Prelude to defeat

Material Information

Prelude to defeat General Douglas MacArthur and the defense of the Philippine Commonwealth : 1935-1942
Sieg, Keith Gerald
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
xi, 152 leaves : ; 29 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
1898-1946 ( fast )
History -- Philippines -- 1898-1946 ( lcsh )
History, Military -- Philippines ( lcsh )
Philippines ( fast )
History ( fast )
Military history. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )
Military history ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 148-152).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of History.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Keith Gerald Sieg.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
22692967 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L57 1990m .S54 ( lcc )

Full Text
1935 1942
B.A., University of Colorado, 1986
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of History

This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by-
Keith Gerald Sieg
has been approved for the
Department of
Ernest A. Andrade, Jr.
Frederick S. Allen

Sieg, Keith Gerald (M.A., History)
Prelude to Defeat: General Douglas MacArthur and the
Defense of the Philippine Commonwealth, 1935-1942
Thesis directed by Professor Ernest A. Andrade, Jr.
As the United States emerged as an Asian
power at the beginning of the 20th century, it had two
basic foreign policy objectives in the region. To
uphold the Open Door policy in China and to defend the
Philippines. Regarding the Philippines, the United
States vacillated on its independence and defense. The
U.S. desired the retention of the Islands yet through
naval disarmament treaties severely jeopardized their
security. A defeatist defense plan, War Plan Orange,
devised by the Joint Board of the Army and Navy in 1903
and which survived at its skimpiest into the late
1930's, essentially acquiesced the Islands in a war with
Japan. Further mitigating defensibi1ity was pervasive
post-WWI pacifism, isolationism and budgetary and
military cut-backs of the era of the Depression. With
the 1934 Tydings-McDuffie Act Philippine independence
was assured following a ten year commonwealth period.
The Philippine Government would undertake construction
of its own defense force. To supervise this, Manuel
Quezon, President-elect of the Philippines, in 1935,

selected outgoing U.S. Chief of Staff General Douglas
MacArthur as his military adviser. MacArthur planned on
defending the Islands with a citizen army fashioned
after the military system of Switzerland. MacArthur
hoped to establish a citizen's army of 400,000 men in 40
divisions by 1946 independence. Within an annual budget
of $8 million he also wanted a navy of light torpedo
boats and an air force of 250 planes. MacArthur's
confidence soon convinced the U.S. and Quezon that
his Philippine force would be a formidable one. Quezon
was so impressed that he appointed MacArthur as field
marshal. MacArthur's defense plan eventually unraveled
due to its own inherent conceptual flaws. Lack of
adequate funding, equipment and support from both the
U.S. and the Commonwealth Government crippled
MacArthur's defense plan. The defense plan was
basically discarded by 1940. MacArthur's failure left
the Philippines ripe for Japanese conquest. Even a last
minute U.S. build-up in 1941 could not adequately defend
against imminent Japanese aggression. After the
Japanese attack, the lack of U.S. reinforcement made the
defeat of MacArthur's beleaguered Philippine defenders a
certainty in 1942.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I
recommend its publication.
Faculty member in charge of thesis

ISLANDS..................................... 1
II. QUEZON GETS HIS CHAMPION....................... 25
DEFENSE ACT................................ 41
V. THE PLAN UNRAVELS.............................. 98
VI. THE STORM AND THE DECEPTION................... 125

A formal function was held at the Manila Polo
Club on November 16, 1935, the day after the
inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. In
attendance, were Manuel Quezon, the President of the
Commonwealth and his esteemed military adviser, General
Douglas HacArthur. According to Frederic S. Marquardt,
as MacArthur made his entrance, he encountered "two
ragged, unkept vaudeville actors, each carrying a toy
popgun". As the duo proceeded to salute MacArthur,
Revel S. Moore of United Press International
proclaimed, "General MacArthur, I want you to meet the
Philippine Army". MacArthur failed to see the humor in
the scene. "Thanks," he responded coldly, "I didn't
even know I had even two soldiers to start with." 1 The
image of the two buffoons was to remain in the minds of
the foreign spectators. Perhaps this image was
recalled in the wake of the utter destruction of the
Philippine forces in their courageous yet futile
defense of their nation in late 1941 and early 1942.
This scenario simply illustrates that not
everyone in the Islands, or in the U.S. approached the
matter of the defense of the Philippines with a high
degree of seriousness.

The Philippines was in transition from a colony
to an independent nation at the time of this charade.
With Commonwealth status, the Philippines had to tackle
new problems. One of them was defense. With the United
States no longer governing the Philippines completely,
the Commonwealth had to legislate its own defense
policies, and Quezon placed his faith in MacArthur.
Nevertheless, on the eve of war, the symbol of
Filipino reliance on the United States was General
Douglas MacArthur. He was a famous general and the fact
that he had taken hold of the reins in the
development of the Philippine defense system was
perceived as evidence of American determination to
protect the Philippines throughout its Commonwealth
period. To fully understand the period of the formation
and the execution of the defense of the Philippines
one must understand the role that MacArthur played.
After the fall of the Philippines, MacArthur
became a symbol of hope and resistance for most
Filipinos. His association with the Philippines goes
back to 1903 when he was a youthful lieutenant and
his father, General Arthur MacArthur, was the Commanding
General of the entire U.S. Armed Forces in the
Philippines .

