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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Agoncillo's failed diplomatic missions

In August 26, 1898, Felipe Agoncillo, the head of the Filipino junta in Hongkong, was instructed by Aguinaldo to proceed to Washington to gain support of president William H. McKinley for the new Philippine government.
 Agoncillo's mission was to participate in the peace negotiations between the United States and Spain and he needed McKinley's accreditation as the official Filipino government representative.

(Photo source: University of Michigan digital library)

The mission was doomed from the very start because Agoncillo was going to deal with the administration of U.S. President William McKinley whose policy favored the acquisition and colonization of the Philippines. Agoncillo was not received by McKinley in Washington as a duly constituted representative of the Philippine government, neither was he accorded official representation to enable him to participate in the Paris conference. 

Failing to get accreditation from McKinley, he rushed to Paris to present the case of the Filipinos before the peace commissioners. However, he was barred from participating. After submitting a protest to the peace commissioners on behalf of the Philippine government, which was ignored and not acknowledged, Agoncillo went back to Washington and met with several United States senators and prominent Americans who were sympathetic to the Filipino cause. He submitted to the State Department a document entitled, “MEMORIAL TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES”. This document suffered the same fate as the protest Agoncillo submitted in Paris. It was not acknowledged received by the State Department and ignored by the McKinley administration. He stayed in Washington a few days more, then suddenly disappeared before the outbreak of the war in February 4, 1899, having left hurriedly for Europe to escape what he thought was a threat of arrest by the Americans. According to Felipe Buencamino, Agoncillo telegrammed Aguinaldo that he was not received by President McKinley and advised that preparations be made for war. (Buencamino, 2)

The two documents prepared by Felipe Agoncillo, the MEMORIAL and the PROTEST and submitted to the United States State Department and Paris Peace Commission, respectively, are presented in the following:




MEMORIAL TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
presented by D. Felipe Agoncillo
to the U.S. Secretary of State,
January 30, 1899.



The interest of my country requires, because of the pendency of the Peace Treaty before your Honorable Body, that I present to you some considerations bearing upon the relations between the United States and the Philippine Islands.

It would be impertinent in me, and I shall not attempt, to make any suggestions relative to the treatment of the document in question. At the same time, I must be understood as protesting as the representative of the independent Philippine Republic that the United States has no jurisdiction, natural or acquired, through any of its agencies to adjudicate in any manner upon the rights of my country and people. The fact remains, however, that action is contemplated, which, we are informed is proposed, if deemed necessary, to be the basis of military operations against the latest addition to the republics of the world, such action being, as I shall herein point out, without foundation in justice.

Lest it may be thought that, in addressing you, I am exceeding the just rights of those whom I have the honor to represent, I may be pardoned for calling your attention to the fact that the Constitution of the United States provides in substance that no person, however humble he may be, shall be deprived of his life, liberty or property except by due process of law - meaning after the preferment of charges, their careful examination by a tribunal competent and of acknowledged authority to deal therewith, and at a trial where the accused or defendant may be present in person or by attorney. This constitutional declaration is not the origin, but the expression of a principle - a right inherent in the nature of things - and which receives no added moral sanction because of its recognition in written documents, and is of no less application because circumstances require it to be called into play by a nation seeking the recognition of its independence.

I cannot believe that in any possible action on the part of the American Republic towards my country, there is an intent to ignore, as to the ten millions of human beings I represent, the right of free government which America preserves to the lowliest of her inhabitants; but rather prefer to think that, in the rush of arms, this right for a moment may have been obscured in the minds of some of America's liberty-loving and enlightened citizens.

My justification for addressing you is that I am solicitous lest by inadvertence or omission of my own, as specious foundation may be laid, by virtue of which the rights of my countrymen may be prejudiced and injuries inflicted thereupon, redounding thereafter, with added force, against the well-being of America.

In presenting the considerations desire now to submit, it seems necessary for me first to refer to the historical fact that a large number of my countrymen have never been subdued by Spanish power, and as against their liberties, the oppressive arm of Spain has never been able to sustain itself; that the remainder of the inhabitants, because of their adhesion to the cause of liberty, have been in almost constant insurrection against the Government of Spain, these conflicts existing continuously with greater or less fury for the past hundred years.

