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INDEPENDENCE FOR THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1932
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10.13 o'clock a. m., Hon. Butler B. Hare (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
We have with us this morning the Secretary of War, Mr. Hurley, and I am quite sure he would like to proceed with his statement without interruption, and I am sure the committee is anxious to hear what he has to say, with as little interruption as possible. STATEMENT OF HON. PATRICK J. HURLEY, SECRETARY OF WAR
Secretary HURLEY, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, members of the Filipino delegation:
In response to what the chairman has said, I would like to say that I have no objection whatever to interruptions or questions, and I hope that when I leave the stand every member will have satisfied himself upon any subject I discuss, because that is my purpose in appearing before this committee.
I believe that no one should approach either side of this problem without having first convinced himself that he has a profound respect for the aspirations of the Filipino people. I am going to turn my argument around this morning by stating to you in the very beginning what I consider to be the fundamental conclusions that I have reached in my own study of this problem. After that I will attempt to present the facts and, to some extent, the arguments.
The political chaos in the Orient to-day is such that in my opinion this is no time to deal with Philippine independence. The present legislation directed to that end would serve the interests of neither the Filipino people nor the United States.
Until the Filipino people shall have made greater progress toward economic independence political independence would merely invite revolution and anarchy. All the measures necessary for the attainment of economic independence can not be determined in advance.
The political and social institutions of the Filipino people are not yet developed to a point where the stability of an independent government would be reasonably assured.
The most essential steps toward economic independence for the Philippine Islands are the establishment of stable trade relations, and greater diversification of Philippine agriculture and industry. Appropriate present measures to those ends include:
Legislation which will prevent excessive shipments to the United States of Philippine sugar and other Philippine products, the unrestricted entry of which to the United States on a duty-free basis may be prejudicial to American agriculture or industry or tend to undue expansion of a particular crop or industry of the Philippine Islands.
The enactment by the Philippine Legislature of tariff legislation which will give needed protection to American cotton textiles and to certain American farm and dairy products, thus tending to bring about a more balanced trade than now exists.
The immigration of Filipino labor to the United States is not to the best interests of either the Philippine Islands or the United States and equitable numerical limitation should be placed on such immigration accompanied by special provisions permitting the entry of public officials, students, and others ordinarily excepted from the full application of our immigration laws. Immigration regulation should not be based on racial grounds during the period of American sovereignty in the Philippine Islands.
Increased participation by Filipinos in local government administration is desirable provided it involves no surrender of any authority now possessed by the American Government. The continuance of American responsibility without adequate authority should not be considered. No final solution of the political relations between the United States and the Philippine Islands can be undertaken at the present time without grave danger to both peoples.
Mr. Chairman, I have stated in the beginning a few fundamental conclusions so that arguments I may present hereafter may be more clearly understood.
The validity of the title of the United States to the Philippine Islands is based upon the results of the Spanish-American War as ratified by the treaty of Paris and a related supplementary treaty. The Supreme Court of the United States has expressly affirmed the validity and completeness of this title. The title has been recog. nized, either directly or by implication, by the nations of the world.
The American policy with reference to the Philippine Islands represents a new conception of colonization. Heretofore exploitation in various forms was one of the principal concomitants of such enterprise. The American policy was the antithesis of this conception. Its fundamental thought was to introduce and develop the basic conceptions of free government. It was America's hope to plant ideas which would fructify and finally perpetuate a system of government of which the United States is the great exponent. As a necessary corollary, standards of civilization and living were to be in a constant state of progress. The treaty of Paris contained nothing in the nature of promises of independence at any time, proximate or remote. It was the ideal of the United States to develop the colony into an entity which economically, culturally, and politically would be selfsufficient. Unfortunately, the political end of the problem here indicated has been the element which has been the most stressed. Many statements have been made by American Presidents during the last 30 years bearing upon this phase of the problem. Congress in the preamble of the act of 1916 expressed itself thereon. The preamble to the act of 1916 states:
Whereas it is, as it has always been, the purpose of the people of the United States to withdraw their sovereignty over the Philippine Islands and to recognize their independence as soon as a stable government can be established therein.
Manifestly, political problems can not be separated from, nor solved independently of, related economic and social problems. The composite objective in Filipino problems by the United States is neither visionary in conception nor impossible of attainment. On the contrary, it visualizes an entirely practical program intended specifically to establish responsible government among all elements of the Filipino population; to secure to the Philippines a measure of economic independence that can be sustained indefinitely; and, finally, to develop an enlightened electorate capable of voicing an intelligent opinion concerning the position that must ultimately be occupied by the Philippines in the family of nations. To demonstrate that that stage of development has not been reached I need only to call attention to the fact that I have repeatedly asked to be shown the economic program which the Filipino leaders propose to put into effect in the event of independence. Up to this time no Filipino leader has offered any suggestion as to how an independent Philippine government is to be adequately financed except through favored trade relations with the United States. This would seem to indicate that even the leaders who cry for absolute, immediate, and complete independence do not expect to obtain it unless accompanied by special economic assistance from the United States. If they did expect to obtain it without that assistance, they would, naturally, as reasonable men, have formulated a plan whereby the obligations incident to complete independence would be discharged.
In this connection, let me call attention also to the fact that the so-called non-Christian elements of the Filipino population constitute the majority of the population in nine Provinces, representing approximately 40 per cent of the area of the Archipelago. The representatives for these nine Provinces are appointed by the Governor General; some of the governors for the Provinces are also appointed for the reason that the inhabitants of those nine Provinces have not yet reached that stage in the development of free institutions that would enable them to elect representatives. Each of these factors will be discussed at greater length subsequently.
