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maintain the war against Spain in order to secure our independence? ..If you think that we have not sufficient strength to fight against them, should we accept independerice under an American protectorate; and if so, what conditions or advantages should be given to the United States? You should carefully consider the preceding questions ... and your decision be notified to our representatives abroad in order that they may know what they must do in their negotiations.65
On August 7, 1898, Aguinaldo wrote to Agoncillo definitely announcing the policy he then had in mind :
"Still do not accept any contracts or give any promises respecting protection or annexation, because we will see first if we can obtain independence. This is what we shall endeavor to secure; meanwhile if it should be possible to do so, still give them to understand in a way that you are unable to bind yourself, but that once we are independent we will be able to make arrangements with them."66
On August 10, 1898, Aguinaldo wrote to Sandico: “The policy of the government is as follows:
"1. To struggle for the independence of the Philippines as far as our strength and our means will permit. Protection or annexation will be acceptable only when it can be clearly seen that the recognition of our independence, either by force of arms or diplomacy, is impossible.”67
And two weeks later he wrote Agoncillo:
"You must bear in mind that the policy of the government is to obtain absolute independence, and if perchance we should know by the course of events that such can not be the case, we will then think of annexation or protection.”'68
After the arrival of the troops Admiral Dewey ceased to have
far as our still be accepta independe
65 Phil. Insurg. Recs., 471, 4. On July 21, 1898, Agoncillo wrote to Mabini that the idea that the purpose of the American government was to grant , independence without conditions was too philosophical to be true and that Don Emilio knew what he thought and "I shall think the same; that is to say that we are the ones who must secure the independence of our country by means of unheard-of sacrifices and thus work out its happiness.”
66 Phil. Insurg. Recs., Book C, 1.
any relations with Aguinaldo. General Anderson dealt with him as the commander of a military force engaged in fighting the common enemy. That condition necessitated friendly relations to the point where their vital interests conflicted. There never was any real cooperation.69 The Americans merely permitted the insurgents to carry on military operations so long as they did not conflict with their own plans. On July 22 General Anderson informed Aguinaldo that he could not without orders from Washington, recognize his civil authority.70 The burden of Aguinaldo's complaints was the refusal to recognize him as an ally or to recognize his government, but he never in any of his correspondence with Dewey, Anderson, Merritt or Otis claimed that he had been promised American support in his attempt to establish an independent republic in the Philippines. He complained only of the unfairness and injustice of the refusal to permit his army to enter the city of Manila, which it had assisted in capturing. He refused to attend the Fourth of July ceremonies because not invited as president. His military operations were carried on for his own purposes. He attempted unsuccessfully to capture Manila without the assistance of the Americans. He ignored requests for assistance in obtaining transportation and complied only when threatened with force.
The right to use deceit against an enemy is recognized by the laws of war. The original plan for obtaining arms from the Americans which could be used against them if the “legitimate aspirations” of the Filipinos were not recognized should not be too severely criticized. At least there is nothing in the modern history of European nations to justify them in throwing stones at Aguinaldo and his associates. But conveying information to the Spaniards while professing friendship, and asserting the existence of an alliance with the Americans, can not be justified even by the law of necessity. On at least two occasions such information was conveyed to the Spaniards. On July 30 Gen
69 Aguinaldo, writing to Consul Williams on August 1, 1898, said that his people were claiming that the "American forces have shown not an active, only a passive cooperation.” Sen. Doc. 62, p. 398.
| 7 Sen. Doc. 62, p. 393.
eral Del Pilar informed a Spanish officer that the Americans would attack Manila on August 2, and General Ricarte gave warning of the attack of August 13.°1
The verdict of history must be that the United States was guilty of neither false pretenses, breach of faith nor treachery toward the Filipino insurgent leaders. Aguinaldo was not so simple-minded as to rely on the statements of consuls, and he was not in fact misled by their statements or their actions. Instead of trusting the Americans, his attitude, at least from the time of the arrival of the army, was unfriendly and suspicious.
