Recent historians have concluded that Philippine formal independence in 1946 was incomplete and unequal. Legislation gave privileges to U.S. businesses which inhibited autonomous economic development, and the new Philippine political leadership did not represent important sections of its people. Such judgments were also voiced at the time by many American “critical internationalists” who believed that the global colonial system must end and feared that the Truman administration was betraying that goal in the Philippines. American veterans who served in the Philippines, journalists with long experience in Asia, returned missionaries, and former Roosevelt administration officials – including, most significantly, Harold Ickes – were among those who believed that the United States was granting only “the shadow of independence.” The essay argues that historians, who, surprisingly, have largely ignored these contemporary views, should pay closer attention to such voices for several reasons, among them their usefulness in rebutting the charge that historians critical of U.S. policy have drawn their conclusions mainly based on hindsight.
R. F. Millon served on General Douglas MacArthur’s staff in the Philippines in the cataclysmic last year of World War II. Just two months after Philippine independence ceremonies on 4 July 1946, he wrote in the New York liberal weekly, The Nation: “The American colonial regime in the Philippines has ended, but in such a shameful manner that we can no longer pretend our policy there was other than one of partly disguised imperialism.”1
Recent scholars have developed skeptical perspectives on American rule in the Philippines and granting of independence but there has been little awareness that many Americans shared these views at the close of the war in 1945 and 1946. Some during or even before World War II had argued that defeating Japanese imperialism required Americans to defeat racism at home and confront Western colonialism. Critics included some who had returned to civilian life after serving in the armed forces in the Philippines; journalists and writers with prewar experience in Asia, such as Harold Isaacs, Hernando Abaya, and Pearl S. Buck; and returned missionaries and other Social Gospel Protestants. Critical accounts appeared in Asia and the Americas, an illustrated monthly edited by Pearl Buck’s husband, Richard J. Walsh; in The Christian Century, a liberal Protestant weekly; in publications of the Institute of Pacific Relations; and in syndicated newspaper columns of Marquis Childs and Harold L. Ickes, recently retired as Franklin Roosevelt’s longtime secretary of the interior.
The argument of this paper, therefore, is three-fold. First, there were significant currents of “critical internationalism” in the early Cold War, exemplified here by dissent against policy in the Philippines, which decried emerging American global strategies. These critical internationalists, who were often Americans with direct experience overseas, had developed an understanding of the U.S. role in the world which led them to criticize American policy as dangerously similar to European imperialism or as aggressively extending American military or economic power at the expense of weaker nations.2
Second, historians of American foreign relations would do well to explore public discourse for information and perspectives on U.S. policy. Official documents are indispensable, of course, but public sources from the time can often ground our contemporary criticisms in a broader sense of what was happening and what knowledgeable observers discussed as realistic alternatives to American policies and actions.
Third, as “American exceptionalism” now reemerges as a litmus test of ideological purity, it is well to remember that this idealized view of the U.S. role in the world has long been contested. Exceptionalists contrasted axiomatically benevolent American rule with exploitative European imperialism. The Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 committed the United States to the independence of the Philippines, which to some confirmed an American anticolonial tradition. Franklin Roosevelt preached the virtues of anticolonialism by holding up the example of the Philippines, and even before entering the war he called for the Four Freedoms which would redeem Woodrow Wilson’s frustrated mission to bring democratic values to the world.3 American diplomats looked to Philippine independence to promote the United States as a champion of colonial peoples throughout a region rich in both resources and rebellion. President Truman in 1948 boasted that America was “the first great nation to create independent republics from conquered territory, Cuba and the Philippines.”4 Critical internationalists explicitly and implicitly rejected what they saw as illusory notions of American exceptionalism.
Recent scholars of U.S.-Philippine relations have almost unanimously sided with the critical internationalists. They use such terms as “Dependent Independence,” or “‘a special relationship’ of dependence.”5 Stephen Rosskamm Shalom framed his critical study around the concept “neo-colonialism,” which he defined as “an alliance between the leading class or classes of two independent nations which facilitates their ability to maintain a dominant position over the rest of the population of the weaker of the two nations.” Historians Dennis Merrill and Nick Cullather focus on the conflicts between the elites of the United States and the Philippines, not their alliance. Merrill nevertheless says that the process of independence “guaranteed a large measure of continued American control.” Cullather, however, focuses on “crony capitalism,” characterized by the power of landed elites to manipulate “privileged access to United States markets, aid, and multilateral lending.”6 One must go back to a 1965 study by Theodore Friend to find a favorable appraisal by a serious American historian of the process by which the Philippines gained its independence, and even Friend hinted at the restrictions on Philippine sovereignty of certain trade provisions.7
Critical historians, however, generally ignore the earlier critical internationalists in the debate over Philippine independence in the 1940s.
The Emergence of Critical Internationalism: The Betrayal of the Philippines
In 1945, all agreed that Philippine independence would need to be linked to reconstruction and that reconstruction would require American funding. The Philippines had suffered mass destruction during both the Japanese occupation and American liberation. Liberation alone led to the deaths of upward of 100,000 people and the devastation of entire cities, often from American shelling.8
Some with longtime anti-imperialist credentials showed a mix of faith in American motives and compromise with political realities. For example, Oswald Garrison Villard, one of the few surviving members of the anti-imperialist generation of 1898 and a longtime critic of Roosevelt’s interventionist foreign policies, argued in Asia and the Americas in October 1945 that massive financial assistance for Philippine reconstruction was essential and that the retention of American military bases was a fait accompli. Nevertheless, Villard asserted that the best way to win the friendship of Filipinos and other Asians would be to “parallel our vast military expenditures with comparable investments in civilian and humanitarian institutions to radiate their benefits throughout the Pacific area.” Such institutions, Villard added in a formulation that is jarring to the modern ear, could use Manila as a base from which to spread American culture and “the gospel of the Four Freedoms.”9
Villard had little day-to-day information as American forces reconquered the islands in 1944 and 1945, but William Owens, an English professor at Texas A & M who served with the U.S. Army in the Philippines for almost a year, painted a far darker picture. In the first of two 1946 articles in Asia and the Americas, Owens described, on the one side, the landless peasants on the island of Luzon whose aspirations came to be represented by a United Front of Socialists, Communists, and others, along with its military wing, the Hukbalahap (often referred to in the United States as the “Huks”). On the other side, Owens placed the Nationalist Party, which controlled the Philippines Commonwealth Government, represented landlords and other propertied interests, and traditionally had enjoyed the support of American officials. Owens emphasized that the Hukbalahap had been the most consistently anti-Japanese military force during the war and had pushed for social and agrarian reform. Owens attributed the most violence among Filipinos to the so-called “United States Army Forces in the Far East,” a Filipino group which collected intelligence for the Americans and used its privileged status to inflict reprisals against its Hukbalahap rivals.10
Owens assailed the American decision “to return the Nationalist Party and all it stands for to its prewar power, a power inimical to social progress and reform.” To make matters worse, many prominent Nationalist political leaders had served in the puppet Japanese government during the war. Owens concluded that only thorough-going land reform, along with economic development and measures to limit the power of the Filipino elite, could prevent the Hukbalahap from launching a guerrilla war, an option that Owens lamented but fully understood.11
In July, as the independence ceremonies were taking place, Owens reported on the new president, Manuel Roxas, a longtime leader of the Nationalist Party who campaigned in the closely contested April 1946 election under the banner of a new Liberal Party. In particular, Owens scrutinized Roxas’s wartime service in the cabinet of the pro-Japanese puppet government and the collaborationism of many of his associates. MacArthur had cleared Roxas of collaboration, but his ties with the wealthiest businessmen and landowners and his support for the Philippines Trade Act which guaranteed unlimited U.S. property rights led many Filipinos, Owens charged, to “fear Roxas as a tool of American interests in the Philippines.” In a bitter play on Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, Owens was concerned that “the Filipinos may achieve freedoms they never desired – freedom to starve, freedom to stagnate, freedom to renounce democracy.”12
