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we shall know we are steering by the lines of the past. We shall know that no temporary convenience, no temporary expediency will lead us either to be rash or to be cowardly. I would be just as much ashamed to be rash as I would to be a coward. Valor is self-respecting. Valor is circumspect. Valor strikes only when it is the right to strike. Valor withholds itself from all small implications and entanglements and waits for the great opportunity when the sword will flash as if it carried the light of heaven upon its blade.
Congressional Record, LIII, 3308.
34. RIGHT OF AMERICANS TO TRAVERSE
(February 29, 1916)
LETTER TO REPRESENTATIVE POU ON THE MCLEMORE
Inasmuch as I learn that Mr. Henry, the chairman of the Committee on Rules, is absent in Texas, I take the liberty of calling your attention, as ranking member of the committee, to a matter of grave concern to the country which can, I believe, be handled, under the rules of the House, only by that committee.
The report that there are divided counsels in Congress in regard to the foreign policy of the Government is being made industrious use of in foreign capitals. I believe that report to be false, but so long as it is anywhere credited it can not fail to do the greatest harm and expose the country to the most serious risks. I therefore feel justified in asking that your committee will permit me to urge an early vote upon the resolutions with regard to travel on armed merchantmen which have recently been so much talked about, in order that there may be afforded an immediate opportunity for full public discussion and action upon them and that all doubts and conjectures may be swept away and our foreign relations once more cleared of damaging misunderstandings.
The matter is of so grave importance and lies so clearly within the field of Executive initiative that I venture to hope that your committee will not think that I am taking an unwarranted liberty in making this suggestion as to the business of the House; and I very earnestly commend it to their iminediate consideration.
Congressional Record, LIII, App. 681.
35. EXPEDITION INTO MEXICO
(March 25, 1916)
STATEMENT TO THE PRESS
As has already been announced, the expedition into Mexico was ordered under an agreement with the de facto Government of Mexico for the single purpose of taking the bandit Villa, whose forces had actually invaded the territory of the United States, and is in no sense intended as an invasion of that republic or as an infringement of its sovereignty.
I have, therefore, asked the several news services to be good enough to assist the Administration in keeping this view of the expedition constantly before both the people of this country and the distressed and sensitive people of Mexico, who are very susceptible, indeed, to impressions received from the American press not only, but also very ready to believe that those impressions proceed from the views and objects of our Government itself.
Such conclusions, it must be said, are not unnatural, because the main, if not the only, source of information for the people on both sides of the border is the public press of the United States.
In order to avoid the creation of erroneous and dangerous impressions in this way I have called upon the several news agencies to use the utmost care not to give news stories regarding this expedition the color of war, to withhold stories of troop movements and military preparations which might be given that interpretation, and to refrain from publishing unverified rumors of unrest in Mexico.
I feel that it is most desirable to impress upon both our own people and the people of Mexico the fact that the expedition is simply a necessary punitive measure, aimed solely at the elimination of the maurauders who raided
Columbus and who infest an unprotected district near the border, which they use as a base in making attacks upon the lives and property of our citizens within our own territory. It is the purpose of our commanders to coöperate in every possible way with the forces of General Carranza in removing this cause of irritation to both Governments, and retire from Mexican territory so soon as that object is accomplished.
It is my duty to warn the people of the United States that there are persons all along the border who are actively engaged in originating and giving as wide currency as they can to rumors of the most sensational and disturbing sort, which are wholly unjustified by the facts. The object of this traffic in falsehood is obvious. It is to create intolerable friction between the Government of the United States and the de facto Government of Mexico for the purpose of bringing about intervention in the interest of certain American owners of Mexican properties. This object can not be attained so long as sane and honorable men are in control of this Government, but very serious conditions may be created, unnecessary bloodshed may result, and the relations between the two republics may be very much embarrassed.
