Diary of Juan Labrador, O.P.

June 17, 1943

Rumors have it that Premier Tojo, in his speech at the opening of the Diet, would promise Independence to the Philippines within 1943, and that the Filipino mission would be present in the Assembly.

Up to now, the granting of the Independence is still subject to the condition “when the Filipinos give proof of sincere collaboration with Japan.” The required collaboration has not become clearer now than it was six months ago when this condition was given. Nobody knew what was happening and what was going to happen, but prognostications are a little alarming. It is impossible to guess what plans the Japanese were hatching up.

A person close to one of the Commissioners confided to me that when Premier Tojo visited the Philippines, he met with the Philippine Cabinet. He presented to them a proposal for Vargas to offer, in a public speech, a million Filipinos to fight for Japan, and that he (Tojo) would reply that, in recognition of such a generous offer, he would promise Independence within this year 1943. The commissioners were terrified, but nobody dared to comment on the proposal, until Benigno Aquino, Chief of the Kalibapi, courteously but bravely replied that the formation of such an Army would pose a danger to the Philippines and to Japan, as the loyalty of the recruits is doubtful. He advanced other reasons supported by José Laurel whom the Army respected for his brilliance and courage. The Prime Minister dropped the subject and said that he would not talk about it further for the present.