Walter Hines Page to Woodrow Wilson




Wilson Papers, Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia


Dear Mr. President

Weve traveled a long way since this Mexican trouble began a long way with His Majestys Government. When your policy was first flung at em, they show at best a friendly incredulity. What, set up a moral standard for government in Mexico? Everybodys mind then was fixed merely on the restoring of order the safety of investments. They thought of course our army wd go down in a few weeks. I recall that Sir Edward Grey askd me one day if you wd not consult the European Govts about the succesor to Huerta, speaking of it as a problem that wd come up next week. And there was much unofficial talk about joint intervention.
Well, theyve followed a long way. They apologized for Carden (thats what the Prime Ministers speech was); they ordered him to be more prudent. Then the real meaning of concessions began to get into their heads. They took up the dangers that lurked in the Governments contract with Cowdray for oil; and they pulled Cowdray out of Columbia and Nicaragua Costa Rica granting the application of the Monroe doctrine to concessions that might imperil a countrys autonomy. Then Sir Edward askd me if you wd not consult him about such concessions a long way had been traveled since his other question! They humiliated their admiral at our request. Lord Haldane made the Thanksgiving speech that I suggested to him. And now they have transferred Carden2. Theyve done all we askd & more; and, more wonderful yet, theyve come to understand what we are driving at, and have given one of their financial Lords a tip that has cost him a longshot more than his Peerage cost in the beginning.
As this poor world goes, all this seems to me rather handsomely done. At any rate, its square and its friendly.
Now in diplomacy, as in other contests, there must be give and take: its our turn.1) If you see your way clear, it wd help this Liberal Govt (wh. needs help) and wd be much appreciated, if before February 10, when Parliament meets, you cd say a public word friendly to our keeping the HayPauncefote treaty on the tolls. You only, of course, can judge whether you wd be justified in doing so. I presume only to assure you of the most excellent effect it wd have here. If you will pardon me for taking a personal view of it, too, I will say that such an expression wd cap the climax of the enormously heightened esteem and great respect in wh recent events and achievements have caused you to be held here. It wd put the English of all parties in the happiest possible mood towards you for whatever subsequent dealings may await us. It was as friendly a man as Kipling who said to me the night I spent with him: You know your great Govt, wh does many great things greatly, does not lie awake o nights to keep its promises.Its our turn next, whenever you see your way clear.

Walter H. Page

PS I think Cardens doomed. I know he was doomed. But the publication in Washton of my despatch vexed them & they have at least postponed action.

To The President.

Original Format





Page, Walter Hines, 1855-1918, “Walter Hines Page to Woodrow Wilson,” 1914 January 8, WWP18272, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.