Speech delivered by His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on the occasion of the state dinner tendered in honor of His Excellency, Subhas Chandra Bose, President of the Provisional Government of Free India, Manila, November 22, 1943.
YOUR EXCELLENCY, THE GREAT LEADER OF AZAD HIND, YOUR EXCELLENCIES, AND GENTLEMEN:
The Government and people of the Philippines welcome His Excellency, Subhas Chandra Bose, on the occasion of his visit to the Philippines homeward bound for India, after having attended the historic gathering of representatives of Greater East Asiatic nations in Tokyo, and I, in behalf of this Government and the people of the Philippines, take advantage of this opportunity not only to welcome Your Excellency but to say a few words of gratitude to you and to your great people on this occasion which we also consider as historic because you have come to our shores as the leader of 350 million Indians in their effort, which is legitimate and divine, to free themselves from the British rule, to free themselves from many years of domination in order to occupy a place to which Mother India is entitled as the cradle of human civilization, as the origin of sciences, and culture and not only as the mother of India, but the mother of Great East Asia and the mother of the world I many respects. Permit me, therefore Your Excellency, to welcome you to our shores as the recognized leader of your people and to express to you not only the sympathy of my Government and people, but to tell you that heart and soul, as Oriental in this part of the globe, we cannot remain indifferent to your aspirations, to your ideals, to your hopes and as I see your kind face and your sturdy physique, I cannot but see in you the new leader and say, and hope, that with you at the head of this great movement, no longer shall India be adopting a passive or non-violent attitude’ that, as I have said in that historic conference of Greater East Asiatic Nations, you live today but you do not know if you shall be living tomorrow. Many of your countrymen are living today but you do not know whether they shall be living the next day. But that, in your own words, is of no consequence. The important thing is for India to become free because India shall no longer compromise with slavery. You have dreamed not only of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere but you have also dreamed of the tremendous effect which the movement under your leadership will have in other parts of the globe when you said that from Afghanistan to Algiers and other countries, there shall be a moral awakening of Asiatic peoples so that the peoples, not only of Greater East Asia but of Asia, compact and united, responding to the clarion call of liberation under the leadership of your people, shall rise as one man so that no longer shall Asia be the fertile field of exploitation on the part of Western Powers but that Asia shall be, as it has always been, the source of life for the entire world. The Asiatics, as one man, shall rise together, compact and united and will no longer permit Western exploitation and political domination. Unlike the Philippines, or Burma, Manchoukuo or China, countries which have already obtained, with the help of Japan, their freedom, you are still in that predicament which is embodied in your motto “On to Delhi”. As a people united with India in the common aspirations and ideals to free not only India but the oppressed peoples in this part of the globe, we cannot remain indifferent to you as a leader, as a hero, as a patriot, as an apostle, and it is on this occasion, Your Excellency, that as the leader of my people, and in their name and in behalf of my colleagues in the Philippine Government, we are tendering you this modest and humble banquet to express to you our admiration for you, for your courage, for your loyalty, for your Orientalism, for your self-effacement, and hope that God may not abandon you in your great efforts in the same way that He saved you from imprisonment and released you from the dark cell in which you had been confined for years. In the same way that He had permitted you to attend the historic conference in Tokyo, and has permitted you to visit our shores, God Who is just will not abandon you and the Indian people in your legitimate efforts to free the 350 million people so that they may carve out their destiny, so that they may become free, so that they may govern themselves, so that they may contribute their share to the common prosperity of Greater East Asia, and so that India may play the role that she had played actively in the history of human civilization and in the achievement of the general welfare of mankind. I know that you will face difficulties; I know that you will have to conquer the heart and soul of your own people; I know that you will have to convince local rulers who might be antagonistic to the freedom and independence of India lest they lose control of local sovereignty; I know that you will have to unite your people who may be separated because of the more than two hundred languages that they speak as we do speak different dialects in the Philippines; I know that you will have to conquer the divisions in your own people because of religious differences and communal organizations which were fostered by the English rule whose policy has been, as History records it; ”Divide, Rule and Conquer”. But with Divine help, with the inspiration which you must have received from that great conference, with your stout heart and with your penetrating vision, the massive intellect with which you are endowed, your determination and courage, your patriotism and, as I have said, over and above all, your love for Mother India, may I and in behalf of my people, wish you success in this undertaking so difficult and dangerous, so that you may, with the help not only of the Indians here but of the Indians everywhere, go ahead and march onward and forward to Delhi and enjoy the freedom which we, the Filipinos, have begun to enjoy with the cooperation of the great Japanese Empire. And with the help of Burma, with the help of the Philippines, with the help of Time, and with the help of all the colored peoples in this part of the globe, may we pledge to your efforts, not only what little material help we can muster but also the spiritual aid which we tender to you in the consciousness that the freedom of India is the freedom of all Oriental peoples and the peoples of Greater East Asia. The freedom of India is the freedom of the peoples in this part of the globe. And so, Your Excellency, I see in you the personification and the symbol of the legitimate aspirations of 350 million Indians, constituting almost one-fifth of the population of the world. May I once more greet Your Excellency, as the great leader of a great people and ask you not to be discouraged, to have a stouter heart, to go ahead and conquer all the difficulties because what is just, what is legitimate, what is divine must, in the end, triumph, and for the future success and for the glory of your nation, and for the glorification of India to which Humanity is indebted for many a culture and many a science, may I wish you Godspeed and invite Your Excellencies and gentlemen to raise your cups and drink to the success of the great attempt to obtain freedom and liberation so that India may no longer be under British domination but may become one of the units of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere—free and independent India under the leadership of a great man, of a tall man, of a patriotic man, an unselfish man, His Excellency, Subhas Chandra Bose.
Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library