More striking still, this former officer laid the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of his former commander. Pontius argued that the manner in which MacArthur cleared Roxas of collaboration would prevent a real investigation of other accused collaborators, many of whom were allies of Roxas. MacArthur had announced that Roxas must be innocent because he was not charged by the Loyalty Board of the Philippine Army, while the Loyalty Board assumed Roxas to be innocent because he had not been arrested by MacArthur. According to Pontius, MacArthur acted at least partly at the behest of wealthy Filipinos who had served as merchants for the Japanese and then turned around and played the same role for the returning American Army. Pontius also identified by name, despite MacArthur’s explicit denials, several of the general’s top advisers who had extensive business dealings in the islands. The flip side of MacArthur’s leniency toward wealthy collaborators was harsh treatment of the Hukbalahap guerrillas. The United States, Pontius warned, may “lose the peace because a military mind acts in disregard of democratic processes.”14
Waves of cynicism and confusion and anti-American sentiment are sweeping over the Philippines. The forces of reaction have gained such a complete victory that an American newspaper man recently returned from Manila describes the situation, ‘The Japanese have now won their victory, completely.’”13
An important critical voice was Hernando Abaya, a Filipino newspaper correspondent whose writings and visits to the United States influenced American critical internationalists. Before the war, Abaya had worked in the Office of the U.S. High Commissioner in Manila, and during the war he kept watch over collaborating politicians for the Free Philippines underground. In an article in Asia and the Americas and a 1946 book, Betrayal in the Philipppines, he delivered stinging rebukes of Roxas, MacArthur, and the last American High Commissioner, Paul McNutt. Abaya’s book also provided the occasion for an extraordinary endorsement, that of former Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, who contributed an introduction. Ickes, whose department helped oversee the Philippines before the war, had failed in his 1945 effort to have the Interior Department, rather than MacArthur and the War Department, administer the islands. He urged that Americans not permit themselves to “become an oppressor of a people in the Far Pacific who have sanctified their passion for freedom by fighting and dying for it.”15
Abaya’s initial article located the crux of American economic control of the “independent” Philippines in the so-called “equal rights” clause of the Bell Act. This clause provided Americans full access to ownership of Philippine businesses, while Filipinos did not have reciprocal rights in the United States. Abaya asserted that Roxas pushed the law through the Philippine Congress only by refusing to seat elected representatives of the Hukbalahap and dispensing government “pork-barrel” subsidies to others. Abaya juxtaposed U.S. insistence on free access to Philippine enterprises with the exclusion of any semblance of Philippine control over U.S. military installations, especially near Manila. “FILIPINOS KEEP OUT,” read the signs, as longtime Filipino employees were discharged due to orders to “replace Filipino[s] with white[s].”16
In the pages of Asia and the Americas, Owens, Pontius, and Abaya articulated a critique of American rule over the Philippines whose basic points historians have come to agree with.17 The critique was then taken up by the magazine’s editor, Richard J. Walsh, and by contributing editor (and Walsh’s wife), novelist Pearl S. Buck.18 In his December 1946 column (the same issue in which Abaya’s article appeared) Walsh quoted a United Press wire service report from the Philippines that “America’s historic popularity has reached a new low,” in large part due to a “breakdown of discipline” among U.S. troops still stationed in the islands. That same month Nobel Prize-winner Buck complained in a major address to a gala dinner on the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel that the newly independent nation was becoming an “economic dependency” of the United States.19 Several months later Buck, who was also the president of the East and West Association, observed in the group’s newsletter that U.S. rule in the Philippines had been “a strange mixture of paternalism, domination, and genuine accomplishment for the people.” Echoing Owens, Pontius, and Abaya, she condemned the postwar U.S. policy of “neglecting and even repressing many of the persons who fought most bravely against the Japanese militarists and of giving power to some who did little,” and the organization recommended Abaya’s book to readers.20
American anti-imperialists had to walk a fine line in criticizing the Philippine government. They had been heartened by the role in 1945 and 1946 of General Carlos Romulo, the delegate from the Philippines to the United Nations, as a forceful spokesperson against international racism and colonialism. Romulo had been a leader of the reconstituted Philippine army during the war which worked in tandem with U.S. armed forces. His wartime actions had received wide coverage in the American media, so his standing at the founding U.N. conference in San Francisco was high, and his comments drew wide attention to the anti-racist cause. Nevertheless, as the non-voting resident commissioner from the Philippines to the U.S. Congress in 1945 and 1946, and later in his appointed positions in the independent Philippine government, Romulo assiduously promoted the soothing idea that Filipinos were grateful first for American rule and then for the way independence was achieved.21
Several first-hand observers of postwar Asia warned that the transition to independence in the Philippines would not be smooth. Veteran journalist Harold Isaacs, who had come to prominence in 1938 with The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution, worked for much of the 1940s as an Asian correspondent for Newsweek, and would become in 1948 a co-worker of Buck’s in the East and West Association. Isaacs’s No Peace for Asia differentiated American rule in the Philippines from British and Dutch rule, but mainly on the grounds that the Philippines were far less economically important to the United States than those other colonies were to their European overlords. Moreover, American business interests, especially in the sugar industry, were divided in their attitudes toward the role of this colony. Despite his strong anti-Soviet position, Isaacs nevertheless identified the emerging U.S. emphasis on “security needs” and military bases as a major problem for the independent Philippines. He also argued that a key development in the postwar world was the “puncturing” of the myth of the exceptional nature of the United States among white powers in Asia. Echoing the charge that Pearl Buck made in her December 1946 speech, Isaacs concluded that Asian “disillusionment” with U.S. policy “dominated the postwar aftermath right across Asia.” As part of a litany of contrasts between the expectations of Asians and the actions of Americans, Isaacs wrote that Asians had originally “thought that American principles would ensure American support for a daring program of progressive change. They found that America in practice always supported conservative reaction.” At a 1950 conference in the Philippines, Isaacs noted that U.S. economic and technical aid would accomplish little without the redistribution of land; the villages would still support the Huks. Isaacs thus strongly linked American failure to support meaningful reform in the Philippines with his comprehensive critique of U.S. policy in Asia.22
These critical writings did not reach a mass audience, but several syndicated columnists addressed the issue in daily newspapers across the United States. Marquis Childs, a noted political commentator perhaps best known for his laudatory book published in the midst of the Great Depression on Sweden’s “middle way” between capitalism and communism, began his 4 July 1946 column with the time-worn phrases of American exceptionalism: the United States “blundered into imperialism” in the Philippines, but had then compiled such a good record “that it impressed colonial peoples throughout Asia.” But Childs quickly shifted to a more combative footing. He warned that if American aid went mainly to foreign investors it would leave the Filipino masses worse off than before the war and increase resentment against the collaborationist elite which remained in power. Furthermore, either a too-tight American economic embrace or expansion of U.S. naval facilities on the islands would result in independence becoming “a carefully fostered fiction.” Childs added that there was worrisome evidence that the “Navy would like to take over the Pacific as an American lake.”23
Harold Ickes was the syndicated columnist who addressed the Philippines most consistently and critically. Ickes had been intimately connected with the issue from his twelve-year position in Franklin Roosevelt’s cabinet and, for a few more months, during Harry Truman’s presidency. As secretary of the interior, he had jurisdiction over many territorial possessions, including the Philippines after 1938, and he was a strong supporter during the war years of the government-in-exile headed by Manuel Quezon, who died in New York in 1944. Ickes was also the leading advocate for Roosevelt’s plans to bring high-level Filipino collaborationists to trial and exclude them from political life. Naturally, Ickes was upset by MacArthur’s quick rehabilitation of Roxas. Historians have paid close attention to Ickes’s actions regarding the Philippines while he was in the cabinet, and most agree that his criticisms of MacArthur had merit. However, they also say that the secretary harmed his own cause by a “clumsy” or “heavy-handed” effort in September 1945 to link American rehabilitation aid to Philippine action against collaborators. Ickes’s 1945 letter to Quezon’s successor, interim President Sergio Osmeña, cast the latter as a tool of the Americans and allowed Roxas to portray himself during the 1946 presidential campaign as the true nationalist.24
Ickes was still a popular figure among New Deal stalwarts when he resigned from the Truman administration in February 1946 over the president’s appointment of an ethically challenged Navy Department official (unrelated to policy in the Philippines). By 1 April, he had begun a thrice-weekly column in the New York Post distributed to over 100 newspapers, quickly becoming one of the highest paid columnists of his day. The subjects of the columns ranged widely, from party politics to economic policy, and from race relations to foreign policy issues.25 From April 1946 until December 1947, Ickes devoted eight columns entirely to the situation in the Philippines (and he referred to the Philippines in several others), and he wrote twice that many on other aspects of U.S. policy in the Pacific: statehood for Hawaii, atomic testing in Bikini, Dutch colonialism in Indonesia, and especially the U.S. Navy’s efforts to maintain complete control over Guam, American Samoa, and the former Japanese mandates in the central and south Pacific. His columns on the Philippines were based on and generated meetings and productive correspondence between Ickes and other writers discussed here, as well as with Filipinos who appreciated an American’s interest in their cause.26