The impression has been created in America that at the time of the declaration of war between America and Spain, the Philippine Revolution no longer existed. Upon this point, I may not appeal to the authority of my countrymen for contradiction but prefer to invite your attention to a letter written by Mr. Williams, U.S. Consul General at Manila, under date of March 19, 1898:
"Rebellion never more threatening to Spain. Rebels getting arms, money and friends and they outnumber the Spaniards, resident and soldiery, probably a hundred to one."
Again on March 21, 1898, he wrote referring to the then condition of the conflict:
"British shipmaster there (at Cape Borneo) at the time reports about forty killed and forty wounded. After surrender, the Spanish put the dead and wounded together in a house and by burning cremated all."
Under the same date, he writes of the desertion of an entire regiment of the Spanish forces to the insurgents, saying further:
"Now five thousand armed rebels, which for days have been in camp near Manila and have been reinforced from the mountains, plan to attack the city tonight. All is excitement and life uncertain."
On April 28, 1898, Mr. Pratt wrote a letter to Mr. Day, in which he speaks of "learning from General Aguinaldo the state and object sought to be obtained by the present insurrectionary government, which, though absent from the Philippines, he was still directing."

Without additional authority, it must be evident to your Honorable Body that an extensive revolution existed in the Philippine Islands at the time of the declaration of war by America against Spain.

This revolutionary movement found at its head, General Aguinaldo, now President of the Philippine Government, of whom Mr. Pratt wrote to Mr. Day: "General Aguinaldo impressed me as a man of intellectual ability, courage, and worthy of the confidence that had been placed in him," while again he said that "no close observer of what has transpired in the Philippines during the past four years could have failed to recognize that General Aguinaldo enjoyed, above all others, the confidence of the Philippine insurgents and the respect alike of the Spanish and foreigners in the Islands, all of which vouched for his justice and high sense of honor;" and Mr. Williams wrote Mr. Moore on July 18, 1898, "General Aguinaldo, Agoncillo, and Sandiko are all men who could all be leaders in their separate departments in any country."

The purpose of the Filipino partriots in conducting this revolution was to secure the complete independence of their country, and in this effort they received the encouragement of the United States; and were never informed that the attainment and preservation of such independence would be regarded as a hostile act by America and they never believed that their struggle in such a cause would lead to enormous aggregation of American armies and navies at their doors.

As early as May 20, 1898, Mr. Pratt forwarded to Mr. Day the Manifesto of the Filipinos beginning as follows:
"Compatriots: Divine Providence is about to place independence within our reach, and in a way a free and independent nation could hardly wish for."
Had the United States desired or intended that the Victory of the Filipinos when gained should, like the Dead Sea fruit, turn to ashes in their grasp, surely at this moment America ought not to have been reticent.

Later, and on June 10, 1898, General Aguinaldo appealed directly to President McKinley, his letter having been forwarded under date of July 8, urging that the United States should make no endeavor to deliver the possession of the Philippines to England, but leave his country "free and independent, even if you make peace with Spain."

Again, General Aguinaldo was not informed that it was the purpose of America, if possible, to purchase the Philippine Islands from an expelled tyrant without consulting the wishes of the inhabitants, who had established and were maintaining successfully a government satisfactory to them.

On June 8, 1898, and before the declaration of independence of the Filipinos, the Filipinos of Singapore presented a petition to Mr. Pratt, the American consul, in which they said:
"Our countrymen at home and those of us residing hererefugees from Spanish misrule and tyranny in our beloved nativeland - hope that the United States, your nation, persevering in its humane policy, will efficaciously second the program arranged between you, sir, and General Aguinaldo in this part of Singapore, and secure to us our independence under the protection of the United States."
Consul Pratt did not dissent from this understanding of his compact with General Aguinaldo. The State Department was informed of this affair before July 20, 1898, and directed caution on the part of Mr. Pratt, but did not disavow his action to the parties most concerned, permitting them to continue to believe, as they had already an ample reason for believing, that the result of their struggle would be the independence of their native land.

