instructions from Hay, and Lord Lansdowne were formulating plans for mutual consultation and parallel action, Choate writing of the conversation: "I replied that I thought . . . you were disposed to have the two Governments keep step with each other. . . . He [Lansdowne] said he would be quite content to have you a little in advance, and to follow you." Hay agreed to that. In October he tried another tack, obtaining from Peking a commercial treaty providing for American consuls in Mukden and other leading Manchurian cities. But China was not master here, and the Russian press expressed annoyance at the presence of the consuls.

The United States Government was in a state of mind by no means impartial when in February, 1904, Japan attacked the Russian Asiatic fleet as it lay at Port Arthur, two days before declaring war. Roosevelt was delighted, "thoroughly well pleased," as he wrote Theodore, Jr., "for Japan is playing our game." In the ensuing war, as everyone is aware, England, Japan's nonbelligerent ally, and the benevolently neutral United States pursued parallel paths in support of the Nipponese, Wall Street joining with Lombard Street in financing them.

William II secretly backed Russia, encouraging Nicholas in a prewar belief that the Japanese would not fight and after war began encouraging the Czar's faith that the result was a "foregone conclusion." Addressing his cousin as "Admiral of the Pacific," signing himself "Admiral of the Atlantic," William portrayed the war as a struggle for the command of the "shores of the Pacific," which Russian sea power would assuredly win. The Kaiser's motives have been frequently  p144 debated. He no doubt hoped for a quid pro quo in North China if Russia won. He may have welcomed the expenditure of Russian strength in the Far East, as has been suggested, for its value in relieving pressure on his own borders; he may have hoped to "mire" the Czar in China to a point where the Russian Emperor would become amenable to a Russo-German alliance — that ignis fatuus of Kaiserlich statecraft. Nor should his dread of the "yellow peril" be ignored.

Whatever the motivation, two days after war began William undertook a diplomatic chore on Russia's behalf. Appealing to the champion of the Open Door through the German Ambassador Speck von Sternberg (Roosevelt's beloved "Speckie"), the Kaiser urged the President to obtain from the belligerents a declaration of respect for China's neutrality "outside the sphere of military operations." Hay and Roosevelt detected a loophole, the President writing Root, in great glee at having outwitted "Bill the Kaiser," that William "wanted us to guarantee the integrity of China south of the Great Wall, which would have left Russia free to gobble up what she really wanted."

Hay redrafted the German note to cover the "neutrality of China and, in all practicable ways, her administrative entity." Although neither belligerent subscribed to the note, Germany, to use Roosevelt's words, "cheerfully acceded." Unmindful of William's double game and wholly unsuspicious, the President conveyed to him his appreciation for "generous initiative and powerful co‑operation." Had Roosevelt been privy to the diplomatic correspondence between Berlin and St. Petersburg, he might have withheld his thanks. The Russians, justifiably annoyed at the amended note, complained to Bülow, who thereupon denied responsibility, charging that the initiative had come from France! The note had ignored the status of Korea, which bore the same relation­ship to Japan that Manchuria did to Russia, a circumstance confirming to the Russians their conviction of Roosevelt's enmity. Thereafter the President attracted the virulent notice of the Muscovite press, already aggrieved by his repeated protests over Manchuria. Spring-Rice, then serving in St.  p145 Petersburg, wrote Roosevelt that he was "feared here as much as Napoleon was" — surely a flattering exaggeration.

Roosevelt, indeed, made no pretense of neutrality. In July, 1904 he wrote Spring-Rice with enthusiasm of his exertions in the common cause:

As soon as the war broke out, I notified Germany and France in the most polite and discreet fashion that, in the event of a combination of powers against the Japan to try to do what Russia, Germany and France did to her in 1894 [it actually was '95], I should promptly side with Japan and proceed to whatever length was necessary on her behalf. I, of course, knew that your government would act in the same way, and thought it best that I should have no consultation with your people before announcing my own purpose.

A truly amazing commitment, but it is said that searches of the German and French archives disclose no evidence that Roosevelt swung the "big stick" as related. The story may, or may not, be apocryphal. There can be no doubt that it conformed to the President's bent. Since July, 1898, when he remarked to Sternberg his gratification at Japan's growth into a "formidable counterpoise to Russia in the Far East," Roosevelt had steadily expressed a pro‑Japanese bias. Suspecting the straightforwardness of the Russians, attributing to them a detestation of Americans and American civilization, and disapproving the reactionary character of Russian despotism, Roosevelt found his antipathy replenished at this period by Spring-Rice's letters. In the same month in which he reported his caveat to France and Germany the President discussed with Hay a project that would have amounted to a naval intervention against Russia.

