100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

US Senate Extends Monroe Doctrine To Block Foreign Corporations

In 1912 a lumber company based in New Hampshire, the John Henry Company, was interested  in acquiring controlling interests in a harbor in Baja California called Magdalena Bay. A competing syndicate made up of Japanese and American partners were making offers as well. With the future opening of the Panama Canal, the coast of Baja California is now more strategically and economically important. The recent Mexican Revolution saw Socialist forces almost taking over the peninsula. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (R- Mass.) brought forth a resolution that argued an application of the Monroe Doctrine :

“That when a harbor or any other place in the American continent is so situated that the occupation thereof  for any naval or military purposes might threaten the communications or the safety of the United States, the government of the United States cannot see without grave concern the possession of such harbor or any other place by corporations or any association which has such relations to another government, not American, as to give that government practical power of control for national purposes.”

Lodge’s critics say the  motives of the resolution is to give the John Henry Company, a private concern, advantage in its transactions and that the resolution did not make clear the difference between a foreign government and a foreign corporation.

“I do not deem it wise for the United States to say that the stock of a corporation owning land around Magdelena Bay should be held by citizens of another country without some relation of the stockholder to their government.”

On August 2, 1912 the US Senate passed Lodge’s resolution extending the Monroe Doctrine from keeping foreign corporations from controlling strategic ports.

US Senator Henry Cabot Lodge
(R – Mass.)

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