In addition to the facts already enumerated, for the period of four months in and out of the harbor of Manila, vessels passed floating the flag of the Philippine Republic, saluting and being saluted by American men-of-war, and these acts continued without let-up or hindrance until the month of October, 1898.

I have taken occasion, in a communication to the Secretary of State, to point out that by the rules of international law maintained exception by the American Government, the Philippine Republic has been for many months entitled to national recognition, possessing, as it was, since June 1898, a government both de facto and de jure, capable of enforcing its laws at home, of carrying out its undertakings with foreign governments, and of maintaining itself against Spain.

Before the appointment of the Peace Commissioners on September 13, 1898, American officials had fully recognized and had communicated to their Government the fact that it was possession of the Philippines, a point most essential to be considered in determining whether a new, independent nation should be recognized.

In a memorandum concerning the Philippine Islands, made August 27, 1898 by General F. V. Greene, he states:
"The Spanish Government is completely demoralized, and Spanish power is dead, beyond the possibility of resurrection. Spain would be unable to govern those Islands if we surrender them."
Under date of August 29, Major J. F. Bell reported to General Merritt as follows:
"I have met no one cognizant of the conditions now existing in these Islands and in Spain who believe that Spain can ever again bring the Philippines under subjection to its Government."
From the foregoing, it must appear that the Philippine Nation had achieved its independence free from any danger of losing it at the hands of the Spaniards, even prior to the signing of the protocol. This is shown by the Executive Agreement No. 62, now before the Senate, which document contains much testimony concerning the productive capacity of the Philippine Islands, and their mineral and agricultural wealth, but little evidence touching the probability of maintaining the American Government in those Islands irrespective of the desires of their people, and no direct testimony whatever as to the wishes of the people themselves, although it does contain evidence that the American Government had known from the beginning that the Filipinos were struggling for independence and with success, and includes copies of the declaration of independence of the Philippine Republic and of the laws passed pursuant thereto, and showing that the government knew that there was in existence a regularly organized and constituted republican government controlling the Islands and having General Aguinaldo at its head.

I have already alluded to the fact that Spain had no power to deliver possession to the United States of the Philippine Islands, having been driven from these Islands by the just wrath of their inhabitants; and by way of illustration of this point, I venture to file herewith a map of the Philippine Archipelago, designating the principal islands under the control of the respective nations, and showing that America is in actual possession at this time of 143 square miles of territory, with a population of 300,000, while the Philippine Government is in possession and control of 167,845 square miles, with a population of 9,395,000, and only a few scattered Spanish garrisons are to be found in islands having an area of 51,630 square miles, with a population of 305,000. The figures as to the Spanish possessions should be diminished, and those of the Philippine Government increased, by virtue of the fact that the inhabitants of the Islands where Spanish troops yet remain have practically confined such troops to the narrow quarters of their garrison towns.

Spain, therefore, having been driven away, as I have stated, and the inhabitants having established a government satisfactory to themselves and maintaining order throughout the territories under its control, what justification can any other nation advance for interfering with my country or refusing to extend to it the obligations of international law? Could Spain give to any nation a better right than she possessed? She could not confer possession, for she did not enjoy it, and any former right of possession, claimed by her had been extinguished by the destruction of her sovereignty over my country. She could not create, by treaty or otherwise, as against the Philippine Islands, any right, except it be the right to conquer them, and if such right be claimed, it exists, not because of cession on the part of Spain, but because of its own inherent force, and must be as powerful on behalf of any other nation, as it is on behalf of the United States. If, therefore, America claims the right to make war upon my countrymen for the purpose of conquering them, and thus destroying another republic, so equally may Germany, France, and England, or any other powerful nation, claim the same right.

