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Only Garner can tell hearings’ outcome, August 20, 1938
Only Garner can tell hearings’ outcome
By James G. Wingo
Free Press Correspondent in Washington
August 20, 1938–“WHAT do you think they are going to do now?” asked Vice-President Sergio Osmeña as soon as Sen. William H. King, acting chairman, announced that the Philippine bill hearings of the Senate committee on territories and insular affairs had ended.
He was not the only one asking that question. The patient Pinoy who sat in a corner for four weeks watching the proceedings open-mouthed also asked the same question. In fact everybody wanted to know that question’s answer.
The only man who can answer that question or any question arising on Capitol Hill is that prairie politician and sagebrush statesman, John Nance Garner, who today is the most potent political figure on the American scene. Filipinos may well remember this stubby, pinkish-whitish, bushy-browed, billikenish man who headed the large congressional delegation to Manila in 1935. Yes, this man knows the answer to the current Philippine question, but he won’t talk. Since he became vice-president of the United States in 1933 he has said practically nothing for publication.
So there’s no use running to Mr. Garner now although he granted me an interview once on the Manila-bound S.S. President Grant, which was promptly radioed to Manila. But the question must be answered somehow, as your correspondent is going to do forthwith, basing his answer upon the remarks of the committee members, their intonation when asking questions or making comments, their day-by-day attitude, their personal and political interests in the problem and many other things.
The interest in the Philippines shown by the committee members reflects that of the whole United States. It is a negative interest. The sentiment against being involved again in another war is so strong that even bold Franklin D. Roosevelt would not dare to buck it.
Many senators are afraid that the Philippines is a liability which may involve the U.S. in a Far Eastern war. As economic protector of the Philippines, what would the U.S. do if Japan grabbed an independent Philippines the way Germany grabbed Czecho-Slovakia? The U.S. would certainly be placed in a position to fight for a foreign country out of the orbit of the Monroe Doctrine, something which the American people are currently violently opposed to doing. If the Philippines were still U.S. territory, the American people would feel differently.
Today Congress would not grant immediate independence unless the Philippines asks for it, but outside the Emilio Aguinaldo crowd no Filipino seems to desire immediate separation from the U.S. For Congress to cut off the Philippines now would be universally regarded as a retreat in the face of the Japanese march of empire.
The American people want to retire from the Philippines as early as possible, but the U.S. government will see to it that the sovereign power retires gracefully. The Philippine Independence Act, whatever one may think of it, gives the U.S. a graceful “out.”
Naturally the average congressman would take the attitude, “Why disturb the whole thing? The Filipinos seem to be getting along all right under the act. Why not let the law run as it is?”
For both the U.S. and the Philippines, there are excellent points in non-action on the Sayre bill. This is not the proper time for the Philippines to ask for more economic concessions or economic changes in the independence act. True enough, the export taxes start next year, but the Sayre bill does not propose to eradicate the export taxes except on a few products, in which case the diminishing quota system will apply.
Shortly before 1946 conditions may change, and the U.S. may be in a mood to treat the Philippines more liberally. There is still this chance, this last thread of hope. But once the Sayre bill or part of it is adopted, that chance is lost forever. Forever is a long time, but it is reasonable to use the word in this case.
Some seasoned observers of the situation believe that rather than let all these long hearings go for naught, congress may adopt the part of the Sayre bill pertaining to the remainder of the commonwealth period. This portion affects only coconut oil, cigars, scrap tobacco and pearl and shell buttons. Resident Commissioner Joaquin M. Elizalde described the proposed changes embodied in the Sayre bill as “of the greatest importance to our economic stability during the second portion of the commonwealth period, 1941 to 1946.”
But almost everybody here is of the opinion that extending U.S. economic protection to an independent Philippines until 1960 is something congress will not do—at this time. Congress reflects the attitude of the American people much more than the U.S. President does. And today the American people are strong for isolationism.
Of course, don’t take all this as pure gospel. Only “Cactus Jack” Garner knows what Congress will do. And he won’t talk!
So your correspondent will continue where he left off two weeks’ ago—continue to give a faithful account of the hearings. As an intelligent reader, draw your own conclusions and make your own predictions. On this question you have as much chance of hitting the mark as any of us here.
After reading his splendid brief, Commissioner Elizalde told the committee not to get the false impression from Severino Concepcion’s testimony that the “Philippine Federation of Labor,” which he represented, was a mighty organization like the C.I.O., despite its imposing name. The commissioner also informed the committee that the President of the Philippines has established
a minimum daily wage of one peso in all industries, including sugar.
“Taken in the light of American wages, this is very low, but it is the highest ever paid in the Islands,” he said. “Furthermore in a great number of our products, we have to complete with other tropical countries which pay very low wages. We cannot raise wages as we would like to.” He also pointed out that Filipino wage-earners usually get free housing and medical treatment.
Following Commissioner Elizalde, Missioner Osmeña personally took the stand for the first time. Dressed nattily in a grey suit, he read a prepared statement, intended to clarify the commonwealth government’s position.
He categorically averred that “the conformity of the Philippine government to this bill represented the permanent views of that government.” He explained the use of figures showing “that during a 50-year period Philippine purchases of American goods registered a higher percentage of increase than American purchases of Philippine goods” as primarily “to indicate the value of this trade, to portray its possibilities, and to serve as documentation…that the economic problem involved in the political separation…is one of tremendous proportions.”