In attempting to blockade Japan the Russians were halting, visiting, and detaining ships suspected of bearing contraband, notably cotton, to Japan. If the Russians dared seize an American merchantman, Roosevelt told his Secretary of State, he would like nothing better than to "move our Asiatic squadron northward . . . with the intention of having our squadron bottle up the Vladivostok fleet." Indeed, he ordered the Bureau of Navigation to plot such a maneuver. The country  p146 was spared the risk of war seemingly only because no American vessel fell into Russian toils. Roosevelt's words, however, even the naval order, were no warranty of corresponding action. His moods were changeable, his opinions in conversation and correspondence impulsive and contradictory, but he actually acted in state matters, as he was himself to point out, only after the "most careful deliberation."


What might be termed Roosevelt's conversational instability found graphic illustration during this period. With apparently no thought of duplicity, he contrived to convince Sternberg of a pro‑German orientation at the same time that his acts followed an unfailingly pro‑British course. The Kaiser seems not to have shared his Ambassador's confidence, remaining generally skeptical of Roosevelt's friendship, as he was unimpressed by the realism of his diplomacy. William's scribbled comments on Sternberg's reports often took a satirical tone. In August, 1904, the President suggested to Sternberg a German-American agreement at the end of the Russo-Japanese War under which Korea should be allotted to Japan as a protectorate and Manchuria ruled by a Chinese viceroy "to be appointed by Germany, not England." On the margin the Kaiser wrote: "The noble gentleman seems to intend to horn in on world politics." Regarding Roosevelt as a "dilettante," William complacently thought he understood the state of the public mind in America better than the President did.

Sternberg wrote of long, amiable talks at the White House, of Roosevelt assuring him that he would "like to go hand in hand with Germany in Eastern Asia," and of the President, in a mood petulant to the point of indiscretion, belittling Chamberlain, Balfour, Lansdowne, and Sir Mortimer Durand (Pauncefote's successor), "this creature of an Ambassador," finally declaring, "The only man I understand and who understands me is the Kaiser." To this avowal the Kaiser added a footnote: "Very flattering!" But with others than his  p147 friend Speckie the President was often drastically unflattering, terming the Kaiser an "autocratic zigzag": a "grizzly bear" who was "very jumpy and nervous," a man given to "sudden vagaries" and "wholly irrational zigzags," and, above all, untrustworthy. In reply to a reproach from Spring-Rice, Theodore wrote: "You might as well talk about my being under the influence of Bryan."

So it was with Roosevelt's attitude toward the British. He could write one day that while "friendly to England . . . I do not at all believe in being over-effusive." This to Lodge. And to Finley Peter Dunne he could decry Englishmen as dull and uncongenial, wishing them well "at a distance," attributing England's recent friendship to the growth of our fleet. While with English correspondents he was capable of ecstatic "race patriotism," as in this letter to Spring-Rice: "I feel so perfectly healthy myself and the Americans and Englishmen for whom I care . . . seem so healthy, so vigorous and on the whole so decent that I rather incline to the view of my beloved friend, Lieutenant Parker . . . whom I overheard telling the Russian naval attaché at Santiago that the two branches of Anglo-Saxons had come together, 'and together, we can whip the world, Prince.' " He had, in truth, numerous lifelong friends in England with whom he corresponded, such as Bryce, George Trevelyan, and St. Loe Strachey; he had scarcely any such intimates in Germany.

If he ever reflected on his inconsistencies, Roosevelt must have hoped that his correspondents would never meet and compare notes. The fickleness of his attitude toward the Great Powers, the eupeptic ease with which he disposed of the grim, complex, and deep-seated rivalries hurrying Europe toward cataclysm, proved a severe trial to the responsible statesmen in Great Britain. Downing Street, in one of the British Empire's complicated hours, with danger threatening on a score of fronts, viewed the first Roosevelt with perplexity. Unaware of the impression he created abroad, Roosevelt found time between lecturing the British, the Germans, the Japanese, and the French to take up jiu‑jitsu and have  p148 Pastor Wagner, apostle of the "simple life," at the White House for luncheon.

