Economic Foreign Policy of the United States

By Benjamin H. Williams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
PROTECTION OF AMERICAN INVESTMENTS ABROAD: GENERAL PRINCIPLES

THE GROWTH OF FORCES MAKING FOR STRONGER PROTECTION POLICIES

The export of capital in recent years has elevated the policy of protection of investments abroad to a position of supreme importance in American foreign policy. Not only has the mantle of the State Department been spread to shelter interests that are vastly greater than formerly, but with a correspondingly larger and more important part of the community interested in foreign investments, a dynamic force for the strengthening of the doctrines of protection has appeared in American life. Minorities of a most aggressive character have been active in calling upon the government to protect their interests abroad. While it cannot be expected that the Department of State has been or will be persuaded to accept fully the suggestions of these minorities, their vigorous and frequent requests for action have had an unmistakable effect. Financial houses, corporations, chambers of commerce, and associations of investors interested in enterprises abroad must be counted among the dynamic forces responsible for the changing American diplomacy.

The desire of those who hold property abroad for strong policies of protection is well illustrated by the attitude of the American business community in China as contrasted with that of the missionary interests. The success of the efforts of the latter depends upon the good will of the Chinese and, hence, missionaries have generally in recent years desired moderate and equal treatment of China. On the other hand, American business men resident in that country have shown a somewhat different inclination. In June of 1923, following some disorders, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai telegraphed to the Department of State a request for a vigorous and crushing policy which would include the disarmament and disbandment of Chinese troops, the placing of Chinese finances under foreign

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