MANY of us who before the passage of the Hawes-Cutting Bill were vigorously opposed to granting the Philippines that "complete, immediate and absolute independence" for which Filipino politicians had so long campaigned, are today in favor of Philippine independence and believe not only that it should be complete and absolute but that it should be granted at the earliest possible moment. The Filipino politicians, on the contrary, are the ones who today are opposing independence.
Why the change? Because through the passage of the McDuffie-Tydings Act the American Government has surrendered virtually all authority over the Philippine Islands. The new bill, under the terms of which the Filipinos have established a constitution of their own, effective after the autumn of 1935, gives the Filipino politicians full control of the islands but leaves full responsibility for them in the hands of the American Government for a period of at least nine years. The United States is pledged to defend them against external aggression, although it cannot prevent Filipino politicians from taking steps which may be highly distasteful to one or another of the great Asiatic powers. This pledge to defend the islands is binding until the "transition" period ends on December 31, 1944.
The relationship of "responsibility without authority" is one against which all Americans familiar with Philippine problems have constantly given warning. In view of unsettled world conditions, and in view of the tense situation which has existed in the Far East ever since September 1931, the "transition" period, during which the United States Government retains full responsibility for the Philippine Islands without commensurate authority, clearly will be a dangerous one.
Unfortunately Filipino politicians are now trying to induce Congress to prolong this "transition" period indefinitely. From their point of view the new relationship is ideal. They have full powers in the islands and America has no right to interfere. They need not worry about their defense because this remains an obligation of the American Government. So long as the "transition" period continues their public
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