Speech of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, at the state dinner in honor of the Philippine Gratitude Mission to Japan, Manila, April 15, 1944.

GENTLEMEN:

It is with pride and honor that I give this modest dinner in honor of the Philippine Gratitude Mission. This is probably the most representative mission that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines has ever sent to the people and government of the Great Empire of Japan. Headed by the distinguished citizen and leader of the Filipino people, the Honorable Benigno S. Aquino, Speaker of the National Assembly, it is composed of the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court, the Minister of State for Finance, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Director-General of the KALIBAPI or the National Service Association of the Philippines.

The purpose of this mission is two-fold: First, to express to His August Majesty the Emperor of Japan as well as to the Government of His August Majesty and to the great people of Japan, the undying gratitude of 18 million Filipinos for everything that Japan has done for the Philippines—particularly for the grant of the coveted boon of political freedom, which has been the supreme aspiration of the Filipinos for centuries. Second, to enable the Filipinos, through this mission, to get in closer contact with the Japanese Government and people, through their leaders. By getting together and developing mutual understanding, the people of Greater East Asia can make of the Hemispheric Bloc an enduring instrument of world peace and progress.

And so, in the presence of the great leaders of the Japanese Imperial Forces—the Army and the Navy—I bid the members of the Philippine Gratitude Mission Godspeed. May they perform the functions assigned to them with honor. May they fulfill their two-fold purpose.

And now, gentlemen, may I ask you to rise and drink to the everlasting friendship between the people of Japan and the people of the Philippines; and for the success, pleasant voyage, and early return of the members of the Philippine Gratitude Mission.

I thank you.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library