In 1905, confronted by a popular outcry over the excessive expenses required to support an eighty strong Taft Party on the largest diplomatic delegation to Asia in U.S. History, President Theodore Roosevelt (pictured) announced that the "imperial cruise" had been cancelled due to the timing of the tragic death of Secretary of State John Hay.
Imperial CruiseTR who was currently serving as his own Secretary of State had convinced the easily browbeaten Secretary of War William Howard Taft to lead the mission, accompanied by his twenty-one year old daughter Alice, seven senators and twenty-three congressmen on an ocean liner from San Francisco to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China and Korea. But the trouble had begun when the San Francisco Examiner published a hostile article entitled "Why Taft Pleases Steam and Rail Folk" pointing out that it was the "one of the most lucrative special parties ever hauled across the continent by the overlands roads. The railroad fares totaled $14,440 which includes something like $2,100 for dining car service [plus the] very snug sum of twenty-eight thousand dollars for almost three months on the [Pacific Liner] passenger ship Manchuria, not including tips estimated to total $1800 dollars".
A timeline in which we sent General Motors to promote US interests in Asia rather than General MacArthurOf course the imperialistic ambitions of TR were transparently clear and not at all disguised by the inclusive of his popular daughter, in fact he had already declared that "I wish to see the United States the dominant power on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Our future history will be more determined by our position on the Pacific facing China than by our position on the Atlantic facing Europe".
Nevertheless, upon the appointment of the new Secretary of State Elihu Root the idea was briefly re-considered, but Root convinced TR that negotiating secret agreements with foreign governments was not only unconstitutional, but fundamentally un-American. In the event, the US Government did not give Japan a "green light" to occupy the Korean Peninsula. While the U.S.has avoided military entanglement in South-east Asia, the past hundred years of foreign relations have been marred by ongoing Trade Disputes and a number of prominent neo-conservatives have even been so bold as to suggest that it was a strategic misstep for the "imperial cruise" to have been cancelled. The economic warfare is perhaps most memorably framed by the iconic photograph of four automobile workers raising the corporate flag at the General Motors assembly plant on Iwo Jima.