Diary of Antonio de las Alas

May 23, 1945 Wednesday

Today, we are sad. In the issue of “Free Philippines” of May 17, 1945 Miss Margaret Parton of the New York Herald Tribune reports certain remarks made by Secretary Maximo Kalaw of Public Instruction and Information, who was in the U.S. as member of the Filipino delegation to the United Nations Security Conference held in San Francisco, and later as Acting Head of the delegation when the Chairman of the delegation, Gen. Carlos P. Romulo became ill, Among other things, Kalaw is reported to have said, “Naturally, the Philippines being considered dependent, we would support the first proposal. (The first proposal is the original independence for all dependent peoples.) But if this is not adopted—and there will certainly be opposition to its adoption—we are ready to support the English proposal, for placing all dependencies on the trustee basis.”

We wonder if Mr. Kalaw is only speaking for himself or for his delegation, or if he is authorized to make that statement by President Osmeña and his Cabinet. The subject matter is so important and fundamental for the future of the Philippines that I believe Mr. Kalaw should not have committed himself without authority or at least without consulting the head of our present government.

Let us examine the assertion of Mr. Kalaw. In the first proposal, why should he admit that the Philippines is a dependent country? Such admission should have been accompanied by a full explanation, otherwise our special status might not be known nor understood. Dependent countries are those countries that are at present known as colonies. Mr. Kalaw very well knows that the Philippines is not a colony of the United States; not even the United States so considers the Philippines. Ours is a special and unique status. We came under the flag of America against our will. We had conquered the Spaniards and we had set up our own Republic with a democratic system of government. The U.S. insisted in remaining here and, because of our smallness and weakness, we had to accept. From the very beginning, however, America declared her intention of preparing us for self-government, and in 1916 she made the formal promise of granting our independence. The only condition imposed was that we should establish a stable government. We believed that we had established a stable government. But American politics intervened. The Democratic Party, which was in power when the promise was made, went out of power and the Republican Party took the reins of government. Immediately, the Republic President sent investigators to the Philippines and their reports were used to justify the disregard of the promise of independence in the Jones Law. But the Democrats regained power and in 1935, the U.S. Congress, with the approval of Pres. Roosevelt, passed a law providing for independence after ten years. During this period a Commonwealth Government would be established and that period was provided so that the Philippines would be able to readjust the economics of the Philippines to its future status of independent country. During that period, we were to prepare our country for an independent existence. Pursuant to that law we were going to have our independence on July 4, 1946. How can you call a country under those circumstances a dependent country? How can you put our country on the same level as the English colonies? Kalaw should not admit that the Philippines is dependent. But if he believes that the Philippines is a dependent country, then all the circumstances above mentioned must be stated. Great emphasis should be given to the fact that on July 4, 1946 we will be a member of the concert of nations. It should expressly be pointed out that the Filipinos want that program of independence in 1946 carried out. But of course Mr. Kalaw cannot do it if he is one of those who now favor the postponement of independence and ultimately the permanent retention of the Philippines by America.

Why did Mr. Kalaw not insist on independence? Why did he put up the alternative that if independence is not adopted, we would accept the English plan of trusteeship of dependencies? Such alternative will only weaken our demand for independence. I wonder if the English trusteeship plan has been fully explained to Mr. Kalaw. Personally, I see it this way: Great Britain is the greatest colonizing country in the world. Undoubtedly, what she desires is the continuation of her colonies. A proposal coming from the English will simply mean that colonies will continue to be such, but the appellation has been changed. Instead of colonialism it will be called trusteeship. But you can be sure that it is exactly the same as colonialism. It seems to me that what Britain is seeking is a formal international sanction of her colonial system.

What does Mr. Kalaw mean when he said that “there will certainly be opposition” to the proposal of independence? Opposition where and from whom? If he means in the Philippines, he should first ascertain the extent of the opposition. If the majority of the Filipinos are for independence, and I am sure this is the case, then the opposition should be disregarded unless he means to cast off the democratic way of deciding national issues. Mr. Kalaw cannot speak for the Filipino people as he does not as yet know the feeling of the majority of that people. If he means to refer to the opposition in the Allied Conference in San Francisco, what he should have done first was to insist that the Philippine independence issue does not come under the jurisdiction of the conference inasmuch as it is already settled that the Philippines will be an independent nation in 1946. America cannot oppose as she was the one who approved granting us independence in 1946. As to England, she will naturally be opposed as she is the greatest colonizing country in the world. In fact, it is well known that she had opposed the granting of independence to the Philippines in view of the possible effect it would have in her colonies in the Far East. Other colonizing countries would oppose too.

But there will be nations favoring strongly the independence proposal. Already Russia has suggested that “independence” as well as “self-government” should be declared the “aim for all decent peoples.” This is quite a strong language which indicates to what extent Russia will go on this question. In that same newspaper report, Mr. Kalaw is reported to have stated that the Philippine Commonwealth “will stand with Russia on her suggestions.” How can Kalaw support the Russian proposal of independence and at the same time accept the proposal of trusteeship? They certainly are incompatible. Like oil and water, they cannot mix.

We ardently hope that Pres. Osmeña will disauthorize Secretary Kalaw.

Independence will come and no power can stop its onward march.

 

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