The British courted the unpredictable Teddy (as did the Kaiser), King Edward sending him a treasured miniature of John Hampden, the Roundhead, as an inauguration present in 1905, over protests of the Windsor librarian. Roosevelt fascinated the King, who thought the Rough Rider personally as brave as a "tiger." When Durand gave him the King's present, the President bade him keep it a secret for fear the Anglophobes might make a point of it; but the next day, while the Durands were entertaining the Baroness von Sternberg at tea, another guest, fresh from the White House, reported that Roosevelt was showing the miniature with gratified comment on Edward's thoughtfulness. The Ambassador thought it somehow pathetic that the chief of a great state should conceal a present from the chief of another state. To Durand, Roosevelt said: "So far as my descent goes, I suppose I am hardly an Anglo-Saxon, but I firmly believe that our two countries must stand together." When the Kaiser sent him an etching of Frederick the Great reviewing his troops, Roosevelt was pleased; amused also by William's note, which called Frederick his ancestor. "Frederick left no issue," the President chuckled.

Spring-Rice, having a tender affection for the whole Roosevelt family, might exclaim upon word of McKinley's assassination that the United States was "awfully lucky to get the best man possible by a fluke." He would also wearily liken his friend's scattering enthusiasms to those of a boy of six. Although Roosevelt's utterances imply that he saw himself as a wholly independent ruler, moderating the affairs of Europe and Asia with unfettered hand, in reality he conducted this country's foreign affairs as if guided by an Anglo-American entente. By some polar attraction, he inevitably pursued in both Asia and Europe the line of British interest. No President ever maintained a closer identity in action with London; few Presidents since the United States became a potential Sea Power in 1890 (and hence to be  p149 reckoned with) have had, however, a slighter influence on British policy.

Roosevelt's personalized, subjective diplomacy, his brusque unwillingness to sort out the roots of profoundly tangled international problems, puzzled the uninspired young men at the Foreign Office in London. The British paid him in the coin of flattery rather than of respect, treating him much as he handled the Kaiser, with mingled homage and neglect. Although the President's "hair-trigger" diplomacy complemented British policy in almost every detail from 1901 to 1909, the United States gained little in exchange for pulling English chestnuts out of the fire in Asia and Europe. His deeds, as we shall see, enhanced the Atlantic System, but his contradictory and unco-operative protestations failed to advance the cause of Anglo-American understanding. The fact is that Roosevelt was emotionally pro‑English, anti-German, fond of France, and indifferent to the other Continental Powers. While still Governor of New York he assured Spring-Rice by letter that Anglophobia was a waning influence in American political life, vowing with his usual dogmatism: "Americans who are Anglo-Saxon by adoption are . . . quite as strong about the unity of the two peoples as any others. . . . The Navy is a unit in wanting to smash Germany. . . . The professional Irishman is losing his grip and the bulk of the Irish are becoming American. . . . The feeling of hostility to England is continually softening." Yet publicly, in his role as politician and despite his familiarity with Mahan and his grasp of strategical concepts, the President could not bring himself to acknowledge the interdependence of the English-speaking Powers.

Early in 1905, as Roosevelt began to play power politics with the Far Eastern war, Adams wrote from Lafayette Square to a mutual friend: "The twelfth century still rages wildly here in the shape of a fiend with tusks and eye‑glasses across the way. The wild boar of Cubia [sic] I love him. He is almost sane beside his German and Russian cousins. . . . What is man that he should have tusks and grin?"

 p150  6

The motive for the "great part" which the President now proposed to play was preservation of the balance of power in East Asia in the general interest of American security. Welcoming the war as a check on Russia's looming ascendancy in North China, Roosevelt interposed to halt it when Japan's overwhelming victory appeared probable. A wholly triumphant Japan was no more to his liking than a dominant Russia. As realistic as the protagonists of Realpolitik at the Wilhelmstrasse, Roosevelt had begun to consider the consequences of a Japanese victory as early as June 13, 1904, when he supposed in a letter to Spring-Rice that "if they [the Japanese] win out, it may possibly mean a struggle between us and them in the future."

