The Chief of Staff (Marshall) to the Commanding General of United States Army Forces in the Far East (MacArthur)38

[1029.] Please convey the following message from the President to President Quezon:

I have just received your message sent through General MacArthur.39 From my message to you of January 30, 194240 you must realize that I am not lacking in understanding of or sympathy with the situation of yourself and the Commonwealth government today. The immediate crisis certainly seems desperate but such crises and their treatment must be judged by a more accurate measure than the anxieties and sufferings of the present, however acute. For over forty years the American government has been carrying out to the people of the Philippines a pledge to help them successfully, however long it might take, in their aspirations to become a self-governing and independent people with the individual freedom and economic strength which that lofty aim makes requisite. You yourself have participated in and are familiar with the many carefully planned steps by which that pledge of self-government has been carried out and also the steps by which the economic independence of the Islands is to be made effective. May I remind you now that in the loftiness of its aim and the fidelity with which it has been executed, this program of the United States towards another people has been unique in the history of the family of nations. In the McDuffie–Tydings Act of 1934, to which you refer, the Congress of the United States finally fixed the year 1946 as the date in which it was hoped that the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands established by that Act should finally reach the goal of its hopes for political and economic independence.

By a malign conspiracy of a few depraved but powerful nations this hope is now being frustrated and delayed. An organized attack upon individual freedom and governmental independence throughout the entire world, beginning in Europe, has now spread and been carried to the southwestern Pacific by Japan. The basic principles upon [sic] which have guided the US in its conduct towards the Philippines [Page 898] have been violated in the rape of Poland, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Albania, Yugoslavia, Manchukuo, China, Indo-China, Thailand and finally the Philippines. You refer in your telegram to the announcement by the Prime Minister of Japan of Japan’s willingness to grant to the Philippines her independence. I only have to refer you to the present condition of Korea, Manchukuo, North China, Indo-China, and all other countries which have fallen under the sway of the Japanese government, to point out the hollow duplicity of such an announcement.

The United States today is engaged with all its resources and in company with the governments of 26 other nations in an effort to defeat the aggression of Japan and its Axis partners. This effort will never be abandoned until the complete and thorough overthrow of the entire Axis system and the governments which maintain it. We are engaged now in laying the foundations in the southwest Pacific of a development in air, naval, and military power which shall become sufficient to meet and overthrow the widely extended and arrogant attempts of the Japanese.

By the terms of our pledge to the Philippines implicit in our 40 years of conduct towards your people and expressly recognized in the terms of the McDuffie–Tydings Act, we have undertaken to protect you to the uttermost of our power until the time of your ultimate independence had arrived. Our soldiers in the Philippines are now engaged in fulfilling that purpose. The honor of the United States is pledged to its fulfillment. We propose that it be carried out regardless of its cost. Those Americans who are fighting now will continue to fight until the bitter end.

So long as the flag of the United States flies on Filipino soil as a pledge of our duty to your people, it will be defended by our own men to the death. Whatever happens to the present American garrison we shall not relax our efforts until the forces which we are now marshaling outside the Philippine Islands return to the Philippines and drive the last remnant of the invaders from your soil.

  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N. Y.
  2. See supra.
  3. See memorandum by the Secretary of War to President Roosevelt, p. 890.