124.11B/50½

The President of the Philippine Commonwealth ( Quezon ) to the Secretary of the Interior ( Ickes )67

Dear Mr. Secretary: Referring to our conversation regarding the appointment of a new High Commissioner of the United States in the Philippines.

[Page 909]

In the first place, I think I should state frankly that I am in favor of your idea that no new appointment of a High Commissioner should be made. By the very nature of the position there is no reason for appointing one now since under the law, the High Commissioner is primarily the representative of the President of the United States in the Philippines. In view of the fact that the Government of the Commonwealth is now in exile in Washington where the President has his office, a representative of the President seems out of place.

Furthermore, the Philippine affairs as they relate to the Government of the United States are transacted in Washington, either through the Department of the Interior, when they are of purely domestic concern, or through the Department of State when, in some way, they relate to foreign affairs. The intervention, therefore, of the United States High Commissioner is not only unnecessary but it would mean more delay in the transaction of business between the Government of the Commonwealth and the Government of the United States.

I have some suggestions in mind which I intend to submit for the consideration of the President and if it should merit his approval it will automatically do away with the position of the United States High Commissioner. My suggestion, however, contemplates radical and fundamental changes, and will require careful study and deliberation. Hence, I must defer the submission of my proposals to a later date.

For the present this is what I consider to be the best solution of the problem we have at hand. Instead of abolishing the position of High Commissioner or not appointing a new one, just have the President designate one of your Assistants as Acting High Commissioner. In this way, we give the Japanese no occasion for saying that you have done away with the office for lack of interest in the Philippines, and at the same time your Department will be dealing directly with the Government of the Commonwealth.

If you desire to discuss with me this matter further and can see me next Monday,68 i shall be available.

Very sincerely,

Manuel Quezon
  1. Copy transmitted to the Secretary of State by President Roosevelt on June 24, with the instruction: “Please talk this over with the Secretary of the Interior.”
  2. June 22.