Speech of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on the occasion of a banquet in honor of the members of the Philippine Gratitude Mission on their return to the Philippines, Manila, June 10, 1944.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES, GENTLEMEN:

I am very happy to be able to tender this banquet in honor of the Gratitude Mission sent to the great Empire of Japan and headed by the Honorable Benigno S. Aquino, Speaker of the National Assembly. That mission has not only created a very good impression on the Japanese people, but has also served to foster greater and deeper friendship between the people of Japan and the people of the Philippines. Through that mission we have been able to express our everlasting gratitude to His August Majesty the Emperor of Japan; to the great statesmen of Japan; and to the great people of the Japanese Empire.

With pleasure, I notice the presence of representatives of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy. I am particularly happy to note that we have new acquaintances this evening in the persons of His Excellency, General Ymura, the Chief of Staff of the Imperial Japanese Army of the Southern Regions; and of His Excellency, General Sukaguchi. If I do not mention the other ranking Japanese officials in this gathering, it is merely because they are not new acquaintances. They are our good friends.

As time goes on and as life becomes more difficult because of the intensification of the world conflict, the only wise course for the Filipinos to follow would be to love, not only their freedom, but also the freedom of their brother Orientals. As an Oriental country, the Philippines should seal its fate with brother Oriental countries for better or for worse. We should be sincere in the extension of our gratitude to the great Empire of Japan making possible the establishment of the Republic of the Philippines. I hope, in short, that we shall always march shoulder to shoulder on the road to progress and world peace—Japan and the Philippines.

May I ask you, therefore, in view of the slices of the mission, and as a humble token of the appreciation of the President of the Republic for this success, to rise and drink to the everlasting friendship between, and to the common destiny, of the two peoples—the people of the great Empire of Japan and the people of the Philippines.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library