Expressions of gratefulness appeared many times in Commissioner Elizalde’s statement. Mr. Osmeña reinforced them with this:
“The Filipino people have always been pleased to recognize that they have derived great benefits from the free admission of Philippine products into the United States. Previous Philippine missions have frankly and openly admitted this fact. An expression of this sentiment has been reiterated and placed in the record of the proceedings of this committee in the cablegram sent by the President of the Philippines. The sense of gratitude of the Filipino people is strengthened by the knowledge that those responsible for the initiation of the free trade policy between the two countries were animated by altruistic motives….
“And the Filipinos further believe that the gratitude they owe to the American people cannot be measures solely by the economic benefits….America brought to the Philippines the spirit of free institutions, and, in accordance with the spirit, she prepared the Filipino people for self-government. She gave to the Filipinos ungrudging assistance in transplanting to Philippine soil the blessing derived from modern science, technology, and culture,” etc., etc.
There was no doubt now that President Quezon’s “gratitude” cablegram was compelled by cabled reports of Missioner Razon’s answer to questions made by inquisitorial senators. In his remarks Mr. Osmeña pointed out that he was clarifying statements made during “the discussion concerning my statement of the views of the Philippine government.” It may be remembered Mr. Razon read the Osmeña statement and answered questions for the chief during the illness of the Missioner No. 1.
The chairman of the Cordage Institute, astute J.S. McDaniel, followed Mr. Osmeña on the stand. Said he, “In view of Mr. Elizalde’s remarks this morning, there is nothing left for me to say. I merely want to place my statement in the record.”
Really, with Mr. Elizalde’s acceptance of the Cordage Institute’s amendment to the omnibus bill (an extension of the present Cordage Act to 1946) in an answer to perspicacious Chairman Millard E. Tydings’ inquiry, there was no need to say anything further. In his prepared statement Mr. McDaniel pointed out the existence of the mutuality of interests between the Philippine people and the U.S. hard fiber, cordage and twine industry. He recalled how the Cordage Act came into being—through a compromise between Manuel Quezon (then Philippine senate president) and the Cordage Institute with the approval of certain members of congress. He termed Francis B. Sayre’s calling the Cordage Act “an unfair discrimination against those islands” an “erroneous conclusion.”
“Americans are particularly disturbed over the possibility of Filipinos’ shipping rope yarns into the United States in the form of binder twine, which, under our customs’ policy expressed in our laws, as we understand it, cannot be prevented,” he declared. “Two-thirds of the manufacturing processes of the finished produce—preparing the fiber and spinning the yarn—would be completed by cheap Oriental labor. The practical effects would be the same as if there were no quotas, limitations or tariffs on Philippine hard fiber products coming into this country….
“Certainly there is no ‘imperfection or inequality’ in preventing the Philippines from creating a new industry based on an American market already harassed by prison and foreign competition. If the Philippines were to usurp any part of the binder twine market of the United States, that would force United States manufacturers to find some use for their manufacturing capacities. In turn, this would bring about excessive competition in rope sales, depressing values, which would depress the prices of the Manila fiber (abaca)—so important to Philippine economy.”
Senatorial interest in the hearings reached a new low on the ninth day. Today only Mr. Tydings was present to listen to the most hysterical witness of the entire hearings—and perhaps in any hearings on Capitol Hill in recent years.
Chairman Tydings warned today’s witnesses: “Don’t go over ground already covered, for if you do so, we will not have any bill acted on before the Fourth of July.”
The hysterical witness was notorious Porfirio U. Sevilla, the publisher of the scurrilous Philippine-American Advocate, which has discomforted many famed Filipino politicos, especially President Quezon, Quintin Paredes and Commissioner Elizalde. The resident commissioner was absent today, but Missioner Osmeña and Camilo Osias saw this pompous Pinoy strut his stuff.
Dressed handsomely in a well-tailored grey suit, red-and-grey necktie and black-and-grey shoes, little Porfirio Sevilla strutted to one end of the committee table and promptly started banging it. “I am appearing against this bill for three cardinal reasons,” he shouted. “First, it is legally questionable whether congress can repeal or amend the Philippine Independence Act.”
The second and third “cardinal reasons” were lost in the subsequent hysteria which made it almost impossible to understand the speaker. The remarks he made before Senator Tydings are lost to posterity because the official stenographer could not follow him. He merely made this notation, “Unreportable.”
“Don’t be funny!”
While little Porfirio huffed and puffed, Mr. Tydings went on sucking at his cigaret holder, saying nothing. Even when the witness shrieked, causing consternation in the halls of the huge senate office building, the senator did not change his Mona Lisa countenance. People in other offices kept calling the Indian Affairs committee room, in which the hearings were now being held, to find out what was going on. Some thought a wild Indian had gone on the warpath.
“Quezon is coming down here again to ask for some changes in the Independence Act,” the runty Pinoy screamed. “The congress should not allow him to do so.
“All our industries are under the control of foreign interests,” he thundered next. “Let’s have the independence you have promised us—because we want it.”
Changing his voice to a sarcastic intonation, he stated, “We are coming here to ask changes, Mr. Chairman, because we are afraid of the Japanese. The Japanese are going to get us! Ha! ha! Oh, Mr. Chairman, don’t be funny.”
Mr. Tydings was now reading the Congressional Record, and did not even look up at the speaker.
“I want to emphasize the principal point,” Sevilla vociferated. “Filipinos are expecting independence in 1946. Only 25,000 Filipinos will be affected by this pending bill. How about the others? They don’t know anything about it. They only know that they will be free in 1946.
