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vided up among other Powers, provided that these agree to preserve the open door for all commerce alike within such portions of the empire as they choose to acquire-or to "lease," if that term softens at all the hard fact of substantial ownership and control. Yet in the very communication in which Secretary Hay gravely proposed to the British Government that it should give its formal adhesion to its own policy, he recognized that there was a Chinese question inside the open door, and indicated that the policy of the United States was still in favor of preserving the integrity of the Chinese Empire, as the most effective way of safeguarding its own rights. And now the inert body of the Chinese nation, pronounced to be politically dead by the nations of Europe, has very unpleasantly come to life again, and it becomes clear enough that the commercial program of the open door must be supplemented by some pretty vigorous political action, if there is to be any commerce left to safeguard. Again Secretary Hay comes forward with a statement of American policy and this time he does not limit it to securing commercial equality.
On July 3rd, in a telegraphic despatch addressed to the various European Governments, the full purport of which soon after became public, the Secretary defined in general terms the policy which his Government sought to pursue in China. While this definition of policy was taken in some quarters as intended quite as much for the information of the American people during a Presidential campaign as for the enlightenment of foreign governments, its authoritative and important character cannot be denied. The landing of American troops upon Chinese soil, to join the armed forces of the European nations and of Japan in military operations, of highly uncertain scope and duration, certainly marked such an important departure from former Ameri
can policy as to call for some explanation-particularly in view of the fact that we have had no political or territorial aspirations in China, and have, partly on this account, occupied a special position of friendliness towards the Chinese Government.
Secretary Hay states that the United States adheres to the policy initiated by it in 1857, "of peace with the Chinese nation, and of furtherance of lawful commerce," and he further includes in this policy "the protection of the lives and property of American citizens in China by all the means guaranteed under extra-territorial rights or covered by the law of nations." "If wrong be done to American citizens," he says, "the responsible authors will be held to the uttermost accountability." Then follows the important statement that in the view of his Government the condition at Pekin is one of virtual anarchy, "whereby power and responsibility is practically devolved upon the local authorities." As long as these officials are not in overt collusion with rebellion, and use their powers to protect foreign life and property, they are to be regarded "as representing the Chinese people, with whom we wish to remain in peace and friendship." He then states that the purpose of the President is to act in concurrence with the other Powers, first in opening up communication with Pekin and rescuing American officials, missionaries and other citizens who are there in danger; secondly, in affording all possible protection everywhere in China to American life and property; thirdly, in guarding and protecting all legitimate American interests; and fourthly, in aiding to prevent a spread of the disorder to the other provinces of the Empire, and "a recurrence of such disasters." The Secretary concludes with the significant statement that it is the policy of the Government of the United States "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 by international law, and safeguard for the world the principle of equal and impartial trade with all parts of the Chinese Empire."
The language of this important note was certainly carefully considered, and it must be taken to define the policy to which the administration of President McKinley is definitely and fully committed, however it may be attacked by the political party in opposition—a policy which will last during his present term at least, ending next March, and will be continued in the event of his reelection. While this program only corresponds to the course tacitly or expressly accepted by the European Governments concerned as the necessary one, and while it marks no radical departure from their past practices in respect to interference with the affairs of semi-civilized or Oriental peoples, it certainly marks a significant change in American foreign policy, and one which cannot but have far-reaching consequences.
The finding out of those responsible for wrongs to American citizens and holding them to the "uttermost accountability," will be likely alone to prove a task of the greatest magnitude and difficulty. As long as such wrongs could be traced to the action or non-action of local officials, and as long as there was a central government to appeal to, the steps to take were, indeed, comparatively simple, even if rarely effective. But if the condition of China is to be regarded as one of virtual anarchy for the time being, as Secretary Hay quite wisely concludes, and if the Government of the Empress was itself practically responsible for these wrongs, through directly or indirectly countenancing them, then the
task proposed is certainly one of exceeding difficulty; and if, as there is only too much reason to believe, the movement against all foreigners, of which such wrongs are merely a manifestation, is to a large extent a general and national movement-so far as anything can be national in China-the obstacles in the way of enforcing such accountability, while preserving "relations of peace and friendship with the Chinese people," would seem to be insuperable.
