Courtesy Reuters

Can the Philippines Stand Alone?

SINCE the magnificent and tragic days of Bataan the emotions of every American have been charged with pride and good will toward the Filipinos. We are sincere in our pleasure at the expected establishment of the free and independent Philippine Republic. But since the war began our minds have scarcely touched the problems with which it will have to deal.

In the years before the war we knew that Philippine independence presented real questions for us and for the Filipinos. We know that the problems are still there, though we choose not to examine them. There are three such questions in particular -- one political, one military and one economic. The political question is, "Can the Filipinos maintain a stable government?" The military question is, "Can the Filipinos defend themselves?" The economic question is, "Have the Filipinos the resources to maintain a sound economy when deprived of a favored position in the American market?" The first two questions are relatively easy to answer, but the third, which provoked more and more discussion before the war as the date for the final granting of independence to the Filipinos came closer, is complex and demands careful analysis. This paper is intended chiefly to examine certain of the features of that economic problem, touching first and more briefly upon aspects of the postwar political and military situation.


It has been the settled policy of the United States to regard the American rôle in the Philippines as one of temporary trusteeship. At times the will-o'-the-wisp of "manifest destiny" has beckoned down the road of imperialism and permanent occupation, but such fancies never obtained a strong hold on American public opinion. It is significant that we have never seriously considered giving the Filipinos the status of American citizens, as we did the Puerto Ricans. To make the Filipinos American citizens would bring a large undigestible body into our national life, we feared, and would create an alien political bloc which, like the Irish bloc

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