His Excellency Manuel L. Quezon
President of the Philippines
To Field Marshal MacArthur
[Fort Mills, January 28, 1942]
My dear General MacArthur:
I have been mortiﬁed by the radio broadcast from Tokio asserting that a new government has been established in the Philippines, which government has pledged its conformity with Japan’s new East Asia policy.
I know what the real sentiments of my people are and I am certain that their stand has not changed despite the military reverses of our forces. I am likewise convinced of the loyalty of the men who have accepted positions in the so-called new government.
I want you, therefore, to give publicity of the following statement: “The determination of the Filipino people to continue ﬁghting side by side with the United States until victory is won has in no way been weakened by the temporary reverses suffered by our arms. We are convinced that our sacriﬁces will be crowned with victory in the end and in that conviction we shall continue to resist the enemy with all our might.”
Japanese military forces are occupying sections of the Philippines comprising only one third of our territory. In the remaining areas constitutional government is still in operation under my authority.
I have no direct information concerning the veracity of the news broadcast from Tokio that a commission composed of some well known Filipinos have been recently organized in Manila to take charge of certain functions of civil government. The organization of such a commission, if true, can have no political signiﬁcance not only because it is charged merely with purely administrative functions but also because the acquiescence by its members to serve in the commission was evidently for the purpose of safeguarding the welfare of the civilian population and can, in no way, reﬂect the sentiments of the Filipino toward the enemy. Such sentiments are still those I have repeatedly expressed in the past: Loyalty to America and resolute resistance against the invasion of our territory and liberties.
At the same time I am going to open my mind and my heart to you without attempting to hide anything.
We are before the bar of history and God only knows if this is the last time that my voice will be heard before going to my grave.
My loyalty and the loyalty of the Filipino people to America have been proven beyond question. Now we are ﬁghting by her side under your command, despite overwhelming odds. But, it seems to me questionable whether any government has the right to demand loyalty from its citizens beyond its willingness or ability to render actual protection.
This war is not of our making. Those that had dictated the policies of the United States could not have failed to see that this is the weakest point in American territory. From the beginning, they should have tried to build up our defenses. As soon as the prospects looked bad to me, I telegraphed President Roosevelt requesting him to include the
Philippines in the American defense program. I was given no satisfactory answer.
When I tried to do something to accelerate our defense preparations, I was stopped from doing it.
Despite all this we never hesitated for a moment in our stand. We decided to ﬁght by your side and we have done the best we could and we are still doing as much as could be expected from us under the circumstances. But how long are we going to be left alone? Has it already been decided in Washington that the Philippine front is of no importance as far as the ﬁnal result of the war is concerned and that, therefore, no help can be expected here in the immediate future, or at least before our power of resistance is exhausted? If so, I want to know it, because I have my own responsibility to my countrymen whom, as President of the Commonwealth, I have led into a complete
war effort. I am greatly concerned as well regarding the soldiers I have called to the colors and who are now manning the ﬁring line. I want to decide in my own mind whether there is justiﬁcation in allowing all these men to be killed, when for the ﬁnal outcome of the war the shedding of their blood may be wholly unnecessary. It seems that Washington does not fully realize our situation nor the feelings which the apparent neglect of our safety and welfare have engendered in the hearts of the people here.
Some days ago, I telegraphed the President of the United States about this same matter. I did not receive even one word of acknowledgment. Is the sacriﬁce that I, members of my Government, and my whole family are making here, of no value at all?
In reference to the men who have accepted positions in the commission established by the Japanese, everyone of them wanted to come to Corregidor, but you told me that there was no place for them here.
They are not Quislings. The Quislings are the men who betray their country to the enemy. These men did what they had been asked to do, under the protection of their Government. Today they are virtually prisoners of the enemy. I am sure they are only doing what they think is their duty. They are not traitors. They are the victims of
the adverse fortunes of war and I am sure they had no choice. Besides, it is most probable that they accepted their positions in order to safeguard the welfare of the civilian population in the occupied areas. I think, under the circumstances, America should look upon their situation sympathetically and understandingly.
I am conﬁdent that you will understand my anxiety about the long awaited reinforcements and trust you will again urge Washington to insure their early arrival.
Manuel L. Quezon