“You will be blamed, Mr. Chairman, if you will pass this bill. This is no practical joke. You will be blamed if you pass this bill.
“The Filipinos do not know the meaning of this bill. They do not know that they will be tied up until at least 1960. I warn you, Mr. Chairman, there will be a civil war if you pass this bill.
“The Filipinos believe in you, Mr. Chairman. The ratification of the Tydings McDuffie Act by my people was a blessing. And let me remind you that if you extend the Act to 1960 my people will revolt against the sponsors of this bill.”
Then busy Porfirio mentioned that only a very few people in the Philippines could read the report of the Joint Preparatory Committee on Philippine Affairs, upon which the Sayre bill was based. He brought up the problem of the Pampanga sugar workers. “They are mistreated,” he shrilled. “They are oppressed. They are getting only 20 centavos a day.”
He told the committee or rather Mr. Tydings that he had just received a cablegram, which read, “Do not testify.” “Mr. Chairman,” roared the witness, “do you think I am the man to be bribed! Don’t be ridiculous.”
If Mr. Tydings had heard that remark, he presumably passed it up as coming from a hysterical person unable to speak coherently, to speak grammatically or to weight the meaning of his words, for the senator continued to read the Congressional Record. When witness Sevilla failed to get the attention of the senator with his screaming and table-pounding, he resorted to imagining voices. “Mr. Chairman, I beg your pardon. I didn’t get that.” Mr. Tydings had said nothing, so the audience guffawed, but the senator remained immovable.
Sevilla mentioned several U.S. national heroes, and then he bellowed, “I am willing to defend my people to my last drop of blood. Don’t be misled by so-called Filipino patriots. By any means, go to it, Mr. Chairman.
“President Roosevelt was misled by the JPCPA. This bill was planned in the Manila Hotel, where the members of the JPCPA had a good time. You can’t get a true picture of the Philippines that way.
“I appeal to you now. Please give our independence in 1946. There will be a revolution if you don’t do it.”
Such a witness as Porfirio Sevilla would undoubtedly not last one minute before a Philippine National Assembly committee if he would be allowed to appear at all. But in the U.S. conception of democracy, this fellow had as much right to say what he wanted as Sergio Osmeña or President Quezon. Mr. Tydings permitted the witness to bellow until he was exhausted. When the witness stopped fulminating, the senator said, “Thank you, Mr. Sevilla. Who’s next?”
Next was J.M. Crawford, manager of the Philippine Packing Corp., a 100 percent American-owned pineapple company in Mindanao, which started investigating the field in 1921, planting pineapples in 1928 and canning in 1930. The company is now canning more than half a million cases annually and practically 100 percent of this is shipped to the U.S., according to Manager Crawford.
On behalf of U.S. interests
“We followed the American flag to the Philippines not as philanthropists to spread American industry or to improve conditions for the Filipinos but to make money for ourselves,” testified Mr. Crawford frankly. “To date we have not recovered our investment. We have however assisted in developing an American industry. We have also definitely assisted the Filipinos, particularly those living in northern Mindanao…. We have found the Filipinos to be good, conscientious, loyal employees, who like the Americans and are grateful to the United States.
“We would like to have Senate Bill 1028 become a law for this would give us more time to recover and make a return on our investment. I have no authority to speak for other citizens of the United States living in the Philippines but I believe the position of my company is typical of other American investors in the Philippines.”
Two other senators, John E. Miller and Bennett Champ Clark, showed up, while Mr. Crawford was speaking, to reinforce the lone Mr. Tydings.
After Mr. Crawford there was nobody else on the docket for the day. The chairman wanted to know whether there were some more who wanted to be heard. Vicente Villamin stood up and said that he would like to speak the next day.
“Why not now?” asked Mr. Tydings, and the best known of all U.S. Filipino economists pulled out his prepared statement, walked to the large table and began giving the defects of the pending measure. Said he:
“The first defect is this: The bill sets forth a plan of a limited, declining preferential trade between the United States and the Philippines from 1946 to 1960. This plan is to be incorporated in an executive agreement. This agreement is made immune from denunciation for seven years. But…it is subject to revocation on six months’ notice…. The effect of this provision is to deprive the Philippine government of the treaty-making power which it should acquire automatically with the assumption of independent sovereignty….
“The second defect is this: The plan of trade dissolution, euphemistically called a readjustment program, will take the form…of an executive agreement between the President of the United States and the President of the Philippines. The pertinent provision of the bill gives the former only permissive, not mandatory, authority to enter into such agreement…. There is no reasonable or rational certainty that there is going to be any agreement at all when the fateful year of 1946 rolls around….
“Two questions arise: Firstly, would not progressive disintegration of the Philippine-American commerce…be more painless to the Philippines than its abrupt cessation…in 1946? My answer is this: It is preferable…to have five years more of the existing free trade arrangement of no tariff duties and no declining quotas and trust not only to the magnanimity of the United States but also to the eventual recognition of the relative value of Philippine economic potentialities for a new deal for the period after 1946….
“Secondly, what is a reasonable alternative to the bill? My answer is this: Let congress proceed to repeal the export-tax provision of the Tydings-McDuffie Act…. The provision is unnecessary now. According to the report of the Joint Preparatory Committee, the Philippine net bonded debt in 1946 will be but approximately $21,000,000. Today the Philippine government has a cash surplus six times that amount.”
