Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

US electoral interference in the Philippines (1 of 7) by Ken Fuller

Note: I will be publishing all seven parts.

Hi All,

Today's Daily Tribune column, the first in a series of seven (see below), discusses US electoral interference in the Philippines.



US electoral interference in the Philippines (1 of 7)
·         Written by  Ken Fuller 
·         Tuesday, 30 May 2017 00:00
·         Daily Tribune
There has been much discussion of possible Russian interference in last year’s presidential election in the USA. Are US hands clean in this regard? This series of articles will examine the US role in Philippine elections between 1946 and 1965.
With the death of President Manuel Quezon in New York in 1944, General Douglas MacArthur found himself saddled with a Commonwealth President he did not want, as his eyes were on Manuel Roxas.

At least for public consumption, during the early months of his re-occupation of the Philippines MacArthur gave the impression that he would have no truck with collaborators, issuing a proclamation demanding the arrest of all “who voluntarily have given aid, comfort or sustenance to the enemy.” MacArthur’s public position was almost certainly determined by official US policy at this stage: Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes had let it be known that the US Army should “shoot or hang any Filipino who had anything to do with the puppet government no matter what reasons they may have had for cooperating.”

Then again, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a directive to MacArthur’s GHQ, ordering: “You will remove collaborationists from positions of political and economic influence. Their immediate disposition is a matter for your determination, bearing in mind that the ultimate disposition of all civil collaborators is primarily the responsibility of the civil authorities.”
It soon became apparent, however, that MacArthur had no interest in a determined prosecution of the collaborators, many of whom were not only his pre-war friends and business associates but also essential allies in his campaign to ensure that it was Manuel Roxas and not Osmeña who emerged as the first president of an independent Philippines and that the pre-war economic arrangements in the islands were not disturbed.

After Roxas’s “liberation” by MacArthur in April 1945, the general entered into a spirited defense of the former, insisting to Osmeña: “I have known Gen. Roxas for twenty years and I know personally that he is no threat to our military security. Therefore we are not detaining him.” Later, he would claim that Roxas had supplied his GHQ with “vital intelligence of the enemy,” that he had been “one of the prime factors in the guerrilla movement” and that “it was under my own personal orders that he stayed in the Philippines.”

Months later, the Manila Daily News (owned by the Roxas family!) would claim that Roxas “has already been cleared by no less an Army authority than general of the Army Douglas MacArthur...Gen. Roxas was recognized as the leader of the underground, or guerrillas in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation.”

At the same time as Roxas’s “liberation,” four other members of the puppet government were also captured but these, unlike Roxas, were detained by the Americans. An attempt was made to justify this on the grounds that, unlike them, Roxas held a commission in the US Army; but in truth this also applied to other collaborators who had been interned.
Before the war, Roxas had been the senior partner of the main law firm representing the interests of the Soriano family (Andres Soriano, owner of the San Miguel Brewery, was now a member of MacArthur’s staff), another partner being arch-collaborator Benigno Aquino. Roxas had surrendered to the Japanese in Davao in mid-1942. He was released into the custody of Jose P. Laurel, who became president in the Japanese puppet regime in 1943, and placed under surveillance, becoming chair of the Economic Planning Board.

There is some evidence that he continued to maintain links with MacArthur and Quezon, but the claim that Roxas had been a guerrilla leader was simply ridiculous.

In September 1945, the progressive Democratic Alliance would send a cable to Secretary of the Interior Ickes asserting that “Roxas” behavior during Japanese occupation clearly marked him as collaborator. He and other puppets not only gave support to Japanese forces but also organized and pressed puppet constabulary to fight the guerrillas in the name of peace and order.”

It was no surprise that MacArthur chose Roxas as his presidential candidate for, more than any other political figure, he was locked into the tight circle of elite businessmen into which MacArthur had inserted himself before the war. In 1937 the US State Department had used Roxas to warn Andres Soriano that his fascist activities (he headed the Manila Falange) were in danger of putting him on the wrong side of the Espionage Act. According to a report to the State Department in 1945, “Roxas is said to be especially popular with officers of the American Army who have financial interests in the Philippines, such as Brig. Gen. Courtney Whitney and Colonel Soriano.”

During Roxas’s election campaign, Joaquin “Mike” Elizalde would spend $200,000 on his behalf and Soriano, reportedly, an even larger amount. However, there is a possibility that a much more formal agreement existed between Roxas and MacArthur.

According to the Constantinos’ The Continuing Past, indeed, Roxas confided to Sen. Jose Roy that “he had a secret agreement with the General to run for the presidency.”

When it is realized that Roxas had counter-signed the order by which Quezon had enriched MacArthur to the tune of $500,000 in January 1942, one possibility which immediately suggests itself is that this transaction was part of a long-term plan to commit MacArthur to Roxas in the manner which he appeared to understand better than any other: personal gain. Military historian Eric Larrabee hints at this when he asks in relation to the gift: “What was the role of Manuel Roxas, who... later received much-needed support from MacArthur in his campaign to become Quezon’s successor?”

In August 1945 MacArthur released practically all the Filipinos still in custody for collaboration — over 5,000 of them. The Congress was thus swollen by the returning collaborators, as were municipal and provincial administrations, leading the US consul general in Manila to predict that “the eventual result of MacArthur’s action will be to strengthen Roxas in the coming elections...” and that no action would be taken against the collaborators. He was right: Roxas granted amnesty to all collaborators in 1948.