State of the Union Address William H. Taft December 6, 1910
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
During the past year the foreign relations of the United States have continued upon a basis of friendship and good understanding. ARBITRATION.
The year has been notable as witnessing the pacific settlement of two important international controversies before the Permanent Court of The Hague.
The arbitration of the Fisheries dispute between the United States and Great Britain, which has been the source of nearly continuous diplomatic correspondence since the Fisheries Convention of 1818, has given an award which is satisfactory to both parties. This arbitration is particularly noteworthy not only because of the eminently just results secured, but also because it is the first arbitration held under the general arbitration treaty of April 4, 1908, between the United States and Great Britain, and disposes of a controversy the settlement of which has resisted every other resource of diplomacy, and which for nearly ninety years has been the cause of friction between two countries whose common interest lies in maintaining the most friendly and cordial relations with each other.
The United States was ably represented before the tribunal. The complicated history of the questions arising made the issue depend, more than ordinarily in such cases, upon the care and skill with which our case was presented, and I should be wanting in proper recognition of a great patriotic service if I did not refer to the lucid historical analysis of the facts and the signal ability and force of the argument—six days in length—presented to the Court in support of our case by Mr. Elihu Root. As Secretary of State, Mr. Root had given close study to the intricate facts bearing on the controversy, and by diplomatic correspondence had helped to frame the issues. At the solicitation of the Secretary of State and myself, Mr. Root, though burdened by his duties as Senator from New York, undertook the preparation of the case as leading counsel, with the condition imposed by himself that, in view of his position as Senator, he should not receive any compensation.
The Tribunal constituted at The Hague by the Governments of the United States and Venezuela has completed its deliberations and has rendered an award in the case of the Orinoco Steamship Company against Venezuela. The award may be regarded as satisfactory since it has, pursuant to the contentions of the United States, recognized a number of important principles making for a judicial attitude in the determining of international disputes.
In view of grave doubts which had been raised as to the constitutionality of The Hague Convention for the establishment of an International Prize Court, now before the Senate for ratification, because of that provision of the Convention which provides that there may be an appeal to the proposed Court from the decisions of national courts, this government proposed in an Identic Circular Note addressed to those Powers who had taken part in the London Maritime Conference, that the powers signatory to the Convention, if confronted with such difficulty, might insert a reservation to the effect that appeals to the International Prize Court in respect to decisions of its national tribunals, should take the form of a direct claim for compensation; that the proceedings thereupon to be taken should be in the form of a trial de novo, and that judgment of the Court should consist of compensation for the illegal capture, irrespective of the decision of the national court whose judgment had thus been internationally involved. As the result of an informal discussion it was decided to provide such procedure by means of a separate protocol which should be ratified at the same time as the Prize Court Convention itself.
Accordingly, the Government of the Netherlands, at the request of this Government, proposed under date of May 24, 1910, to the powers signatory to The Hague Convention, the negotiation of a supplemental protocol embodying stipulations providing for this alternative procedure. It is gratifying to observe that this additional protocol is being signed without objection, by the powers signatory to the original convention, and there is every reason to believe that the International Prize Court will be soon established.
The Identic Circular Note also proposed that the International Prize Court when established should be endowed with the functions of an Arbitral Court of Justice under and pursuant to the recommendation adopted by the last Hague Conference. The replies received from the various powers to this proposal inspire the hope that this also may be accomplished within the reasonably near future.
It is believed that the establishment of these two tribunals will go a long way toward securing the arbitration of many questions which have heretofore threatened and, at times, destroyed the peace of nations.
Appreciating these enlightened tendencies of modern times, the Congress at its last session passed a law providing for the appointment of a commission of five members "to be appointed by the President of the United States to consider the expediency of utilizing existing international agencies for the purpose of limiting the armaments of the nations of the world by international agreement, and of constituting the combined navies of the world an international force for the preservation of universal peace, and to consider and report upon any other means to diminish the expenditures of government for military purposes and to lessen the probabilities of war."
I have not as yet made appointments to this Commission because I have invited and am awaiting the expressions of foreign governments as to their willingness to cooperate with us in the appointment of similar commissions or representatives who would meet with our commissioners and by joint action seek to make their work effective.
GREAT BRITAIN AND CANADA.
Several important treaties have been negotiated with Great Britain in the past twelve months. A preliminary diplomatic agreement has been reached regarding the arbitration of pecuniary claims which each Government has against the other. This agreement, with the schedules of claims annexed, will, as soon as the schedules are arranged, be submitted to the Senate for approval.
An agreement between the United States and Great Britain with regard to the location of the international boundary line between the United States and Canada in Passamaquoddy Bay and to the middle of Grand Manan Channel was reached in a Treaty concluded May 21, 1910, which has been ratified by both Governments and proclaimed, thus making unnecessary the arbitration provided for in the previous treaty of April 11, 1908.
The Convention concluded January 11, 1909, between the United States and Great Britain providing for the settlement of international differences between the United States and Canada including the apportionment between the two countries of certain of the boundary waters and the appointment of Commissioners to adjust certain other questions has been ratified by both Governments and proclaimed.
The work of the International Fisheries Commission appointed in 1908, under the treaty of April 11, 1908, between Great Britain and the United States, has resulted in the formulation and recommendation of uniform regulations governing the fisheries of the boundary waters of Canada and the United States for the purpose of protecting and increasing the supply of food fish in such waters. In completion of this work, the regulations agreed upon require congressional legislation to make them effective and for their enforcement in fulfillment of the treaty stipulations. PORTUGAL.
In October last the monarchy in Portugal was overthrown, a provisional Republic was proclaimed, and there was set up a de facto Government which was promptly recognized by the Government of the United States for purposes of ordinary intercourse pending formal recognition by this and other Powers of the Governmental entity to be duly established by the national sovereignty. LIBERIA.
A disturbance among the native tribes of Liberia in a portion of the Republic during the early part of this year resulted in the sending, under the Treaty of 1862, of an American vessel of war to the disaffected district, and the Liberian authorities, assisted by the good offices of the American Naval Officers, were able to restore order. The negotiations which have been undertaken for the amelioration of the conditions found in Liberia by the American Commission, whose report I transmitted to Congress on March 25 last, are being brought to conclusion, and it is thought that within a short time practical measures of relief may be put into effect through the good offices of this Government and the cordial cooperation of other governments interested in Liberia's welfare.
THE NEAR EAST. TURKEY.
To return the visit of the Special Embassy announcing the accession of His Majesty Mehemet V, Emperor of the Ottomans, I sent to Constantinople a Special Ambassador who, in addition to this mission of ceremony, was charged with the duty of expressing to the Ottoman Government the value attached by the Government of the United States to increased and more important relations between the countries and the desire of the United States to contribute to the larger economic and commercial development due to the new regime in Turkey.
The rapid development now beginning in that ancient empire and the marked progress and increased commercial importance of Bulgaria, Roumania, and Servia make it particularly opportune that the possibilities of American commerce in the Near East should receive due attention. MONTENEGRO.
The National Skoupchtina having expressed its will that the Principality of Montenegro be raised to the rank of Kingdom, the Prince of Montenegro on August 15 last assumed the title of King of Montenegro. It gave me pleasure to accord to the new kingdom the recognition of the United States.
THE FAR EAST.
The center of interest in Far Eastern affairs during the past year has again been China.
It is gratifying to note that the negotiations for a loan to the Chinese Government for the construction of the trunk railway lines from Hankow southward to Canton and westward through the Yangtse Valley, known as the Hukuang Loan, were concluded by the representatives of the various financial groups in May last and the results approved by their respective governments. The agreement, already initialed by the Chinese Government, is now awaiting formal ratification. The basis of the settlement of the terms of this loan was one of exact equality between America, Great Britain, France, and Germany in respect to financing the loan and supplying materials for the proposed railways and their future branches.
The application of the principle underlying the policy of the United States in regard to the Hukuang Loan, viz., that of the internationalization of the foreign interest in such of the railways of China as may be financed by foreign countries, was suggested on a broader scale by the Secretary of State in a proposal for internationalization and commercial neutralization of all the railways of Manchuria. While the principle which led to the proposal of this Government was generally admitted by the powers to whom it was addressed, the Governments of Russia and Japan apprehended practical difficulties in the execution of the larger plan which prevented their ready adherence. The question of constructing the Chinchow-Aigun railway by means of an international loan to China is, however, still the subject of friendly discussion by the interested parties.
The policy of this Government in these matters has been directed by a desire to make the use of American capital in the development of China an instrument in the promotion of China's welfare and material prosperity without prejudice to her legitimate rights as an independent political power.