In one of his first columns on the Philippines, on 1 July 1946, Ickes promoted the prevailing American exceptionalist view of U.S. colonial policy, lauding the impending independence as a “magnificent act” marred only by President Truman’s announcement that he would not attend the historic ceremonies.27 Ickes framed several other early columns around narrow attacks on Roxas and on MacArthur.28 But a more broadly critical approach soon emerged, which linked Ickes’s opposition to U.S. policy in the Philippines to a skeptical view of U.S. policy in the emerging Cold War. On 9 August, Ickes wrote that an “iron curtain” imposed by the U.S. press and the Roxas government was “shrouding the Philippines,” as “a newly liberated people is being shackled by a dictatorship.” Ickes now blamed Ambassador McNutt and Senator Millard Tydings (D-Md.) along with MacArthur for the trajectory in the Philippines, and feared that U.S. troops in the Philippines would soon be called upon to preserve order on behalf of Roxas: “What a pretty act that would be – American troops defending a Philippine dictatorship behind an iron curtain.”29 Later in August Ickes decried talk of war with Russia. While not excusing Russian actions in its “border nations,” he reminded readers that the United States was likewise “agitating for military bases in Iceland and the Azores while maintaining troops in China, Germany, the Philippines and Italy.” And in December 1946, Ickes further charged that the American ambassador in the Philippines was “pulling down the venetian shades to hide his collaborationist friend, President Roxas, from the inquisitive.”30
The American ambassador in question was Paul McNutt, whom Ickes had initially recommended as the U.S. High Commissioner before World War II. In two columns in November 1946 – based in part on material which Hernando Abaya gave him – Ickes assailed McNutt’s advocacy of the “highly objectionable Bell Act,” which “constituted a curtailment of Philippine sovereignty and a virtual nullification of Philippine independence.” He also accused McNutt’s adviser, Brigadier General Ernest Burt, of corrupt land speculation at the expense of Filipino peasants.31 In a similar column three months later Ickes charged that Roxas was preventing distribution of Abaya’s Betrayal in the Philippines (which, of course, contained Ickes’s own introduction).32
Ickes’s objections to U.S. policy in the Philippines formed part of a broader critical internationalist approach to Truman’s emerging Cold War foreign policy. In his diary in August 1946, Ickes reported that he had confirmed the numbers of U.S. troops in the Philippines (90,000) and China (20,000) in conversations the previous week with Secretary of War Robert Patterson and Navy Secretary James Forrestal, and that he had expressed his concern to both officials over the provocative nature of these deployments. Ickes linked the two situations, even as he expressed the fear in November that the continued presence of U.S. marines in China (for which Forrestal was the main advocate) was “likely to result in an incident that will lead to war.” Ickes hoped to reverse increased “Army and Navy control of foreign policy.”33
I do not recall a single instance where the United States has gone before the United Nations to insist upon the right of a subject people to self-government. We have rushed, with an open purse, to the aid of a German royal house in Greece and of a dictatorship in Turkey, but we have not said a word, or at least an effective one, nor performed a deed, to protest the arrogant and imperialistic attitude of the Dutch in Indonesia.36
The Institute of Pacific Relations and the Dilemmas of Imperialism
The Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR), from its first meeting in Honolulu in 1925, harbored practical discussions and theoretical criticisms of colonial rule in Asia. The delegations from the Philippines and Korea included both colonial officials and their critics. The American Secretariat was especially strong in its anti-colonial sentiments. During the war, the IPR organized international conferences at which the American Secretariat advanced detailed plans for postwar decolonization, but the Roosevelt administration would not acknowledge them publicly for fear of alienating allies who were fighting both to defeat the Axis and to maintain their empires.37
The critical internationalist perspective infused IPR publications on the Philippines throughout 1945 and 1946. Shirley Jenkins, the assistant editor of the IPR’s Far Eastern Survey, warned in May 1945 against the idea put forward by Ickes, Paul McNutt, and others that independence be postponed to facilitate economic and social reconstruction. She argued that there was no contradiction between granting independence and providing rehabilitation assistance.38 Editor Laurence Salisbury had served with the State Department for twenty years, including a stint with the Office of the High Commissioner to the Philippines. In two articles in late 1945, he criticized the United States for both hesitancy on independence and support for “reactionary elements.” Salisbury hinted that MacArthur’s occupation policies in the Philippines did not bode well for his tenure as military ruler of Japan. Salisbury, like Jenkins, placed these unsatisfactory policies in the context of the broader disappointment that Asians felt in the American failure to challenge European colonialism at the end of the war – disappointment which was leading some Asian nationalists to turn to the Soviet Union for aid.39
The criticisms in IPR publications deepened with the April 1946 elections. Monroe Hall, a longtime Foreign Service officer in Asia who in 1945 served as American Consul in Manila, labeled Roxas the “collaborators’ candidate.” Hall observed also that while some might argue that only Filipinos should be deciding who should represent them, in fact Roxas was able to become a political power only because of MacArthur’s personal intervention, American economic interests in the Philippines, and the continued involvement of American troops in the affairs of the islands. Therefore, responsible forces in the United States must act to prevent collaborators from taking control of the new nation.40
In April, Far Eastern Survey published a similar article by Ira Gollobin, who had served with the Judge Advocate Section of the U.S. Army in the Philippines. Gollobin argued that the electoral coalition of Sergio Osmeña and the Democratic Alliance, which included the Hukbalahap, most clearly upheld FDR’s anti-collaborationist policy. Gollobin, too, pointed out that the continued presence of large numbers of American soldiers, along with a rebuilt Philippine Army, “influences the election, intentionally or unintentionally, in favor of the landed proprietors who in the main are supporting the candidacy of Roxas.”41 Gollobin chaired the American Veterans of the Philippine Campaign, which issued an open letter to President Truman declaring that as “American soldiers who served in the Philippines, we know first-hand the outstanding war record of the Hukbalahap,” and “do not want U.S. arms used to crush our allies” who were seeking to raise the living standards of the peasantry. Representative Ellis Patterson of Los Angeles inserted a version of the letter into the Congressional Record and endorsed its call to end U.S. military aid to Roxas. Gollobin’s group was affiliated with the Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy, which issued a similar letter to the president at the end of August, quoting prominently from one of Ickes’s columns.42 Representative Arthur Miller (R-Neb.) also inserted in the Congressional Record a letter from a U.S. soldier serving in the Philippines pleading to return home, and noting public demonstrations in Manila by U.S. soldiers expressing the same goal.43 (When he was still in Truman’s cabinet in January 1946, Ickes called these soldiers’ demonstrations “nothing short of mutiny,” and he defended Truman’s refusal to accept petitions from soldiers demanding transportation home.44)
On the eve of independence itself, Abraham Chapman, who had worked in the Philippines for the U.S. Army’s Information and Education Detachment and as an editor of the Army newspaper, the Daily Pacifican, published a long article in Far Eastern Survey reviewing the history of U.S. policy in the Philippines. He concluded, like Millon, Owens, and Pontius, that “America today is pioneering with new forms which leave the old prewar colonial content substantially unchanged.” Chapman then wrote in Pacific Affairs, another IPR periodical, that the anti-Roxas forces considered the Bell Act to be a “negation” of America’s promise of independence because it perpetuated economic dependence.45 Chapman was probably especially interested in getting the truth about the Philippines out to an American audience because while he was editor the Daily Pacifican had been subjected to “severe editorial restrictions and limitations” after the newspaper reported on Army plans to intervene in political unrest during the presidential campaign.46
IPR’s coverage of the Philippines continued along these lines. In August 1946, Barbara Entenberg, who had served with the Office of War Information, presented a favorable portrait of the Hukbalahap’s role in the anti-Japanese resistance and criticized both the United States and the new Philippine government for their assaults on these peasant rebels as well as for their dismissal of agrarian reform.47 In December, editor Salisbury wrote an enthusiastic and detailed review of Abaya’s Betrayal in the Philippines. Salisbury observed with both bitterness and the satisfaction that comes from having been proved correct that this account of developments in the Philippines “has stirred up somewhat of a hornet’s nest and has offended the sensibilities of sheltered Americans who piously believe that America can do no wrong.”48 Meanwhile, the New Republic tapped IPR staff member Lawrence Rosinger for its review of Abaya’s book. Rosinger approvingly summarized Abaya’s points and added that Americans should “sit up and take notice of our own activities in the colonial world” and not assume that U.S. policy is so different from that of other colonial powers.49 The critiques of an “exceptionalist” view of American colonialism could not be clearer.
