Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters - Vol. 1

By Joseph Bucklin Bishop | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
THE KAISER AND VENEZUELA

EARLY in December, 1902, an opportunity came for the President to assert the position he had held for many years in regard to the Monroe Doctrine, and he was quick to seize it. No publicity was given at the time, nor for many years afterward, to the manner in which he compelled the German Kaiser to execute a complete backdown. Details of the incident were published for the first time in 1915, in William Roscoe Thayer's "Life of John Hay." The publication would have attracted wide attention in ordinary times, and coming as it did in the first year of Germany's great war with the rest of the world, it aroused especial and very deep interest. There was some question raised as to the authenticity of the author's story, and to corroborate its truth and prevent all future denial, Roosevelt wrote a letter to Mr. Thayer in which he gave his personal version of the incident, and supplemented Mr. Thayer's version with some corroborative evidence which had recently come into his possession and which established its accuracy beyond dispute. This letter was published later as an appendix in a second edition of Mr. Thayer's book. In accordance with the expressed wish of Roosevelt it is reproduced here as the final and authoritative account of the incident:

SAGAMORE HILL, August 21, 1916.

My dear Mr. Thayer:

There is now no reason why I should not speak of the facts connected with the disagreement between the United States and Germany over the Venezuela matter, in the early part of my administration as President, and of the final amicable settlement of the disagreement.

-221-

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