In January, 1905, with the Russian land forces falling back in the interior of Manchuria and only the Asia-bound Baltic fleet between the Czarist Empire and humiliating defeat, Roosevelt put out feelers for mediation through his confidants in the diplomatic service of other Powers — Spring-Rice at St. Petersburg, Sternberg and Jules Jusserand (the new French Ambassador) in Washington. Relying on these diplomats more than on his own (with a few exceptions) and lacking a reliable intelligence service, the President was not aware that in that same month the British had proposed a revision of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. The British were moving with Tokyo before the Japanese could be sure of the outcome of their war. The new draft extended the protection of the alliance to the boundaries of India, strengthened Japan's position in Korea as a quid pro quo, and fortified the defensive clauses by bringing either signatory to the side of the other in case of aggression by a single outside Power instead of two, as before. These negotiations may have accounted for the reserve which greeted Roosevelt's feelers in Downing Street.

By April France, alarmed over a challenging visit by the Kaiser to the Sultan of Morocco (an incident to be examined in the next chapter), wished the war in the Far East at an  p151 end. Moreover, the money of French petits rentiers, which was financing the czar's war effort, was sensitive. Mukden had fallen in March, and realistic French analysts thought only a miracle could save Russia in Manchuria. Discussing peace with the Japanese Ambassador, the French Foreign Minister, Théophile Delcassé, discovered that the Mikado's Government was now confident of crushing victory and had in mind a sizable cash indemnity. Hope, however, still lingered in St. Petersburg. George von L. Meyer, who had been transferred from Rome to be Ambassador at the Russian capital on a hint from Spring-Rice to Roosevelt that a "stronger man" would be useful there, discovered this when on April 12 he sounded the Czar on peace. The Czarina, Meyer noted, "watched him [the czar] like a cat," indicating otherwise also that she wished the fighting to continue. Like other influential persons in St. Petersburg, the Czarina still pinned faith to the Baltic fleet under Admiral Rozhdestvensky.

But on May 27, 1905, the Baltic fleet, which rated in battle efficiency about with the Spanish fleet of 1898, was destroyed in the Battle of Tsushima. Russia had lost the war. Japan, too, her lines extended, and pinched by the English and American bankers, was quite ready for peace. On May 31 the President congratulated Baron Kaneko, a Japanese journalist and diplomatist, that "neither Trafalgar nor the defeat of the Spanish Armada was as complete — as overwhelming." That day also the Japanese Minister, Baron Takahira, received instructions from Tokyo to the effect that Japan hoped that Roosevelt, "of his own motion and initiative," would invite the belligerents to down arms and discuss peace. The Japanese notion of spontaneity amused the President.

Defeated in the Far East, Russia was also riven by internal strife. The rifle fire that had felled Father Gapon's petitioners before the Winter Palace still echoed. The Duma, ineffectual but articulate, stimulated the radical intelligentsia to revolt, and the Okhrana contrived jacqueries among the peasants against liberal landlords. There were uprisings and the revolution — which would be deferred until 1917 — was  p152 expected hourly. Under those circumstances the Czar, a "preposterous little creature," in Roosevelt's phrase, lost his aversion to peace. William II busied himself for Roosevelt's peace project also, indulging, as Spring-Rice reported after a visit to Berlin, in a "violent love-making to Tower and Meyer," persuading them of his support. Charlemagne Tower, formerly at St. Petersburg, was now Ambassador to Berlin, and Meyer had also been in the German capital on a visit. The Kaiser, it was suspected, trembled at the prospect of a revolution destroying the autocracy in Russia and possibly lapping over the border into Germany.

In a telegram to "Nicky" signed "Willy," the Kaiser advised his cousin that Roosevelt, if anyone, could bring the Japanese to moderate terms. "Should it meet with your approval," he added, "I could easily place myself privately en rapport with him [Roosevelt], as we are very intimate." This was on June 3. The next day William told Tower that he was pressing the Czar after peace. On June 6, the Czarina's birthday, an occasion which impeded Meyer's effort to take up affairs of state with the Czar, Nicholas agreed to Roosevelt's intermediation. Roosevelt was now the arbiter of the Far East. His selection suited both sides, he being the only head of a Great Power who was acceptable to both. The negotiations ("playing with kings," Adams called it) exhilarated Roosevelt, although in writing to Lodge he reflected that the "more I see of the Czar, the Kaiser and the Mikado, the better I am content with democracy, even if we have to include the American newspaper as one of its assets — liability would be a better term."

