The Sunday Times of June 24, 1945 reports that new parties are being organized. Three parties will probably fight for power and control of the government in the November elections. Despite efforts to bring about a reconciliation of warring leaders of the party in power, the split up of the Nacionalista party into two factions is inevitable as a result of developments in the Philippine Congress.
A third political group is reliably reported as being formed, led by intellectuals pledged to support a program of government more liberal and more socially conscious than embraced in the platform of the ruling party. Roxas will be leader of the Nacionalista left wing and Osmeña of the administration party. There will be a fight in the convention for nominations, but the losing group will put up a ticket of its own. Independent big wigs are being invited to join the third party. Inactive political groups like the Sumulong popular front and the Abad Santos socialist party are also being courted. The new group may not be able to put up a complete ticket, but they will have candidates for the positions except President and Vice President.
Bad news. The United States civilian relief activities in the Philippines will be discontinued on Sept. 1, 1945. The Philippine government will therefore assume the activities and the full responsibility. This is a mistake and our government should have left no stone unturned to have the American aid continued. The Philippine government will not be in a condition to undertake the financing of such tremendous work.
The Associated Press dispatch of June 20, 1945, released in San Francisco, reports that, “At a press conference, the civilian Philippine delegation headed by Brig. Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, who was one of the leaders of the campaign to include an outright guarantee of independence in the charters, has accepted the self government formula.” This attitude was probably induced by the opinion of Premier Fraser of New Zealand and others, that there is no difference between self-government, self-determination and independence.
I cannot understand why such a change, proposed by the United Nations trusteeship committee, was ever accepted by Romulo and our delegation. If there is no difference as contended by Fraser, why change the text proposed by Romulo, which is very clear. The fact, however, is that there is a whale of a difference between independence and self-government. The former admits of no interpretation other than that the country concerned will be granted independence; whereas the self-government theory, besides the fact that it presupposes delay, may not ultimately lead to independence. The very explanation of Fraser bears this out. According to the news, he “pointed to the increasing importance of inter-dependence in world affairs.” Interdependence means that one or both countries have some more or less permanent” relations. If the new provision means that there shall be progressive development of self-government until independence is granted, who shall determine whether the self-government has advanced to such degree that independence may be granted? If it is the trustee who will decide whether or not a country is ready for self-government, which trustee will undoubtedly be the present corresponding colonizing country, then we may as well forget all about it. If it is the so-called Big Five, composed of England, United States, Soviet Russia, France and China, we also better forget all about it. England and France are colonizing countries and they naturally will want to defend their power and authority over the country under trusteeship now forming part of their colonies. Soviet Russia is ambitious She has expanded and will continue to expand. She has been doing this by means of some sort of plebiscite which everybody knows is just a mere formula since the results are obtained by threats, or by organizing puppet governments under the orders of Soviet Russia. This is precisely what she is trying to do now in connection with Poland. I hope the other countries of the Big Four will not be hoodwinked. China will be interested to guarantee absolute independence, as this is precisely her national policy to protect herself from the continuance of incursions in her territory. But she is too weak for the present and cannot wield any influence.
The United States should be interested in guaranteeing independence. In connection with the Philippines, she chose a course which entitled her to be justly considered as the cradle of liberty. But there are certain factors to be considered here. The United States for the present is the most highly developed in so far as economics are concerned. Her people are hardworking but at the same time they believe in amusing themselves as much as possible. Between business activities and their propensity for enjoyment, they have no time for anything else. This is the reason why at times their Congress does things that may not be to the liking of the American people. This also enables lobbyists to wield much influence in Washington. There are well organized lobbying offices in Washington which are heavily financed. They employ expert lobbyists and men who are well connected with high government executives and influential members of Congress. Practically all big interests in America are represented in Washington. The sugar interest, especially Cuban, was so powerful that to porect the Philippine sugar, the Philippine Sugar Association had to employ an influential ex-Senator (ex-Senator Hawes) with personal and intimate relations with members of Congress, as its Representative in Washington. I shall never forget our experience when I was a member of an Economic Mission to the United States in 1938-1939. To be able to get a little amendment to the provision of the Tydings-McDuffie Law involving our abaca product, we had to approach and convince one Mr. McDaniel, the representative of the Cordage Association of America. The chairman of the committee in the Senate would not even consider it unless we could have an understanding with Mr. McDaniel.
Furthermore, the United States is a representative democracy. They organize the government through parties that fight in the elections for control. Each party has a platform at times just the opposite of the platform of the other party. When a party wins, it naturally endeavors to carry out its policies and points of view as expressed in its platform. This is the reason why there is no continuity in American policies. This precisely is what happened in connection with our Jones Law passed under a Democratic regime. It promised independence when a stable government would have been established in the Philippines. Later, the Republican Party was elevated to power. It reversed the Democratic policy and paid no attention to the stable government provision. To justify its policy, it even denied that there was ever a valid promise of independence in the law. The Republican Party sent the Wood-Forbes Missions here to investigate. These missions reported so many anomalies here to show that there was no stable government.
For these reasons, we cannot be sure that the present attitude of the American government toward trusteeship will be a permanent one.
The trusteeship provision must have been proposed or at least inspired by the English. With it they meant to perpetuate their hold on their present colonies, like India. In so far as they are concerned, it will merely be a change of name — instead of colonization, it will be trusteeship. But in susbstance and in actuality, nothing will change.
The provision is also not clear as to whether the independence to be granted will be both political and economic. The modern tendency now is to grant political independence, but continue the economic control. To me, this system is just as bad if not worse than political dependence. Economic dependence is just as effective as political dependence to control a country. The country concerned will not be able to plan, develop and follow its economic policies. This is precisely what happened to the Philippines when the free trade was established — as a consequence, our whole economy became tightly intertwined with that of America. When the date for independence was fixed, we tried to extricate ourselves from American economic control. But what happened? Everytime we planned something which might affect American interests, we were stopped. We could not approve legislation which might effectuate the substitution of American business by Filipino business. We could not have diplomatic intercourse with other nations to ascertain what advantageous economic treaties we could enter into. We always had to consider American interests. This meant also that we could not negotiate reciprocity treaties with other nations, as has been done with America. How can we plan for self-sufficiency and economic independence under these circumstances? This is precisely the reason why I resigned as Chairman of the National Economic Council during the administration of Pres. Quezon. Everytime I proposed something which might affect American interests, I was stopped. When I proposed that we approach certain nations to see whether we could get some reciprocity agreements under which we could exchange products or export our excess products to those nations, I was warned not to endanger our economic relationship with America. All these support my thesis that independence must be both political and economic.