Speech of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on the occasion of a dinner given in honor of His Excellency, Kenkiti Yoshizawa, Japanese Ambassador to Indo-China, Manila, January 13, 1944.
This humble dinner is being tendered in honor of His Excellency, Ambassador Yoshizawa. The greatness of Japan is not due only to the fundamental virtue and the great qualities of the Japanese as a people. That greatness is due largely to its magnificent Army and Navy, whose leaders have sacrificed everything in the service of their August Ruler, Government, and people. The greatness of Japan is also due to the great statesmen and diplomats who have unselfishly rendered loyal and efficient services in that field. And these factors together, as I have said, combined with the fundamental virtues, the loyalty of her great soldiers, the loyalty of her people to their August Ruler, the wisdom and statemanship of their great men and diplomats,—all these, combined together with all other factors have made Japan great, as she is great today.
We are privileged to tender this humble tribute to one of that group of statesmen and diplomats of Japan, that is. His Excellency, Ambassador Yoshizawa, who belongs to that group of elder statesmen of Japan who have contributed in their own field, in collaboration with the other leaders of Japan in military and naval activities, to the upbuilding of a great Empire in this part of the world. Diplomacy is wisdom, diplomacy is trenchant, diplomacy is cooperation, diplomacy is mutual understanding and in the case of the Philippines which is returning to her Oriental fold to which she, by nature, by traditions, by culture and by geographical propinquity, belongs. These synonyms of diplomacy should be developed and followed. The Philippines, I say, is now joining hands with Japan not only in the upbuilding of the Philippines with the collaboration of that great Empire but also in the unprecedented and unparalleled task in the history of human civilization in liberating the one billion inhabitants of Greater East Asia. So on the eve of sending our ambassador to the great Empire of Japan—Ambassador Vargas who is present here—and as I look back and read the history of the Japanese and the history of human civilization, I say. this is an opportunity for us to meet the great statesman and diplomat from Japan, and let us hope that the visit of His Excellency, Ambassador Yoshizawa, will strengthen the bonds of friendship and comradeship between the Japanese and the Filipinos so that they, united in the common task of collaboration for the happiness of their people in Japan and our people in the Philippines may, in the midst of difficulties and this major war, bring about that unity of purpose, that unity which is so essential in the common understanding of a common task; namely, the establishment in this part of the world not only of the Republic of the Philippines but all other independent countries of Greater East Asia so that the peoples in this part of the world in common understanding in the achievement of a common purpose, may work together for their own salvation and for the glorification of the entire mankind. And so gentlemen, may I ask you on this occasion to rise and drink to the health of our guest of honor and, in addition to that toast, may I also add that his visit to the Philippines may mean the welding to a great extent of that desirable understanding between Japanese and Filipinos so that the two peoples in this part of the world may unite in the common understanding, in the common task, in the common purpose of making the peoples of Greater East Asia happy and prosperous.
Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library