Courtesy Reuters

The American Stake in the Philippines

THE Philippine Independence Bill, passed by the Congress of the United States in January over the President's veto, provides for the relinquishment of American sovereignty over the Philippine Islands, subject to a plebiscite of the Philippine people. Within a year the Philippine Legislature is to call a convention to draft a constitution which, after being approved by the President of the United States, must be submitted directly to the Philippine people for acceptance. The government provided in this constitution, if accepted, would function under the control of the United States during a ten year transition period, before achieving full independent sovereignty. Under the terms of this bill, therefore, the Philippine Islands would within about twelve years become a foreign country vis-à-vis the United States, although certain military reserves might remain in the hands of the American army authorities. To understand the full implication of this we must know the exact nature of the investments and obligations of the United States Government in the Philippines, as well as American private economic interests in the Islands, the position of which would be affected by the change in sovereignty.

The United States made an initial investment of $20,100,000 in the Islands in its payment to Spain at the close of the Spanish-American War. Since that time the chief expenditures have been for military operations. The cost of pacification from 1898 to 1902 was in the neighborhood of $177,000,000 and from 1900 through 1931 the military and naval expenditures are estimated to have totalled $485,000,000. For the same period the civil expenditures have exceeded $8,000,000. Of this latter sum $3,000,000 was appropriated immediately after the war for general reconstruction, one-third for the Baguio road, the remainder for other public works; the other $5,000,000 was appropriated largely for geodetic surveys on a dollar-for-dollar basis with Philippine Government appropriations. In addition to the direct appropriations from the United States for the Philippine Government, there is a large annual payment to the Philippine Treasury in the shape of refunds of all taxes on Philippine goods collected in

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