When we come to the other points in this program it becomes tolerably clear that it commits the United States to action which will ultimately and necessarily lead to an actual, if not at once to a formal, participation on her part in the concert of the European Powers and Japan in regard to China. Of course the word used is "concurrence," and doubtless fine distinctions can be drawn between concurrent action and joint action, if it is desired to persuade the American people that some shadow of independence of action still attaches to the course of their Government in China. But the fact remains that it is humanly impossible for the United States to carry out her present comprehensive program in China otherwise than by acting in full accord with the other Powers, as long as unity of action continues among them, or by joining with one or more of them if a divergence of policy should unfortunately arise.
Two lines of action are included within the program enunciated by Secretary Hay, the one military, the other political. The actual necessity that military operations should be undertaken by the united forces of the different countries concerned, acting in common, seems sufficiently obvious. The number of men whom the United States could at present contribute to a Chinese campaign would be utterly inadequate to carry out the policy of
punishment for outrages to American life and property in China, or to afford anything like adequate protection to American interests during the present crisis-to say nothing of preventing the spread of the disorders to other provinces, which absolutely requires that a strong and united front should every. where be presented by the Powers concerned. As the movement of the Chinese seems to be directed against all foreigners indiscriminately, unity of • action on the part of the foreign military forces is a prime necessity. American troops may even be placed under the supreme command of an officer representing some other nation, and the necessities of the situation must secure the continuance of joint military operations. It may truthfully be said, therefore, that the United States has already entered the concert of the Powers in China so far as military action is concerned.
But the use of armed force leads directly and almost necessarily to political action, and in this field the imperative need of concert between the Powers is equally obvious. As soon as the international forces reach Pekin -perhaps even sooner the political question must come to the front. It would, of course, be theoretically possible for the United States to contine its action in China strictly within military lines, and to leave the settlement of the future government of the country entirely to the other nations concerned, merely asking for the recog nition and safeguarding of its own existing rights and interests. It would, however, certainly prove a difficult matter to draw the line between military and political action, and it is hardly likely that any country would be willing to make the sacrifices involved in the armed operations and then assume an attitude of non-participation in the settlement by the Powers of those political issues whose treat
ment will largely determine the future of China, and the interests of the Western nations in that future. But the strong probability that American action will not be confined within military lines is made almost a cer tainty by the express language used by Secretary Hay in concluding his last note. Besides committing the United States to aid in preventing "a recurrence of such disasters" as have recently taken place, which certainly cannot be effected otherwise than through political action, he further states that it is the policy of his Government "to seek a solution which may bring about permanent safety and peace in China." This language certainly means that America intends to participate in, if not to originate, action which will go to the root of the whole Chinese question. and effect a radical and fundamental change in the government of that country. In the accomplishment of such an object it is even more clear than in the case of military operations that the United States will be compelled, instead of preserving her traditional independence of action in the East, to enter, more or less openly and frankly, the concert of the other Powers, if that be maintained, or to act in harmony with one or more of them, if the concert be broken up. If the language of Secretary Hay has any meaning-and it is certainly intended to have it plainly and necessarily involves the representation of the United States in any congress or concert of the Powers which undertakes to settle the future of China.
If then America is in future to have a voice-based upon her present military operations, upon her important treaty rights and her commerce, upon her geographical position, including now not only the Pacific Coast but also Hawaii and the Philippines, and upon her rank among the greatest Powers of the world-in the radical settlement
of the Chinese question, it is not too early to consider briefly the political relations existing between the other Powers having interests in China-relations which we must take cognizance of and cannot blindly ignore-and to attempt to forecast the manner which these will be affected by the entry of the great Republic into this new field. That the balance of interests which has heretofore existed between such Powers will be in some measure disturbed seems inevitable. The situation is one of such delicacy and danger that the Government of the United States must act with the fullest attainable knowledge, with the amplest consideration, with the most careful regard of the existing rights and interests of other countries, and above all with a desire to so calculate its own action as to preserve the peace between the various nations concerned, with all of whom it is fortunately on terms of friendship.