It may be said that the United States has purchased from Spain by treaty "all the buildings, wharves, barracks, forts, structures, public highways, and other immovable property, which in conformity to law, belong to the Crown of Spain." But it was not possible for Spain to yield any right as to property of this nature as against the Government of the Philippine Islands, for, by all authorities upon the subject of international law, public property goes to the captor of the country, and may not be transferred by an expelled nation to a foreign government against the right of the nation which had gained possession of the country by conquest. It therefore follows that the public buildings, etc. recited as ceded by Spain to the United States, could not have been so ceded, but of right and by international law belong to the successor of the Spanish power in the Philippines; that is to say, to the Philippine Government representing the independent people of those Islands.

In the further discussion of the question whether the American Government could acquire any right in the Philippines from Spain by treaty, I am fortunately able to invite your attention to several notable and great American precedents, and I could ask for my country no better fortune than to have the Republic of America, as at present constituted, adhere to the teachings of international law as laid down by some of its founders, to whom we appeal with the utmost confidence.

When it became necessary, as it did in 1792 for the American Government to appoint Commissioners to negotiate a treaty with the Crown of Spain, Mr. Thomas Jefferson, under date of March 18, 1792, among other things, wrote as follows:
"Spain was expressly bound to have delivered up the possessions she had taken within the limits of Georgia (during the Revolutionary War as an ally of the United States) to Great Britain, if they were conquests of Great Britain, who was to deliver them over to the United States; or rather she should have delivered them to the United States themselves, as standing quoad hoc in the place of Great Britain. And she was bound by natural right to deliver them to the same United States on a much stronger ground, as the real and only proprietors of those places which she had taken possession of in a moment of danger, without having had any cause of war with the United States, to whom they belonged, and without having declared any; but, on the contrary, conducting herself in other respects as a friend and associate." Vattel, 1, 3, 132....
It is still more palpable that, a war existing between two nations as Spain and Great Britain, could give to neither the right to seize and appropriate the territory of a third, which is even neutral, much less which is an associate in the war, as the United States were with Spain,(1) citing Grotius, Puffendorf, and Vattel.

Again, Mr. Pinckney, on August 10, 1795, wrote to the Duke of Alcudia, among other matters, as folows:
"But it has been said (referring to the contention Spain that she was entitled to retain territory within the limits of the United States, the possession of which was obtained by her during the war against Great Britain) that Spain had pretensions for possessing the limits above mentioned by the right of conquest, her troops having, during the war, seized a certain portion of territory beyond that limit; but the answer to this pretension is a simple and as conclusive as that just developed, which is, that the territory conquered must have belonged, before the war, either to the United States or to Great Britain. If it belonged to the United States it is very clear that Spain could have no right to make conquests on a nation with whom she was not at war, and I will not, for a single moment, admit an idea so disrespectful to Spain as to imagine that she could pretend to be the friend of the United States; to have helped them in the war; to have even lent them money for maintaining it at the same time she was depriving them of their property."2
As will be seen on a careful examination of the foregoing citations, the cases cited are to all intents parallel with that before us. Spain was, during the American Revolution, engaged in warfare with Great Britain, from which country the United States was seeking independence, as were the Filipinos in the recent war with Spain, and she had by her arms obtained possession of portions of the United States. Her right to them was denied successfully by America. The only possible difference between the two cases is that in the first, possession was claimed by virtue of conquest, and as to the Philippines, the United States claims possession by virtue of cession from an expelled power; but whether the apparent title be based upon conquest or cession, it is clearly shown by Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Pinckney that it is contrary to the law of nations for one nation engaged in a common cause with another to despoil its associate. Mr. Pinckney thought the idea of such a thing disrespectful to Spain, and was unable to imagine that she could pretend to be a friend of the United States and to have helped them while at the same time, she was seeking to rob them of their property(2).

That the view taken by Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Pinckney was the correct view is shown by the decision of the Supreme Court of the United Slates in the case of Harcourt v. Gailliard, 12 Wheaton, p. 523:
"War," says the Supreme Court, "is a suit prosecuted by the sword, and where the question to be decided is one of original claim to territory, grants of title made flagrante bello by the party that fails, can only derive validity from treaty stipulation."
We have before us a case of a grant of territory undertaken to be made by Spain during the existence of a war between her and the Philippine Islands, such a grant as the Supreme Court of the United States, under parallel circumstances stated, could only derive validity by reason of treaty stipulation, meaning, in the case before the Supreme Court, treaty stipulation between England and America, and meaning as to the present case, treaty stipulation between the Philippine Islands and Spain.

I venture to summarize the foregoing as follows:

1. The United States, not having received from the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands authority to pass laws affecting them, its legislation as to their welfare, I respectfully submit, possesses no binding force as against my people.

2. American authorities herein cited demonstrate that the Philippine Revolution was never more threatening than immediately before the breaking out of the Spanish-American War, 5,000 revolutionists being encamped near Manila three weeks before the American declaration of war, this army acting (though he was personally absent) under the direction of General Aquinaldo, in whom the consular representatives of the United States reposed the highest confidence.

3. The purpose of the revolution was independence, and, understanding this, the United States encouraged the revolutionists to believe their desires would attain fruition. This is shown by citations from the archives of the State Department and the incidents above related.

4. The Philippine Republic was entitled to receive from the United States recognition as an independent nation before the signing of the protocol with Spain, that Government knowing that Philippine independence had been proclaimed in June, a Government de facto and de jure established, laws promulgated, and Spain's further domination impossible, being acquainted with all these facts immediately upon their happening, through documents and written reports submitted to it by its officers.

5. The American Government for months has had in its possession, as herein shown, evidence of the actual independence of the Filipinos.

6. Spain could not deliver possession of the Philippines to the United States, being herself ousted by their people, and in fact at the present moment the United States holds only an entrenched camp, controlling 143 square miles, with 300,000 people, while the Philippine Republic represents the destinies of nearly 10,000,000 souls, scattered over an area approaching 200,000 square miles.

7. Spain having no possession (except minor garrison posts), and no right of possession in the Philippines, could confer no right to control them.

8. American purchase of buildings, etc. in the Philippine Islands was ineffective, because the Islands, having been lost by Spain to the Philippine Republic, the last named Government had already by conquest acquired public property.

9. Secretaries of State of your country (including Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Pinckney) have denied the right of an ally of America to acquire by conquest from Great Britain any American territory while America was struggling for independence. The United States Supreme Court has sustained this view. We deny similarly the right of the United States to acquire Philippine territory by cession from Spain while the Filipinos were yet at war with that power.

I conclude this communication with the expression of the earnest hope that the representations I have thus ventured to make to you, will receive your serious consideration before you finally act upon the treaty that contains so much of consequence to my people, and if you do this, as I cannot for a moment doubt you will, in the spirit that has ever characterized your deliberations when discussing questions affecting the lives and liberties of individuals or of nations, I am assured that the just and high aspirations of my countrymen will receive the prompt recognition and approval of your honorable body.



Respectfully submitted
FELIPE AGONCILLO




Footnotes:
(1)American State Papers, Foreign Relations Vol. 1, p. 252.
(2)American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. 1, p. 538.




(English text)
Official protest against the Paris Peace Treaty, December 12, 1898.



PARIS, 12th of December, 1898.

Their Excellencies, the Presidents and Delegates of the Spanish American Peace Commission, Paris.

The very noble and gallant General Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the Philippine Republic, and his Government have honoured me with the post of Official Representative to the very Honourable President and Government of the United States of America, devolving on me, at the same time, the duty of protesting against any resolutions contrary to the independence of that country which might be passed by the Peace Commission in Paris.

This has already terminated its sessions, and the resolutions passed cannot be accepted as obligatory by my Government, since the Commission has neither heard, nor in any wise admitted to its deliberations, the Philippine nation, who held an unquestionable right to intervene in them, in relations to what might affect their future. I fulfill, therefore, my duty, when I protest, as I do in the most solemn manner, in the name of the President and the National Government of the Philippines, against any resolutions agreed upon at the Peace Conference in Paris, as long as the juridical, political, independent personality of the Filipino people is entirely unrecognized, and attempts are made in any form to impose on these inhabitants, resolutions which have not been sanctioned by their public powers, the only ones who can legally decide as to their future in history.

Spain is absolutely devoid of a status and power to decide, in any shape or form, the aforementioned matter. The Union of Spain and the Philippines, was founded solely on two historical facts, in which the exclusive right of the Filipinos to decide their own destiny was implicitly recognized.

