Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Harry S. Truman
1945-1953


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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  63. Statement by the President Upon Receiving Reports Concerning Enemy Collaborators in the Philippines  
March 16, 1946

ON OCTOBER 26, 1945, I addressed a directive to the Attorney General requesting that a study be made of the status of those who collaborated with the enemy in the Philippines.

I have received reports from the Attorney General, from the Secretary of War, and from High Commissioner Paul V. NcNutt on this subject.

After studying the recommendations submitted to me, I have determined that there is no necessity for any change in our established policy of leaving the disposition of civil collaborationists in the Philippines to the civil authorities there.

Our original policy was formulated late in 1944 on the basis of strong recommendation by General Douglas MacArthur, and was initiated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In support of that policy, there was formed in the Philippines last year a civil People's Court to try collaborationist cases. The study recently made by officials of this government of the manner in which the collaborationist cases have been handled indicates an earnest and well-directed effort to dispose of these cases as speedily as possible.

There are major obstacles such as the unavailability of witnesses, disruption of communications and lack of funds for investigation, transportation and clerical assistance which make it extremely difficult for the People's Court to assure speedy justice. Nevertheless, I have every confidence in the determination of the Philippine people, who have proved beyond all doubt their devotion to democracy and the United States, to punish those who served the enemy against the interests of the Commonwealth and of the United States. The principle is well established in the Philippines that an act of disloyalty to the United States was an act of disloyalty to the Commonwealth and to the Philippine people. The Philippine courts have accepted this principle.

It is noteworthy that we have not been asked by any group in the Philippines to intervene in the trial of the collaborators. It is my judgment that any move to intervene now would meet with instantaneous objection from even our most loyal supporters in the Islands. Such intervention would serve notice upon the Philippine people, and upon the many millions of people everywhere who are watching the Philippine experiment, that we do not consider the people of the Philippines capable of bringing these culprits to justice.

The Philippines are scheduled to become an independent republic on July 4 of this year. I am certain that the Philippine people are fully capable of assuming all the duties and obligations of self-government. I believe that these heroic people, out of their own devotion to democratic ideals, will eliminate from their national and political life all those of questionable allegiance to those democratic principles.

In arriving at these conclusions, I am assuring the Philippine people that we have every confidence that they are capable of making their own political decisions without intervention or direction by the United States.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.