Speech of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, at a banquet in honor of His Excellency, Syozo Murata, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Philippines, given at Malacañan, October 17, 1943:

YOUR EXCELLENCIES:

This is one of the few occasions in which the high representatives of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy are gathered together with the high officials also of the newly-born Republic of the Philippines. His Excellency, Ambassador, is known to all of us. It is a great fortune that the Great Empire of Japan has sent him to us because he is not only sympathetic towards the Filipinos but because he has a big heart, having been in the Philippines in the most crucial days. And so the Filipino people are greatly honored by the Imperial Government of Japan for having accredited him to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

His Excellency, the Highest Commander of the Imperial Japanese Army, represents the instrumentality of the Great Empire of Japan to which the Filipinos are heavily indebted for everything that that Army has done in the Philippines, and with him His Excellency, the Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Philippines, which, like the Imperial Japanese Army, has played its role in bringing about mutual understanding and cooperation and in finally emancipating the Filipinos from’ American domination.

This reunion is also significant because of the presence of distinguished guests from Japan; representatives of the Army and Navy the Speaker of the House of Representatives the Vice-Speaker of the House of Peers, and the representative of the National Service Association in Japan corresponding to our Kalibapi in the Philippines.

To all of Your Excellencies and to all of you gentlemen, who have come to honor this modest banquet,—a humble token of appreciation to the great representatives of the Empire of Japan who are gathered here tonight— I desire to express my profound appreciation as President of the newly-born Republic of the Philippines and that appreciation I express also in behalf of my colleagues in this government and in behalf of the people whom I represent.

The Filipinos were under Spain for around four hundred years. We were under her sovereignty. We were made to learn her language and were even given a religion, but she failed to give us that which is more important than language, and that which is dearer to the Filipinos than religion, that is, the freedom of the Filipinos. We were for forty years under American domination. America likewise taught us her language; she did not give us any religion, but she taught us the ideal of democracy. But she, like Spain, failed to give us that which is more important than language, that which is more important than democracy, and that is the freedom of the Filipinos. Japan has been here for hardly two years. She has not given us her language yet, she has not given us any religion, she has not compelled us to adopt her own form of government, and yet in less than two years the Great Empire of Japan has given us that which the Filipinos have longed for four hundred years and more, that which Spain and America had failed to grant, that which we celebrated and inaugurated a few days ago and which the great representatives of Japan witnessed with their own eyes. (Applause.)

Your Excellencies, and gentlemen, may I ask you to rise and drink to the everlasting gratitude of the Filipinos to Japan, to the mutual understanding between the Filipinos and the Japanese in the common enterprise of liberating the oppressed peoples of Asia, to the common prosperity and to the establishment of the New World Order based on the great and eternal principle of moral justice.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library