The committee disposed of Mr. Villamin without asking him a single question. The senators seemed to be thinking of anything but the Philippines.
John J. Underwood, representing the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, was the first speaker on the tenth day. When he began reading his statement he had three senators to listen to him—Tydings, Arthur H. Vandenberg and Key Pittman. Also present were Missioner Osmeña and Commissioner Elizalde.
“A committee of the chamber has studied the bill under consideration,” Mr. Underwood droned, “and has reached the very definite conclusion that any premature change in the economic relationship between the United States and the Philippines, without opportunity for adjustment, will result in chaotic and unstabilized conditions to the great detriment of the United States as a whole, and in particular to the Pacific Northwest.
“One-third of the exports of the Northwestern area to Asia are marketed in the Philippines. The citizens of Seattle are now negotiating with the Maritime Commission a proposal to establish a new American line of steamships on this essential trade route. Many thousands of dollars have been spent by Northwest business enterprises in building up trade at Manila and other points in the Far East and this money was expended in anticipation of permanent trade relations with the Islands and on a basis of favor of competing with other countries for this business….
“It is the belief of many Pacific Coast businessmen who have been close to the situation that the American interests who are proponents or who lobbied on behalf of the plan to abrogate the present preferential trade agreement between this country and the Philippines had but one object in mind. It was not philanthropy which influenced their sentiment on behalf of the Philippine people to give them their right to self-government; their purpose was to convert the status of the Philippines into a foreign country…. These interests reason that any barriers against Philippine imports will place similar products from Cuba on a preferential basis in entering the United States.
Pacific Northwest interests
“The proximity of the Atlantic Coast to Cuba naturally gives that section a greater interest in Cuban trade than in the Philippines. These Atlantic Coast interests fail to realize that the Pacific Coast as a part of the United States of America is entitled to share the benefits of this country’s trade with all sections of the world and should not be discriminated against in favor of other parts of this country….
“The State of Washington has considerable interest in any national or international policy agreed upon which will affect the trans-Pacific trade of this section of the United States. The exported products are the very life of the United States Pacific Northwest industries and include lumber, flour, fruits, vegetables, dairy and poultry products, canned salmon, condensed milk, paper, pulp, mill and mining machinery…. The proposed new American steamship service which contemplates operating out of Seattle to the Philippines and trans-Pacific countries is dependent upon the inbound and outbound cargo from and to that country for its regular service. Continuation of preferential trade relations…is essential to those industries, for if a policy between the two countries is established upon a non-preferential basis it will mean absolute elimination of a large percentage of our exports and this trade will revert to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and other countries…. Foreign shipping lines…would be stimulated by this direction of trade at the expense of…American lines….
“For the reasons stated we respectfully urge this committee favorably to report S. 1028 now under consideration.”
Mr. Underwood’s handsome grasp of the Pacific Northwest situation as it would be affected by the Sayre bill evoked a mere “Thank you” from the committee. It was unfortunate for the Sayre bill that Washington’s Homer T. Bone was not present to listen to the arguments propounded by Seattle businessmen. Mr. Bone had not acted friendly at all to the Sayre proposal.
Herman Fakler, vice-president of the National Millers Association, the national trade organization of the U.S. wheat flour milling industry, reinforced the Pacific Northwest’s opposition to “the abrupt elimination of trade relations” between the U.S. and the Philippines, as voiced by Mr. Underwood. “We do not feel that it is economic to liquidate our present trade relations,” he said, “but rather that we should endeavor by some means to preserve our existing trade.
“Our principal competitors in wheat flour in the Philippines are Australia, Canada and Japan. The elimination of preferential treatment for American wheat flour, therefore, would merely mean handing over our very valuable trade…to our competitors….
“The Philippine market…is of great economic value to the wheat growers of the Pacific Coast. It offers an outlet for their surplus wheat…. Therefore, we favor the objective of the bill now before your committee.”
Astute Senator Vandenberg elicited the information from Mr. Fakler that the flour sent to the Philippines is subsidized by the U.S. government at about $1 a barrel. “You would be more interested in the subsidy than in long-range planning for Philippine trade,” the senator crackled. “You wouldn’t need this bill if you had the subsidy.”
“But we don’t know if the subsidy will continue,” replied the witness.
“That’s right, you don’t,” shot back Mr. Vandenberg, who may become the next U.S. President and who, if elected, will surely scrap many of the New Deal projects which are now costing U.S. taxpayers plenty of money.
U.S. citizenship for Pinoys
V.N.P. Zerda, Filipino lawyer in Washington, proposed an amendment to the Sayre bill providing for U.S. citizenship for Pinoys married to U.S. women and who have lived in this country since May 1, 1934. However, he made excursions to many other subjects.
He mentioned a book which purported to say that beet sugar “smells bad.” Promptly the senator from a U.S. beet district, Mr. Vandenberg, growled, “What did you say about beet sugar?” The witness replied that he was quoting a book.
“The book smells worse,” the senator said.
Witness Zerda continued to read his statement: “The most sorrowful of Filipino life in this country comes when he knows that he is not a citizen of the United States and cannot become one….
“I also heard…here last Thursday that England takes good care of the English anywhere in the four corners of the globe. I happen to know that England takes good care of her colonies, as well…. If there is democracy at all it is in England….