This policy has recently found further exemplification in the assistance given by this Government to the negotiations between China and a group of American bankers for a loan of $50,000,000 to be employed chiefly in currency reform. The confusion which has from ancient times existed in the monetary usages of the Chinese has been one of the principal obstacles to commercial intercourse with that people. The United States in its Treaty of 1903 with China obtained a pledge from the latter to introduce a uniform national coinage, and the following year, at the request of China, this Government sent to Peking a member of the International Exchange Commission, to discuss with the Chinese Government the best methods of introducing the reform. In 1908 China sent a Commissioner to the United States to consult with American financiers as to the possibility of securing a large loan with which to inaugurate the new currency system, but the death of Their Majesties, the Empress Dowager and the Emperor of China, interrupted the negotiations, which were not resumed until a few months ago, when this Government was asked to communicate to the bankers concerned the request of China for a loan of $50,000,000 for the purpose under review. A preliminary agreement between the American group and China has been made covering the loan.
For the success of this loan and the contemplated reforms which are of the greatest importance to the commercial interests of the United States and the civilized world at large, it is realized that an expert will be necessary, and this Government has received assurances from China that such an adviser, who shall be an American, will be engaged.
It is a matter of interest to Americans to note the success which is attending the efforts of China to establish gradually a system of representative government. The provincial assemblies were opened in October, 1909, and in October of the present year a consultative body, the nucleus of the future national parliament, held its first session at Peking.
The year has further been marked by two important international agreements relating to Far Eastern affairs. In the Russo-Japanese Agreement relating to Manchuria, signed July 4, 1910, this Government was gratified to note an assurance of continued peaceful conditions in that region and the reaffirmation of the policies with respect to China to which the United States together with all other interested powers are alike solemnly committed.
The treaty annexing Korea to the Empire of Japan, promulgated August 29, 1910, marks the final step in a process of control of the ancient empire by her powerful neighbor that has been in progress for several years past. In communicating the fact of annexation the Japanese Government gave to the Government of the United States assurances of the full protection of the rights of American citizens in Korea under the changed conditions.
Friendly visits of many distinguished persons from the Far East have been made during the year. Chief among these were Their Imperial Highnesses Princes Tsai-tao and Tsai-Hsun of China; and His Imperial Highness Prince Higashi Fushimi, and Prince Tokugawa, President of the House of Peers of Japan. The Secretary of War has recently visited Japan and China in connection with his tour to the Philippines, and a large delegation of American business men are at present traveling in China. This exchange of friendly visits has had the happy effect of even further strengthening our friendly international relations.
During the past year several of our southern sister Republics celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of their independence. In honor of these events, special embassies were sent from this country to Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, where the gracious reception and splendid hospitality extended them manifested the cordial relations and friendship existing between those countries and the United States, relations which I am happy to believe have never before been upon so high a plane and so solid a basis as at present.
The Congressional commission appointed under a concurrent resolution to attend the festivities celebrating the centennial anniversary of Mexican independence, together with a special ambassador, were received with the highest honors and with the greatest cordiality, and returned with the report of the bounteous hospitality and warm reception of President Diaz and the Mexican people, which left no doubt of the desire of the immediately neighboring Republic to continue the mutually beneficial and intimate relations which I feel sure the two governments will ever cherish.
At the Fourth Pan-American Conference which met in Buenos Aires during July and August last, after seven weeks of harmonious deliberation, three conventions were signed providing for the regulation of trade-marks, patents, and copyrights, which when ratified by the different Governments, will go far toward furnishing to American authors, patentees, and owners of trade-marks the protection needed in localities where heretofore it has been either lacking or inadequate. Further, a convention for the arbitration of pecuniary claims was signed and a number of important resolutions passed. The Conventions will in due course be transmitted to the Senate, and the report of the Delegation of the United States will be communicated to the Congress for its information. The special cordiality between representative men from all parts of America which was shown at this Conference cannot fail to react upon and draw still closer the relations between the countries which took part in it.
The International Bureau of American Republics is doing a broad and useful work for Pan American commerce and comity. Its duties were much enlarged by the International Conference of American States at Buenos Aires and its name was shortened to the more practical and expressive term of Pan American Union. Located now in its new building, which was specially dedicated April 26 of this year to the development of friendship, trade and peace among the American nations, it has improved instrumentalities to serve the twenty-two republics of this hemisphere.
I am glad to say that the action of the United States in its desire to remove imminent danger of war between Peru and Ecuador growing out of a boundary dispute, with the cooperation of Brazil and the Argentine Republic as joint mediators with this Government, has already resulted successfully in preventing war. The Government of Chile, while not one of the mediators, lent effective aid in furtherance of a preliminary agreement likely to lead on to an amicable settlement, and it is not doubted that the good offices of the mediating Powers and the conciliatory cooperation of the Governments directly interested will finally lead to a removal of this perennial cause of friction between Ecuador and Peru. The inestimable value of cordial cooperation between the sister republics of America for the maintenance of peace in this hemisphere has never been more clearly shown than in this mediation, by which three American Governments have given to this hemisphere the honor of first invoking the most far-reaching provisions of The Hague Convention for the pacific settlement of international disputes.
There has been signed by the representatives of the United States and Mexico a protocol submitting to the United States-Mexican Boundary Commission (whose membership for the purpose of this case is to be increased by the addition of a citizen of Canada) the question of sovereignty over the Chamizal Tract which lies within the present physical boundaries of the city of E1 Paso, Tex. The determination of this question will remove a source of no little annoyance to the two Governments.
The Republic of Honduras has for many years been burdened with a heavy bonded debt held in Europe, the interest on which long ago fell in arrears. Finally conditions were such that it became imperative to refund the debt and place the finances of the Republic upon a sound basis. Last year a group of American bankers undertook to do this and to advance funds for railway and other improvements contributing directly to the country's prosperity and commerce—an arrangement which has long been desired by this Government. Negotiations to this end have been under way for more than a year and it is now confidently believed that a short time will suffice to conclude an arrangement which will be satisfactory to the foreign creditors, eminently advantageous to Honduras, and highly creditable to the judgment and foresight of the Honduranean Government. This is much to be desired since, as recognized by the Washington Conventions, a strong Honduras would tend immensely to the progress and prosperity of Central America.
During the past year the Republic of Nicaragua has been the scene of internecine struggle. General Zelaya, for seventeen years the absolute ruler of Nicaragua, was throughout his career the disturber of Central America and opposed every plan for the promotion of peace and friendly relations between the five republics. When the people of Nicaragua were finally driven into rebellion by his lawless exactions, he violated the laws of war by the unwarranted execution of two American citizens who had regularly enlisted in the ranks of the revolutionists. This and other offenses made it the duty of the American Government to take measures with a view to ultimate reparation and for the safeguarding of its interests. This involved the breaking off of all diplomatic relations with the Zelaya Government for the reasons laid down in a communication from the Secretary of State, which also notified the contending factions in Nicaragua that this Government would hold each to strict accountability for outrages on the rights of American citizens. American forces were sent to both coasts of Nicaragua to be in readiness should occasion arise to protect Americans and their interests, and remained there until the war was over and peace had returned to that unfortunate country. These events, together with Zelaya's continued exactions, brought him so clearly to the bar of public opinion that he was forced to resign and to take refuge abroad.
In the above-mentioned communication of the Secretary of State to the Charge d'Affaires of the Zelaya Government, the opinion was expressed that the revolution represented the wishes of the majority of the Nicaraguan people. This has now been proved beyond doubt by the fact that since the complete overthrow of the Madriz Government and the occupation of the capital by the forces of the revolution, all factions have united to maintain public order and as a result of discussion with an Agent of this Government, sent to Managua at the request of the Provisional Government, comprehensive plans are being made for the future welfare of Nicaragua, including the rehabilitation of public credit. The moderation and conciliatory spirit shown by the various factions give ground for the confident hope that Nicaragua will soon take its rightful place among the law-abiding and progressive countries of the world.
It gratifies me exceedingly to announce that the Argentine Republic some months ago placed with American manufacturers a contract for the construction of two battle-ships and certain additional naval equipment. The extent of this work and its importance to the Argentine Republic make the placing of the bid an earnest of friendly feeling toward the United States.
The new tariff law, in section 2, respecting the maximum and minimum tariffs of the United States, which provisions came into effect on April 1, 1910, imposed upon the President the responsibility of determining prior to that date whether or not any undue discrimination existed against the United States and its products in any country of the world with which we sustained commercial relations.
In the case of several countries instances of apparent undue discrimination against American commerce were found to exist. These discriminations were removed by negotiation. Prior to April 1, 1910, when the maximum tariff was to come into operation with respect to importations from all those countries in whose favor no proclamation applying the minimum tariff should be issued by the President, one hundred and thirty-four such proclamations were issued. This series of proclamations embraced the entire commercial world, and hence the minimum tariff of the United States has been given universal application, thus testifying to the satisfactory character of our trade relations with foreign countries.
