Mr. Hay to Mr. Day.


While the Philippines can be justly claimed by conquest, which position must not be yielded, yet their disposition, control, and government the President prefers should be the subject of negotiation, as provided in the protocol. It is imperative upon us that as victors we should be governed only by motives which will exalt our nation. Territorial expansion should be our least concern; that we shall not shirk the moral obligations of our victory is of the greatest. It is undisputed that Spain’s authority is permanently destroyed in every part of the Philippines. To leave any part in her feeble control now would increase our difficulties and be opposed to the interests of humanity. The sentiment in the United States is almost universal that the people of the Philippines, whatever else is done, must be liberated from Spanish domination. In this sentiment the President fully concurs. Nor can we permit Spain to transfer any of the islands to another power. Nor can we invite another power or powers to join the United States in sovereignty over them. We must either hold them or turn them back to Spain.

Consequently, grave as are the responsibilities and unforeseen as are the difficulties which are before us, the President can see but one plain path of duty—the acceptance of the archipelago. Greater difficulties and more serious complications, administrative and international, would follow any other course. The President has given to the views of the Commissioners the fullest consideration, and in reaching the conclusion [Page 938] above announced, in the light of information communicated to the Commission and to the President since your departure, he has been influenced by the single consideration of duty and humanity. The President is not unmindful of the distressed financial condition of Spain, and whatever consideration the United States may show must come from its sense of generosity and benevolence, rather than from any real or technical obligation. The terms upon which the full cession of the Philippines shall be made must be left largely with the Commission. But as its negotiations shall proceed it will develop the Spanish position, and if any new phase of the situation arise, the Commission can further communicate with the President. How these instructions shall be carried out and whether to be presented as a peremptory demand, the President leaves to the judgment and discretion of the Commissioners.