Diary of Lieutenant X (Aime Ernest Motsch)

Tuesday, May 17, 1898

Philippine Strategy

An incomparable strategic situation now exists. Manila is key to the Far East, being the geometric center from which all places radiate where colonies are of utmost importance to the powers with interests in the Pacific. With Manila as the center, having a radius equal to five days at sea, one can establish a circumference consisting of all the important commercial routes and all the trade between the north of Asia and the south of Europe, the Far East, Australia, and the United States. The distance from Manila to Hongkong is the short common side of two triangles whose hypotenuse, in the case of the northern triangle, runs from Hongkong to Japan, and for the south triangle from Hongkong to Singapore. The two lines which link Singapore and Japan to Manila are equal.

The Philippines is a sort of tropical Japan in much the same way that Japan is the England of the East. The Philippines represents the southern part of England, the fragmented area of the Azores. The strategic importance of the Philippines in the Pacific is superior to that of the Azores in the European context.

Besides this, the Philippines has a bigger surface area, a larger population, and countless natural resources. These islands and Cuba are Spain’s most beautiful colonies. It should not be inferred, however, that the Philippines comprises a territory which is confining. The entire archipelago with its 10 or 12 large islands, excluding the 500 small ones has a surface area of not less than 300 square kilometers, England is smaller than this. Although we do not have the exact figure for the population, these fertile lands feed some 10 million and can easily sustain three or four times that number.

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