The IPR’s critical approach was capped in December 1946 with a 64-page pamphlet, Cross-Currents in the Philippines, co-authored by Salisbury and Bernard Seeman, yet another American who had traveled to the Philippines under War Department auspices. One Manila newspaper, they reported, called U.S. trade provisions “an unholy scheme of legalized looting to plunder the Philippines.” Another likened these trade provisions to the “infamous Twenty-One Demands” which Japan imposed upon China during World War I and lambasted this effort of a “big power shamelessly trying to browbeat a weak people into economic slavery.” Salisbury and Seeman themselves concluded that “within the very act that was to grant Philippine independence were conditions that made economic independence impossible in practice.”50
The critical reports in IPR publications more or less stopped at this point. True, in mid-1947 Shirley Jenkins reviewed the renewed debate in the Philippines over the “free trade” bill with the United States, presenting both sides but highlighting the problems of economic dependency. And in a 1949 survey of labor conditions in the Philippines both before and after independence, Leo Stine pointed to U.S. tariff policy as inhibiting the development of Philippine industry.51 But the coverage of the Philippines from 1947 to the end of the decade devoted far more attention to narrow technical issues of economic development than to broader debates over political direction and the meaning of independence. The authors tended to be engineers and economists, rather than political analysts or those who had served in the Philippines at the end of World War II. Representative titles included “The Philippine Abaca Industry,” “Philippine Mines: Recent Progress,” and “Outlook for Philippine Fisheries.”52 A few longtime IPR supporters began charging the group with radical and unpatriotic actions even before the major congressional assault on the organization in 1950, and perhaps the Philippines could not sustain attention in the face of new problems closer to home in any case. Or perhaps the editors felt that the big battle had been lost and that the main contribution they could make was to publish studies that might ameliorate conditions around the margins.53
The Arc of Disillusion
Other left-liberal periodicals and constituencies raised critical internationalist concerns, as well. The anti-imperialist Christian Century recapitulated, albeit a bit more slowly and hesitantly, the growing disillusion which we saw in Asia and the Americas. In April 1945, just before Roosevelt’s death, the Protestant weekly’s editors called for immediate and unconditional independence for the Philippines in order to fulfill FDR’s 1943 pledge and to set an example of decolonization before the convening of the San Francisco United Nations conference.54 When it later appeared that the summer of 1945 would pass without independence being granted, the Christian Century lamented that the Philippines might become America’s India, with the date for independence always in the future. The editors blamed MacArthur’s imposition of censorship on the islands for the failure of the issue to be fully addressed in the United States.55
In April 1946, the Christian Century urged that the United States provide a generous reconstruction aid package to the Philippines. The editors were still hopeful that Washington would both grant independence and recognize its continuing responsibility to its former colony.56 A month later, the magazine reluctantly endorsed the government’s military action against the peasant rebels, but sought to tie any large American loan after independence, a loan urgently sought by Roxas, to fundamental land reform and better treatment of the peasants.57 A brief editorial marking independence in July 1946 again highlighted the symbolic importance of this action for other colonized peoples still looking to the United States to support their own struggles for independence. The editors noted, but downplayed, the American “mistake” in making the Philippines “economically dependent on the American market” as it celebrated other American policies, such as education, which helped Filipinos and prepared them for independence.58
Any remaining optimism was gone by March 1947, when the Christian Century acknowledged, as its headline put it, that “Imperialism Wins in Philippines.” This editorial declared that the agreement of the Philippines to provide a “privileged position” for American business in the islands, adopted as the price of the long-delayed U.S. reconstruction aid, meant that the new nation “may be expected to become another Cuba or Malaya, bound hand and foot to foreign capital and ruled by faraway economic masters,” with democracy to be merely a “mockery.” The conclusion dripped with sarcasm: “So the United States, which gave the Philippines their freedom in 1946, takes it away in 1947. And we cannot understand why people of other countries fear American imperialism.”59 Other Protestants involved in overseas missionary work expressed similar views. The delegates to the annual Foreign Missions Conference of North America, representing sixty-eight societies, voted in January 1947 to urge the United States to revise the Philippine Trade Act of 1946 to eliminate provisions “which give unfair advantage to American business,” and “to enact in its place legislation which respects to the fullest the sovereignty of the new republic.” Rev. Henry Sloane Coffin, the longtime president of New York City’s prestigious Union Theological Seminary, reporting in mid-1947 on a recent round-the-world trip, balanced the improved morale in the Philippines which independence brought with the “damage” the U.S. reputation suffered by linking reconstruction aid to the offensive parity clause.60
A similar but more rapid trajectory of disappointment appeared in Amerasia. Of course, the editors of this journal, who were arrested in mid-1945 for the illegal possession of classified government documents, were more sympathetic to Communist forces in Asia than the Christian Century was. They did not, however, rule out a constructive relationship between U.S. business and the Philippines and in 1945 were cautiously optimistic about the postwar American role in Asia. While prosecutors did not pursue the espionage indictments, as there was no evidence that the editors passed the documents to foreign agents or planned to do so, publication continued under a cloud from mid-1945 until Amerasia folded after July 1947.61Amerasia devoted a full twelve-page issue to “The Philippines – Challenge and Opportunity” in mid-1945, highlighting wartime statements by Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull on the U.S. commitment to Philippine independence as an example to other colonial powers. “The United States,” wrote the editors, “can rightly take pride in the fact that it was the first great power voluntarily to relinquish its control over a dependent people and to give them a definite time schedule for freedom.” Nevertheless, they were concerned that Washington “has done little to prepare the Philippines for economic independence,” and that American rule had helped create “an unbalanced and unstable Philippine economy” based on the “semi-feudal” treatment of Philippine peasants.62
Disillusion came swiftly. In October 1945, the editors wrote that while the U.S. guarantee of Philippine independence did mark the United States as different from other colonial powers, “the outlook in the Philippines provides no grounds for American complacency or for a superior or critical attitude toward the policies of other imperialist powers” – once again, an explicit repudiation of American exceptionalism.63 A detailed comparison the following month found more similarities than differences between the Americans in the Philippines, the French in Indochina, and the Dutch in Indonesia, as all sought to label dissidents as Communists or bandits.64 A year later, after the formal independence ceremonies had taken place, the editors declared that the Philippines were now “independent in name only.”65
Subsequent articles continued in this same vein. One asserted that the Trade Act of 1946 resembled the British system of imperial preferences – long a bête noire of U.S. foreign policy – while another contrasted favorably the development of the Indonesian republic, despite its ongoing warfare with the Dutch, with the “independent” government of the Philippines. The magazine published a first-person account by one of the elected opposition leaders excluded from the parliament, Ramon Diokno, who called his homeland “not a genuinely independent country, but only a ‘banana republic’ complete with American military bases.” A brief review lauded Abaya’s Betrayal in the Philippines as an “indispensable” account of how independence had become a “strait jacket” for Filipinos.66 As escalating violence pitted the Roxas regime against the Hukbalahap, the editors compared the situation to China, where Communists were gaining on the Guomindang.67Amerasia frequently appealed for U.S. policy-makers to return to the “New Deal concept” that “increased purchasing power is the best guarantee of economic health.”68 In its last issue, editor Philip Jaffe presented a thirty-five-page survey of the U.S. role in the post-World War II world in which he, like Ickes and the editors of the Christian Century, linked a critique of U.S. policy in the Philippines to a broad critique of support for any government that called itself anti-Communist. Jaffe argued that this policy of unquestioning support was neither in the interests of people in Asia nor in the economic interests of the United States itself, as global poverty inhibited American trade.69
Another important figure who weighed in on this issue was John Collier, the former Bureau of Indian Affairs commissioner and architect of the so-called “Indians’ New Deal.” In 1944, Collier had turned his attention to the plight of “dependent peoples” in the Pacific, working through the Institute of Ethnic Affairs which he created.70 Collier favorably reviewed Abaya’s Betrayal in the Philippines in the Saturday Review of Literature, although that generally liberal magazine gave equal space to a denunciation of Abaya by a former U.S. military officer. The Institute of Ethnic Affairs also published a brief review of Abaya’s book, observing: “Bitter failure hangs over Philippine independence, and the U.S.A. is one of the makers of the threatened failure.”71 In a comprehensive pamphlet in which Collier roundly criticized America’s Colonial Record, he lambasted the Bell Act and the U.S. Army’s overt support for Roxas in the 1946 elections, concluding that the United States “destroyed the substance of Philippine independence at the very moment when the shadow of independence was granted.”72
Ickes, Collier’s former boss at the Interior Department, to whom Collier sent a copy of the pamphlet, chided his friend for understating the depth of Roxas’s collaboration with the Japanese: “I see no reference to the fact that he voted for a declaration of war against the United States while wearing the uniform of an American Brigadier-general.” Collier replied, significantly, “that my preoccupation was with the U.S.A. as evildoer, more than with Roxas,” but he agreed in retrospect that “a stronger picture of Roxas would have illumined the actions of MacArthur and of McNutt and of Congress, etc.”73
At about the same time, Collier’s Institute of Ethnic Affairs published a lengthy analysis of the negative economic consequences for the Philippines of the Bell Act and other economic conditions foisted upon the Philippines as terms for political independence. Author Carolyn Vreeland argued that setting strict quotas on Philippine exports while insisting that there be no restrictions whatsoever on Philippine imports from the United States was “grossly unfair.” The headline characterizing the new U.S.-Philippine ties as “Economic Colonialism” again highlighted the similarities between the U.S. and European imperialist powers.74
Some critical voices continued to be raised even after Elpidio Quirino assumed the presidency after Roxas’s sudden death in April 1948. The Progressive Party, which ran former vice president and staunch Cold War critic Henry Wallace as its candidate for president in 1948, included in its platform demands to end the Bell Act and to abrogate “other unequal trade treaties with economically weaker peoples.” Wallace’s party also called for “the abandonment of military bases designed to encircle and intimidate other nations.” Hukbalahap leader Luis Taruc pointed to these planks in an August 1948 statement issued to a mass rally in Manila, drawing inspiration from whatever support did exist in the United States for the Philippine opposition.75 Paul Robeson, a key figure in the Council on African Affairs and a leading American anti-imperialist, in 1953 linked the struggles of Taruc and the Huk rebels with the “strivings of 15 million Negro Americans for nationhood in the South” and “the surging forward of the emergent African nations, all over that vast continent.”76
Nevertheless, there was a notable decline after 1947 in American opposition to U.S. policy in the Philippines. Asia and the Americas and Amerasia ceased publication, the Institute of Pacific Relations became more circumspect and financially strapped as charges of communism cut off sources of funding,77 and the quixotic Wallace campaign exacerbated the split among critical internationalists between hard-line anti-Communists and those willing to work with Soviet-aligned forces. The growing Cold War in Europe and the end game in the Chinese civil war, resulting in Communist victory in 1949, also crowded the Philippines out of the headlines and made any challenges to U.S. policy appear to be ipso facto pro-Communist. MacArthur’s success as occupation commander in Japan blunted criticism of his previous actions in the Philippines. The immediacy of the first-hand recollections of American military and Office of War Information personnel receded with time, as they returned to civilian careers. The belief of so many critical internationalists that they were simply following what Roosevelt would have done, a belief that was crucial in sustaining a sense of optimism and righteousness, also receded as it became increasingly clear that nostalgia did not move policy-makers.
