Memorandum by Mr. William Phillips, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State

The situation with regard to our representation in the Philippines is as follows.

Mr. Ickes is very sensitive about relieving his Department of the Philippine responsibilities and is therefore very strong for the appointment of a High Commissioner.

Eight or nine months ago the matter was taken up with President Roosevelt, who took the position that he might prefer to appoint a special representative rather than a High Commissioner, but he let the matter drop. Meanwhile President Osmeña has been urging against the revival of the High Commissioner27 and as late as April 5th spoke to President Roosevelt on the subject. President Roosevelt had stated publicly that he expected to be in a position [Page 1201] to extend complete independence to the Philippines next autumn and I understand that President Truman has made some similar public statement.28

Senator Tydings recently introduced a resolution29 providing for a delegation from Congress to proceed to the Philippines for investigation and report on conditions which would be the basis of a new commercial treaty between the Philippines and the United States. Before this legislation was passed President Truman appointed Senator Tydings as his personal representative to undertake this same investigation.30 Senator Tydings is to be accompanied by a delegation of some ten persons, which includes Mr. Weldon Jones,31 and will leave Washington in about a week. It would seem therefore that the final decision with respect to the appointment of a High Commissioner or a personal representative of the President does not have to be made until the return of Senator Tydings and his delegation, and it might be indeed more appropriate to let the decision await his return. I gather that almost everyone concerned, with the exception of Mr. Ickes and his Department, is in favor of the substitution of a personal representative in the place of a High Commissioner, and it is expected that Mr. Ickes will make a strong fight for the retention of a Commissioner. The argument against the appointment of a High Commissioner is strengthened by the fact that the independence of the Philippines will come anyway within a few months’ time.

William Phillips
  1. In despatch 215, July 19, 1945, the Consul General at Manila transmitted a copy of an aide-mémoire of the same date prepared by E. D. Hester of a conference with President Osmeña. The aide-mémoire stated President Osmeña no longer objected to use of the title “High Commissioner”. (811B.00/7–1945)
  2. This refers, presumably, to the statement of May 5 by President Truman, supra.
  3. S. Res. 123, introduced May 3, Congressional Record, vol. 91, pt. 3, p. 4101.
  4. See statement of May 5 by President Truman, supra.
  5. Of the Bureau of the Budget.