The war having ended, there remained the peace settlement. Japan, mindful of the money prize gained from China in 1895, flatly demanded a large indemnity, although experienced European diplomats were certain that the project was futile. Russia had never paid an indemnity, the Treasury was empty, and few authorities believed that Japan could collect without reducing St. Petersburg by arms. In vain Roosevelt besought England's help in bringing her ally to reason. "Every true friend of Japan should tell it,"  p153 he expostulated to Durand, "that the . . . civilized world will not support it in continuing the war merely for the purpose of extorting money from Russia."

Durand cabled Lansdowne that he had sidestepped Roosevelt's request, "supposing that His Majesty's Government would probably be reluctant to take any step which could embarrass Japan." Lansdowne approved his course. When the President again asked for help, the Foreign Secretary commented that "our advice [to Japan] would not be taken and would be resented." At the peace conference opening on August 10, 1905, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Korea was handed over to Japanese "protection" (in line with the renewed alliance); Japan took the Port Arthur leasehold and rights in southern Manchuria, leaving Russia the sphere along her railway in the north; the island of Sakhalin was divided, Japan obtaining the southern portion — but there was no cash indemnity.

For his efforts the President won the Nobel Peace Prize and the plaudits of Henry Adams, who declared in a letter from Paris that his friend had "established a record as the best herder of emperors since Napoleon. . . . I need your views about the relative docility of Kings, Presidents of South American republics, railway presidents and Senators." In addition to the plaudits, the President had also saved the letter of the Open Door policy, Japan and Russia agreeing that Manchuria should return to the sovereignty of China. Korea, of course, was irreversibly Japan's.

Roosevelt had not waited for the peace conference to add his own sanction to the Korean protectorate. In May, 1905, he sent William Howard Taft, who had pacified the Philippines, on another placating journey to the Far East. So far as the public knew, the Secretary of War was returning to the scene of his proconsular triumphs to anneal certain minor rifts in the accord between the Filipinos and the colonial administration. Taft suggested that he carry along a party of Congressmen for a look at the archipelago. A romantic flair was given the junket by the presence of Miss  p154 Alice Roosevelt and Nicholas Longworth, a Representative from Ohio, who were soon to be married.

Privately, Taft was under instructions to conduct negotiations during a visit to Japan. Scenting this fact, Roosevelt wrote Hay, "Cassini is now having a fit." Roosevelt, who more than any other American contrived the American acquisition of the Philippines, was now in a renunciatory mood. Before Taft departed he suggested that his emissary hint to the Filipinos that they might soon have their freedom, a proposal that Taft negatived. The islands, Roosevelt was convinced, were our "Achilles heel" in the Far East. At about this time Sternberg reported that the President was sick of the Philippines, considered them a strategical liability, and would like to cut them loose if he could do so honorably.

For the sake of the Philippines, Roosevelt and Taft now extended approval of Japan's advance into Korea, swinging unmistakably into the orbit of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Taft saw the Japanese Prime Minister, Count (later Prince) Katsura, on July 27, cabling an extended memorandum on the conversation two days later. The "agreed memorandum" came close to being a secret understanding, in which Japan renounced "aggressive designs" on the Philippines and the United States agreed that Japan should "establish a suzerainty over Korea," forbidding Korea to "enter upon [any] treaties without the consent of Japan." Roosevelt's cabled reply, received in forty-eight hours, read: "Your conversation with Count Katsura absolutely correct in every respect. Wish you would state to Katsura that I confirm every word you have said."

Five months later, Korea was declared a protectorate; in August, 1910, it was annexed to Japan.


The United States, following a path parallel to that of Britain in the Russo-Japanese War and in respect to Japan's ambitions, was by now inextricably involved in the Far East. Ironically, the first consequence was that Japan, emerging as  p155 the overshadowing power of East Asia, scarcely waited to catch her breath before exhibiting a lively ingratitude toward the American friend. Public cupidity in Japan, whetted by political promises of a large cash indemnity, vented its disappointment on Roosevelt. Martial law had to be invoked in Tokyo to repress rioters, who fired police stations, burned four American churches, menaced the American Legation, and inflicted a thousand casualties. In vast numbers of Japanese homes lithographs of Roosevelt were turned to the wall.