Critical internationalists came to see the almost five decades of U.S. rule over the Philippines not as a shining beacon of American exceptionalism but as a tarnished betrayal of American ideals. These Americans differed dramatically from the dominant internationalists of their day and ours who identified U.S. involvement abroad with the spread of democracy and economic freedom.
Their critical writings not only signal the breadth of political debate in the early Cold War years but alert us to unexpected voices in it. Given the increased attention of diplomatic historians to “non-state actors,” it is worth noting that some critics were more like “quasi-state actors,” having developed their initial expertise on these topics while working for the U.S. government as diplomats or in the military. While specialists in U.S.-Asia relations will not be surprised to learn that Amerasia and IPR publications were critical of U.S. policy, the more widely circulated Asia and the Americas and the Christian Century, along with the voices of prominent former New Dealers, have been virtually ignored in the historical literature. The writers presented here – Harold Ickes, Hernando Abaya, John Collier, Laurence Salisbury, Dale Pontius, Ira Gollobin, Richard Walsh, and Pearl Buck, among others – were interconnected by meetings, correspondence, and commentary on each other’s writings. This web demonstrates concretely how a critical current of opinion developed and spread during these years.
The lively debate on the meaning of Philippine independence also demonstrates that this issue should be fully covered in any evaluation of Truman’s foreign policy, imperialism, decolonization, or global militarization.78 The devotion of so many of these Truman critics to the “true” intent of Franklin Roosevelt in the Philippines also raises anew an old historical conundrum. That is, would FDR, had he lived, have pursued a more progressive foreign policy, breaking decisively with colonialism and encouraging New Deal-style reform abroad, or would he, like Truman, have compromised with European imperialism and backed conservative regimes abroad in order to confront the Communist challenge? Historian Warren Kimball points out that Philippine president-in-exile Osmeña appeared at FDR’s last press conference less than a week before his death, and he argues strongly that Truman broke with FDR’s commitment to anti-colonialism. Historian Christopher Thorne, drawing in part on Ickes’s diaries and correspondence while in office, makes an equally compelling case that FDR’s reflexive insistence that the United States had provided the world with a model of anti-colonialism allowed him to ignore the practical steps needed to ensure a fully independent Philippines.79
While the loyalty of so many critical internationalists to FDR cannot resolve this historical counterfactual, it may shed light on the issue in two ways. First, while FDR’s desire to prosecute or at least exclude Filipino collaborators was undoubtedly sincere, it is equally true that he deferred to General MacArthur in the conduct of the war in the southwest Pacific. It is therefore unlikely that FDR would have risked an open break with the general who was so popular among American conservatives. Moreover, FDR’s conception of American benevolence in the Philippines had never involved confrontations with the islands’ political and economic elite. His stance could easily be reconciled with the deals on post-independence economic relations that so hampered Philippine development. Second, historian Elizabeth Borgwardt’s recent argument that FDR planned to bring “a New Deal to the world” in order to avoid future economic and military crises lends credence to the critical internationalists who claimed Truman had gone astray and that they inherited FDR’s ideological mantle. At the same time, however, Borgwardt suggests that Roosevelt’s vision would have come up against unforgiving realities regardless of who was president after the war. In this sense, the loyalty that the critical internationalists had for FDR was akin to that exhibited for Woodrow Wilson by non-European nationalists during World War I, as historian Erez Manela has explained. FDR and Wilson had both raised expectations beyond what either was prepared to do or had the power to do, given the results of each war. The raised expectations then played a part in sustaining movements for change, whether short-lived nationalist revolts in 1919-20 or equally ineffective criticisms of Truman’s policies in the Philippines in 1946-47.80
Historians have rightly paid close attention to anti-imperialist views in the United States during the war to acquire the Philippines,81 but they have not given commensurate attention to Americans who protested in the 1940s against the process by which the formal transfer of power provided, as John Collier put it, only “the shadow of independence.” None of the standard histories of this topic explore in more than a cursory fashion the critiques expressed by the critical internationalists of the 1940s.82 The inclusion of these contemporary dissenting voices would not only provide a more complex picture of the political milieu in which American and Philippine leaders operated, but would demonstrate that the judgments advanced by today’s historians are not a product only of hindsight or motivated by presentist concerns, but reflect views held by knowledgeable Americans at the time of the events. Indeed, those observers sometimes presaged the nuanced differences among recent historians. It is not necessary to choose between Shalom’s paradigm of “neo-colonialism” and Cullather’s “crony capitalism” to recognize that Collier’s analysis was closer to the former and Ickes’s to the latter.83
Finally, the critical internationalist perspective in the 1940s reminds us that the notion that the United States has played a uniquely positive world role has long been contested, even at home. Scholars and present-day critical internationalists, especially in the wake of the disastrous war in Iraq, have sought once again to deflate the concept of “American exceptionalism.” Senator Albert Beveridge (R-Ind.) may have articulated the concept most clearly in 1900 when he declared that God “has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the redemption of the world,” but many in recent years have also trumpeted this idea.84 If only those who insist that America stands always and everywhere for freedom could meet that member of the Greatest Generation, English professor-cum-army officer William Owens who returned to civilian life from service in the Pacific. Owens encapsulated the argument of the critical internationalists when he accused General MacArthur and President Truman of foisting upon the Philippine people “freedoms they never desired – freedom to starve, freedom to stagnate, freedom to renounce democracy.”85
1 R. F. Millon, “Fascism, Philippine Style,” Nation, 21 Sept. 1946.
2 I have explored this concept in “Pearl S. Buck and the American Internationalist Tradition” (Ph.D. diss., Rutgers University, 2003); “Pearl S. Buck and the East and West Association: The Trajectory and Fate of Left-Liberal Internationalism, 1940-1950,” Peace & Change 28 (January 2003); and “‘A Missionary from the East to Western Pagans’: Kagawa Toyohiko’s 1936 U.S. Tour,” Journal of World History (forthcoming). The term is used in a somewhat different sense in the field of American Studies, for instance, J. C. Desmond, and V. R. Dominguez, “Resituating American Studies in a Critical Internationalism,” American Quarterly 48.3 (1996).
3 “State of the Union,” 6 Jan. 1941, <http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=16092>.
4 Warren Kimball, Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War (New York: Morrow, 1997), 301; Scott Bills, Empire and Cold War: The Roots of U.S.-Third World Antagonism, 1945-47 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1990), 6-7, 62, 142, 144, 278; Christopher Thorne, Allies of a Kind: The United States, Britain, and the War Against Japan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 103, 214-15 and passim; Robert McMahon, Colonialism and Cold War: The United States and the Struggle for Indonesian Independence, 1945-49 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981), 139; and Truman quoted in David McCullough, Truman (New York.: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 583.
