811B.00 General Conditions/35: Telegram

Mr. Cabot Coville 4 to the Secretary of State

Telegram in lieu of periodic political report because no present despatch of mails.

Outbreak of war has of course altered and dominated political scene completely. Evidences of Quezon’s American loyalty have been [Page 884] gratifying. The oral decision that, when it should be necessary to abandon Manila, the persons so mobilizing [sic] Government be retained within area in control of American forces was concurred in by Quezon and at Corregidor he and his highest associates have been in intimate constant touch with Sayre and MacArthur and have cooperated fully. Should Quezon be again in touch with Japanese, however, the probability of a deal is still not to be ignored.

Morale in islands of both Filipinos and Americans has been notably sustained by removal from occupied area of Quezon and other persons symbolizing and controlling Government. Psychological effect has been that desired and it is recommended constant effort be made to continue such removal policy if military developments make impossible holding area where those persons lie [are?] or may be. Continuity of Government and the sense that removal to other places of the personal symbols of Government is a matter of temporary expediency rather than giving in to the enemy is of primary importance in nourishing the attitude of Filipinos toward the United States.

Since the High Commissioner (at the same time as Quezon) brought part of staff to Fort Mills, Corregidor, much important work has been accomplished by his staff here particularly in measures in protection of American and Philippine currency and property rights all of large totals.6 The safe removal of at least one copy of the records involved, from Corregidor to the United States, by whatever means is urgently recommended. Transportation would appear not available in absence of decision by Washington. The most practicable means would appear to be by plane flying by night to Corregidor from Java possibly via Borneo, and returning the following night.

Organizing of a final stand on Bataan Peninsula is proceeding with hearty backing of both military and civilian officials at Corregidor though noticeable reluctance among many Filipino soldiers. Enemy carefully bring[ing] up large numbers for sustained drive. Our greatest need is planes especially attacks and pursuits.

We have no communication with Manila and I am not in position to report on political conditions there other than press and radio items already known to September.

Coville
  1. Foreign Service Officer, on detail as Second Secretary in the Office of the High Commissioner in the Philippines.
  2. On island of Corregidor, approximately 30 miles from Manila.
  3. For further information on this subject, see Sixth Annual Report of the United States High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands, July 1, 1941, to June 30, 1942 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1943), pp. 49 ff.