First: - The Blood Compact" (Pacto de Sangre) of the 12th of March, 1565, entered into between the General Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the Filipino sovereign, Sikatuna, a compact which was ratified and confirmed on the one side, by the King of Spain, Philip II, and, on the other side, by the Monarchs of Mindanao, Bisayas and Luzon and by the Supreme Chief of that Confederation, the Sultan Lacandola; proclaiming as a consequence, the autonomous nationality of the Kingdom of "New Castile", formed by the Philippine Islands, under the sceptre of the King of Spain.

Second: - The so-called "Constitution of Cadiz", in the discussion, vote, promulgation and execution of which the Deputies and Filipino people took an active part; and by which Constitution the nationality of "The Spains" was made effective.

But from the very first moment in which the Peninsular Public Powers attempted to impose their absolute sovereignty on the Islands, the Filipinos protested energetically by force of arms, and from the first attempt in 1814, the struggle in defense of their political personality was implanted.

When, in 1837, the violent deprivation of their rights was consummated, the Filipinos again protested Spain sustaining against them a fratricidal and inhuman struggle, which has lasted from that time onwards up to the present day.

Falsehood, which always characterized the actions of the Peninsular authorities, constantly hid from the world the fact of the real situation of force, which has lasted almost a hundred years.

At length, at the end of the present century, the Spanish forces have been completely routed by those of the natives, and Spain cannot now even allege the possession by her of the Islands; because the permanency of a handful of Peninsular soldiers, (approximately 400) who are holding out, besieged in one or two fortresses in the south of the Archipelago, cannot constitute such a right. The Spanish Government has ceased to hold any dominion by deed and by right; and the only authority which exists there and preserves order, is that constituted by the Filipinos, with the solemn sanction of their votes, the only legal fount of positive modern power.

Under such conditions, the Spanish Commissioners in Paris have not been able, within the principles of the law of nations, to give up or transfer what, if they ever had, they have totally lost before the signing of the Protocol of Washington and the arranging of the terms of the Peace Treaty in Paris.

The Filipino people who consented to the "Blood Compact" and the "Constitution of 1812," annulled those conventions, by reason of Spain not complying with her undertakings, and renewed their sovereignty by the solemn proclamation of the Philippine Republic on the 1st of August, 1898, and by the establishment of a Government and a regular and wellordered administration, created by the decisive votes of the natives.

If any juridical effect can be attributed to the Spanish action in the Peace Treaty, within the principles of International Law, it is the explicit renunciation of all future pretention over the land, the dominion and pos session of which she has lost, and therefore is only of use to make the recognition of the corporate body of the Filipino nation, and that of their rights to rule effectively in respect of their future.

The United States of America, on their part, cannot allege a better right to constitute themselves as arbitrators as to the future of the Philippines.

On the contrary, the demands of honour and good faith impose on them the explicit recognition of the political status of the people, who, loyal to their conventions, were a devoted ally of their forces in the moments of danger and strife. The noble General Emilio Aguinaldo and the other Filipino Chiefs were solicited to place themselves at the head of the suffering and heroic sons of that country, to fight against Spain and to second the action of the brave and skillful Admiral Dewey.

At the time of imploring their armed co-operation, both the Commander of the 'Petrel' and Captain Wood, in Hong Kong, before the declaration of war, the American Consuls General Mr. Pratt, in Singapore, Mr. Wildman, in Hong Kong, and Mr. Williams, in Cavite, acting as international agents of the great American nation, at a moment of great anxiety, offered to recognize the independence of the Filipino nation, as soon as victory was attained.