Marked advantages to the commerce of the United States were obtained through these tariff settlements. Foreign nations are fully cognizant of the fact that under section 2 of the tariff act the President is required, whenever he is satisfied that the treatment accorded by them to the products of the United States is not such as to entitle them to the benefits of the minimum tariff of the United States, to withdraw those benefits by proclamation giving ninety days' notice, after which the maximum tariff will apply to their dutiable products entering the United States. In its general operation this section of the tariff law has thus far proved a guaranty of continued commercial peace, although there are unfortunately instances where foreign governments deal arbitrarily with American interests within their jurisdiction in a manner injurious and inequitable.
The policy of broader and closer trade relations with the Dominion of Canada which was initiated in the adjustment of the maximum and minimum provisions of the Tariff Act of August, 1909, has proved mutually beneficial. It justifies further efforts for the readjustment of the commercial relations of the two countries so that their commerce may follow the channels natural to contiguous countries and be commensurate with the steady expansion of trade and industry on both sides of the boundary line. The reciprocation on the part of the Dominion Government of the sentiment which was expressed by this Government was followed in October by the suggestion that it would be glad to have the negotiations, which had been temporarily suspended during the summer, resumed. In accordance with this suggestion the Secretary of State, by my direction, dispatched two representatives of the Department of State as special commissioners to Ottawa to confer with representatives of the Dominion Government. They were authorized to take such steps for formulating a reciprocal trade agreement as might be necessary and to receive and consider any propositions which the Dominion Government might care to submit.
Pursuant to the instructions issued conferences were held by these commissioners with officials of the Dominion Government at Ottawa in the early part of November.
The negotiations were conducted on both sides in a spirit of mutual accommodation. The discussion of the common commercial interests of the two countries had for its object a satisfactory basis for a trade arrangement which offers the prospect of a freer interchange for the products of the United States and of Canada. The conferences were adjourned to be resumed in Washington in January, when it is hoped that the aspiration of both Governments for a mutually advantageous measure of reciprocity will be realized.
FOSTERING FOREIGN TRADE.
All these tariff negotiations, so vital to our commerce and industry, and the duty of jealously guarding the equitable and just treatment of our products, capital, and industry abroad devolve upon the Department of State.
The Argentine battle-ship contracts, like the subsequent important one for Argentine railway equipment, and those for Cuban Government vessels, were secured for our manufacturers largely through the good offices of the Department of State.
The efforts of that Department to secure for citizens of the United States equal opportunities in the markets of the world and to expand American commerce have been most successful. The volume of business obtained in new fields of competition and upon new lines is already very great and Congress is urged to continue to support the Department of State in its endeavors for further trade expansion.
Our foreign trade merits the best support of the Government and the most earnest endeavor of our manufacturers and merchants, who, if they do not already in all cases need a foreign market, are certain soon to become dependent on it. Therefore, now is the time to secure a strong position in this field.
AMERICAN BRANCH BANKS ABROAD.
I cannot leave this subject without emphasizing the necessity of such legislation as will make possible and convenient the establishment of American banks and branches of American banks in foreign countries. Only by such means can our foreign trade be favorably financed, necessary credits be arranged, and proper avail be made of commercial opportunities in foreign countries, and most especially in Latin America.
AID TO OUR FOREIGN MERCHANT MARINE.
Another instrumentality indispensable to the unhampered and natural development of American commerce is merchant marine. All maritime and commercial nations recognize the importance of this factor. The greatest commercial nations, our competitors, jealously foster their merchant marine. Perhaps nowhere is the need for rapid and direct mail, passenger and freight communication quite so urgent as between the United States and Latin America. We can secure in no other quarter of the world such immediate benefits in friendship and commerce as would flow from the establishment of direct lines Of communication with the countries of Latin America adequate to meet the requirements of a rapidly increasing appreciation of the reciprocal dependence of the countries of the Western Hemisphere upon each other's products, sympathies and assistance.
I alluded to this most important subject in my last annual message; it has often been before you and I need not recapitulate the reasons for its recommendation. Unless prompt action be taken the completion of the Panama Canal will find this the only great commercial nation unable to avail in international maritime business of this great improvement in the means of the world's commercial intercourse.
Quite aside from the commercial aspect, unless we create a merchant marine, where can we find the seafaring population necessary as a natural naval reserve and where could we find, in case of war, the transports and subsidiary vessels without which a naval fleet is arms without a body? For many reasons I cannot too strongly urge upon the Congress the passage of a measure by mail subsidy or other subvention adequate to guarantee the establishment and rapid development of an American merchant marine, and the restoration of the American flag to its ancient place upon the seas.
Of course such aid ought only to be given under conditions of publicity of each beneficiary's business and accounts which would show that the aid received was needed to maintain the trade and was properly used for that purpose.
FEDERAL PROTECTION TO ALIENS.
With our increasing international intercourse, it becomes incumbent upon me to repeat more emphatically than ever the recommendation which I made in my Inaugural Address that Congress shall at once give to the Courts of the United States jurisdiction to punish as a crime the violation of the rights of aliens secured by treaty with the United States, in order that the general government of the United States shall be able, when called upon by a friendly nation, to redeem its solemn promise by treaty to secure to the citizens or subjects of that nation resident in the United States, freedom from violence and due process of law in respect to their life, liberty and property.
MERIT SYSTEM FOR DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR SERVICE.
I also strongly commend to the favorable action of the Congress the enactment of a law applying to the diplomatic and consular service the principles embodied in Section 1753 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in the Civil Service Act of January 16, 1883, and the Executive Orders of June 27, 1906, and of November 26, 1909. The excellent results which have attended the partial application of Civil Service principles to the diplomatic and consular services are an earnest of the benefit to be wrought by a wider and more permanent extension of those principles to both branches of the foreign service. The marked improvement in the consular service during the four years since the principles of the Civil Service Act were applied to that service in a limited way, and the good results already noticeable from a similar application of civil service principles to the diplomatic service a year ago, convince me that the enactment into law of the general principles of the existing executive regulations could not fail to effect further improvement of both branches of the foreign service, offering as it would by its assurance of permanency of tenure and promotion on merit, an inducement for the entry of capable young men into the service and an incentive to those already in to put forth their best efforts to attain and maintain that degree of efficiency which the interests of our international relations and commerce demand.
GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP OF OUR EMBASSY AND LEGATION PREMISES.
During many years past appeals have been made from time to time to Congress in favor of Government ownership of embassy and legation premises abroad. The arguments in favor of such ownership have been many and oft repeated and are well known to the Congress. The acquisition by the Government of suitable residences and offices for its diplomatic officers, especially in the capitals of the Latin-American States and of Europe, is so important and necessary to an improved diplomatic service that I have no hesitation in urging upon the Congress the passage of some measure similar to that favorably reported by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on February 14, 1910 (Report No. 438), that would authorize the gradual and annual acquisition of premises for diplomatic use.
The work of the Diplomatic Service is devoid of partisanship; its importance should appeal to every American citizen and should receive the generous consideration of the Congress.
ESTIMATES FOR NEXT YEAR'S EXPENSES.
Every effort has been made by each department chief to reduce the estimated cost of his department for the ensuing fiscal year ending June 30, 1912. I say this in order that Congress may understand that these estimates thus made present the smallest sum which will maintain the departments, bureaus, and offices of the Government and meet its other obligations under existing law, and that a cut of these estimates would result in embarrassing the executive branch of the Government in the performance of its duties. This remark does not apply to the river and harbor estimates, except to those for expenses of maintenance and the meeting of obligations under authorized contracts, nor does it apply to the public building bill nor to the navy building program. Of course, as to these Congress could withhold any part or all of the estimates for them without interfering with the discharge of the ordinary obligations of the Government or the performance of the functions of its departments, bureaus, and offices.
A FIFTY-TWO MILLION CUT.
The final estimates for the year ending June 30, 1912, as they have been sent to the Treasury, on November 29 of this year, for the ordinary expenses of the Government, including those for public buildings, rivers and harbors, and the navy building program, amount to $630,494,013.12. This is $52,964,887.36 less than the appropriations for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1911. It is $16,883,153.44 less than the total estimates, including supplemental estimates submitted to Congress by the Treasury for the year 1911, and is $5,574,659.39 less than the original estimates submitted by the Treasury for 1911.
These figures do not include the appropriations for the Panama Canal, the policy in respect to which ought to be, and is, to spend as much each year as can be economically and effectively expended in order to complete the Canal as promptly as possible, and, therefore, the ordinary motive for cutting down the expense of the Government does not apply to appropriations for this purpose. It will be noted that the estimates for the Panama Canal for the ensuing year are more than fifty-six millions of dollars, an increase of twenty millions over the amount appropriated for this year—a difference due to the fact that the estimates for 1912 include something over nineteen millions for the fortification of the Canal. Against the estimated expenditures of $630,494,013.12, the Treasury has estimated receipts for next year $680,000,000, making a probable surplus of ordinary receipts over ordinary expenditures of about $50,000,000.
A table showing in detail the estimates and the comparisons referred to follows.
