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It is hardly conceivable that we could adopt the fourth proposal; that is, giving the Philippines the status of a State of the Union, m view of the racial, sociological, geographical, and other impediments to this course.
The majority of this committee, therefore, finds the only possible solution of the problem to be in a proposal to make possible the formation of a free government in the Philippines, to permit the Philippine people to weigh the experiences of their new status, and finally to allow them to express their views as to independence on the basis of their experience.
The "acid test" provided in this bill (S. 3822) is the hardest ever given a nation seeking independence. We submit for your serious consideration this salient fact, that in the election at which they shall decide whether or not they shall be independent the Philippine people will be called upon to say whether they shall sever their connection with the United States at the very hardest period of their reconstruction problems, after having been subjected to the weight of our trade barriers and to the full effect of the constitutional provisions which we impose upon them in the formation of their new government.
AN INSIDIOUS PROPAGANDA
Before passing to a further analysis of the merits of Philippine independence or the ability of the Philippine people to manage their own affairs, your committee desires to call attention to a propaganda intimating that the Philippine leaders are not sincere in their demands for independence. If there is any basis for this intimation, your committee has been unable to locate it.
It is insinuated that the Philippine people do not actually desire independence and that their leaders do not really favor it, and yet, in reply to this propaganda, there comes from the entire press of the Philippines, from all classes of its population, from its school children and its public officials, from the representatives of its political parties, majority and minority, a demand for independence.
Not a single witness before your committee could name 10 Filipinos who do not favor independence. The business organizations of the islands, their national conferences, their educators, their government officials, their economists have all declared for independence. The Philippine press, the Philippine public, the Philippine pulpit, the Philippine school, and Philippine industries seem, so far as we can ascertain, to be unanimous in the demand that the United States redeem its pledges to grant to these people the sovereignty to which they aspire.
Only a few months ago the first philippine independence congress was held in Manila. More than 3,000 delegates from all over the islands, representing the whole people, including the Mohammedan Filipinos, met to deliberate on the question of independence. They discussed the different phases of the Philippine problem with particular reference to the economic consequences and political responsibilities which independence entails. With full knowledge of such consequences and responsibilities the Congress approved resolutions strongly urging independence at an early date.
This unanimity of opinion in the Philippines contrasts strikingly with the differences among colonial Americans. We were not without many prominent tories during the struggles of our patriots for independence.
In the Philippines, however, from the venerable Aguinaldo down to the child in the primary schoolroom, we have not been able to find a Filipino, living in his own country, who is not in favor of Philippine independence.
In the face of this attitude on the part of 13,000,000 Filipinos, it would seem that they are entitled to a statement from the Congress of the United States as to what their future status shall be.
OPPOSITION OF CERTAIN BUSINESS INTERESTS
As will be seen from the record, your committee has attempted to give to the commercial phases of our contact with the Philippines that consideration which is due those interests in relation to the whole subject, but we have endeavored to arrive at our conclusions on the basis of a broader view than merely trade relationship. It is idle to assume that the interests of manufacturers and others have no bearing upon this issue. It would be equally absurd to argue that the Philippine question should be determined solely from the viewpoint of consideration for the Philippines.
We must not forget American interests and American welfare. But your committee, having obtained all the facts in relation to our trade with the Philippines, finds in this information rather a powerful argument for some immediate disposition of the Philippine question than a reason to decide the matter of Philippine independence from the standpoint of either exporter or importer.
We have before us the data with respect to the importations of raw materials and manufactured products from the Philippines into the United States and we have investigated the exports of America to the Philippine Islands, but we shall not discuss individually these items of trade relationship.
It is pertinent, however, to state that the growing free exchange of products between the islands and the United States, if permitted to go on at the present rate of increase, will tend to develop a commercial relationship strong enough later to submerge every other consideration in the problem of Philippine independence.
When we took over the Philippines in 1898, the islands sent most of their exports (more than one-half) to Europe. In 1900, more than 55 per cent of the total exports of the Philippines went to European countries. From 1900 to 1908 the United States received 32 pir cent of Philippine exports. But in 1909, when free trade relationship was established, the United States received more than 42 per cent of Philippine exports. In 1927 more than 74 per cent of Philippine exports came into the United States. The growing trade relationship is manifest in these figures. It is equally manifest in the fact that 62 per cent of all foreign products consumed in the Philippines are received from the United States. The tariff wall surrounding the Philippines protects American products and manufactures against all competition.
The total trade of the islands in 1928 was approximately $290,000,000. The imports to the islands were approximately $134,000,000; the exports $155,000,000.
In 1928 the island imports from the United States were $84,000,000, and exports to the United States $115,000,000. Thus about 69 per cent of the foreign trade of the islands was with the United States.
It is evident that if this trade relationship is permitted to continue, increasing the number and strength of commercial ties between the two nations, the time will rapidly come when a change in the status of the Philippines, however desirable it may be from a national, military, or humanitarian standpoint, will mean economic ruin to the Philippines themselves and an unquestionable detriment to Americans.
Your committee therefore believes that instead of resolving the Philippine question on the basis of commerce, the conclusion to be drawn is that the whole problem must be settled as quickly as its importance permits, and this growing relationship between Americans and Filipinos be given a permanent foundation.
As far as the Philippines are concerned, it is with reason they maintain that the disruption of present relationships now will subject them to hardships which they can more readily endure at present than at some future date when their economic dependency will be greater.