“There has been a saying that if you can save a soul, nothing else matters. Gentlemen of this honorable and distinguished committee, your just and equitable appraisal of Filipino rights, privileges and preferences would save you a great race of people who have already proved to you to be worthy of erecting a monument in the name of American Western civilization, in the name of Ferdinand Magellan.”
In the name of Ferdinand the Bull, I wish I could end the account of these hearings this week and get to doing something else. But we still have to take up “Gold King” John Haussermann, who made a stirring plea for kindness to the Filipinos; that “garrulous general,” William C. Rivers, who kept committee members splitting their sides with laughter; grand, old Harry B. Hawes, who took up two hours to say what he admitted could have been boiled down to a few minutes, and two or three others. So then until next week!
Cold feet, designer, super-toaster, editorials, etc., June 1, 1935
Cold feet, designer, super-toaster, editorials, etc.
By James G. Wingo
Free Press correspondent in Washington
June 1, 1935–THE day before the White House signing of the Philippine constitution Resident Commissioner Francisco Delgado sent his secretary Quintin Paredes, Jr., to shop for “a very good fountain pen” with which President Roosevelt would sign the important document. Paredes showed his boss samples of $50 and $75 pens.
Delgado thought the pens too expensive. Paredes thought they were the kind for posterity. They compromised on a $7 pen.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt sat down at the big table in the cabinet room he saw no pen around. “Where’s the pen?” he asked. “Say, Mac, I want my pen.”
Delgado got cold feet. He didn’t dare offer the pen in his pocket. So Roosevelt signed several copies of the constitution with just one pen, the President’s.
• • •
The fingerprints of these young Filipinos may be discovered on the Philippine government copy of the constitution bearing the signature of President Roosevelt; Guevara’s Secretary Manuel Zamora, who took the accompanying semi-candid snapshots in front of the Executive Office after the signing of the constitution; Delgado’s Secretary Paredes, Diosdado M. Yap, who comprises the entire personnel of the Yap-founded Philippine Information Bureau; Candido Elbo Tobias, another secretary of Resident Commissioner Pedro Guevara.
When Gov. Gen. Frank Murphy went to the photographers’ room he entrusted the important document to Yap. He and the other boys took advantage of the opportunity to have something to do with it. They pressed their finger all over the constitution. Then they took it outside and had their picture taken with the document.
• • •
If Lloyd Taylor had preferred to accept his father’s offer to manage the Manila Daily Bulletin with a salary of P1,000 a month, he would not have drunk lemonade with the First Lady of the United States the other day in the Red Room of the White House. And he would not be the young hat and dress designer who is advertised by big department stores as promising and a discovery. This artist was born of Carson Taylor and his pretty blonde wife in Manila 30 years ago.
Accompanied by the wives of Sen. Key Pittman, Rep. William H. Larrabee, Rep. Richard J. Welch and Commissioner Delgado and by Vicente Villamin, Designer Taylor presented Mrs. Roosevelt with two Easter dresses. Taylor designed the dresses made of Philippine material bought with the contributions of Filipino and American friends of the Filipinos in the United States who appreciated an utterance of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt in a magazine urging the women of America to dedicate some attention to the Philippines, its people and its problems, and the work which the United States has undertaken in the islands. Mr. Villamin was the one who suggested the idea of presenting the dresses to Mrs. Roosevelt. Taylor gave his services free.
• • •
No commercial stunt
Mrs. Roosevelt was very much pleased with the two beautiful dresses, which, according to the designer, could not be duplicated for less than $600. She promised:
“I will wear one of them on the first big occasion.”
Taylor assured Mrs. Roosevelt that the presentation was no commercial stunt.
Not until Mrs. Roosevelt wears one of the dresses will Publisher Taylor be reconciled to the idea that his son, who left the University of Southern California for his own New York Studio, has become a great artist.
• • •
In creating the beige piña dress Taylor took his inspiration for the neckline from the Philippine pañuelo. This neckline gives the draped shawl effect with the point center back nearly to the waistline. The sleeves puff above the elbow, suggesting the Philippine sleeve. The gored skirt is wide, with back fullness, which recalls early Spanish influence. The dress is trimmed with real princess lace, made by the Belgian sisters of the Tondo Convent.
The other dresses, an aquamarine blue jusi, brings out the effect of modern fashion in European gowns popular with young Philippine ladies.
I understand the table Emilio Aguinaldo sent the White House has helped to revive the fashion for Philippine hardwoods here.***
• • •
The Taylor-designed dresses of Mrs. Roosevelt may create a new field for Philippine industry.
• • •
About 49 Washington college students from the Orient—Filipinos, Chinese and Japanese—met one Sunday in a dingy Chinese restaurant for luncheon. The honored guests were Dean Warren Reed West of George Washington University, Gen. Teodoro Sandiko of the last Philippine independence mission to Washington, Tswen-Ling Tsui of the Chinese legation and Kiyoshi K. Kawakami, able Washington correspondent for a Japanese newspaper.
Kawakami, in a long speech, burned the ears of the Chinese as he berated them for their non-cooperation with Japan. He found an affinity of interest, however, among the peoples of the Far East superseding alliances with nations in the West.
“Japan would be the first to sign an agreement neutralizing the Philippines,” he added. Nobody doubted that statement. Every so-called “neutral” territory in the Far East today either belongs to Japan or is under Japanese authority.