The Treasury Department is one of the original departments of the Government. With the changes in the monetary system made from time to time and with the creation of national banks, it was thought necessary to organize new bureaus and divisions which were added in a somewhat haphazard way and resulted in a duplication of duties which might well now be ended. This lack of system and economic coordination has attracted the attention of the head of that Department who has been giving his time for the last two years, with the aid of experts and by consulting his bureau chiefs, to its reformation. He has abolished four hundred places in the civil service without at all injuring its efficiency. Merely to illustrate the character of the reforms that are possible, I shall comment on some of the specific changes that are being made, or ought to be made by legislative aid.
The auditing system in vogue is as old as the Government and the methods used are antiquated. There are six Auditors and seven Assistant Auditors for the nine departments, and under the present system the only function which the Auditor of a department exercises is to determine, on accounts presented by disbursing officers, that the object of the expenditure was within the law and the appropriation made by Congress for the purpose on its face, and that the calculations in the accounts are correct. He does not examine the merits of the transaction or determine the reasonableness of the price paid for the articles purchased, nor does he furnish any substantial check upon disbursing officers and the heads of departments or bureaus with sufficient promptness to enable the Government to recoup itself in full measure for unlawful expenditure. A careful plan is being devised and will be presented to Congress with the recommendation that the force of auditors and employees under them be greatly reduced, thereby effecting substantial economy. But this economy will be small compared with the larger economy that can be effected by consolidation and change of methods. The possibilities in this regard have been shown in the reduction of expenses and the importance of methods and efficiency in the office of the Auditor for the Post Office Department, who, without in the slightest degree impairing the comprehensiveness and efficiency of his work, has cut down the expenses of his office $120,000 a year.
Statement of estimates of appropriations for the fiscal years 1912 and 1911, and of appropriations for 1911, showing increases and decreases. - Final Estimates for 1912 as of November 29 - Original Estimates submitted by the Treasury for 1911 - Total Estimates for 1911 including supplementals - Appropriations for 1911 - Increase (+) and decrease (-), 1912 estimates against 1911 total estimates - Increase (+) and decrease (-), 1912 estimates against 1911 total appropriations - Increase (+) and decrease (-), 1911 estimates against 1911 total appropriations
Legislature - $13,426,805.73 - $13,169,679.70 - $13,169,679.70 - $12,938,048.00 - + $257,126.03 - + $488,757.73 - + $231,631.70
Executive - 998,170.00 - 472,270.00 - 722,270.00 - 870,750.00 - + 275,900.00 - + 127,420.00 - - 148,480.00
State Department: - 4,875,576.41 - 4,875,301.41 - 4,749,801.41 - 5,046,701.41 - + 125,775.00 - - 171,125.00 - - 296,900.00
TREASURY DEPARTMENT: Treasury Department proper - 68,735,451.00 - 69,865,240.00 - 70,393,543.75 - 69,973,434.61 - - 1,658,092.75 - - 1,237,983.61 - + 420,109.14
Public buildings and works - 11,864,545.60 - 6,198,365.60 - 7,101,465.60 - 5,565,164.00 - + 4,763,080.00 - + 6,299,381.60 - + 1,536,301.60
Territorial governments - 202,150.00 - 287,350.00 - 292,350.00 - 282,600.00 - - 90,200.00 - - 80,450.00 - + 9,750.00
Independent offices - 2,638,695.12 - 2,400,695.12 - 2,492,695.12 - 2,128,695.12 - + 146,000.00 - + 510,000.00 - + 364,000.00
District of Columbia - 13,602,785.90 - 11,884,928.49 - 12,108,878.49 - 11,440,346.99 - + 1,492,907.41 - + 2,162,439.91 - + 668,532.50
WAR DEPARTMENT: War Department proper - 120,104,260.12 - 124,165,656.28 - 125,717,204.77 - 122,322,178.12 - - 5,612,944.65 - - 2,217,918.00 - + 3,395,026.65
Rivers and harbors - 28,232,438.00 - 28,232,465.00 - 28,232,465.00 - 49,390,541.50 - - 27.00 - -21,158,103.50 - -21,158,076.50
NAVY DEPARTMENT: Navy Department proper - 116,101,730.24 - 117,029,914.38 - 119,768,860.83 - 119,596,870.46 - - 3,667,130.59 - - 3,495,140.22 - + 171,990.37
New navy building program - 12,840,428.00 - 12,844,122.00 - 12,844,122.00 - 14,790,122.00 - - 3,694.00 - - 1,949,694.00 - - 1,946,000.00
Interior Department - 189,151,875.00 - 191,224,182.90 - 193,948,582.02 - 214,754,278.00 - - 4,796,707.02 - -25,602,403.00 - -20,805,698.98
Post-Office Department proper - 1,697,490.00 - 1,695,690.00 - 1,695,690.00 - 2,085,005.33 - + 1,800.00 - - 387,515.33 - - 389,315.33
Deficiency in postal revenues - ———————- - 10,634,122.63 - 10,634,122.63 - 10,634,122.63 - -10,634,122.65 - -10,634,122.63 - ————————-
Department of Agriculture - 19,681,066.00 - 17,681,136.00 - 17,753,931.24 - 17,821,836.00 - + 1,927,134.76 - + 1,859,230.00 - - 67,904.76
Department of Commerce and
Labor - 16,276,970.00 - 14,187,913.00 - 15,789,271.00 - 14,169,969.32 - + 487,699.00 - + 2,107,000.68 - + 1,619,301.68
Department of Justice - 10,063,576.00 - 9,518,640.00 - 9,962,233.00 - 9,648,237.99 - + 101,343.00 - + 415,338.01 - + 313,995.01 -
State of the Union Address William H. Taft December 5, 1911
Jump to Part II Part III Part IV
This message is the first of several which I shall send to Congress during the interval between the opening of its regular session and its adjournment for the Christmas holidays. The amount of information to be communicated as to the operations of the Government, the number of important subjects calling for comment by the Executive, and the transmission to Congress of exhaustive reports of special commissions, make it impossible to include in one message of a reasonable length a discussion of the topics that ought to be brought to the attention of the National Legislature at its first regular session.
THE ANTI-TRUST LAW-THE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS.
In May last the Supreme Court handed down decisions in the suits in equity brought by the United States to enjoin the further maintenance of the Standard Oil Trust and of the American Tobacco Trust, and to secure their dissolution. The decisions are epoch-making and serve to advise the business world authoritatively of the scope and operation of the anti-trust act of 1890. The decisions do not depart in any substantial way from the previous decisions of the court in construing and applying this important statute, but they clarify those decisions by further defining the already admitted exceptions to the literal construction of the act. By the decrees, they furnish a useful precedent as to the proper method of dealing with the capital and property of illegal trusts. These decisions suggest the need and wisdom of additional or supplemental legislation to make it easier for the entire business community to square with the rule of action and legality thus finally established and to preserve the benefit, freedom, and spur of reasonable competition without loss of real efficiency or progress.
NO CHANGE IN THE RULE OF DECISION-MERELY IN ITS FORM OF EXPRESSION.
The statute in its first section declares to be illegal "every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States or with foreign nations," and in the second, declares guilty of a misdemeanor "every person who shall monopolize or attempt to monopolize or combine or conspire with any other person to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce of the several States or with foreign nations."
In two early cases, where the statute was invoked to enjoin a transportation rate agreement between interstate railroad companies, it was held that it was no defense to show that the agreement as to rates complained of was reasonable at common law, because it was said that the statute was directed against all contracts and combinations in restraint of trade whether reasonable at common law or not. It was plain from the record, however, that the contracts complained of in those cases would not have been deemed reasonable at common law. In subsequent cases the court said that the statute should be given a reasonable construction and refused to include within its inhibition, certain contractual restraints of trade which it denominated as incidental or as indirect.
These cases of restraint of trade that the court excepted from the operation of the statute were instances which, at common law, would have been called reasonable. In the Standard Oil and Tobacco cases, therefore, the court merely adopted the tests of the common law, and in defining exceptions to the literal application of the statute, only substituted for the test of being incidental or indirect, that of being reasonable, and this, without varying in the slightest the actual scope and effect of the statute. In other words, all the cases under the statute which have now been decided would have been decided the same way if the court had originally accepted in its construction the rule at common law.
It has been said that the court, by introducing into the construction of the statute common-law distinctions, has emasculated it. This is obviously untrue. By its judgment every contract and combination in restraint of interstate trade made with the purpose or necessary effect of controlling prices by stifling competition, or of establishing in whole or in part a monopoly of such trade, is condemned by the statute. The most extreme critics can not instance a case that ought to be condemned under the statute which is not brought within its terms as thus construed.
The suggestion is also made that the Supreme Court by its decision in the last two cases has committed to the court the undefined and unlimited discretion to determine whether a case of restraint of trade is within the terms of the statute. This is wholly untrue. A reasonable restraint of trade at common law is well understood and is clearly defined. It does not rest in the discretion of the court. It must be limited to accomplish the purpose of a lawful main contract to which, in order that it shall be enforceable at all, it must be incidental. If it exceed the needs of that contract, it is void.
