MOBILE, Ala., Oct. 27, 1913 (UP) -- "The United States will never seek another foot of territory by conquest and she must see to it that no other nation does it on this hemisphere."
This flat declaration of American policy was made here this afternoon by President Wilson. It was voiced when the President, opening the southern commercial congress, hailed the completion of the Panama canal as "the emancipation from foreign control of the Latin-America states."
"And we ought to be first," he added, "in assisting in their emancipation. They have been driven to hard bargains, but in the future we will draw closer and closer to them on terms of friendship and equality, for that is the only bond possible between us. Any other is not only degrading to them, but shows us narrow.
"We stand for the greatest ideals, human rights, constitutional liberty and freedom for all.
"I want to say here, gentlemen, that the United States will never seek another foot of territory by conquest and she must see to it that no other nation does it on this hemisphere.
"America was created to carry out such a programme. It was not made because it was rich. It sounds in the ears of all not as the land of opportunity but the land of individual liberty.
"We can never be poor while we love liberty and so in emphasizing the points which must initiate us to Latin-America I say we prove ourselves untrue if we turn from the principle that morality, and not expediency, is our goal. In spite of things we are trying to correct, the nineteenth century has brought us a long way up the hill, toward light and justice."
The President was introduced to the convention by Governor O'Neal of Alabama. O'Neal predicated that with the completion of the canal, the south would wrest from the east its supremacy as a great national shipping coast.
When the President arose to speak, there was a long outburst of cheering. His address was short and extemporaneous.
"I have come because I want to speak of our present and future relations with the south," he began. "With the Latin-American states the future is going to be different than the past. Interest sometimes separate nations, but sympathy never. Our canal has physically cut two continents asunder but it has spiritually united them.
"Columbus sought a new trade route, not America. He stumbled on America and changed the map of the world.
"Since then the trade of the world has turned tides of trade that have swung west will swing further south, and when the gateway of the canal swings open it will open the spirit of friendship and sympathy between the north and south. And do you realize that New York will never be nearer the west coast of South America than the east?"
The President created a laugh when he said after reciting statistics on the canal:
"I am recruiting these things because I just learned them myself."
"You hear of concessions to foreigners in South America," he continued. "You do not hear of that in North America. We do not grant them, but until now South America has been forced to do this because it has been out of the line of commerce. But the canal emancipates them from the danger of foreign control."