740.0011 European War 1939/22706b

The Under Secretary of State (Welles) to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: In reply to the inquiry contained in your memorandum of April 17 with regard to the suggestion made to you [Page 904] under date of April 16 by Adolf Berle49 that the Philippine Government be invited to sign the United Nations Pact, I think the proposal is good in principle.

The doubt in my mind is, however, whether we could not advantageously take a step of this character in connection with a broader and more far-reaching policy. As you and I agreed some time ago, the Philippine people will have to be given their full independence upon the conclusion of the war. The step which Adolf proposes is equivalent to formal recognition by us at this time of the independent status of the Philippines.

As I said to you in my letter of April 1350 with regard to Dr. Soong’s memorandum51 concerning the independence of Korea, I hope that the opportunity may be presented when the United States can join with the other nations directly interested in the Pacific regions in announcing their common determination to restore their liberties to all of the peoples whose territory has been invaded by Japan and to recognize the right to full independence of the Philippines and Korea and perhaps, if conditions seem to make it wise, Indochina. As I said in that letter, the reaching of an agreement for the dominion status or independence of India would have offered an admirable springboard for a declaration of this kind. It may be, however, that some other favorable opportunity will be presented before long for a broad announcement of this kind which would really imply that the United Nations were joined together in a war for liberation, namely, a war to end imperialism.

If you approve of a policy of that kind, I would suggest holding the question of the Philippines in reserve until the broader policy can be announced. If, on the other hand, it seems expedient to strengthen Philippine morale before that time comes by having them sign the United Nations Pact, that step could, of course, be taken at any time.

Believe me

Faithfully yours,

Sumner Welles
  1. Neither memorandum printed.
  2. Ante, p. 870.
  3. Ante, p. 868; T. V. Soong was Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs.