Uncle Sam's adopted child is reaching the age of discontent. The Nacionalista party has just introduced in the Philip pine Legislature a resolution asking that America withdraw immediately from the islands and permit a six-year period or probational independence. The resolution is accompanied by the threat that if America refuses, all members of the present legislature will resign at once. The Democratic party will introduce very soon in Congress two resolutions, one asking immediate independence and the other asking that a date be fixed on which it will be granted. The probabtional idea of the Nacionalistas seems to have found most favor, and many prominent officials in Manila advocate it because it seems the only way to prove that the Filipinos are capable of ruling themselves.
America expects to free the Islands. The short preamble of the Jones Act passed by Congress in August 1916, declares that "it has always been the purpose of the people of the United States to withdraw their sovereignty over the Philippine Islands and to recognize their independence as soon as a stable form of government can be established therein." The statement is clear and honest. But the question disturbing the Filipinos is, "When?"
Durning the Spanish-American War, Aguinaldo and his insurgents received supplies of arms from Americans and set up an Aguinaldo Government. The attempts of Aguinaldo's Government to keep order were signally failures. Aguinaldo, it is thought, believed that upon the ousting of Spain, the Philippines would be entirely free. The peace treaty turned possession of the Islands from Spain to the United States. This disappointment and the refusal to admit the Filipino leader and his men into Manila, precipitated a revolt, which an American military force of occupation succeeded in putting down only after three years of campaigning.
When civil government was introduced, many prominent Americans interested themselves in the Islands. Among the earliest were Dr. Schurman of Cornell, and Chief-Justice Taft, who become the first governor-general. Among the most recent have been W. Cameron Forbes and Major-General Wood, both governors-general. Under the leadership of these men the Islands have prospered, initial steps have been made in sanitation, in manufacturing, shipping, and in foreign trade, and the agricultural and mineral resources of the country have been put to profitable use. These men, too, are as well acquainted with conditions in the Islands as are the local partisans of independence; on the subject of complete freedom they are better qualified to speak than the Nacionalistas and Democrats.
A few moths before Major-General Wood became governor-general. President Harding despatched him and ExGovernor General Forbes to the Philippines to make a complete survey and report on conditions. The Wood-Forbes report recommended, among other things, "that the present general status of the Philippine Islands continue until the people have had time to absorb and thoroughly master the powers already in their hands," and "that under no circumstances should the American Government permit to be established in the Philippine Islands a situation which would leave the United States in a position of responsibility without authority." General Wood and Mr. Forbes, competent observers and students do not think the Filipinos ready yet to govern themselves. They feel too, and rightly, that though authority of the United States cease by complete independence in the Island our responsibility still exists. With this opinion from two of our experts it is only prudent to disregard the resolutions of the Filipinos and advise them to wait. When there is assurance that the child can care for itself, parental authority may be removed.