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HEN Theodore Roosevelt as President "took" the Panama Canal belt, The World as a matter of general policy criticised the act, but soon abandoned the critical attitude as useless in face of a fact accomplished. In the Taft campaign of 1908 William Nelson Cromwell complained to District Attorney Jerome that certain persons were trying to blackmail him in connection with the sale by the French company of Panama Canal rights to the United States. The substance of the complaint, becoming known to The World, was printed as a news article, October 3, 1908, with a telephoned 'disclaimer by Mr. Cromwell. For a month no attention was paid to the article, and to several that followed, by President Roosevelt, who was in effect managing the Taft campaign for the Presidency. On the day before the election the Indianapolis News printed an editorial on the Panama scandal—as it had become-asking who got the $40,000,000 the United States paid for the property. The result of the elections in Indiana was unsatisfactory to the Administration. On Nov. 29 William Dudley Foulke of that State sent the Indianapolis News editorial to Mr. Roosevelt in a letter declaring that if the statements were true the people ought to know it, and if they were not

true "a journal that disseminates falsehoods" should be exposed. Mr. Roosevelt, replying on Dec. 1, 1908, asserted that the United States "paid $40,000,000 direct to the French Government," and that there was no syndicate of capitalists in the United States that had had dealings with the Government for the Canal. Upon this The World for the first time commented upon the matter editorially. In the article immediately following, written by Mr. Cobb, which appeared Dec. 8, 1908, the famous fight was on. After some preliminary inquiry by the Department of Justice, Attorney-General Bonaparte, under orders from President Roosevelt, began criminal proceedings Feb. 17, 1909, in the courts of the District of Columbia against The World, the Indianapolis News and certain editors as individuals. The suits were based upon the circulation of the two newspapers in the District of Columbia and charged libel of President Roosevelt, President-elect Taft and others. Mr. Taft was to take office in a fortnight, inheriting the contest begun by his impetuous predecessor.


[December 8, 1908]

IN view of President Roosevelt's deliberate misstatements of fact in his scandalous personal attack upon Mr. Delavan Smith, editor of the Indianapolis News, The World calls upon the Congress of the United States to make immediately a full and impartial investigation of the entire Panama Canal scandal.

The investigation of 1906 by the Senate Committee on Interoceanic Canals was blocked by the refusal of William Nelson Cromwell to answer the most pertinent questions of Senator Morgan, of Alabama. Since that

time nothing has been done because after Senator Morgan's death there was no successor to carry on his great work of revealing the truth about Panama corruption.

The Indianapolis News said in the editorial for which Mr. Roosevelt assails Mr. Smith:

It has been charged that the United States bought from 'American citizens for $40,000,000 property that cost those citizens $12,000,000. There is no doubt that the Government paid $40,000,000 for the property. But who got the money?

President Roosevelt's reply to this most proper question is for the most part a string of abusive and defamatory epithets. But he also makes the following statements as truthful information to the American people.

The United States did not pay a cent of the $40,000,000 to any American citizen.

The Government paid this $40,000,000 direct to the French Government, getting the receipt of the liquidator appointed by the French Government to receive the same.

The United States Government has not the slightest knowledge as to the particular individuals among whom the French Government distributed the same.

So far as I know there was no syndicate; there certainly was no syndicate in the United States that to my knowledge had any dealings with the Government directly or indirectly.

To the best of The World's knowledge and belief, each and all of these statements made by Mr. Roosevelt and quoted above are untrue, and Mr. Roosevelt must have known they were untrue when he made them.


As to the detailed 'description of the Panama loot only one man knows it all. And that man is William Nelson Cromwell. The two men who were most in Mr. Cromwell's confidence are Theodore Roosevelt, President of

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