Announcement released by Malacañan in connection with the convocation of the Greater East Asia Congress in Tokyo, Japan, November 4, 1943:
The conference of Greater East Asia has been called for the purpose of discussing ways and means of attaining the purposes of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere on the basis of good neighborliness, amity and friendly cooperation. In order that there will be frank discussion among the representatives of the different countries concerning the prosecution of the Greater East Asia War and the principle for the establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, it has been decided to convene the Greater East Asia Congress in Tokyo at which these countries will be represented, namely:
The following are the representatives of the countries mentioned:
H. E. Dr. Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines;
H. E. Premier General Hideki Tozyo, representing Japan,
H. E. Mr. Wang Ching-wei, President ot tne Executive Yuan of the Nanking Government;
H. R. H. Prince Wan Waithaygon, representative of the President of the Council of Thailand;
H. E. Mr. Chang Ching-hui, Prime Minister of Manchoukuo;
H. E. Dr. Ba Maw, Prime Minister of Burma; and
H. E. Mr. Chandra Bose, who happens to be in Tokyo, will attend the Congress as an observer for the Provisional Government of Free India.
Among the Filipino officials who will attend the Congress are Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Claro M. Recto and Minister of Public Works and Communications Quintin Paredes.
Address of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, representative of the Philippines, before the Assembly of the Greater East Asia Congress, Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 1943.
YOUR EXCELLENCIES, GENTLEMEN:
In all humility, I rise to say a few words in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines on this momentous and glorious occasion. My first words shall be those of profound appreciation and gratitude to the great Empire of Japan and to her great leader, His Excellency. Premier General Hideki Tojo, who is sponsoring this great convention of leaders of the peoples of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, so that they may discuss the common problems affecting their safety and their general welfare and so that, they may also, through personal contact, know one another and thereby hasten the establishment and perpetuation of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, for the glorification not only of the Asiatic peoples but of the entire mankind.
My second thought is one of greetings to Your Excellency; to His Excellency the Representative of China; to His Excellency the Representative of Thailand; to His Excellency the Representative of Burma; and if I may be allowed, Your Excellency, to His Excellency Subhas Chandra Bose, who represents a new epoch in world history—the fight of the Asiatics for the freedom of the Indian people.
In fact, as I look back, Your Excellency, and recall the history of human civilization, I feel that this meeting of the peoples of Greater East Asia should have been held a long time ago; but, whereas, in the past we were kept as strangers, one and all, it is really gratifying to note that through the untiring efforts of the great Empire of Japan, for the first time in the history of the peoples of Greater East Asia, we are gathered and grouped together, never again to be separated as in the past, ready to fight oppression, exploitation and tyranny so that we may proclaim to the world that no longer shall the one billion peoples of Asia be subjected to domination and exploitation by a few Western powers of the world. At this juncture, will you allow me, Your Excellency, to mention three reasons why, in my opinion, we had not been able to meet, unite and discuss our common problems here?
The first reason is that the policy of the Western Powers, especially of England and America, has always been to dominate politically and exploit economically the oppressed peoples of Greater East Asia, with the possible exception of Japan, and, naturally, that policy of exploitation and domination has weakened the peoples of Asia, has sapped their vitality and, therefore, has deterred and dwarfed their initiative; and because of that policy of the peoples of England and America, we have not been able to meet earlier to discuss the common problems of Greater East Asia.
The second reason is that, in pursuance of, and as a corollary to that policy, America and England have always intended to divide the peoples of Greater East Asia in accordance with the principle of “divide et impera,” in order to weaken the morale, the vigor and the vitality of the peoples of Greater East Asia. America and England have divided these peoples by establishing divisions in their religion, in their classes and by encouraging political differences among them. They have divided, at least, the people of my country. They have divided, I am sure, the people of China, and I am sure they have also divided the peoples in other parts under their jurisdiction and sovereignty, so that the peoples of Greater East Asia, divided and weakened, may not be able to consolidate their forces and rise to uphold the honor and dignity of the Orient.
The third reason is based on the experience of the small and young Republic of the Philippines. America and England have taught us to hate the Japanese on the pretext that Japan is a conquering power, greedy and imperialistic; that Japan desires to expand its authority and prestige and that, when we have come in contact with its people, we shall be exploited and oppressed. Realizing that Japan is the only country in this part of the world which could not be subdued because of its great spiritual and material powers and because its people are united, Western diplomacy maneuvered to create a feeling of hatred and suspicion towards the Japanese people, making us think and believe’ that they were our enemies and not our friends and brothers. These, in my opinion, are the reasons why the peoples of Greater East Asia had not been able to unite and band together before for the purpose of discussing, as I have said, the common problems affecting their security, their prestige and their very honor.
Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library