The test of reasonableness was never applied by the court at common law to contracts or combinations or conspiracies in restraint of trade whose purpose was or whose necessary effect would be to stifle competition, to control prices, or establish monopolies. The courts never assumed power to say that such contracts or combinations or conspiracies might be lawful if the parties to them were only moderate in the use of the power thus secured and did not exact from the public too great and exorbitant prices. It is true that many theorists, and others engaged in business violating the statute, have hoped that some such line could be drawn by courts; but no court of authority has ever attempted it. Certainly there is nothing in the decisions of the latest two cases from which such a dangerous theory of judicial discretion in enforcing this statute can derive the slightest sanction.
FORCE AND EFFECTIVENESS OF STATUTE A MATTER OF GROWTH.
We have been twenty-one years making this statute effective for the purposes for which it was enacted. The Knight case was discouraging and seemed to remit to the States the whole available power to attack and suppress the evils of the trusts. Slowly, however, the error of that judgment was corrected, and only in the last three or four years has the heavy hand of the law been laid upon the great illegal combinations that have exercised such an absolute dominion over many of our industries. Criminal prosecutions have been brought and a number are pending, but juries have felt averse to convicting for jail sentences, and judges have been most reluctant to impose such sentences on men of respectable standing in society whose offense has been regarded as merely statutory. Still, as the offense becomes better understood and the committing of it partakes more of studied and deliberate defiance of the law, we can be confident that juries will convict individuals and that jail sentences will be imposed.
THE REMEDY IN EQUITY BY DISSOLUTION.
In the Standard Oil case the Supreme and Circuit Courts found the combination to be a monopoly of the interstate business of refining, transporting, and marketing petroleum and its products, effected and maintained through thirty-seven different corporations, the stock of which was held by a New Jersey company. It in effect commanded the dissolution of this combination, directed the transfer and pro rata distribution by the New Jersey company of the stock held by it in the thirty-seven corporations to and among its stockholders; and the corporations and individual defendants were enjoined from conspiring or combining to restore such monopoly; and all agreements between the subsidiary corporations tending to produce or bring about further violations of the act were enjoined.
In the Tobacco case, the court found that the individual defendants, twenty-nine in number, had been engaged in a successful effort to acquire complete dominion over the manufacture, sale, and distribution of tobacco in this country and abroad, and that this had been done by combinations made with a purpose and effect to stifle competition, control prices, and establish a monopoly, not only in the manufacture of tobacco, but also of tin-foil and licorice used in its manufacture and of its products of cigars, cigarettes, and snuffs. The tobacco suit presented a far more complicated and difficult case than the Standard Oil suit for a decree which would effectuate the will of the court and end the violation of the statute. There was here no single holding company as in the case of the Standard Oil Trust. The main company was the American Tobacco Company, a manufacturing, selling, and holding company. The plan adopted to destroy the combination and restore competition involved the redivision of the capital and plants of the whole trust between some of the companies constituting the trust and new companies organized for the purposes of the decree and made parties to it, and numbering, new and old, fourteen.
SITUATION AFTER READJUSTMENT.
The American Tobacco Company (old), readjusted capital, $92, 000,000; the Liggett & Meyers Tobacco Company (new), capital, $67,000,000; the P. Lorillard Company (new), capital, $47,000,000; and the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (old), capital, $7,525,000, are chiefly engaged in the manufacture and sale of chewing and smoking tobacco and cigars. The former one tinfoil company is divided into two, one of $825,000 capital and the other of $400,000. The one snuff company is divided into three companies, one with a capital Of $15,000,000, another with a capital of $8,000,000, and a third with a capital of $8,000,000. The licorice companies are two one with a capital Of $5,758,300 and another with a capital of $200,000. There is, also, the British-American Tobacco Company, a British corporation, doing business abroad with a capital Of $26,000,000, the Porto Rican Tobacco Company, with a capital of $1,800,000, and the corporation of United Cigar Stores, with a capital of $9,000,000.
Under this arrangement, each of the different kinds of business will be distributed between two or more companies with a division of the prominent brands in the same tobacco products, so as to make competition not only possible but necessary. Thus the smoking-tobacco business of the country is divided so that the present independent companies have 21-39 per cent, while the American Tobacco Company will have 33-08 per cent, the Liggett & Meyers 20.05 per cent, the Lorillard Company 22.82 per cent, and the Reynolds Company 2.66 per cent. The stock of the other thirteen companies, both preferred and common, has been taken from the defendant American Tobacco Company and has been distributed among its stockholders. All covenants restricting competition have been declared null and further performance of them has been enjoined. The preferred stock of the different companies has now been given voting power which was denied it under the old organization. The ratio of the preferred stock to the common was as 78 to 40. This constitutes a very decided change in the character of the ownership and control of each company.
In the original suit there were twenty-nine defendants who were charged with being the conspirators through whom the illegal combination acquired and exercised its unlawful dominion. Under the decree these defendants. will hold amounts of stock in the various distributee companies ranging from 41 per cent as a maximum to 28.5 per cent as a minimum, except in the case of one small company, the Porto Rican Tobacco Company, in which they will hold 45 per cent. The twenty-nine individual defendants are enjoined for three years from buying any stock except from each other, and the group is thus prevented from extending its control during that period. All parties to the suit, and the new companies who are made parties are enjoined perpetually from in any way effecting any combination between any of the companies in violation of the statute by way of resumption of the old trust. Each of the fourteen companies is enjoined from acquiring stock in any of the others. All these companies are enjoined from having common directors or officers, or common buying or selling agents, or common offices, or lending money to each other.
SIZE OF NEW COMPANIES.
Objection was made by certain independent tobacco companies that this settlement was unjust because it left companies with very large capital in active business, and that the settlement that would be effective to put all on an equality would be a division of the capital and plant of the trust into small fractions in amount more nearly equal to that of each of the independent companies. This contention results from a misunderstanding of the anti-trust law and its purpose. It is not intended thereby to prevent the accumulation of large capital in business enterprises in which such a combination can secure reduced cost of production, sale, and distribution. It is directed against such an aggregation of capital only when its purpose is that of stifling competition, enhancing or controlling prices, and establishing a monopoly. If we shall have by the decree defeated these purposes and restored competition between the large units into which the capital and plant have been divided, we shall have accomplished the useful purpose of the statute.
CONFISCATION NOT THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE.
It is not the purpose of the statute to confiscate the property and capital of the offending trusts. Methods of punishment by fine or imprisonment of the individual offenders, by fine of the corporation or by forfeiture of its goods in transportation, are provided, but the proceeding in equity is a specific remedy to stop the operation of the trust by injunction and prevent the future use of the plant and capital in violation of the statute.
EFFECTIVENESS OF DECREE.
I venture to say that not in the history of American law has a decree more effective for such a purpose been entered by a court than that against the Tobacco Trust. As Circuit judge Noyes said in his judgment approving the decree:
"The extent to which it has been necessary to tear apart this combination and force it into new forms with the attendant burdens ought to demonstrate that the Federal anti-trust statute is a drastic statute which accomplishes effective results; which so long as it stands on the statute books must be obeyed, and which can not be disobeyed without incurring far-reaching penalties. And, on the other hand, the successful reconstruction of this organization should teach that the effect of enforcing this statute is not to destroy, but to reconstruct; not to demolish, but to re-create in accordance with the conditions which the Congress has declared shall exist among the people of the United States."
COMMON STOCK OWNERSHIP.
It has been assumed that the present pro rata and common ownership in all these companies by former stockholders of the trust would insure a continuance of the same old single control of all the companies into which the trust has by decree been disintegrated. This is erroneous and is based upon the assumed inefficacy and innocuousness of judicial injunctions. The companies are enjoined from cooperation or combination; they have different managers, directors, purchasing and sales agents. If all or many of the numerous stockholders, reaching into the thousands, attempt to secure concerted action of the companies with a view to the control of the market, their number is so large that such an attempt could not well be concealed, and its prime movers and all its participants would be at once subject to contempt proceedings and imprisonment of a summary character. The immediate result of the present situation will necessarily be activity by all the companies under different managers, and then competition must follow, or there will be activity by one company and stagnation by another. Only a short time will inevitably lead to a change in ownership of the stock, as all opportunity for continued cooperation must disappear. Those critics who speak of this disintegration in the trust as a mere change of garments have not given consideration to the inevitable working of the decree and understand little the personal danger of attempting to evade or set at naught the solemn injunction of a court whose object is made plain by the decree and whose inhibitions are set forth with a detail and comprehensiveness.
VOLUNTARY REORGANIZATIONS OF OTHER TRUSTS AT HAND.
The effect of these two decisions has led to decrees dissolving the combination of manufacturers of electric lamps, a southern wholesale grocers' association, an interlocutory decree against the Powder Trust with directions by the circuit court compelling dissolution, and other combinations of a similar history are now negotiating with the Department of justice looking to a disintegration by decree and reorganization in accordance with law. It seems possible to bring about these reorganizations without general business disturbance.
