Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Grew) to the Chief of the Division of Philippine Affairs (Lockhart)

Mr. Lockhart: In connection with the memorandum of your talk with Mr. E. D. Hester, Office of the High Commissioner, Department of the Interior, on March 512 concerning the appointment of a High Commissioner to the Philippines, I am appending for your confidential [Page 1195] information the partial record of a meeting with the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy13 on March 3, on which occasion I broached this subject:

“Mr. Grew then referred to the matter of the appointment of a High Commissioner for the Philippines. He said that it was the view of the State Department that it would be unwise to appoint a High Commissioner at this time as it might be taken by the Filipinos as an indication that we did not intend to go through with our commitment of independence. The Secretary of War pointed out the need for some serious discussions with the Commonwealth Government in regard to the establishment of bases14 and the problems that would come up in the transition period. He felt there were important problems that would have to be discussed on the ground, and that some official of the United States Government would have to be there. Mr. Grew appreciated this and suggested that the man to be sent should not bear the title of High Commissioner, but that the designation ‘Representative of the United States Government’ or ‘Representative of the President’ was all he needed to carry with him, and this seemed to be generally acceptable as a practical solution of the problem. It was left that the Secretary of War should speak to Mr. Ickes about this matter and see if general concurrence could not be obtained.

“Subsequent to the meeting the Secretary of War telephoned to the Secretary of the Interior about the matter of the High Commissioner, giving Mr. Grew’s suggestion to which Mr. Ickes indicated a favorable attitude. It was left that Mr. Ickes should immediately seek an appointment with the President to settle the matter, as well as the selection of the representative, Mr. Ickes to be accompanied on his visit to the President by the Secretary of War and possibly also by Mr. Grew.”

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Not printed.
  2. James V. Forrestal.
  3. For documentation on the proposed acquisition by the United States of bases in the Philippines, see pp. 1203 ff.