Outlines of Research Studies on "The Open Door," February 1918


Organisation Centrale pour une Paix durable

III -- The Open Door -- Jordan

Jordan, "Annexation and Conquest."

"Colony" -- an over-seas district controlled or affiliated for any purpose by a civilized nation. It may range from a coaling-station to a continental dominion or commonwealth.

British [colonies]: 1. Risen to autonomy in temperate zones (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa): No present question of annexation or autonomy.

2. Coaling stations and 3 fortresses guarding trade channels: An international agreement to leave all lanes of traffic unfortified.

4. "Crown-Colonies": Districts administered directly in the name of the King. Consist of a. Many natives, b. Peons from some other region (imported serfs or slaves), c. A few traders, miners, exploiters, missionaries, officials (civil and military).

European annexation questions concern relatively homogenous peoples accustomed to a degree of self-government and to some process of voting: not so in Asia and Africa (Cf. Crown Colonies' heterogeneity and political backwardness).

Progress of the world requires domination or annexation by some civilized power (Taft, 22): they are ignorant, or depraved, or show their unfitness for self-government by continued anarchy.

The greed of exploitation often bring law and order to feeble and discordant peoples; the purpose of occupation should be the general welfare: not the protection of exploiting interests, nor the "mirage of the map". [page 2]

III. The Open Door -- F. E. Chadwick

Rear-Admiral F. E. Chadwick, U.S.A., "Spheres of Special Influence", Recueil de Rapports, I. 95-105.

The right of commerce is an inherent right of men; it has made our civilization and distributed knowledge; its complete acceptance conditions the future well-being of mankind.

Freedom of trade and free trade have followed restrictions, within countries: Spain, Great Britain, United States before 1781, Brazil [today] (in spite of its constitution).

Colonization is racial adjustment: the displacement of inferior by superior peoples. This was true of Europe, 3000 years ago; of the Americas and the other continents since 1492.

Colonization was accompanied by forcible dispossession of the natives (except by William Penn), and was followed by commercial wars between the colonizers, by seizures of one another's territories, and by the establishment of Spheres of Influence. Great Britain's empire, for example, is founded on 300 years of war against Spain, Holland, and France, and upon the errors of her rivals.

The great Exploiters of the Earth are Great Britain, Russia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States, Japan, Brazil, China.

The cause of this exploitation in recent years has been "the financial self-interest of the money-powers of the several nations."

The Remedies for these evils, and for the preservation of peace, are:

1. The Open Door in all Spheres of Influence established since 1880;

2. A Court of Reference at The Hague, to which any nation may appeal against unfair treatment; [page 3]

3. The opening of all waterways;

4. An International Board of colonial Control, growing out of the Court of Reference, and administering for the world all backward lands;

5. Free trade among all nations. The existence and prosperity of the United States are based primarily upon free trade among the 48 states; so it will be with Europe and the world;

6. An International Court;

7. Religious freedom, -- one of the great gifts of Holland to the world. [page 4]

III. The Open Door -- Lambert

Henri Lambert (Industriel a Charleroi, Belgique), "La Morale et l'Echange Internationaux", I. 128-63.

The modern dilemma: Freedom in international commerce, or international conflicts of increasing severity between the strongest and most advanced nations.

The basis of internationalism: Economic interests (as true of the family of nations, as of nations, groups and individuals). All progress is derived from free division of labor and exchange.

Justice: Originated when force was replaced by an exchange of goods and services; free exchange is the criterion of justice, both within and among nations. Hence Protectionism is unjust: it is a legal spoliation of consumers and a loss to the nation for the exclusive benefit of entrepreneurs. Nations cannot oppose their political frontiers as an obstacle to free division of labor and exchange, without suffering and causing suffering.

International Law must be based on economic justice, i.e. on freedom of international labor and exchange; thus only can it cease to be sterile documents or precarious doctrines, and become positive law consonant with nature. National frontiers must not run counter to this law of nature.

"The Law of War" is a contradictory term, because war is the negation of law and a return to force. "Civilized Warfare" is also contradictory, because warfare destroys civilization, -- especially since it has become a struggle for existence between nations, instead of merely between armies, knights or kings, and is being waged by means of XX Century science.

Free commerce will cause gradual disarmament on land and sea, the freedom of the seas, democratic control of foreign policy, the solution of the problem of [page 5] nationalities (Cf. summaries elsewhere of these four discussions.)