No promises were made by Admiral Dewey or by any responsible army officer. The government at Washington disapproved the conduct of Pratt and Wildman, but its disapproval was not made public until after the treaty of peace was signed. As its policy was undetermined, no other reasonable course was possible. It could not be expected to communicate its disapproval of the alleged acts of the consuls to Aguinaldo. However, certain of the letters sent by the State Department to the consuls might very well have been made public, and it would have been better had Admiral Dewey protested against Aguinaldo's assumption of civil authority. It is very certain, however, that the course of events would not have been thereby affected. It would simply have made a better record and deprived Aguinaldo's friends of one of their arguments." 71 The following letter from a Spanish officer is self-explanatory:
"SINGALON, Aug. 10, 1898. "Señor Don Artemio Ricarte:
"MY DEAR SIR-I have received to-day your very kind letter giving warning of the attack on Manila, and I thank you for your personal interest in me, which, on my part I reciprocate. I assure you I am yours, most truly and sincerely,
“LUIS MARTINEZ ALCOBENDAS.” Phil. Insurg. Recs., 1187, 5. 72 In 1904 a leading Filipino wrote to Mr. Le Roy as follows:
"In my judgment the Americans who held the first conferences with some of the Filipinos in 1898, in the United States, in Hong Kong, and in Singapore, ought to have been persons of high standing, duly authorized by their government, and they ought to have spoken plainly and set forth concretely what was in the thought of the McKinley Government. ... Those definite and concrete proposals ought to have been expressed without ambiguities or doubts, but with absolute plainness and blunt frankness. ... It appears as though certain Americans, and even military and naval officers, allowed to outline itself in perspective the future absolute independence of the country, The United States was fighting Spain, and the Philippine Islands were Spanish territory. In the eye of international law the insurgents were rebellious subjects of Spain, but subjects nevertheless. After Spain ceded the territory to the United States the inhabitants owed allegiance to the new sovereign. They chose to exercise their fundamental right to try for independence, and failed. a promise more or less indecisive or at any rate lacking formality; asked and reasked afterward by the Democrats during the presidential campaign; all which did much damage and deceived the people of only moderate education and still more the ignorant who to this day believe that independence is the panacea of the ills and backwardness of the country. ... And it was necessary also that the Democrats should not have supported the desire for independence of many Filipinos.
To the latter there were said and promised many things which could not be carried out, especially independence, by Americans who were speaking and acting according to their own judgment; and the result was what we have already seen, more than three years of war and at this time in spite of peace we still have trouble-brewers abroad, or partisans of independence who really are devoting themselves to the robbery of the Filipinos." Mr. Le Roy describes the writer of this letter as “one of the foremost Filipinos for experience, legal attainment, and a character, universally recognized as the highest.” The Americanis in the Philippines, I, p. 380, note. The letter was printed in the issue of the New York Evening Post of May 17, 1904.
Of course no authorized Americans ever held conferences with the Filipinos in Hong Kong, Singapore, or the United States during 1898. The United States then had no policy with reference to the Filipinos other than that conveyed to Pratt, Wildman and Dewey, to have no political dealings with the insurgent leaders. It would have been well indeed if there had been a little plain and blunt speaking to Aguinaldo and his friends then and later. In fact, most of the difficulties of American administration in the Philippines during the past sixteen years has been due to the fear of injuring the sensibilities of the Filipinos by speaking with "absolute plainness and bluntness.”
The Period of Military Occupation—Suspended Sovereignty
Military Occupation-Powers of a Military Occupant-Merritt's Instructions
-The Proclamation-Organization of Civil Affairs-The Peace Protocol Spanish Claims. Thereunder-Relations with Insurgents—No Joint Occupation -Aguinaldo Required to Withdraw His Troops-Consolidation of Civil Offices—The Courts-Trade and Commerce-Prisons–Ownership of Bonds and Money in the Treasury Spanish Prisoners-Spanish Priests and Nuns as Prisoners--The Chinese-Closing up Spanish Affairs-Difficulties at Iloilo -The "Benevolent Assimilation" Proclamation-Aguinaldo's Response-Conferences with Insurgents—The Schurman Commission-The Attack on Manila.
While the people of the United States were busy with the questions of national policy involved in the acquisition of territory in the Far East the army was governing Manila under military law. Until the treaty of peace had been ratified by the proper authorities in Spain and the United States, and the fact duly notified and proclaimed, the sovereignty over the Philippines remained vested in Spain, subject to the provision of the Peace Protocol, which granted to the United States possession of the city, bay and harbor of Manila. This possession carried with it the right and the duty to govern the territory so occupied. Spain retained the right to govern the rest of the Archipelago, and a Spanish governor continued his nominal rule from the city of Iloilo. As the terms of the Peace Protocol implied the possible permanent retention of Manila, the military government from the first naturally thought to some degree at least in terms of permanency. Hostilities were suspended, and the strong temptation to exercise jurisdiction over the adjacent territory for the purpose of maintaining order was generally resisted. The instructions which General Merritt carried with him to