MOVEMENT FOR REPEAL OF THE ANTI-TRUST LAW.
But now that the anti-trust act is seen to be effective for the accomplishment of the purpose of its enactment, we are met by a cry from many different quarters for its repeal. It is said to be obstructive of business progress to be an attempt to restore old-fashioned methods of destructive competition between small units, and to make impossible those useful combinations of capital and the reduction of the cost of production that are essential to continued prosperity and normal growth.
In the recent decisions the Supreme Court makes clear that there is nothing in the statute which condemns combinations of capital or mere bigness of plant organized to secure economy in production and a reduction of its cost. It is only when the purpose or necessary effect of the organization and maintenance of the combination or the aggregation of immense size are the stifling of competition, actual and potential, and the enhancing of prices and establishing a monopoly, that the statute is violated. Mere size is no sin against the law. The merging of two or more business plants necessarily eliminates competition between the units thus combined, but this elimination is in contravention of the statute only when the combination is made for purpose of ending this particular competition in order to secure control of, and enhance, prices and create a monopoly.
LACK OF DEFINITENESS IN THE STATUTE.
The complaint is made of the statute that it is not sufficiently definite in its description of that which is forbidden, to enable business men to avoid its violation. The suggestion is, that we may have a combination of two corporations, which may run on for years, and that subsequently the Attorney General may conclude that it was a violation of the statute, and that which was supposed by the combiners to be innocent then turns out to be a combination in violation of the statute. The answer to this hypothetical case is that when men attempt to amass such stupendous capital as will enable them to suppress competition, control prices and establish a monopoly, they know the purpose of their acts. Men do not do such a thing without having it clearly in mind. If what they do is merely for the purpose of reducing the cost of production, without the thought of suppressing competition by use of the bigness of the plant they are creating, then they can not be convicted at the time the union is made, nor can they be convicted later, unless it happen that later on they conclude to suppress competition and take the usual methods for doing so, and thus establish for themselves a monopoly. They can, in such a case, hardly complain if the motive which subsequently is disclosed is attributed by the court to the original combination.
NEW REMEDIES SUGGESTED.
Much is said of the repeal of this statute and of constructive legislation intended to accomplish the purpose and blaze a clear path for honest merchants and business men to follow. It may be that such a plan will be evolved, but I submit that the discussions which have been brought out in recent days by the fear of the continued execution of the anti-trust law have produced nothing but glittering generalities and have offered no line of distinction or rule of action as definite and as clear as that which the Supreme Court itself lays down in enforcing the statute.
SUPPLEMENTAL LEGISLATION NEEDED—NOT REPEAL OR AMENDMENT.
I see no objection-and indeed I can see decided advantages-in the enactment of a law which shall describe and denounce methods of competition which are unfair and are badges of the unlawful purpose denounced in the anti-trust law. The attempt and purpose to suppress a competitor by underselling him at a price so unprofitable as to drive him out of business, or the making of exclusive contracts with customers under which they are required to give up association with other manufacturers, and numerous kindred methods for stifling competition and effecting monopoly, should be described with sufficient accuracy in a criminal statute on the one hand to enable the Government to shorten its task by prosecuting single misdemeanors instead of an entire conspiracy, and, on the other hand, to serve the purpose of pointing out more in detail to the business community what must be avoided.
FEDERAL INCORPORATION RECOMMENDED.
In a special message to Congress on January 7, 1910, I ventured to point out the disturbance to business that would probably attend the dissolution of these offending trusts. I said:
"But such an investigation and possible prosecution of corporations whose prosperity or destruction affects the comfort not only of stockholders but of millions of wage earners, employees, and associated tradesmen must necessarily tend to disturb the confidence of the business community, to dry up the now flowing sources of capital from its places of hoarding, and produce a halt in our present prosperity that will cause suffering and strained circumstances among the innocent many for the faults of the guilty few. The question which I wish in this message to bring clearly to the consideration and discussion of Congress is whether, in order to avoid such a possible business danger, something can not be done by which these business combinations may be offered a means, without great financial disturbance, of changing the character, organization, and extent of their business into one within the lines of the law under Federal control and supervision, securing compliance with the anti-trust statute.
"Generally, in the industrial combinations called 'trusts,' the principal business is the sale of goods in many States and in foreign markets; in other words, the interstate and foreign business far exceeds the business done in any one State. This fact will justify the Federal Government in granting a Federal charter to such a combination to make and sell in interstate and foreign commerce the products of useful manufacture under such limitations as will secure a compliance with the anti-trust law. It is possible so to frame a statute that while it offers protection to a Federal company against harmful, vexatious, and unnecessary invasion by the States, it shall subject it to reasonable taxation and control by the States with respect to its purely local business. * * *
"Corporations organized under this act should be prohibited from acquiring and holding stock in other corporations (except for special reasons, upon approval by the proper Federal authority), thus avoiding the creation under national auspices of the holding company with subordinate corporations in different States, which has been such an effective agency in the creation of the great trusts and monopolies.
"If the prohibition of the anti-trust act against combinations in restraint of trade is to be effectively enforced, it is essential that the National Government shall provide for the creation of national corporations to carry on a legitimate business throughout the United States. The conflicting laws of the different States of the Union with respect to foreign corporations make it difficult, if not impossible, for one corporation to comply with their requirements so as to carry on business in a number of different States."
I renew the recommendation of the enactment of a general law providing for the voluntary formation of corporations to engage in trade and commerce among the States and with foreign nations. Every argument which was then advanced for such a law, and every explanation which was at that time offered to possible objections, have been confirmed by our experience since the enforcement of the antitrust, statute has resulted in the actual dissolution of active commercial organizations.
It is even more manifest now than it was then that the denunciation of conspiracies in restraint of trade should not and does not mean the denial of organizations large enough to be intrusted with our interstate and foreign trade. It has been made more clear now than it was then that a purely negative statute like the anti-trust law may well be supplemented by specific provisions for the building up and regulation of legitimate national and foreign commerce.
GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERTS NEEDED TO AID COURTS IN TRUST DISSOLUTIONS.
The drafting of the decrees in the dissolution of the present trusts, with a view to their reorganization into legitimate corporations, has made it especially apparent that the courts are not provided with the administrative machinery to make the necessary inquiries preparatory to reorganization, or to pursue such inquiries, and they should be empowered to invoke the aid of the Bureau of Corporations in determining the suitable reorganization of the disintegrated parts. The circuit court and the Attorney General were greatly aided in framing the decree in the Tobacco Trust dissolution by an expert from the Bureau of Corporations.
FEDERAL CORPORATION COMMISSION PROPOSED.
I do not set forth in detail the terms and sections of a statute which might supply the constructive legislation permitting and aiding the formation of combinations of capital into Federal corporations. They should be subject to rigid rules as to their organization and procedure, including effective publicity, and to the closest supervision as to the issue of stock and bonds by an executive bureau or commission in the Department of Commerce and Labor, to which in times of doubt they might well submit their proposed plans for future business. It must be distinctly understood that incorporation under Federal law could not exempt the company thus formed and its incorporators and managers from prosecution under the anti-trust law for subsequent illegal conduct, but the publicity of its procedure and the opportunity for frequent consultation with the bureau or commission in charge of the incorporation as to the legitimate purpose of its transactions would offer it as great security against successful prosecutions for violations of the law as would be practical or wise.
Such a bureau or commission might well be invested also with the duty already referred to, of aiding courts in the dissolution and recreation of trusts within the law. It should be an executive tribunal of the dignity and power of the Comptroller of the Currency or the Interstate Commerce Commission, which now exercise supervisory power over important classes of corporations under Federal regulation.
The drafting of such a Federal incorporation law would offer ample opportunity to prevent many manifest evils in corporate management to-day, including irresponsibility of control in the hands of the few who are not the real owners.
I recommend that the Federal charters thus to be granted shall be voluntary, at least until experience justifies mandatory provisions. The benefit to be derived from the operation of great businesses under the protection of such a charter would attract all who are anxious to keep within the lines of the law. Other large combinations that fail to take advantage of the Federal incorporation will not have a right to complain if their failure is ascribed to unwillingness to submit their transactions to the careful official scrutiny, competent supervision, and publicity attendant upon the enjoyment of such a charter.
ONLY SUPPLEMENTAL LEGISLATION NEEDED.
The opportunity thus suggested for Federal incorporation, it seems tome, is suitable constructive legislation needed to facilitate the squaring Of great industrial enterprises to the rule of action laid down by the anti-trust law. This statute as construed by the Supreme Court must continue to be the line of distinction for legitimate business. It must be enforced, unless we are to banish individualism from all business and reduce it to one common system of regulation or control of prices like that which now prevails with respect to public utilities, and which when applied to all business would be a long step toward State socialism.
IMPORTANCE OF THE ANTI-TRUST ACT.