If the United States is to enter the field of Asiatic politics and diplomacy, as she is now doing, it is certainly fortunate for the world that she occupies a position so free from the network of complications, political and racial rivalries, and clashing interests, which unhappily involve the other Powers concerned. In the first place her interests in China, both present and future-if we lay aside those connected with missions-are exclusively commercial, whereas the interests of the five other Powers largely concerned -Great Britain, Russia, France, Germany and Japan-are necessarily also political, and partly territorial. She desires neither territory nor exclusive sphere of influence upon the continent of Asia; she seeks only the maintenance of an open door for trade and the protection of the lives and property of any of her citizens lawfully resident in China. The same thing certainly cannot be said of any of the other Powers,
all of which, except Japan, have most important possessions upon the continent of Asia, which are vitally concerned, directly or indirectly, in the settlement of the Chinese problem; and if Japan has not yet obtained a territorial foothold upon the continent, her interests are also, perhaps even more vitally, involved. On account of this fact, as well as on account of our past relations of friendship with the Chinese Government-signally illustrated by
the important services which we rendered to her in the making of peace with Japan at the conclusion of the late war-the United States occupies a peculiarly advantageous position to assist in negotiating a radical solution of the celestial question-if that be indeed within the range of human possibility.
Perhaps it is no less fortunate that we are free from any complications, whether of alliance or of hostility, affecting our relations with the other Powers concerned. None of these Powers, except Great Britain and France, have any interests whatever on the American continent or its islands-and the interests of France are merely nominal-while we have no interests, except those of commerce, which clash with those of any other Power in any part of the world. It may be true that Russia, if she establishes her dominion over nearly the whole of Asia, may sometime be ambitious to bring the rest of the world under the rule of the Czar; or that the sympathies of the French people were mostly with Spain during our late war; or that Germany: was willing to receive the Philippines from Spain without the consent of the United States; and it is certainly true that we won our independence from Great Britain by force of arms in the last century, and were again at war with her in the early part of the century now closing. But surely there is nothing in any of these facts, or conjectures, which should now affect
American statesmanship in dealing in an impartial spirit with all the national interests involved in the Chinese situation. Commercially we freely concede to every other nation all rights in China which we ask for ourselves; politically we should seek only to maintain good relations with the other Powers and to contribute everything within our ability to effect an honorable, and, so far as possible, a permanent settlement between their conflicting interests, and to avert the terrible disaster of a war between any two or more of the Powers interested in the Far East. But it is argued in some quarters that there should be some special cooperation or concert of action between the United States and Great Britain in China, joined perhaps by Japan, because the interests of these three Powers are especially concerned in the maintenance of the open-door policy, which is threatened, if at all, by the action of Russia, France and Germany. It is quite true that the purely commercial interests of the United States would seem to lie in the direction of assisting to establish an important British sphere of influence in China, for two purely business reasons: first, because Great Britain believes in, and is thoroughly committed to, the policy of free and equal trade for all nations wherever her rule extends; and, secondly, because she is by far the largest customer for our products, and anything which increases the purchasing power of her people-and the occupation of an important part of China might be expected to do this-might be supposed indirectly to benefit American producers. It must also be agreed that, besides the community of language, the political institutions and ideas of the two countries largely resemble each other, and their respective peoples are better able to understand one another-even if they do not always do so-than those of any other two great
Powers interested in the Orient. It is also doubtless true that the United States, Great Britain and Japan, acting firmly together, and prepared to make their views prevail at any cost, could control the settlement of the Chinese question, as Germany would at least remain neutral if her existing concessions were respected, while Russia and France would be overmatched and would be obliged to acquiesce. It is also suggested in some quarters that for what may be called sentimental reasons as well, arising out of the important diplomatic assistance which Great Britain extended to the United States during the Spanish-American war, American support should now be given to British policy in China. It seems to the present writer that any expectations of this kind are based upon a lack of understanding of the situation in Asia, and of the conditions determining the action of the United States, which cannot be too soon removed.
To take up the latter point first, sentiment, even that of gratitude, affords a very insecure and doubtful basis for national action. In the present stage of human progress, enlightened national self-interest would seem to afford the safest guidance for those who have charge of the political destinies of nations, for the more national self-interest becomes enlightened the clearer will it be that in this age of the world the interests of all nations are inextricably bound up together. If the governing statesmen of Great Britain adopted the course which they did during the Spanish-American war purely from a sentimental attachment to the United States, and without believing that in the long run their course would also promote the best interests of Great Britain, they were guilty of an act of folly, if not of a betrayal of national trust; but no thinking man supposes anything of the sort. Anything which