• • •
Delgado spoke of Japanese-Filipino and Chinese-Filipino friendships. He recalled his “days of adolescence’ in the United States. He also told the boys how he wooed and won his wife despite great odds.”*
And then he climaxed his speech thus:
“Gentlemen, I want you to stand up and drink with me a toast to President Roosevelt.”**
The boys stood up and picked up their glasses of water. Hardly had they resumed their seats when Delgado declared:
“Please stand up again and drink with me to the health of the Emperor of Japan.”
The boys did the same trick. And then quick-witted Delgado again declared:
“I want you once more to rise and drink with me to the well-being of the President of China.
• • •
After the hurrahs, the banzais and the lin sheis the precedent-breaking Delgado thought there should be mabuhays also. He had already hogged three toasts, but that fact did not deter him from proposing the only one left.
“Gentlemen, I am a politician,” he said. “My guesses are sometimes wrong. I don’t know who will be the first president of the commonwealth, so I will propose a toast to just the Commonwealth of the Philippines.”
Super-toaster Delgado undoubtedly holds the toasting record at a single meal in this country.
• • •
The signing of the constitution of the islands by President Roosevelt was the occasion for the blossoming of the first nationwide crop of editorials on the Philippines since Congress passed the McDuffie-Tydings act. Most of the newspapers believe that the Filipinos are not so eager now for independence as they used to be. They find that realization of the consequences of the loss of the American market and fear of Japanese have sobered the Filipinos and dampened their enthusiasm for separation from the United States. Brief excerpts:
New York Herald Tribune: It is worth noting, at the outset, that President Roosevelt’s counter-signature of the document does not mean or imply, as the Filipinos may think his approval of it. Nor does it commit him to the belief that the document itself is workable or that the experiment which it charters will be a success. In signing it the President simply certified that he found it compatible with the provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie independence act—a measure which provides for the release of Cuban sugar from Philippine competition within the decade and for the release of America at the end of it from the bootless responsibility and risk of guarding a defenseless economic wreck against Asiatic piracy.
Washington Post: Weighing, then, the advantages of complete autonomy against the concomitant loss of American markets together with an increased public budget, the result is not as overwhelming on the side of independence as first impulses might suggest. President McKinley is said to have gone down on his knees to beg for Divine guidance in his decision as to the disposition of the Philippines. He got up to promise them eventual independence. He could not then have conceived of the vast economic implications of his plighted altruism. But today in Manila they have no illusions on this score. And that is why, behind the torchlights and oratory of last week, there stood a far-seeing group that even now is talking earnestly of the future of the Philippines in terms of “dominion government,” perpetual commonwealth status” or “economic partnership with the United States.”
Newark (New Jersey) Evening News: With all the economic and political confusion there is in the world at present, it is safest to regard the next 10 years as a period of experiment, in which the United States, as well as the Filipinos, will need to exercise the greatest wisdom and restraint.
Pasadena (California) Star-News: Experienced observers, among them W. Cameron Forbes, a former governor general of the Philippines, believe it to be quite possible that the Filipinos may request a modification of the independence act, in view of the special dangers that are arising. Mr. Forbes said recently: “I feel, and a great many Americans and Filipinos feel, that the problems that will confront the islands, to go on without their own navy, their own guns and their own trade avenues, are extremely serious.” The responsibility of the United States in this matter is grave, as Mr. Forbes sees it.
Worcester (Massachusetts) Evening Gazette: The purpose of the [Philippine independence] law is to rid us of the islands. But we shall not be rid of them. We are not rid of Cuba. We may talk pious platitudes about non-intervention, but we shall continue to interfere at Havana as long as we have any American money invested in Cuba. The Philippines—when the native politicians fall afoul of each other, or get into a row with Japan—we shall be called upon to help them. It is doubtful that they can maintain a stable government. It is certain that they cannot, if they experience an economic collapse. And, by barring them from or market, we are doing our utmost to ruin them economically.
Chicago Daily News: These are parlous times in the Far East. The American dairy interests and American and Cuban sugar interests, which joined forces with Filipino politicos to sever ties of 35 years, have gone a long way toward accomplishing their none too noble ends. If present plans materialize the Philippines will blossom forth as a sovereign republic at the end of a decade and the United States will cease to have a territorial interest in the troublesome Far East. In some respects the United States may be better off if such a separation takes place. Under certain circumstances it might be better to have the separation completed more quickly and more definitely.
Canton (Ohio) Repository: Apparently, the prospect is pleasing to the majority of Filipinos.
Syracuse (New York) Herald: Public opinion in this country is fully reconciled to the legislation.
Salem (Massachusetts) Evening News: They have agitated for freedom so long that it will be difficult for them to turn back now.
Rochester (New York) Times-Union: The element of danger to the Philippines in a completely independent status lies in the possibility that some power might seize the islands and impose a rule less satisfactory than that of the United States.
• • •
Whatever these newspapers say
***The table also helped to revive the old question about the genuineness of the mahogany from the islands. African mahogany importers and other dealers of mahogany have been insisting that Philippine mahogany, not being real mahogany, must always go under the name “Philippine mahogany.”
**There is no law against toasting the President of the United States any time, anywhere, but tradition and official etiquette have it that he must be toasted only at official or diplomatic dinners or at those of the armed forces of the United States.
*Jose P. Melencio and his wife, the daughter of General Aguinaldo, also love to recall their courtship in their public addresses.