5 Stanley Karnow, In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines (New York: Random House, 1989), 323-55; Frank Hindman Golay, Face of Empire: United States-Philippine Relations, 1898-1946 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 1998), 483. Alfred McCoy, in Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009), emphasizes the continuity of a repressive state apparatus before and after independence.
6 Stephen Rosskamm Shalom, The United States and the Philippines: A Study of Neocolonialism (Philadelphia, PA: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1981), xiv, 66; Keith Thor Carlson, The Twisted Road to Freedom: America’s Granting of Independence to the Philippines (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1995), 81; Dennis Merrill, “Shaping Third World Development: U.S. Foreign Aid and Supervision in the Philippines, 1948-1953,” Journal of American-East Asian Relations 2 (Summer 1993), 139; and Nick Cullather, Illusions of Influence: The Political Economy of United States-Philippines Relations, 1942-1960 (Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1994), 3-4.
7 Theodore Friend, Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, 1929-1946 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1965), esp. 258-63.
8 See, for example, H. W. Brands, Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 209-10.
9 Oswald Garrison Villard, “To Restore the Philippines,” Asia and the Americas 45 (October 1945).
10 William Owens, “Will the ‘Huks’ Revolt?” Asia and the Americas 46 (February 1946). For an account of his involvement with Philippine guerrillas, see Owens, Eye-Deep in Hell: A Memoir of the Liberation of the Phillipines, 1944-45 (Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1989).
11 Owens, “Will the ‘Huks’ Revolt?”
12 Owens, “A Free Philippines?” Asia and the Americas 46 (July 1946). Owens’s critical analysis might have been offset by a photograph on the facing page (294) of a class of smiling Filipino schoolchildren, over the caption, “Children of the Philippines carry on cheerfully in their small wrecked classroom.”
13 Dale Pontius, “MacArthur and the Filipinos,” ibid. (October 1946), 437-40, quotation at 437; Pontius, “MacArthur and the Filipinos, Part II,” ibid. (November 1946). Patrice Jones, “Even at 100, Dale Pontius is outspoken,” Chicago Tribune, 31 July 2006.
14 Pontius, “MacArthur and the Filipinos, Part II,” 512.
15 Hernando Abaya, Betrayal in the Philippines (New York: Wyn, 1946). The introduction by Ickes is on 7-11. Abaya’s analysis did not go unchallenged. Frederic Marquardt, who had headed the Office of War Information’s Southwest Pacific Area station, claimed that Abaya himself worked with both Japanese and guerrillas. Marquardt, “A Filipino States His Views,” New York Times Book Review, 15 Dec. 1946, 31.
16 Abaya, “Filipinos Keep Out,” Asia and the Americas 46 (December 1946).
17 See, for example, Schaller, Douglas MacArthur, 93-95, 100-105, and William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1978), 421-22, 525-26. Brands, Bound to Empire, chap. 11, has some sympathy for MacArthur’s predicament on the issue of collaboration. For his own defense of his support for Roxas, see Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964), 235-37. For the dispute between Ickes and MacArthur in 1945, see Schaller, Douglas MacArthur, 93-95, but also Brands, Bound to Empire, 214, 217-18, who suggests that Ickes changed his position on collaborators between 1942 and 1945. Two decades later, Abaya stated in The Untold Philippine Story (Quezon City: Manila Books, 1967), vii, that the book considered “heretical” in the Philippines in 1946 had become the prevailing wisdom throughout the islands.
18 Walsh was also president of the John Day Company, which published Buck’s 1931 best-selling The Good Earth and most of her books until the late 1960s. Buck had grown up in China as the daughter of missionaries, but came to view the foreign mission enterprise as condescending and imperialistic. Shaffer, “Women and International Relations: Pearl S. Buck’s Critique of the Cold War,” Journal of Women’s History 11 (Autumn 1999), esp. 152-55.
19 Richard J. Walsh, “Not a Season of Good Will,” Asia and the Americas 46 (December. 1946); “U.S. Orient Policy is Criticized Here,” New York Times, 11 Dec. 1946, 23. For examples of her prior warnings about postwar U.S. policy in the Pacific, see Buck, “American Imperialism in the Making,” Asia and the Americas 45 (August 1945), and idem, “Where the Peoples Stand,” Opportunity 23 (Fall 1945), 187-88.
20 Buck, “As One Reader Sees It,” 3, and Salvador Lopez, “Writing and Writers on the Philippines,” 4-6, both in People Through Books 2 (April-May 1947). On this organization see also Shaffer, “Pearl S. Buck and the East and West Association.”
21 For Buck and Walsh on Romulo, see Walsh, “Conflict and Compromise,” Asia and the Americas 45 (July 1945), 314; Buck, Friend to Friend: A Candid Exchange Between Pearl S. Buck and Carlos P. Romulo (New York: John Day, 1958). On Romulo at the U.N. in 1945-46, see Paul Gordon Lauren, Power and Prejudice: The Politics and Diplomacy of Racial Discrimination (Boulder, CO.: Westview, 1988), 154, 170, 177, and Elizabeth Borgwardt, A New Deal for the World: America’s Vision for Human Rights (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2005), 142-43, 187-88. To cultivate the idea of U.S. benevolence, Romulo had many articles inserted into the Congressional Record under the heading, “American Public Opinion Supports Philippine Rehabilitation”; see, for example, an account of a speech he gave in Syracuse, David Wallace, “Orient Looks to United States Leadership,” Syracuse Herald-Journal, 7 Jan. 1946, in Congressional Record, 7 Feb. 1946, A582-86.
22 Harold Isaacs, No Peace for Asia (New York: Macmillan, 1947), 227-42, quotations at 233, 235, 242. Isaacs, quoted in Abaya, The Untold Philippine Story, 72-73. For a similar view of U.S. policy, although with a more optimistic outlook on the prospects for the Philippine rebels, see Robert Payne’s The Revolt of Asia (New York: John Day, 1947).
23 Marquis Childs, “Birth of a Nation,” Washington Post, 4 July 1946, in Congressional Record, 5 July 1946, A3935, inserted by Rep. John McCormack of Massachusetts; Childs, Sweden, the Middle Way (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1936).
24 Golay, Face of Empire, passim, esp. 451-52 (“heavy-handed”); Brands, Bound to Empire, 211-19, esp. 218 (“clumsy”); Schaller, Douglas MacArthur, 96-103.
25 Graham White and John Maze, Harold Ickes of the New Deal: His Private Life and Public Career (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), 233. The most comprehensive biography is T. H. Watkins, Righteous Pilgrim: The Life and Times of Harold L. Ickes, 1874-1952 (New York: Henry Holt, 1990). To my knowledge, no historian has systematically discussed these columns as they relate to foreign policy. Carlson, in Twisted Road to Freedom, 143, is the only historian of U.S.-Philippine relations who mentions them at all. A complete file of the typescript for the columns, entitled “Man to Man,” numbered and identified by date of intended publication, is in boxes 458-59, Harold L. Ickes Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
26 “Philippines, 1947” folder, box 79, includes, inter alia, correspondence between Ickes and Isaac Block, 8 Dec. 1946 and 9 Feb. 1947, which became the basis for column 339 (14 Nov. 1947), box 459, both in Ickes Papers. On meetings and conversations about the Philippines, see, for example, the following entries in Ickes diaries, reel 7, Ickes Papers: 26 Jan. 1946, 10-11; 3 Feb. 1946, 17; 2 June 1946, 7; 4 Aug. 1946, 8; and 22 Sept. 1946, 10.
27 Ickes, “Man to Man,” #40 (1 July 1946), box 458, Ickes Papers.
28 Ickes, “Man to Man,” #36 (21 June 1946) and #49 (22 July 1946), ibid.
29 Ickes, “Man to Man,” #57 (9 Aug. 1946), ibid.
30 Ickes, “Man to Man,” #64 (26 Aug. 1946) and #108 (6 Dec. 1946), ibid.
31 Ickes, “Man to Man,” #94 (4 Nov. 1946) and #96 (8 Nov. 1946), ibid., and Ickes diary, 13 Oct. 1946, 7-8, reel 7, Ickes Papers.
32 Ickes, “Man to Man,” #152 (24 Feb. 1947), box 458, Ickes Papers. See also Ickes, “Man to Man,” #339 (14 Nov. 1947), box 459, ibid., in which Ickes accused Roxas of suppressing free speech and moving toward “dictatorship.”
33 Ickes diary, 4 Aug. 1946, 5-6; 20 Oct. 1946, 11; and 10 Nov. 1946, 5-6, all on reel 7, Ickes Papers.
34 Ickes, “Man to Man,” #157 (3 Mar. 1947) and #162 (10 Mar. 1947), box 458, Ickes Papers. Ickes lambasted the Truman administration’s rule over Guam and American Samoa in other high-profile venues, for example, Ickes, “The Navy at Its Worst,” Collier’s, 31 Aug. 1946, 22-23, 67, and idem, “Naval Stand Questioned” (letter), New York Times, 22 Oct. 1946, 30.
