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Julius Kahn, Dollar Diplomacy, Hukuang Loan, Currency Reform Loan, loan to Liberia, Nicaragua Convention, Honduras Convention, American commerce, Ralph Waldo Emerson


The document is a carbon copy of a typed letter from the Assistant Secretary of State to Julius Kahn concerning the use and meaning of "Dollar Diplomacy."


Francis Mairs Huntington-Wilson


Julius Kahn

Corresponds to:

Folder 1-13, Document 11


Washington, D. C.


July 6, 1911.

My dear Mr. Kahn:

The one or two sentences from Emerson that we spoke of this morning occur a little beyond the middle of the essay on Manners.

Herewith I send, in compliance with your request, copies of speeches, annual messages, newspaper articles and editorials and roughnotes covering "Dollar Diplomacy" and foreign relations, and an outline of the organization and work of the Department containing a good deal of interesting information.

From these I think you will get a good bird's eye view of the subject, including the primary and secondary meanings of "Dollar Diplomacy", - the primary meaning, as you know, is not the use of the Government by capital, but the use of capital by the Government in effective furtherance of some broad policy beneficial to the United States and the American people and to the world. Five examples of this are the

The Honorable Julius Kahn, M. C.
The Normandie

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Hukuang loan, the Currency Reform Loan, the loan to help Liberia, the Nicaraguan Convention, and the Honduranian Convention. The secondary meaning of "Dollar Diplomacy" is the promotion of American commerce. As to this, you will find that the figures speak for themselves. Everyone will admit, I suppose, that we shall soon cease to export food stuffs and that if our industries are to be kept going and the position of American labor is to be maintained, then we must gain a foothold now in the fields of foreign commerce.

About the criticism of the appointment of too many millionaires to be ambassadors, of course millionaires may be good diplomatists, but if there is objection to it it is directly due to the undemocratic policy of giving officials of the foreign service establishment such small pay that they cannot possibly, without considerable private means, do the best work for their country. Personally I have always thought that moderate salaries and large funds for representation, including entertainment, the expenditure of which could be generally controlled by the Department would be the best way, because it would guard against the sporadic stingy man. Buildings of course would be another great help. As it is, in having no funds for representation

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no official residences, nothing but five cents a mile for travel (as against twenty cents for Congressmen), the personnel of our foreign service, whether working in Washington or in foreign countries is singularly badly treated financially as compared with the foreign services of many other great Powers.

I am very glad you are going to make a clear explanation of what "Dollar Diplomacy" really means. It was exasperating to see the phrase so subverted in its use in this morning's papers. As you know, the phrase was invented by a "knocker", but I believe we have already almost succeeded in turning it into a really honorable motto.

Our conversation this morning was a great pleasure to me and if I can be of any further service to you, pray command me.

Yours very sincerely,



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Letter From Francis Mairs Huntington-Wilson to Julius Kahn, July 6, 1911



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