The Vital Question, February 11, 1933
February 11, 1933
The Vital Question
BACK and forth across the length and breadth of the Philippines, tossed upon an apparently endless sea of speeches, the question of whether to accept or reject the Hawes-Cutting-Hare independence bill was discussed from every possible angle this week. And still there was no definite decision, still the political bosses and the intellectual leaders were divided into two opposing camps, still the people pondered upon the greatest decision which any country could possibly be called upon to make.
The main point of dissension between those supporting and those opposing the bill was whether or not it really provided independence. But in answering that question such a mass of relevant and irrelevant matter was raised that the public began to wonder what it was all about.
The most monumental event of the independence week was the wordy battle between those two staunch deans of the University of the Philippines, Maximo Kalaw and Jorge Bocobo. Their articles are reported in brief beginning on Page 28 of this issue.
The most significant event of the week was the definite stand against the bill taken by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the short-lived Philippine republic, who presided over the annual convention of the Veteranos de la Revolucion in the Manila stadium Sunday. Asserting the bill was “the outcome of the efforts since 1930 of moneyed American and Cuban interests in sugar and other industries,” the old general declared:
“The Bill imposes conditions that would work untold hardships upon our people, aside from the fact that it is not certain whether at the end of the 10-year period our independence would actually be granted us. About the only thing that appeals to us in this Bill is the grant of independence which is the goal of our people and for which we are sincerely thankful to America. Aside from this, however, the Bill spells an incubus on the shoulders of our people.”
Two courses of action were recommended by General Aguinaldo: “To amend the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill or to ask a better bill from the ensuing Democratic administration and congress.” He feels that “from the incoming congress a more liberal independence bill may be obtained.”
However, the convention took no action either to approve or disapprove the bill, following this sage counsel from their president: “Let us proceed with caution, my comrades and countrymen, and let us not all too hastily give our answer to the question upon which depends the destiny of our people. Let us study its provisions further and meditating over the history of our country and that of America, let us look for what would redound to the glory of our land.”
Finally, General Aguinaldo enjoined his comrades in arms to be prepared for a special assembly in case the legislature attempted to take precipitous action on the question “If the legislature,” he said, “should resolve to decide before the return of the Mission, it would be our duty to make known our decision before the legislature acts. In view of this, you are requested to vote finally on the question at an extraordinary general assembly of which you will be advised in time.”
In addition to General Aguinaldo, opponents of the bill found another recruit in the person of Sen. Claro M. Recto, leader of the defunct minority party in the senate. Declared Senator Recto in Iloilo: “The bill is so bad that we cannot obtain a worse one.”
The most startling declaration during the week was made by Prof. Melquiades S. Gamboa, of the U.P. college of law. A pundit who has studied law at Oxford, he declared that the Hawes-Cutting-Hare bill “is already a law” and hence already in full effect, regardless of the Philippine people or their representatives. The basis for his argument was the belief that congress had no constitutional right to refer the law to the Philippine legislation or to a special convention for ratification.
Proponents of the bill received more and comfort from U. P. President Rafael Palma, one-time member along with Quezon and Osmeña of the “Big Three” of Philippine politics. Categorically and explicitly, he declared, “The time has come for the country to change its leadership. We need new direction and new guidance.”
Since it has been bruited about that President Palma would resign as head of the university in order to reenter politics, the university faculty unanimously passed a resolution “expressing its full trust and confidence in President Palma and its wholehearted support of the continuance of his administration.” Said Senate President Quezon, “There is no reason why President Palma should resign.”
In the legislature interest was centered largely upon the fortunes of Floor Leader Francisco Varona, whose opponents attempted to take from his leadership, since he was unwilling to define his stand on the independence bill. Failing to secure the necessary number of votes to oust Representative Varona, a caucus of lower house members offered to send him to the United States along with Senate President Quezon, then proceeded to elect Rep. Jose Zulueta to act in his place should he go. Said Senate President Quezon, “I have no right to invite Representative Varona or anybody else to go with me and I can say that I have not done so.”
But Manila no longer held the center of the stage in the independence parleys this week. In Cebu a monster mass meeting on Saturday night protested against the Hawes-Cutting-Hare bill, and passed a resolution expressing “its condemnation of the work of the Philippine mission in Washington which ignored and disobeyed the instructions of the Philippine legislature and the Philippine commission of independence.”
Senate President Quezon in several public speeches said: They are at the foot of the mountain and I am far from it. What is happening with the mission is what happened to me when I was for for the enactment of the Jones bill. The only difference is that I have experience and I cannot be fooled for the second time. I was gullible once when I was dazzled by the beauty of the preamble of the Jones bill and I failed to notice that the independence promised me by Congressman Jones was not in the law itself. The mission is now dazzled by the fixed date promise of independence and is holding to it as tightly as I held to the preamble, ignoring the other provisions of the law.”
Concerning himself the senate president said:
“Let me tell you that from a purely personal viewpoint it is foolish for me to object to the acceptance of the Hawes-Cutting act. If I were politically ambitious, there is nothing better for me than to advocate that it be accepted. Given the power that I am now represented to have, if I favor the acceptance of the Hawes-Cutting law and it is accepted by the people, I can have myself elected the first governor general of the commonwealth even by using the means resorted to by Ex-Representative Garde since, under such a law, aside from the American interests, it will be only the one fortunate enough to live in Malacañang that will be benefited by it.”
From the United States came only one significant pronouncement, the declaration by Sen. Key Pittman that the Philippines would have to accept the bill in its entirety or not at all. There could be no “acceptance with reservations,” as so many conservative Filipinos have suggested, according to the senator from Nevada. He said further that the compromise plan embodied in the bill was the inevitable solution of the question.