35 Ickes diary, 20 Oct. 1946, 12-13, reel 7, Ickes Papers.
36 Ickes, “Man to Man,” #272 (12 Aug. 1947) and #273 (13 Aug. 1947), box 479, Ickes Papers. The quotation is from the second column.
37 Thorne, Allies of a Kind, 212-14, 540-41; Tomoko Akami, Internationalizing the Pacific: The United States, Japan, and the Institute of Pacific Relations in War and Peace, 1919-45 (London; New York: Routledge, 2002), 98-101.
38 Shirley Jenkins, “Our Ties With the Philippines,” Far Eastern Survey, 23 May 1945, 121-25.
39 Laurence Salisbury, “Support of the Status Quo,” ibid., 24 Oct. 1945, 297-99; idem, “Personnel and Far Eastern Policy,” ibid., 19 Dec. 1945, 364.
40 Monroe Hall, “Collaborators’ Candidate,” ibid., 13 Mar. 1946, 72-73.
41 Ira Gollobin, “Philippine Election Coalition,” ibid., 24 Apr. 1946, 120-21. Contemporary observers as well as later scholars have pointed out the uneasy coalition between Osmeña and the Democratic Alliance, given his membership in one of the traditional ruling families of the Philippines. See, for example, Alfred McCoy, ed. An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines (1993; Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009).
42 Gollobin to Ickes, 30 July 1946, and Gollobin to Ickes, 29 Aug. 1946, box 78, Ickes Papers; “Statement by American Veterans of the Philippine Campaign,” Congressional Record, 1 Aug. 1946, A4721.
43 Rep. A. L. Miller, letters from servicemen, Congressional Record, 28 Jan. 1946, A287-88. For the soldiers’ protests, see also Abaya, Betrayal in the Philippines, 134-36 and 147-48, and Marc Gallicchio, The Scramble for Asia: U.S. Military Power in the Aftermath of the Pacific War (Lanham, MD.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), 117-21.
44 Ickes diary, 13 Jan. 1946, 1-2, and 12 Jan. 1946, 6, reel 7, Ickes Papers.
45 Abraham Chapman, “American Policy in the Philippines,” Far Eastern Survey, 5 June 1946, quotations at 169 and 166; idem, “Note on the Philippine Elections,” Pacific Affairs 19 (June 1946), quotation at 197. Abaya, Betrayal in the Philippines, 135-36, quotes a January 1946 report in the Daily Pacifican, signed by thirty-three staff members, protesting against restrictions on publishing anything critical of “the official policies of the War Department and our theater commanders.” Undoubtedly Chapman, who appears to have left the Philippines in February 1946, had been one of those staff members.
46 Abaya, Betrayal in the Philippines, 134-36.
47 Barbara Entenberg, “Agrarian Reform and the Hukbalahap,” Far Eastern Survey, 14 Aug. 1946, 245-48. See also “Taruc-Roxas Correspondence,” ibid., 9 Oct. 1946, 314-17, which illuminated the virtual civil war which had erupted, and which presented the Hukbalahap leader’s viewpoint directly to American readers, but without comment.
48 L.E.S., review of Abaya, Betrayal in the Philippines, in ibid., 4 Dec. 1946, quotation at 370.
49 Lawrence Rosinger, “Our Own Backyard,” New Republic, 9 Dec. 1946, 771-72.
50 Bernard Seeman and Laurence Salisbury, Cross-Currents in the Philippines (New York: American Council, Institute of Pacific Relations, 1946), 3, 8, 9, 55, 59, 61, 62, and passim. Luis Taruc quoted extensively from this pamphlet’s explanation of Roxas’s victory, in Taruc, Born of the People (New York: International Publishers, 1953), 225.
51 Shirley Jenkins, “Great Expectations in the Philippines,” Far Eastern Survey, 17 Aug. 1947; Leo Stine, “Philippine Labor Problems and Policies,” ibid., 13 July 1949.
52 All in Far Eastern Survey: Karl Pelzer, “The Philippine Abaca Industry,” 24 Mar. 1948; William Boericke, “Philippine Mines: Recent Progress,” 8 Sept. 1948; and Albert Herre, “Outlook for Philippine Fisheries,” 8 Dec. 1948. Similar articles appeared on 21 May 1947, 4 May 1949, 1 June 1949, and 5 Oct. 1949.
53 Robert Newman, Owen Lattimore and the “Loss” of China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992); Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), 244-52.
54 “Philippine Freedom Now!” Christian Century, 11 Apr. 1945.
55 “Are the Philippines to Become Our India?” ibid, 8 Aug. 1945.
56 “Vote Assistance to Philippines” (editorial), ibid., 24 Apr. 1946.
57 “Civil War Threatens in the Philippines” (editorial), ibid., 22 May 1946.
58 “Philippines Mark a Step Toward World Freedom” (editorial), ibid., 3 July 1946.
59 “Imperialism Wins in Philippines” (editorial), ibid., 26 Mar. 1947. That these editors, like Ickes, linked their protest against continuing American power in the Pacific with their critique of the Cold War became clear in an editorial denouncing the Truman Doctrine which immediately followed the one on the Philippines: “An Absolute No!” ibid., 26 Mar. 1947.
60 “News Summary,” Amerasia 11 (March 1947), 95; “Project Foreign Missions Advance,” Christian Century, 29 Jan. 1947, 148, 157; and Henry Sloane Coffin, “A Heartening Church in a Disheartening World,” ibid., 11 June 1947.
61 Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes, esp. 235-37.
62 “The Philippines – Challenge and Opportunity,” Amerasia 9 (July 1945), esp. 210-11 and 220-21. Editors Philip Jaffe and Kate Mitchell wrote almost all articles in Amerasia.
63 “Pattern of Reconquest,” ibid. (October 1945), quotations at 270.
64 “America’s Responsibility – The Philippines,” ibid. (November 1945).
65 “A Rich America in a Poor World,” ibid. 10 (October 1946).
66 See, all in Amerasia: “How Free is the Philippines?” 10 (November 1946); “The Philippines and Indonesia: A Contrast,” 11 (May 1947); Sen. Ramon Diokno, “Roxas Violates the Constitution,” 10 (December 1946); and “Books,” 10 (December 1946), 199.
67 “Are the Philippines Going the Way of China?” ibid. 11 (March 1947).
68 See “The Philippines and Indonesia: A Contrast,” and “How Free is the Philippines,” cited above, and “Needed: A Return to Reality,” ibid., 10 (November 1946). The similarity of this argument to Elizabeth Borgwardt’s thesis in A New Deal for the World: America’s Vision for Human Rights (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2005) is readily apparent.
69 Philip Jaffe, “America: The Uneasy Victor, A Study of the Truman Doctrine and its Opponents,” Amerasia 11 (July 1947).
70 Kenneth Philp, John Collier’s Crusade for Indian Reform, 1920-1954 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1977) includes, in chap. 10, some discussion of his work with Pacific peoples. For more specific treatment of this work, see Doloris Coulter Cogan, We Fought the Navy and Won: Guam’s Quest for Democracy (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008), and Laura Thompson, Beyond the Dream: A Search for Meaning (Guam: Micronesia Area Research Center, University of Guam, 1991), esp. chap. 10. Cogan was an IEA staff member; Thompson, an anthropologist, was Collier’s second wife.
71 John Collier, “Has Roxas Betrayed America? Yes,” and Col. Wendell Festig, “Has Roxas Betrayed America? No,” Saturday Review of Literature, 11 Jan. 1947, 15-16; “Books in Brief,” News Letter of the Institute of Ethnic Affairs 1 (December 1946), 8.
72 John Collier, America’s Colonial Record (London: Fabian, 1947), 13.
73 Harold Ickes to John Collier, 9 Dec. 1947, and Collier to Ickes, 12 Jan. , box 79, Ickes Papers. Collier’s letter is incorrectly dated “Jan. 12 ‘47.”
74 Carolyn Vreeland, “Economic Colonialism Intensified in the Philippines,” News Letter of the Institute of Ethnic Affairs 2 (April 1947).
75 “Text of the Platform As Approved for Adoption Today by the Progressive Party,” New York Times, 25 July 1948, 29-30; Taruc, Born of the People, 261-63. The published version of Wallace’s diary goes up only to September 1946 and includes no comments on Philippine policy, but does, like FDR, contrast the U.S. role with other colonial powers. John Morton Blum, ed., The Price of Vision: The Diary of Henry A. Wallace, 1942-1946 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973), 135, 308.