For the present, it is sufficient to say that the responsibility voluntarily undertaken in the United States with respect to the Philippines has not yet been discharged.
Now, of course, I know there is a lot of argument as to whether or not that responsibility should ever have been undertaken, but that is water over the wheel. It was undertaken, and I want this committee to know that it has not been discharged, so that if the committee retires from the obligation assumed, it will understand that it is backing out, that it is saying to our men who have died in the Philippine Islands, that they have died in vain, and that we are now afraid to complete the obligations which we assumed and for which we sent them into the country.
Mr. THURSTON. Mr. Secretary, right there, would you amplify just what that obligation is?
Secretary HURLEY. I will have to go back and state to you what the obligation is, because I said in the beginning that the obligation assumed by the United States was a departure from the usual understanding of colonization; that in place of exploitation and autocratic domination over a people, the United States has developed a political, economic, and social entity of the Filipino people so as to enable them to form a unit in the family of nations, and to continue as the Filipino nation.
What I said in the beginning was that, while the political aspect has been stressed, the social and economic obligations undertaken by the United States have not been completed. Without that, as I will show before I finish this argument, to relieve ourselves of that responsibility now would be destructive to the reputation of the United States and to the welfare of the Filipino people. The final discharge of that responsibility can not be honorably escaped, even with the complete consent of the Filipino people.
Of course, I could make an argument to show that we undertook that obligation without the consent of the Filipino people, and that if we attempt to escape it by their consent, we are merely dodging the issue and seeking a subterfuge in place of a solid basis.
In discussing the possibility of American withdrawal from the Philippines, the Secretary of State, Mr. Stimson, states:
To every foreign eye it would be a demonstration of selfish cowardice and futility on our part. No matter under what verbal profession the act of withdrawal were clothed, to the realist observers of that part of the world it would inevitably assume the aspect of abandonment of the wards we had undertaken to protect.
I wish now to discuss the political situation in the Philippine Islands.
During the 333 years of Spanish sovereignty the masses of the Filipinos achieved no measure of independence or self-government and made no appreciable economic advancement. In 1898 the standard of living in the major portion of the islands was not greatly different from the standards of the sixteenth century. The colony was literally and completely a Spanish possession and the population was subject to all the implications of autocratic control exercised from a foreign source. Cultural progress was limited to a very small minority, except for the adoption by a large proportion of the population of the Christian religion and the Spanish language. In contrast to this record the United States has, in a period of 32 years, established an educational system which has resulted in great reduction in illiteracy and afforded an opportunity to the entire population for cultural advancement; raised the standard of living through advantageous trade relations; encouraged local industries; established improvement in sanitation which has decreased mortality to such an extent that the population of the islands has doubled itself in 30 years; and finally has organized a representative system of government that, with certain necessary reservations, reposes complete control of local civil affairs in the Filipinos. The relative backwardness of the nonChristian elements has prevented to date a universal application of representative government. This situation is being corrected as rapidly as possible. Time alone is essential for its complete accomplishment.
Mr. Cross. Mr. Secretary, would you mind a question?
Secretary HURLEY. I will be glad to go into that with you here, but it breaks the sequence of this argument. I treat it fully later, sir. Less than 10 per cent is non-Christian, but they occupy 40 per cent of the land area of the islands.
Neither Filipinos nor Spaniards ever set up any form of government for them, and they laid down their arms for the first time in their history and surrendered to the United States, on certain obligations which we undertook toward them, one of which was that we would bring them where they could defend their rights through participation in self-government. That obligation is not discharged. We have disarmed them. We have drilled Filipino soldiers by American officers and placed them in American uniforms, armed them with American rifles, and sent them into this country that they never penetrated in all the centuries before we went there, and delivered this dependent population over to the Christian Filipinos; and now we seek to leave that population before we have brought them to the stage where they can participate in a govern, ment to protect their rights by civil means. We have disarmed them. They never conquered them before we went there.
I wish no one to understand me to claim that these splendid achievements could have been made without intelligence, courage, and industry on the part of the Filipinos themselves. However, the achievement was brought about under American leadership and guidance which have been intelligently exercised and without which, in my opinion, this progress would not have been made.
I do not want now to begin complimenting the officials that we have had from the beginning, but I want you to understand that there never has been, from the Filipinos, a charge of oppression against Americans since the period of the revolution.
Essential to these achievements also was the free market with the United States.
The sudden withdrawal of these two agencies would, in my opinion, destroy in a very short period of time that which has been built up during the American occupation. It is the concensus of opinion of responsible observers that if America should withdraw immediately economic chaos, political and social anarchy would result. This condition would ultimately be followed by domination of the Philippines by some foreign power.
To-day the degree of authority exercised by the United States over the Philippine Islands is represented principally by a Governor General, who has veto power over legislation and executive direction of the functions of the government.
Now, please remember that all the legislators are Filipinos, and that only a very small percentage of the employees in the schools and executive offices are Americans.
What is the exact percentage, General ?
cent. Secretary HURLEY. About 98 per cent is Filipino and 2 per cent American.
General PARKER. Most of the Americans are in the school system.
Secretary HURLEY. I might add also that, under our present system in the Philippine Islands, anything that an individual Filipino could do if he had complete independence, he can do now. There is 20 restriction or limitation on their actions.