In passing, your committee desires to call attention to the fact that there is an organized medium of opposition to Philippine independence in the United States, namely, the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce of New York. It is composed of American business men having trade relations with the Philippine Islands. The membership list discloses that of its 80 members all but 22 are residents of New York and only two reside in Manila. A fund was raised by this organization to oppose Philippine independence. They circularized the press of the United States and business organizations and members of Congress. They reached almost the entire press of America by letters and pamphlets prior to the hearings before your committee, when these various bills came under discussion. It is perfectly natural that this propaganda on the part of those with commercial interests has had its effect upon the recipients of this literature.
The attitude of this organized hostility is unfortunate in that it may be misunderstood and may tend to encourage reprisals harmful to American trade. We have in our colonial history signal incidents that revealed the resentment of our own people under similar circumstances. The Filipinos will naturally not be friendly to the "yard of cloth” argument against their national aspirations.
THE AMERICAN FARMERS' INTEREST
In America there is one element of our national life which is now receiving attention from Congress, and which has appealed to Congress to change conditions with respect to the Philippines. The American farmer has an interest in the disposition of this important question.
Representatives of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Grange, and other farm organizations appeared before your committee to express their concern in this particular problem and though they did not demand any unduly rigorous action on the part of Congress against the Philippine people whom our Government committed itself to serve, they asked that we give consideration to their interests. They pointed out that in the 1,000-mile stretch of islands in the Philippines there was an area equal to the combined area of the States of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont.
They pointed out that in this 114,000 square miles of territory there were vast agricultural areas, capable of great development and production, and they significantly reminded the committee that 80 per cent of the imports of products from the Philippine Islands into the United States to-day consists of farm products, while only 20 per cent of the exports of the United States to the Philippines is farm products. Since perhaps not more than one-seventh of the area of the Philippines is developed to-day, these figures give some idea of the extent to which the farmer in America has an interest in the competition from Philippine products.
It may be well to mention at this point that while the agricultural imports from the Philippines are increasing, the United States is at the same time developing irrigation systems with the object of converting to agricultural purposes vast areas of lands in our own western country. All of this new acreage in America is being brought into competition with the farmers who are here to-day. In his present financial condition, the American farmer's interest in Philippine exportations of agricultural products is not to be forgotten or ignored, especially when he is being urged to reduce his acreage and production.
THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR
There appeared before your committee another element in our domestic life, the American Federation of Labor, representing the millions of working men and women of the United States. These representatives of labor called to our attention the matter of Philippine immigration, pointing out that our exclusion laws against certain oriental nations do not apply to the Philippines, that workers from these islands come into America directly or by way of the Hawaiian Islands, and elsewhere, and that already there have been disturbances in the United States due to the growing number of Philippine laborers whose hire can be obtained at prices far below the standard wages of American workmen and women.
The average daily wage scale in the islands is from 50 to 75 cents a day for field laborers, and for industrial labor an average of $1 a day.
While wages and the standard of living in the islands is from 200 to 300 per cent higher than that obtaining in other oriental countries, it is far below the American standard which, under the present arrangement, must confront Philippine competition.
The interests of union labor, which for 32 years has been advocating Philippine independence, can not be overlooked in disposing of the Philippine question.
Congress has demonstrated that it will not subject the 13,000,000 Filipinos to the rigors of our exclusion act, to our trade barriers, or to other handicaps placed upon the foreigner while these people are held within the jurisdiction and under the protection of American sovereignty. No foreign nation excludes its colonials from its own domain, nor can America initiate such a policy with propriety.
Again, therefore, considering those questions of economics not related to the Filipinos themselves, but wholly American questions, it is not necessary to decide the Philippine status in favor of one or the other, but it is desirable to solve the Philippine problem for the future in the interest of all these elements of our American life.
While the interests of the American farmer, of the worker, and of the manufacturer should be protected, this protection should come from a constructive settlement of the whole problem from which the complaints arise and not through piecemeal legislation. Such legislation can only result in ill feeling and leave the main cause of the trouble untouched.
We can not, however, blind ourselves to the fact that there is a definite, well-organized movement in America to bring action along the lines of the respective interests affected by the present anomalous conditions. So it would seem to be our duty to take action now on the broader problem, lest at some future date, in emergency or excitement, we might find ourselves applying to these people exclusion laws, tariff barriers, or coastwise shipping restrictions which in common justice we should not apply against them while they remain under our flag.
In 1898 when, as a result of the Spanish-American War, we took over the Philippine Islands, we found an unstable government set up under Spanish domination existing under so-called colonial jurisdiction.
Under Article III of the protocol, signed at Washington in August, 1898, we provided:
The United States will occupy and hold the city, bay, and harbor of Manila pending the conclusion of a treaty of peace which shall determine the control, disposition, and government of the Philippines.
The treaty by which Spain ceded to the United States “the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands,” was signed at Paris on December 10, 1898. The beginning of civil government in the Philippine Islands under American sovereignty, as distinguished from purely military administration, dated from the appointment by President McKinley in March, 1900, of what is known as the Taft Philippine Commission.
We separated the executive, judicial, and legislative branches. The commission took over the legislative powers. The judicial powers were to be exercised by the courts established through legislative action of the commission, and the authority to exercise the executive powers was continued in the commander of the military forces of the United States. On June 21, 1901, the President issued an order transferring from the military governor to the president of the commission the authority to exercise the executive powers. On July 4, 1901, the late Chief Justice Taft was made civil governor of the Philippine Islands.
Under the act of July 1, 1902, the existing government was continued and the act placed the seal of legislative approval upon the governmental organization. The Philippine Commission was the sole legislative body for the islands. Section 7 of this act authorized and directed the taking of a census and provided that two years after this census a general election should be held for the choice of