76 Paul Robeson, “Foreword,” in Taruc, Born of the People, 7-10, quotation at 8. On Robeson, see Penny Von Eschen, Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997). John Fousek, To Lead the Free World: American Nationalism and the Cultural Roots of the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 51, quotes an American Negro Press Service correspondent on the extension of Jim Crow to the Philippines. The African-American press would be a fruitful source for future research.
77 But note former IPR staffer Shirley Jenkins’s American Economic Policy Toward the Philippines (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1954), which Karnow, In Our Image, 468, called “the best account” of this topic. Jenkins later became a professor of social work at Columbia University. “Shirley Jenkins, Noted Researcher and Social Worker, is Dead at 72,” New York Times, 4 Jan. 1992.
78 Prominent recent studies of Truman barely mention the Philippines, including not only McCullough’s hagiographic Truman but also two excellent critical accounts: Arnold Offner, Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945-1953 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002); Michael Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998). Melvyn Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992), discusses the Philippines at 431-33 and 508-9.
79 Warren Kimball, The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), esp. 154, 157; Christopher Thorne, The Far Eastern War: States and Societies 1941-45 (London: Unwin/Counterpoint, 1986), 193; idem, Allies of a Kind, 490-91, 595.
80 Borgwardt, A New Deal for the World; Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).
81 Robert Beisner, ed., American Foreign Relations since 1600: A Guide to the Literature, vol. 1 (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2003), 526-29, lists over thirty books and articles directly on this topic.
82 For brief references to Ickes’s views after he left the cabinet, see Brands, Bound to Empire, 371n30; Carlson, The Twisted Road to Freedom, 82, 143; Cullather, Illusions of Influence, 203n9 and 203n12. Cullather cites Owens’s memoir, though not his 1946 articles. Shalom, The United States and the Philippines, cites some articles examined here, but as sources of information rather than as examples of contemporary critical opinion.
83 Shalom, The United States and the Philippines, 66; Cullather, Illusions of Influence, 3-4.
84 Beveridge in John Judis, The Folly of Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 14; Richard Immerman, Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz (Princton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010); Andrew Bacevich, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008); Roger Cohen, “Palin’s American Exception,” New York Times, 25 Sept. 2008; and Mitt Romney, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness (New York: St. Martin’s, 2010).
85 Owens, “A Free Philippines?”
Stanley KarnowIn Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines (New York: Random House1989) 323-55; Frank Hindman Golay Face of Empire: United States-Philippine Relations 1898-1946 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Center for Southeast Asian Studies 1998) 483. Alfred McCoy in Policing America’s Empire: The United States the Philippines and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press 2009) emphasizes the continuity of a repressive state apparatus before and after independence.
Stephen Rosskamm ShalomThe United States and the Philippines: A Study of Neocolonialism (Philadelphia, PA: Institute for the Study of Human Issues1981) xiv 66; Keith Thor Carlson The Twisted Road to Freedom: America’s Granting of Independence to the Philippines (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press 1995) 81; Dennis Merrill “Shaping Third World Development: U.S. Foreign Aid and Supervision in the Philippines 1948-1953” Journal of American-East Asian Relations 2 (Summer 1993) 139; and Nick Cullather Illusions of Influence: The Political Economy of United States-Philippines Relations 1942-1960 (Stanford CA.: Stanford University Press 1994) 3-4.
William Owens“Will the ‘Huks’ Revolt?” Asia and the Americas 46 (February 1946). For an account of his involvement with Philippine guerrillas see Owens Eye-Deep in Hell: A Memoir of the Liberation of the Phillipines 1944-45 (Dallas TX: Southern Methodist University Press 1989).
Owens“A Free Philippines?” Asia and the Americas 46 (July 1946). Owens’s critical analysis might have been offset by a photograph on the facing page (294) of a class of smiling Filipino schoolchildren over the caption “Children of the Philippines carry on cheerfully in their small wrecked classroom.”
Hernando AbayaBetrayal in the Philippines (New York: Wyn1946). The introduction by Ickes is on 7-11. Abaya’s analysis did not go unchallenged. Frederic Marquardt who had headed the Office of War Information’s Southwest Pacific Area station claimed that Abaya himself worked with both Japanese and guerrillas. Marquardt “A Filipino States His Views” New York Times Book Review 15 Dec. 1946 31.
Richard J. Walsh“Not a Season of Good Will,” Asia and the Americas 46 (December. 1946); “U.S. Orient Policy is Criticized Here” New York Times 11 Dec. 1946 23. For examples of her prior warnings about postwar U.S. policy in the Pacific see Buck “American Imperialism in the Making” Asia and the Americas 45 (August 1945) and idem “Where the Peoples Stand” Opportunity 23 (Fall 1945) 187-88.
Harold IsaacsNo Peace for Asia (New York: Macmillan1947) 227-42 quotations at 233 235 242. Isaacs quoted in Abaya The Untold Philippine Story 72-73. For a similar view of U.S. policy although with a more optimistic outlook on the prospects for the Philippine rebels see Robert Payne’s The Revolt of Asia (New York: John Day 1947).
Graham White and John MazeHarold Ickes of the New Deal: His Private Life and Public Career (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press1985) 233. The most comprehensive biography is T. H. Watkins Righteous Pilgrim: The Life and Times of Harold L. Ickes 1874-1952 (New York: Henry Holt 1990). To my knowledge no historian has systematically discussed these columns as they relate to foreign policy. Carlson in Twisted Road to Freedom 143 is the only historian of U.S.-Philippine relations who mentions them at all. A complete file of the typescript for the columns entitled “Man to Man” numbered and identified by date of intended publication is in boxes 458-59 Harold L. Ickes Papers Manuscript Division Library of Congress Washington DC.
Ickes diary 4 Aug. 19465-6; 20 Oct. 1946 11; and 10 Nov. 1946 5-6 all on reel 7 Ickes Papers.
Ickes“Man to Man,” #157 (3 Mar. 1947) and #162 (10 Mar. 1947), box 458, Ickes Papers. Ickes lambasted the Truman administration’s rule over Guam and American Samoa in other high-profile venues, for example, Ickes, “The Navy at Its Worst,” Collier’s31 Aug. 1946 22-23 67 and idem “Naval Stand Questioned” (letter) New York Times 22 Oct. 1946 30.
Ickes diary 20 Oct. 194612-13reel 7 Ickes Papers.
Gollobin to Ickes 30 July 1946and Gollobin to Ickes 29 Aug. 1946 box 78 Ickes Papers; “Statement by American Veterans of the Philippine Campaign” Congressional Record 1 Aug. 1946 A4721.
Ickes diary 13 Jan. 19461-2and 12 Jan. 1946 6 reel 7 Ickes Papers.
Abraham Chapman“American Policy in the Philippines,” Far Eastern Survey5 June 1946 quotations at 169 and 166; idem “Note on the Philippine Elections” Pacific Affairs 19 (June 1946) quotation at 197. Abaya Betrayal in the Philippines 135-36 quotes a January 1946 report in the Daily Pacifican signed by thirty-three staff members protesting against restrictions on publishing anything critical of “the official policies of the War Department and our theater commanders.” Undoubtedly Chapman who appears to have left the Philippines in February 1946 had been one of those staff members.
Barbara Entenberg“Agrarian Reform and the Hukbalahap,” Far Eastern Survey14 Aug. 1946 245-48. See also “Taruc-Roxas Correspondence” ibid. 9 Oct. 1946 314-17 which illuminated the virtual civil war which had erupted and which presented the Hukbalahap leader’s viewpoint directly to American readers but without comment.
Kenneth PhilpJohn Collier’s Crusade for Indian Reform 1920-1954 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press1977) includes in chap. 10 some discussion of his work with Pacific peoples. For more specific treatment of this work see Doloris Coulter Cogan We Fought the Navy and Won: Guam’s Quest for Democracy (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press 2008) and Laura Thompson Beyond the Dream: A Search for Meaning (Guam: Micronesia Area Research Center University of Guam 1991) esp. chap. 10. Cogan was an IEA staff member; Thompson an anthropologist was Collier’s second wife.
Warren KimballThe Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman (Princeton: Princeton University Press1991) esp. 154 157; Christopher Thorne The Far Eastern War: States and Societies 1941-45 (London: Unwin/Counterpoint 1986) 193; idem Allies of a Kind 490-91 595.
Beveridge in John JudisThe Folly of Empire (New York: Oxford University Press2004) 14; Richard Immerman Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz (Princton NJ: Princeton University Press 2010); Andrew Bacevich The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (New York: Metropolitan Books 2008); Roger Cohen “Palin’s American Exception” New York Times 25 Sept. 2008; and Mitt Romney No Apology: The Case for American Greatness (New York: St. Martin’s 2010).