National Geographic : 1899 Jan
COLONIAL SYSTEMS OF THE WORLD countries commercially adjacent to the port of Manila is more than 800 millions of people, and their annual imports more than $1,200,000,000. Of this vast sum a large proportion is composed of articles and classes of articles produced or manufactured in the United States, especially cotton and cotton goods, manufact ures of iron and steel, machinery, mineral oils, provisions, bread stuffs, and other articles of this class for which our people are seeking a market. Up to this time imports into those countries from the United States formed less than 6 per cent of the total importations, despite the fact that the articles desired by the people are largely of the class which our own people desire to sell. With a Nicaraguan canal through which the manufact urers and producers of the United States could ship their pro ducts by water without breaking bulk from the door of the farm or factory to a distributing center at Manila, which lies as near to many of the great commercial centers of these countries as Habana does to the city of New York, there seems no good reason why the people of the United States desiring to extend their commerce should not obtain a much larger share of the business of that great consuming territory thus accessible from that point than they now have. Regarding the third point, as to our present expenditure for the class of articles which may be produced in those islands: the importation of articles of this class into the United States, including sugar, coffee, tobacco, hemp, tropical fruits, etc., has averaged during the past few years nearly or quite 250 million dollars annually, and if this sum, now sent each year to foreign countries, can be expended among people having closer relations with the United States, and among whom citizens of the United States will be represented,either in person or by the capital which they will furnish for business enterprises, the result will be ad vantageous to the business interests of the country and her people. If the United States should by the proposed new relationship with these islands open them as a market to our producers and make them a doorway to a much larger market, and at the same time enable us to expend among our own people the large sum which we have been accustomed to send to other countries and to other peoples, the suggestion seems at least worthy of serious consideration.