The Drago Doctrine was announced in 1902 by the Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis María Drago in a diplomatic note to the United States. Perceiving a conflict between the Monroe Doctrine and the influence of European imperial powers, and raising attention to the principle of sovereign equality which the United States had long supported, it set forth the policy that no foreign power, including the United States, could use force against a Latin American nation to collect debt. In 1904, the Roosevelt Corollary was issued by the United States in response to the Drago Doctrine. The Roosevelt Corollary asserted the right of the United States to intervene Latin America in the interests of American business and Latin American independence from European powers.
It grew from the ideas expressed by Carlos Calvo in Derecho internacional teórico y práctico de Europa y América, commonly known as the Calvo Doctrine. The Calvo Doctrine proposed to prohibit diplomatic intervention before local resources were exhausted.
The Drago Doctrine itself was a response to the actions of Britain, Germany, and Italy, who in 1902 had blockaded and shelled ports in response to Venezuela's massive debt, acquired under governments previous to president Cipriano Castro. Secretary of State John Hay was taken aback by the reference to the Monroe Doctrine, and delayed six weeks before responding by quoting Roosevelt's 1901 annual message to Congress: "We do not guarantee any state against punishment if it misconducts itself." Roosevelt himself—although he would lavish praise on Drago's doctrine in later years—had earlier written in his capacity as Vice President to the german diplomat Hermann Speck von Sternburg that "if any South American State misbehaves towards any European country, let the European country spank it".
The Drago Doctrine was used by Venezuela as a rationale for their vote in support of Argentina at the Organization of American States meeting discussing the Argentine debt crisis involving NML Capital.
- Schoultz, Lars (1998). Beneath the United States: a history of U.S. policy toward Latin America ([Fourth printing]. ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University: Harvard University Press. pp. 179–180. ISBN 0-674-92276-X.
- "Columbia Encyclopedia article on the Calvo Doctrine". bartleby.com. Archived from the original on 8 March 2005. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- "Columbia Encyclopedia article on Luis María Drago". bartleby.com. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- "Encyclopedia.com article on Luis María Drago". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
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