Remarks of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, to the students and members of the faculty of the Training Institute for Government Pensionados to Japan who called on him at Malacañan, Manila, March 29, 1944:

I would like to congratulate you on your selection, which means that you will have to undergo a very rigid training—spiritually and mentally, particularly—before you qualify for scholarship in Japan. We have a group of Filipinos there now who are doing very well and have made considerable progress in the different subjects which they are studying. You will constitute the second group of Filipinos; and in the same way that they are doing honor to our country by studying very diligently and earning for themselves the prestige and glory of being Filipinos, I hope that if you are selected upon the termination of this course, you will do the same.

The great need of the Philippines and of the Filipinos is the comprehension of the fundamental objectives of the world conflict which is going on. When two people meet, there is likely to be some kind of misunderstanding. And the misunderstanding is due to the fact that they have not known each other very closely. The Filipinos have not known the Japanese very closely; the Japanese have not known the Filipinos very closely. Neither do we know the Chinese, the Burmese the Hindus. On the other hand, do they know the Filipinos; and this is so because the peoples of Greater East Asia have not been able to get together and to realize that, after all, they are of the same Oriental blood, and that they should be animated by one and the same common interest.

It is necessary for young Filipinos to go to Japan in order that they may understand the whole background of this world movement now taking place all over the world; to understand not only Japan but also her culture, her great mission, and her lofty ideals. If the peoples of Greater East Asia could understand one another and realize that they have their own role to play in the history of human civilization; if they could realize that they are not destined by God to remain always under the exploitation and domination of Occidental powers; if they could realize that they have a right to be happy and prosperous and to live their own way of life; if they could realize that there is no Japanese, no Chinese, no Burmese, no Indian and no Manchoukuan, but only Orientals—if they realize these essential and significant truths, then every one of them would resist any attempt on the part of outsiders to dominate this part of the world God has reserved for us.

Your study of Japanese will, I hope, place you in a better position not only to serve our country but also to work towards the glorification of the peoples of Greater East Asia. I want you to read carefully the five principles enunciated in the Greater East Asia Congress. That document is the political bible, not only of the Filipinos, but also of all the peoples of Greater East Asia. I want you to notice, particularly the provision pertaining to the establishment of a federation of the peoples of Asia, premised on the recognition of the sovereignty and independence of each unit— to live in their own way in accordance with their own religion and traditions. I want you to notice the provision pertaining to the need on the part of the peoples of Greater East Asia to resist any attempt of the Occidental powers to come back here and to make us nothing but “hewers of wood and drawers of water.” And I want you to notice the provision pertaining to the abolition of racial discrimination. The peoples of Greater East Asia should be proud that they are Orientals— that they are as good as, if not better than, any other people on the face of the planet.

When you come back, I hope to be able to welcome you, no longer as students but as men with greater vigor and vitality, with a broader knowledge of your role as Filipinos and as Orientals, with a more profound understanding of your identity with Japan and with the other Oriental nations—ready to assume great responsibilities, in collaboration with your countrymen, not only in the upbuilding of this new Republic but also in establishing a harmonious union among the peoples of Greater East Asia.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library