The anti-trust act is the expression of the effort of a freedom-loving people to preserve equality of opportunity. It is the result of the confident determination of such a people to maintain their future growth by preserving uncontrolled and unrestricted the enterprise of the individual, his industry, his ingenuity, his intelligence, and his independent courage.
For twenty years or more this statute has been upon the statute book. All knew its general purpose and approved. Many of its violators were cynical over its assumed impotence. It seemed impossible of enforcement. Slowly the mills of the courts ground, and only gradually did the majesty of the law assert itself. Many of its statesmen-authors died before it became a living force, and they and others saw the evil grow which they had hoped to destroy. Now its efficacy is seen; now its power is heavy; now its object is near achievement. Now we hear the call for its repeal on the plea that it interferes with business prosperity, and we are advised in most general terms, how by some other statute and in some other way the evil we are just stamping out can be cured, if we only abandon this work of twenty years and try another experiment for another term of years.
It is said that the act has not done good. Can this be said in the face of the effect of the Northern Securities decree? That decree was in no way so drastic or inhibitive in detail as either the Standard Oil decree or the Tobacco decree; but did it not stop for all time the then powerful movement toward the control of all the railroads of the country in a single hand? Such a one-man power could not have been a healthful influence in the Republic, even though exercised under the general supervision of an interstate commission.
Do we desire to make such ruthless combinations and monopolies lawful? When all energies are directed, not toward the reduction of the cost of production for the public benefit by a healthful competition, but toward new ways and means for making permanent in a few hands the absolute control of the conditions and prices prevailing in the whole field of industry, then individual enterprise and effort will be paralyzed and the spirit of commercial freedom will be dead.
The relations of the United States with other countries have continued during the past twelve months upon a basis of the usual good will and friendly intercourse. ARBITRATION.
The year just passed marks an important general movement on the part of the Powers for broader arbitration. In the recognition of the manifold benefits to mankind in the extension of the policy of the settlement of international disputes by arbitration rather than by war, and in response to a widespread demand for an advance in that direction on the part of the people of the United States and of Great Britain and of France, new arbitration treaties were negotiated last spring with Great Britain and France, the terms of which were de signed, as expressed in the preamble of these treaties, to extend the scope and obligations of the policy of arbitration adopted in our present treaties with those Governments To pave the way for this treat with the United States, Great Britain negotiated an important modification in its alliance with Japan, and the French Government also expedited the negotiations with signal good will. The new treaties have been submitted to the Senate and are awaiting its advice and consent to their ratification. All the essentials of these important treaties have long been known, and it is my earnest hope that they will receive prompt and favorable action.
CLAIM OF ALSOP & CO. SETTLED.
I am glad to report that on July 5 last the American claim of Alsop & Co. against the Government of Chile was finally disposed of by the decision of His Britannic Majesty George V, to whom, as amiable compositeur, the matter had been referred for determination. His Majesty made an award of nearly $1,000,000 to the claimants, which was promptly paid by Chile. The settlement of this controversy has happily eliminated from the relations between the Republic of Chile and the United States the only question which for two decades had given the two foreign offices any serious concern and makes possible the unobstructed development of the relations of friendship which it has been the aim of this Government in every possible way to further and cultivate.
ARBITRATIONS—PANAMA AND COSTA RICA—COLOMBIA AND HAITI.
In further illustration of the practical and beneficent application of the principle of arbitration and the underlying broad spirit of conciliation, I am happy to advert to the part of the United States in facilitating amicable settlement of disputes which menaced the peace between Panama and Costa Rica and between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Since the date of their independence, Colombia and Costa Rica had been seeking a solution of a boundary dispute, which came as an heritage from Colombia to the new Republic of Panama, upon its beginning life as an independent nation. Although the disputants had submitted this question for decision to the President of France under the terms of an arbitration treaty, the exact interpretation of the provisions of the award rendered had been a matter of serious disagreement between the two countries, both contending for widely different lines even under the terms of the decision. Subsequently and since 1903 this boundary question had been the subject of fruitless diplomatic negotiations between the parties. In January, 1910, at the request of both Governments the agents representing them met in conference at the Department of State and subsequently concluded a protocol submitting this long-pending controversy to the arbitral judgment of the Chief justice of the United States, who consented to act in this capacity. A boundary commission, according to the international agreement, has now been appointed, and it is expected that the arguments will shortly proceed and that this long-standing dispute will be honorably and satisfactorily terminated.
Again, a few months ago it appeared that the Dominican Republic and Haiti were about to enter upon hostilities because of complications growing out of an acrimonious boundary dispute which the efforts of many years had failed to solve. The Government of the United States, by a friendly interposition of good offices, succeeded in prevailing upon the parties to place their reliance upon some form of pacific settlement. Accordingly, on the friendly suggestion of this Government, the two Governments empowered commissioners to meet at Washington in conference at the State Department in order to arrange the terms of submission to arbitration of the boundary controversy.
CHAMIZAL ARBITRATION NOT SATISFACTORY.
Our arbitration of the Chamizal boundary question with Mexico was unfortunately abortive, but with the earnest efforts on the part of both Governments which its importance commands, it is felt that an early practical adjustment should prove possible.
LATIN AMERICA. VENEZUELA.
During the past year the Republic of Venezuela celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of its independence. The United States sent, in honor of this event, a special embassy to Caracas, where the cordial reception and generous hospitality shown it were most gratifying as a further proof of the good relations and friendship existing between that country and the United States. MEXICO.
The recent political events in Mexico received attention from this Government because of the exceedingly delicate and difficult situation created along our southern border and the necessity for taking measures properly to safeguard American interests. The Government of the United States, in its desire to secure a proper observance and enforcement of the so-called neutrality statutes of the Federal Government, issued directions to the appropriate officers to exercise a diligent and vigilant regard for the requirements of such rules and laws. Although a condition of actual armed conflict existed, there was no official recognition of belligerency involving the technical neutrality obligations of international law.
On the 6th of March last, in the absence of the Secretary of State, I had a personal interview with Mr. Wilson, the ambassador of the United States to Mexico, in which he reported to me that the conditions in Mexico were much more critical than the press dispatches disclosed; that President Diaz was on a volcano of popular uprising; that the small outbreaks which had occurred were only symptomatic of the whole condition; that a very large per cent of the people were in sympathy with the insurrection; that a general explosion was probable at any time, in which case he feared that the 40,000 or more American residents in Mexico might be assailed, and that the very large American investments might be injured or destroyed.
After a conference with the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, I thought it wise to assemble an Army division of full strength at San Antonio, Tex., a brigade of three regiments at Galveston, a brigade of Infantry in the Los Angeles district of southern California, together with a squadron of battleships and cruisers and transports at Galveston, and a small squadron of ships at San Diego. At the same time, through our representative at the City of Mexico, I expressed to President Diaz the hope that no apprehensions might result from unfounded conjectures as to these military maneuvers, and assured him that they had no significance which should cause concern to his Government.
The mobilization was effected with great promptness, and on the 15th of March, through the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, in a letter addressed to the Chief of Staff, I issued the following instructions: It seems my duty as Commander in Chief to place troops in sufficient number where, if Congress shall direct that they enter Mexico to save American lives and property, an effective movement may be promptly made. Meantime, the movement of the troops to Texas and elsewhere near the boundary, accompanied with sincere assurances of the utmost goodwill toward the present Mexican Government and with larger and more frequent patrols along the border to prevent insurrectionary expeditions from American soil, will hold up the hands of the existing Government and will have a healthy moral effect to prevent attacks upon Americans and their property in any subsequent general internecine strife. Again, the sudden mobilization of a division of troops has been a great test of our Army and full of useful instruction, while the maneuvers that are thus made possible can occupy the troops and their officers to great advantage.
The assumption by the press that I contemplate intervention on Mexican soil to protect American lives or property is of course gratuitous, because I seriously doubt whether I have such authority under any circumstances, and if I had I would not exercise it without express congressional approval. Indeed, as you know, I have already declined, without Mexican consent, to order a troop of Cavalry to protect the breakwater we are constructing just across the border in Mexico at the mouth of the Colorado River to save the Imperial Valley, although the insurrectos had scattered the Mexican troops and were taking our horses and supplies and frightening our workmen away. My determined purpose, however, is to be in a position so that when danger to American lives and property in Mexico threatens and the existing Government is rendered helpless by the insurrection, I can promptly execute congressional orders to protect them, with effect.
Meantime, I send you this letter, through the Secretary, to call your attention to some things in connection with the presence of the division in the Southwest which have doubtless occurred to you, but which I wish to emphasize.