The people of the United States should know the sinister and unscrupulous influences that are afoot, and should be on their guard against crediting any story coming from the border; and those who disseminate the news should make it a matter of patriotism and of conscience to test the source and authenticity of every report they receive from that quarter.
New York Times, March 26, 1916. 36. ULTIMATUM ON SUBMARINE WARFARE
(April 19, 1916) ADDRESS TO CONGRESS
A situation has arisen in the foreign relations of the country of which it is my plain duty tn inform you very franızv.
It will be recalled that in February, 1915, the Imperial German Government announced its intention to treat the waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland as embraced within the seat of war and to destroy all merchant ships
owned by its enemies that might be found within any part of that portion of the high seas, and that it warned all vessels, of neutral as well as of belligerent ownership, to keep out of the waters it had thus proscribed or else enter them at their peril. The Government of the United States earnestly protested. It took the position that such a policy could not be pursued without the practical certainty of gross and palpable violations of the law of nations, particularly if submarine craft were to be employed as its instruments, inasmuch as the rules prescribed by that law, rules founded upon principles of humanity and established for the protection of the lives of non-combatants at sea, could not in the nature of the case be observed by such vessels. It based its protest on the ground that persons of neutral nationality and vessels of neutral ownership would be exposed to extreme and intolerable risks, and that no right to close any part of the high seas against their use or to expose them to such risks could lawfully be asserted by any belligerent government. The law of nations in these matters, upon which the Government of the United States based its protest, is not of recent origin or founded upon merely arbitrary principles set up by convention. It is based, on the contrary, upon manifest and imperative principles of humanity and has long been established with the approval and by the express assent of all civilized nations.
Notwithstanding the earnest protest of our Government, he Imperial German Government at once proceeded to carry put the policy it had announced. It expressed the hope that the dangers involved, at any rate the dangers to neutral vessels, would be reduced to a minimum by the instructions which it had issued to its submarine commanders, and assured the Government of the United States that it would take every possible precaution both to respect the rights of neutrals and to safeguard the lives of non-combatants.
What has actually happened in the year which has since elapsed has shown that those hopes were not justified, those assurances insusceptible of being fulfilled. In pursuance of the policy of submarine warfare against the commerce of its adversaries, thus announced and entered upon by the Imperial German Government in despite of the solemn protest of this Government, the commanders of German undersea vessels have attacked merchant ships with greater and greater activity, not only upon the high seas surrounding Great Britain and Ireland but wherever they could encounter them, in way that has grown more and more ruthless, more and more indiscriminate as the months have gone by, less and less observant of restraints of any kind and have delivered their attacks without compunction against vessels of every nationality and bound upon every sort of errand. Vessels of neutral ownership, even vessels of neutral ownership bound from neutral port to neutral port, have been destroyed along with vessels of belligerent ownership in constantly increasing numbers. Sometimes the merchantmen attacked has been warned and summoned to surrender before being fired on or torpedoed; sometimes passengers or crews have been vouchsafed the poor security of being allowed to take to the ship's boats before she was sent the bottom. But again and again no warning has been given, no escape even to the ship's boats allowed to those on board. What this Government foresaw must happen has happened. Tragedy has followed tragedy on the seas in such fashion, with such attendant circumstances, as to make it grossly evident that warfare of such a sort, if warfare it be, cannot be carried on without the most palpable violation of the dictates alike of right and of humanity. Whatever the disposition and intention of the Imperial German Government, it has manifestly proved impossible for it to keep such methods of attack upon the commerce of its enemies within the bounds set by either reason or the heart of mankind.
In February of the present year the Imperial German Government informed this Government and the other neutral governments of the world that it had reason to believe that the Government of Great Britain had armed all merchant vessels of British ownership and had given them secret orders to attack any submarine of the enemy they might encounter upon the seas, and that the Imperial German Government felt justified in the circumstances in treating all armed merchantmen of belligerent ownership as auxiliary vessels of war, which it would have the right to destroy without warning. The law of nations has long recognized the right of