The Causes of War are almost entirely economic, inflamed by artificial popular policy. The periods of wars for dynastic and religious reasons having passed, we have long been in a period of war for economic reasons. Hence,

The Problem of Peace in our time is the substitution, for the economic causes of war, of the economic prerequisite of peace, namely, economic justice, or freedom of labor and exchange. This is true because our epoch is one of unprecedented industrial and commercial development.

War must cease, or civilization will be destroyed. Peace is the sine qua non of moral progress; and economic justice, i.e. freedom of labor and exchange of goods and ideas, is the basis both of peace and of moral progress. [page 6]

III. The Open Door – Hobson

John A. Hobson, Great Britain, "The Open Door", Recueil de Rapports, I. 106-127.

Causes of War:

I. Non-economic: 1. Self-[defense], 2. Nationality, 3. Liberty 4. Humanity. 5. Maintenance of Public Law.

II. Economic: The pressure of powerful economic needs and interests.

Importance of II: Not altogether true that "all modern wars are for markets"; but behind I have always been II.

Independence: National, or political independence is unreal in comparison with economic interdependence. Militarist states may revert during war to economic dependence; but the normal life of every modern nation rests upon economic interdependence.

Four Economic Liberties:

I. Liberty of Trade, or access to foreign markets without excessive barriers in the shape of tariffs, tolls, fines, etc. Necessary because specialized national industries require supplies from abroad. A guarantee of peace, because of reciprocal gains from free exchange (Cf. Cobden). Origin of barriers = desire for monopoly in backward countries or colonies.

Growth of colonial trade: 2. Casual visits of merchant vessels; b. Settlements for collecting goods, for stimulating native production, for creating native demand for imports; c. The white man's control of native labor and the diversification of crops; d. A government, half-economic and half-political, is set up for creating roads, harbors and other public works; e. Large capital invested in mines, etc; f. Towns built for trade and residence of white officials and business men. [page 7]

II. Liberty of Investment: Companies for investments and exploitation supplement and direct the trading interests; little groups of financiers in London, Paris, Berlin, hatch and finance "operations" (gold, rubber, tea, R.R's). The country is now primarily a market for investment, not a mere outlet for the sale of goods.

Political result of I and II: Traders and manufacturers have always utilized their governments to procure access to foreign markets, -- some times by force (Cf. Opium War in China). As "outlanders" settle and control native labor native unrest ensues, native governments do not protect life and [property], the white man's government intervenes: a "sphere of interest" passes into a "protectorate". The economic drive of events, consciously controlled by business men with a clear view of what they want, results in "financial imperialism": the powerful secret, or occasionally open, direction of foreign policy by financial and commercial interests working in sympathy with political aspirations (Recent examples: Egypt, the Transvaal, Morocco, Tripoli, Persia, Mexico, China). Its most refined expression -- the struggles of rival banking groups within the several capitalistic countries to finance the governments of Russia, Persia, or China, and to use them for pushing profitable projects.

III. Freedom of the Seas. Free access to other lands requires: a. the safe conduct of merchant vessels through the trade routes, b. the right of entry into foreign ports, c. the secure use of markets upon equal terms. The loss of this freedom by Great Britain might mean the loss of life itself; it is important in different degrees to all developing peoples.

IV. Freedom of Migration. Labor, as well as capital, must be free to play its part in developing sparsely-peopled lands. Labor must be free to flow freely [page 8] from lower-waged to higher-waged areas, both to improve the condition of laborers and to develop best the world's resources. Its denial or restriction is the source of international friction.

Restrictions on the Four Economic Liberties: by tariffs, bounties, prohibitions; the barring of trade routes by land or sea; legal restrictions on the acquisition or use of land, or the control of industries; assignment of monopolies or privileges by favor, corruption, or political "pull"; alien laws against immigration labor.

These restrictions cause wars and preparations for wars. Cf. the Memorandum of the Reform Club of N.Y. in re the causes of the present war: the economic needs of Serbia, Austria, Russia, Germany, Japan, U.S., and the neutral lands as well.

Proposed Remedies: --

I. The futile remedies (1 and 2):

1. The absolute laissez-faire of the older school of economic harmonies; let all foreign offices adopt the policy of non-intervention; let individuals undertake any foreign enterprise entirely at their own discretion and their own risk; private gain will incidentally, but necessarily, secure the wider economic welfare. Versus I: 2. The governments are too deeply involved to withdraw entirely; b. The financial condition of every belligerent country after this war will make any lowering of tariffs impracticable at least in the near future. (See also arguments b and c against the 2nd. remedy below.)

