The Danish West Indies

Boston Transcript

IT may be asked: "Why does the United States need any more islands in the West Indies?" A complete answer to this question involves the consideration of the great underlying principles of our foreign policy, outlined in Washington's Farewell Address, developed in our famous Monroe Doctrine, and applied in our various treaties and in the diplomatic action of successive secretaries of state for the past seventy-five years. Moreover, our acquisition of the Danish West Indies—St. Thomas, Santa Cruz, and St. John—may be rightly considered, strategically, as an incident of our Isthmian Canal policy, because the strategic position of those islands makes them necessary to the United States as a naval base, commanding the main ocean route from Europe to the Isthmus, and dominating the line of supplies and retreat of any naval or military attack upon the Atlantic end of any Isthmus canal, whether at Darien, Panama, or Nicaragua.

The consideration of these two propositions will lead to the further question, not necessary for present action, though probable in the near future, of the political future of all the West Indian Islands and the supremacy of the seas between North and South America—consequences of such far-reaching importance as a momentous question of world policy as will make its consideration and decision an epoch in the world's history.

The Lectures
March 6, 1902

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