Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

December 14, 1941

Yesterday, American High Commissioner Francis B. Sayre radioed a message to his homeland. It sounded like a drowning man’s desperate call for help. It was worded thus:

The message which I send you, people of the United States, is this: We in the frontline are fighting to death because we have a firm faith in our cause and our leader. We know that you, at home, will send us help, and that you will not allow differences of opinion or the dispute between labor and capital, or red tape, or any other matter hinder you from obtaining the effective help for us before it is too late. The war forces us to action, action, action. Time is essential. Onward Americans! (El Debate, December 31, 1941).

Cavite has been burning these last few days. The naval base where the big Trans-Pacific clippers were sheltered and which constituted the greater part of the town is destroyed, causing the death of several hundred, if not thousands of people. Eye-witnesses who escaped from the scene of the catastrophe recount horrible experiences. What would it be with Manila and its unprotected populace, without anti-aircraft defenses, lacking in all kinds of shelters, and mostly built with flammable materials?

The Press is very sparing in details about the fighting inside and outside the Philippines. The officials of the High Command are very laconic, so that if one reads between the lines, he would still get nothing clear. Everybody is waiting for the promised reinforcements. On the other hand, the cause is given up as hopeless.

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