2. An international agreement to abstain in the future from "Dollar Diplomacy" and to absorb no more backward countries. Versus 2: a. The most desirable areas are already appropriated; the status quo would satisfy, perhaps, Great [page 9] Britain and France, already gorged with Empire, but not Germany, Russia or Japan; b. Laissez faire in unabsorbed lands would mean that bands of armed buccaneers calling themselves traders would rob [defenseless] savages, poison them with alcohol or opium, seize their lands, impose forced labor, establish a slave-trade; convert any rich unabsorbed corner of the world into a Congo, a San Thome, or a Putmayo, tempered only by the fears of native risings and massacres; c. Even if the natives could prevent all access to strangers, they should not be permitted both to neglect developing the resources of their land and to prevent others from doing so; this would be to their own and the world's disadvantage.

(Is financial imperialism an illusion? "World power," a "place in the sun," "freedom of the seas" are the three phrases which made effective the militarist doctrines of Treitschke, Bernhardi and the Pan-Germanists. They secured the support of business men in Germany for the flotten Verein and Welt-politik; expanding markets and profits were the Leit-motif in Germany as in other imperialism. It is not wholly an illusion that trade follows the flag, or that imperialism is profitable; it is profitable to certain financial, commercial and manufacturing interests within the nation. But the costs of acquiring, maintaining and defending the new territories fall upon the nation as a whole. Imperial aggrandizement is "good business" for some individuals; it is "bad business" for the nation.)

II. Temporary Remedies (3 and 4):

3. Each civilized nation to give equal rights of commerce and investment in their colonies and protectorates to members of all nations.

Advantages of: a. Decrease of resentment and envy (and therefore more conducive to peace than armaments, or arbitration, or guarantees of national integrity) b. Modification of competition for further acquisition of territory; [page 10] c. If business interests could no longer hope to gain by manipulating foreign policies, the chief grounds of suspicion and hostility between the Great Powers would be removed; d. the distinctively political and sentimental support of colonialism and imperialism would be [easily?] weakened by the disappearance of the business man's pushful control.

Obstacles to 3; 2. The preferential tariffs of G.B.'s self-governing dominions primarily conceived and operated as favors to the mother-country. But the closer imperial relations after the war should make it easy to secure the withdrawal of these, especially since such withdrawal would enable both G.B. and her dominions to secure certain trade liberties with the dominions of other Powers at present withheld. b. The Colonial System of France, so deeply rooted in protection. But her colonial markets form a small proportion of her over-seas trade, and the Open Door to others would secure her great compensations for opening her own.

4. Internationalize the Colonial Problem. Create a joint international protectorate over still unappropriated lands, this to be exercised either by an International Commission appointed by the permanent International Council (or whatever body be entrusted with the execution of the Treaty of International Relations), or by the government of some nation to which is delegated the international authority. Propinquity or other special circumstances may make this latter course advisable; the [duty] of protection and control would carry with it no commercial or other advantages, save such incidental ones as are unavoidably associated with the flag; and this duty should be fairly distributed among the civilized nations. [page 11]

III. Fundamental Remedies (5, 6 and 7):

5. Complete Free Trade and other free economic opportunities in all home-lands and colonial possessions; full economic internationalism. This would make a complete security for peace. But the financial situation of all European [nations] after this war, and the political antagonisms and impulses towards national economic self-sufficiency, will render any early movement towards such Free Trade impossible.

6. Democratic Control of Foreign Policy: Genuine self-government versus control of foreign affairs by bankers, contractors, ship owners and merchants conspiring with ambitions, jealous or suspicious statesmen and diplomatists.

7. A distribution of wealth more favorable to laborers: the national standard of consumption would be raised; more capital would be employed in staple industries at home; surplus wealth in the form of rents and profits would be reduced, and the volume of capital for foreign investment thereby diminished. Improved labor efficiency might increase the product, but the laborers' increased demands for goods would keep the new capital profitably invested at home. Dollar diplomacy is largely an economic necessity due to a distribution of wealth which restricts capital investment at home and drives it abroad.

These fundamental remedies (5, 6 and 7), must be of slow growth; meanwhile adopt the temporary remedies (3 and 4); but reject the futile remedies (1 and 2). 3 and 4 can solve the two-fold colonial problem, namely, how to secure the reasonable rights of the natives, and how to secure equal opportunities to the nationals of the advanced nations to develop the natural resources and the trade of the backward nations. The Open Door converted into a genuinely constructive policy of international cooperation, for the peaceful development of the [page 12] undeveloped resources of the world, administered by impartial internationally-minded men, would obviate dangerous collisions between the forces of political nationalism and of economic internationalism, not by denying the claims of nationalism, but by controlling economic internationalism by international political organization.