In the first place, I want to make the mobilization a first-class training for the Army, and I wish you would give your time and that of the War College to advising and carrying out maneuvers of a useful character, and plan to continue to do this during the next three months. By that time we may expect that either Ambassador Wilson's fears will have been realized and chaos and its consequences have ensued, or that the present Government of Mexico will have so readjusted matters as to secure tranquillity-a result devoutly to be wished. The troops can then be returned to their posts. I understood from you in Washington that Gen. Aleshire said that you could probably meet all the additional expense of this whole movement out of the present appropriations if the troops continue in Texas for three months. I sincerely hope this is so. I observe from the newspapers that you have no blank cartridges, but I presume that this is an error, or that it will be easy to procure those for use as soon as your maneuvers begin.
Second. Texas is a State ordinarily peaceful, but you can not put 20,000 troops into it without running some risk of a collision between the people of that State, and especially the Mexicans who live in Texas near the border and who sympathize with the insurrectos, and the Federal soldiers. For that reason I beg you to be as careful as you can to prevent friction of any kind. We were able in Cuba, with the army of pacification there of something more than 5,000 troops, to maintain them for a year without any trouble, and I hope you can do the same thing in Texas. Please give your attention to this, and advise all the officers in command of the necessity for very great circumspection in this regard.
Third. One of the great troubles in the concentration of troops is the danger of disease, and I suppose that you have adopted the most modern methods for preventing and, if necessary, for stamping out epidemics. That is so much a part of a campaign that it hardly seems necessary for me to call attention to it.
Finally, I wish you to examine the question of the patrol of the border and put as many troops on that work as is practicable, and more than are now engaged in it, in order to prevent the use of our borderland for the carrying out of the insurrection. I have given assurances to the Mexican ambassador on this point.
I sincerely hope that this experience will always be remembered by the Army and Navy as a useful means of education, and I should be greatly disappointed if it resulted in any injury or disaster to our forces from any cause. I have taken a good deal of responsibility in ordering this mobilization, but I am ready to answer for it if only you and those under you use the utmost care to avoid the difficulties which I have pointed out.
You may have a copy of this letter made and left with Gen. Carter and such other generals in command as you may think wise and necessary to guide them in their course, but to be regarded as confidential. I am more than happy to here record the fact that all apprehensions as to the effect of the presence of so large a military force in Texas proved groundless; no disturbances occurred; the conduct of the troops was exemplary and the public reception and treatment of them was all that could have been desired, and this notwithstanding the presence of a large number of Mexican refugees in the border territory.
From time to time communications were received from Ambassador Wilson, who had returned to Mexico, confirming the view that the massing of American troops in the neighborhood had had good effect. By dispatch of April 3, 1911, the ambassador said: The continuing gravity of the situation here and the chaos that would ensue should the constitutional authorities be eventually overthrown, thus greatly increasing the danger to which American lives and property are already subject, confirm the wisdom of the President in taking those military precautions which, making every allowance for the dignity and the sovereignty of a friendly state, are due to our nationals abroad.
Charged as I am with the responsibility of safeguarding these lives and property, I am bound to say to the department that our military dispositions on the frontier have produced an effective impression on the Mexican mind and may, at any moment, prove to be the only guaranties for the safety of our nationals and their property. If it should eventuate that conditions here require more active measures by the President and Congress, sporadic attacks might be made upon the lives and property of our nationals, but the ultimate result would be order and adequate protection. The insurrection continued and resulted In engagements between the regular Mexican troops and the insurgents, and this along the border, so that in several instances bullets from the contending forces struck American citizens engaged in their lawful occupations on American soil.
Proper protests were made against these invasions of American rights to the Mexican authorities. On April 17, 1911, I received the following telegram from the governor of Arizona: As a result of to-day's fighting across the international line, but within gunshot range of the heart of Douglas, five Americans wounded on this side of the line. Everything points to repetition of these casualties on to-morrow, and while the Federals seem disposed to keep their agreement not to fire into Douglas, the position of the insurrectionists is such that when fighting occurs on the east and southeast of the intrenchments people living in Douglas are put in danger of their lives. In my judgment radical measures are needed to protect our innocent people, and if anything can be done to stop the fighting at Agua Prieta the situation calls for such action. It is impossible to safeguard the people of Douglas unless the town be vacated. Can anything be done to relieve situation, now acute? After a conference with the Secretary of State, the following telegram was sent to Governor Sloan, on April IS, 1911 9 11, and made public: Your dispatch received. Have made urgent demand upon Mexican Government to issue instructions to prevent firing across border by Mexican federal troops, and am waiting reply. Meantime I have sent direct warning to the Mexican and insurgent forces near Douglas. I infer from your dispatch that both parties attempt to heed the warning, but that in the strain and exigency of the contest wild bullets still find their way into Douglas. The situation might justify me in ordering our troops to cross the border and attempt to stop the fighting, or to fire upon both combatants from the American side. But if I take this step, I must face the possibility of resistance and greater bloodshed, and also the danger of having our motives misconstrued and misrepresented, and of thus inflaming Mexican popular indignation against many thousand Americans now in Mexico and jeopardizing their lives and property. The pressure for general intervention under such conditions it might not be practicable to resist. It is impossible to foresee or reckon the consequences of such a course, and we must use the greatest self-restraint to avoid it. Pending my urgent representation to the Mexican Government, I can not therefore order the troops at Douglas to cross the border, but I must ask you and the local authorities, in case the same danger recurs, to direct the people of Douglas to place themselves where bullets can not reach them and thus avoid casualty. I am loath to endanger Americans in Mexico, where they are necessarily exposed, by taking a radical step to prevent injury to Americans on our side of the border who can avoid it by a temporary inconvenience. I am glad to say that no further invasion of American rights of any substantial character occurred.
The presence of a large military and naval force available for prompt action, near the Mexican border, proved to be most fortunate under the somewhat trying conditions presented by this invasion of American rights Had no movement theretofore taken place, and because of these events it had been necessary then to bring about the mobilization, it must have had sinister significance. On the other hand, the presence of the troops before and at the time of the unfortunate killing and wounding of American citizens at Douglas, made clear that the restraint exercised by our Government in regard to this Occurrence was not due to lack of force or power to deal with it promptly and aggressively, but was due to a real desire to use every means possible to avoid direct intervention in the affairs of our neighbor whose friendship we valued and were most anxious to retain.
The policy and action of this Government were based upon an earnest friendliness for the Mexican people as a whole, and it is a matter of gratification to note that this attitude of strict impartiality as to all factions in Mexico and of sincere friendship for the neighboring nation, without regard for party allegiance, has been generally recognized and has resulted in an even closer and more sympathetic understanding between the two Republics and a warmer regard one for the other. Action to suppress violence and restore tranquillity throughout the Mexican Republic was of peculiar interest to this Government, in that it concerned the safeguarding of American life and property in that country. The Government of the United States had occasion to accord permission for the passage of a body of Mexican rurales through Douglas, Arizona, to Tia Juana, Mexico, for the suppression of general lawlessness which had for some time existed in the region of northern Lower California. On May 25, 1911, President Diaz resigned, Senor de la Barra was chosen provisional President. Elections for President and Vice President were thereafter held throughout the Republic, and Senor Francisco I. Madero was formally declared elected on October 15 to the chief magistracy. On November 6 President Madero entered upon the duties of his office.
Since the inauguration of President Madero a plot has been unearthed against the present Government, to begin a new insurrection. Pursuing the same consistent policy which this administration has adopted from the beginning, it directed an investigation into the conspiracy charged, and this investigation has resulted in the indictment of Gen. Bernardo Reyes and others and the seizure of a number of officers and men and horses and accoutrements assembled upon the soil of Texas for the purpose of invading Mexico. Similar proceedings had been taken during the insurrection against the Diaz Government resulting in the indictments and prosecution of persons found to be engaged in violating the neutrality laws of the United States in aid of that uprising.
The record of this Government in respect of the recognition of constituted authority in Mexico therefore is clear.
CENTRAL AMERICA-HONDURAS AND NICARAGUA TREATIES PROPOSED.
As to the situation in Central America, I have taken occasion in the past to emphasize most strongly the importance that should be attributed to the consummation of the conventions between the Republics of Nicaragua and of Honduras and this country, and I again earnestly recommend that the necessary advice and consent of the Senate be accorded to these treaties, which will make it possible for these Central American Republics to enter upon an era of genuine economic national development. The Government of Nicaragua which has already taken favorable action on the convention, has found it necessary, pending the exchange of final ratifications, to enter into negotiations with American bankers for the purpose of securing a temporary loan to relieve the present financial tension. III connection with this temporary loan and in the hope of consummating, through the ultimate operation of the convention, a complete and lasting economic regeneration, the Government of Nicaragua has also decided to engage an American citizen as collector general of customs. The claims commission on which the services of two American citizens have been sought, and the work of the American financial adviser should accomplish a lasting good of inestimable benefit to the prosperity, commerce, and peace of the Republic. In considering the ratification of the conventions with Nicaragua and Honduras, there rests with the United States the heavy responsibility of the fact that their rejection here might destroy the progress made and consign the Republics concerned to still deeper submergence in bankruptcy, revolution, and national jeopardy. PANAMA.