The President, who had rushed in where the English feared to read, was reaping the all too common reward of the peacemaker. "The attacks by the Tokyo mob," he wrote St. Loe Strachey, editor of the Spectator, "have an ominous side and reconcile me to her failure to get a great sum of money." To Colonel George Harvey, a later Ambassador to England, Roosevelt blamed the politicians for "letting everybody talk as if they had gotten the worst of it," when, as a matter of fact, Japan had benefited enormously, being now a "formidable sea power," a match in the Pacific "for any nation save England."

The sea‑power aspects of Japan's victory had not escaped American navalists. In March, 1904, Cabot Lodge launched a campaign in the Senate for a "navy second only to Great Britain's" — the first time America had considered that yardstick. Increasingly the Nipponese were to be disclosed as a potential enemy. During the next generation immigration and naturalization disputes, provoked in part by a hastened racial self-esteem in Japan, in part by the intransigence of California, were periodically to roil relations between the countries. At a time of acute tension Roosevelt, his trepidations fed by alarmist reports of Japanese naval strength from Berlin and inflammatory talk by the Kaiser about Japanese "reservists" in Mexico, was to send the Great White Fleet on a cruise around the world.​a The President hoped thereby to allay Japanese pugnacity. From Tokyo the British Ambassador informed London that the visit of the fleet to Japan "has had all the effect our allies wanted it to and has  p156 put an end to all nonsensical war talk." The British Ambassador seems to have forgotten with which country Britain was allied. The formidable armada called at New Zealand and Australia, suggesting the existence of an English-speaking solidarity in the Pacific as well as the Atlantic.​b Canada applauded the progress of the fleet almost equally with this country, and among Canadians calling at the White House to express approval of the gesture was W. L. MacKenzie King, who was then the Dominion Commissioner of Labor.

The mild co‑operative policy initiated by Hay was to grow gradually out of all semblance as each Administration strengthened the American claim to a decisive voice in the Far East. The United States, however, was going it alone. America constantly claimed an interest in the disposition of Far Eastern affairs, and reserved the right to intervene morally, to pass judgment on other Powers — yet, by reason of that strange dualism afflicting and enfeebling American foreign affairs, the Government was unable or unwilling to enter into the specific power relation­ships that might implement its will. Consciously neglecting its defenses, shrinking from express commitments with its "natural ally," nevertheless for a generation the United States blocked Japan's ambition at almost every turn. In 1905 Balfour, commenting to Spring-Rice in a memorandum intended for Roosevelt's eye, proposed an Anglo-American alliance covering the Far East in these words:

If America and ourselves were to enter into a treaty, binding us jointly to resist . . . aggression, it would never, I believe, be attempted. Together we are too strong for any combination of powers to fight us. I believe there would be no difficulty on this side of the Atlantic. The difficulty, I imagine, would be rather with the United States, whose traditions and whose Constitution conspire to make such arrangements hard to conclude.

In the polite terms of diplomacy Balfour was putting his finger on the flaw in the American Far Eastern policy. The United States would interfere, exercise moral suasion, or scold; it would not accept the logical responsibility of its  p157 interference. At home in the Atlantic world, the United States behaved there with realism and consistency. Not so in the Pacific. In the end, of course, under the rigorous pressure of war waged by a world-wide Axis, America was to draw together with the English-speaking peoples bordering the Pacific, with the British, and with the Dutch and the Chinese, in a Pacific concert also. The steps, slow and halting, were beset by the contradictions, the indecisiveness, the soft refusal to take responsibility that grew, in part, out of the "dull" understanding noted by Roosevelt. It seemed likely that it would take the fires of war finally to disclose to America her vital interest in her other ocean. Yet even in the uncertain days of 1941 signs were not lacking that the English-speaking Powers proposed to enlarge and solidify their Atlantic System into a new era for the Pacific world as well. For one thing, the New Zealanders, Australians, and Canadians were beginning to demand that Britain and America formulate a policy based on something more substantial than expediency.

Thayer's Notes:

a The policy considerations are detailed by Thomas A. Bailey in The World Cruise of the American Battleship Fleet, 1907‑1909 (PacHR 1:389‑423); a more general overview including naval strategy (but also illustrated with some contemporary cartoons) is given by G. C. O'Gara in Chapter 5 of Theodore Roosevelt and the Modern Navy, "Fleet Organization and Distribution", pp71‑81.

[decorative delimiter]

b For the welcome given the Fleet in New Zealand and Australia, and attitudes there and in Britain, see Bailey, pp409‑412.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 9 May 16