Under the faith of such promises, an American man-of-war, the 'McCulloch' was placed at the disposal of the said leaders, and which took them to their native shores; and Admiral Dewey himself, by sending the man-of-war; by not denying to General Aguinaldo and his companions the exacting of his promises, when they were presented to him on board his flagship in the Bay of Manila; by receiving the said General Aguinaldo before and after his victories and notable deeds of arms, with the honours due to the Commander-in-Chief of an allied Army, and Chief of an independent State; by accepting the efficacious cooperation of that Army and of those Generals; by recognizing the Filipino flag, and permitting it to be hoisted on sea and land, consenting that their ships should sail with the said flag within the places which were blockaded; by receiving a solemn notification of the formal proclamation of the Philippine nation, without protesting against it, nor opposing in any way its existence; by entering into relations with those Generals and with the national Filipino authorities recently established, recognized without question the corporate body and autonomous sovereignty of the people who had just succeeded in breaking their fetters and freeing themselves by the impulse of their own force.

And that recognition cannot now be denied by the honourable and serious people of the United States of America, who ought not to deny nor discuss the word given by their officials and and representatives in those parts, in moments so solemn in gravity for the American Republic.

To pretend to put now in question the attributes of such public functionaries, after the danger, would be an act of notorious injustice, which cannot be consented to by those who have the unavoidable duty of preserving unstained the brilliant reputation of the sons of the great nation founded by the immortal Washington, whose first glory was, and has always been, the constant fulfillment of their word of honour.

It must be remembered here that the Filipinos did not fight as paid troops or mercenaries of America. On their arrival, they only received a reduced number of arms, which were delivered to them by the order of Admiral Dewey. The arms, ammunition and provisions, with which the Filipinos have since sustained the war against the Spanish forces, were acquired, some by their gallantry, and others bought with their own funds, these latter being exclusively provided by the Filipino patriots.

And it would not be noble to deny now, after having used the alliance, the courage, loyalty and nobility of the Filipino forces in fighting at the side of the American troops, lending them a decided support, both enthusiastic and efficacious.

Without their co-operation and without the previous siege, would the Americans have been able so easily to gain possession of the walled city of Manila?

They could, who can deny it? have destroyed it by bombardment, but without the foregoing armed deeds, and without the rigorous circle in which the Spanish army was enclosed, the pretence of the attack and surrender which took place could not absolutely have been realized.

Admiral Dewey gloriously destroyed the Spanish squadron, but he had no disembarking forces, and could not inconsiderately dispose of his ammunition and provisions; and under such conditions, the support, which, as companions in arms, was lent to him by the Filipino Generals and their forces, is a positive and undeniable advantage. Without them, General Anderson's troops and those which afterwards were disembarked, probably would not have been able to have arrived at Manila before the suspension of hostilities and the signing of the Protocol of Washington.

Now, if the Spaniards have not been able to transfer to the Americans the rights which they did not possess; if the former have not militarily conquered positions in the Philippines; if the occupation of Manila was a resulting fact, prepared by the Filipinos; if the international officials and representatives of the Republic of the United States of America offered to recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Philippines, solicited and accepted their alliance, how can they now constitute themselves as arbiters of the control, administration and future government of the Philippine Islands?

If in the Treaty of Paris, there had simply been declared the withdrawal and abandonment by the Spaniards of their dominion - if they ever had one - over the Filipino territory; if America, on accepting peace, had signed the Treaty, without prejudice to the rights of the Philippines, and with the view of coming to a subsequent settlement with the existing Filipino National Government, thus recognizing the sovereignty of the latter, their alliance and the carrying out of their promises of honour to the said Filipinos, it is very evident that no protest against their action would have been made. But in view of the terms of the 3rd Article of the Protocol, the proceedings of the American Commissioners, and the imperative necessity of safeguarding the national rights of my country, I make this protest, which I wish to comprise for the aforementioned reasons, but with the corresponding legal restrictions, as against the whole action taken and the resolutions passed by the Peace Commissioners at Paris, and in the Treaty signed by them. And in making this protest, I claim, in the name of the Filipino nation, in that of their President and Government, the fulfillment of the solemn declaration made by the illustrious William McKinley, President of the Republic of the United States of North America, that, on going to war, he was not guided by any intention of territorial expansion, but only in respect to the principles of humanity, the duty of liberating tyrannized people, and the desire to proclaim the unalienable rights of sovereignty of the countries released from the yoke of Spain.

God keep your Excellencies many years.



FELIPE AGONCILLO

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