Committee Thrashing Out Details of Independence, December 24, 1932
December 24, 1932
Committee Thrashing Out Details of Independence
Hawes-Cutting Bill Approved by Senate—Goes to Conference with Hare Bill—Manila Rises Against Senate Measure
IN ONE of the commodious committee rooms in the capital building in Washington, D.C., at 10 o’clock on Wednesday morning, a group of five senators and three representatives sat down around a large conference table.
Before each member of the joint committee lay printed copies of two bills: one entitled S. 3377; the other, H. R. 7233. Popularly known as the Hawes-Cutting and the Hare bills, they were the measures which the United States senate and the United States house of representatives, respectively, had passed as Philippine independence bills.
Basically following the same broad outlines, these two bills varied in certain essential details. To compromise those differences and report out a single measure which would be acceptable to both houses was the task before the joint committee, as it settled down to work Wednesday morning. Briefly, those differences were:
How soon the joint committee can finish its task of ironing out those discrepancies was much in doubt as the eight congressmen buckled down to the task at hand. Senator Hawes, chief independence proponent in the upper house, was anxious to get a measure approved before December 25, as a Christmas present for the Filipino people. But with the traditional recess of congress over the holidays only a day or two off, it looked as though there were little hope of final action before January.
But if congress must adjourn, there was no reason why the committee could not continue its deliberations during the holidays.
Members of the committee, for the most part, are well-known in the Philippines.
Representing the upper house are Senators Hawes and Cutting, co-authors of the bill, Sen. Hiram Bingham, long-time opponent of independence, Sen. Hiram Johnson, who wants to exclude Filipinos from the United States, and Sen. Key Pittman, generally regarded as a friend of the Philippines.
From the lower house are Representative Hare, author of the independence bill bearing his name, Rep. Guinn Williams, from Texas, an unknown quantity in Philippine matters but certainly in favor of early independence, and Rep. Harold Knutson, whose Minnesota constituents are clamoring for independence in order to shut out Philippine coconut oil, which competes with their dairy products.
The question of Philippine independence was thrown into committee when the senate, last Saturday, passed the amended Hawes-Cutting bill without a record vote, after having reconsidered and disapproved the Broussard amendment which provided for independence in eight years with increasing tariffs beginning the first year. The bill as passed by the senate provides for independence in approximately 12 years, with restricted imports during the first seven years and gradually increasing tariff duties during the final five year.
As a matter of form, the house of representatives then disapproved the senate amendments to the bill, thus throwing both the senate bill and the house bill, which was passed last spring, into committee. That the compromise measure which emerges from that committee will be approved by both houses and sent to President Hoover seems probable. But what President Hoover will do with the bill is anybody’s guess.
Most controversial matter during the final discussion of the Hawes-Cutting bill was the question of a plebiscite. It is generally felt that President Hoover wants no independence bill without a plebiscite, which will allow the Philippine voters to decide, after a period of transition, whether or not they wish to be cut loose from the United States.
But Sen. Huey P. Long, self-styled Kingfish of Louisiana, who had forced through lower limitations on sugar and coconut oil, rose in his majesty and said he would filibuster until March 4 to prevent the plebiscite proviso. As a final compromise it was provided that the constitution of the Philippine commonwealth should be submitted to the people for a vote, thus allowing them to express their opinion before the period of transition.
From Manila, after the approval of the Hawes-Cutting bill, came an almost unanimous storm of protest. Said Senate President Quezon:
“While they insist upon keeping us under the American flag for a number of years our people are branded as undesirable to the American people. They want to restrict our free trade with America to a ruinous extent, and yet American free trade with the Philippines will be unlimited. Our industries will not be protected in the United States markets but American industries will be protected in the Philippines.
“It is a most unfair arrangement reminding one of the treatment accorded to the American colonies by Great Britain in the days of George the Third.
“America should grant independence to the Philippines at once, or if Americans insist upon a period of transition then let it be the shortest possible time. If in the meanwhile, America does not want our people in the United States nor our products, let there be no intermigration of the two peoples nor free trade at all. Let Congress prohibit Filipinos from entering the United States and impose customs duties on Philippine products. But let the Filipinos have the right to do the same thing in reference to the United States.
“We did not ask Congress to establish this free trade, and we are willing to have it terminated now. We only ask independence.”
William H. Anderson fairly represented the opinion of America businessmen in Manila when he said, “Better have independence tomorrow than 10 years of slow torture by economic strangulation.”
A more conservative note came from the University of the Philippines, where President Rafael Palma pointed out that the Philippines could not expect an ideal independence bill and Dean Francisco Benitez declared that “beggars cannot be choosers.” Dean Maximo Kalaw caustically remarked that the “unfair commercial provisions” had “not surprised” him as he had “always contended that the history of our tariff relations with the United States showed that America has not been actuated by liberal motives.”
The climax of the protest was scheduled for Thursday evening, when a public mass meeting was held at the Manila Opera House. Organized under the chairmanship of Dean Jorge Bocobo, the meeting was first to have been addressed by Senate President Quezon, but later the Filipino leader withdrew, stating his stand on the matter was clear and declaring he was anxious the people themselves should be given an opportunity to express their views.
A resolution of protest was prepared for the meeting, and the program included speeches by Sen. Jose Generoso, Gonzalo Puyat, Lope K. Santos and Isauro Gabaldon.