VI 1 1
Douglas MacArthur briefly served in the Islands
in 1903, then returned for tours in 1922-1925 and
1928-1930. In the latter tour he served as the
Commander of the Philippine Department of the U.S. Army.
He then proceeded to serve as Chief of Staff of the U.S.
Army. As Chief of Staff MacArthur did his utmost to
ensure Philippine security. Therefore, the Philippines
had, in MacArthur, an advocate, a champion in
The primary focus of this paper will be on
MacArthur's initial plan for the defense of the
Philippines from 1935 to 1941. Specifically, how this
plan originated, unfolded and unraveled. The events
leading up to 1935 will be considered as will the events
after 1941. Particular attention in the final part of
this paper will be on the hypothesized deception
perpetrated against the Philippine defenders by
Washington as they struggled to hold on in the face of
overwhelming Japanese aggression. However, the merit of
this paper should be in its examination of Douglas
MacArthur's futile attempts to make the Philippines
defensible. His efforts were ultimately precluded by
the lack of funds and overall lack of support from
Quezon and the United States. MacArthur's 1935 defense
plan had many "objectionable features" and was

i11-conceived. However, the failure to adequately
support it during its formative years led to its demise
and sealed the fate of the Philippines. As, no adequate
defense structure awaited the Japanese as they launched
their invasion in December 1941. And, despite
reassurances to the contrary, only defeat was received
by the beleaguered defenders of the Philippines not
U S relief.
There have been numerous biographies written on
MacArthur. Undoubtedly, the finest, most comprehensive
and balanced work on MacArthur is D. Clayton James'
three volume, The Years of MacArthur. Michael Schaller,
author of the outstanding 1989 work, Douglas MacArthur;
The Far Eastern General. refers to James' study as,
"comprehensive and elegant, it is the standard reference
for all subsequent biographers." It is that.
James' painstakingly thorough research gives one a
tremendous amount of significant material and is a good
source on the events before and during the war.
While refraining from becoming immersed in the
"hero-worship" contained in popular biographies (such as
William Manchester's American Ceasar). in my research I
found my best three secondary sources to be James' and
Shaller's books as well as Carol Petillo's engrossing

psychological study, Douglas MacArthur: The Philippine
Years. According to Schaller, Petillo, "focuses on the
interplay between the General's personality and his
years of service in the Philippines," and, Schaller
continues, "...stands as a model for research blending
psychological analysis with political history."
Needless to say, Petillo had much to offer in so far as
MacArthur and his tours of duty in the Philippines were
concerned. In conclusion, both Petillo and Schaller owe
much of their success to the ground-breaking work of D.
Clayton James and they readily admit to this fact.
While this paper does not set out to be biographical in
nature, the only way to study the failure of the defense
of the Philippines is to study MacArthur.
Among the other secondary sources used in this
study were Stanley Karnow's excellent, In Our Image.
Theodore Friend's Between Two Empires. and Courtney
Whitney's MacArthur: His Rendezvous with History as well
as several outstanding Filipino sources.
The primary sources used in this study are
varied and were obtained in the U.S. as well as in the
Philippines. My unmitigated appreciation is extended to
the staff at the Philippine National Library for their
kind assistance in my research. The Quezon Papers

housed at the Philippine National Library were a great
service to me in this paper. The Eisenhower Library in
Abilene, Kansas also provided ample information on this
topic especially on the 1935-1939 period.

1898 1934
Beginning with the acquisition of the
Philippines in 1898, it was generally recognized that
possession of the Islands had elevated the U.S. into a
Far Eastern power. The U.S., within the parameters of
its new found status, had two basic Far East policy
objectives: The maintenance of the Open Door in China,
and the defense of the Philippines. Military affairs
observers noted that possessing the Philippines, with
naval bases in Manila Bay and at Olongapo, allowed the
Navy the opportunity to operate in Asian waters in
support of the Open Door. Continued possession of the
Philippines, or at least naval bases in the Islands was
absolutely necessary, from the service viewpoint if the
U.S. had any intention of playing a large role in the
Far East. 1
However, according to Louis Morton, "the
emergence of the United States as a world power at the
opening of the twentieth century found the nation

ill-prepared to assume the burdens imposed by its new
status." 2 The acquisition of the Islands presented
new problems to military planners in both the United
States Army and Navy. The Asiatic Squadron had been
around prio.r to 1898 to protect other American interests
in Asia, but with the owning of the Philippines there
were military units and territory that had to be
protected as well. In fact, the entire U.S. Far East
empire stretched across 7,000 miles of ocean from San
Francisco to the Philippines and almost to the mainland
of Asia. Thereby necessitating the formation of a new
strategy to defend the region. 3
Only with naval supremacy could the defense of
an insular position be insured; argued the influential
navy man Captain A.T. Mahan. Thus, the essential
components of the new strategy were to be sea power and
naval bases. Coupled with this would be an Army
garrison, coastal fortifications, and mobile forces
(prepared to meet the challenge of any land operation of
an invader) to satisfy the requirements for the defense
of an island nation. Consequently, close cooperation
between the Army and Navy thereby blending the
ingredients into a strategic formula for victory, was of
paramount importance.

Because Army/Navy cooperation was important in
the formulation of a strategy, an American Joint
Army-Navy Board was created in 1903 to facilitate the
formulation of plans. The Navy followed along the Mahan
line: that naval supremacy would defend the Philippines
from potential aggressors. Therefore, sea power and
naval bases had to be developed. On the other hand, the
Army stressed the importance of establishing a coastal
defense system with coastal artillery and fortifi-
cations. Attractive to the Army as ideal coastal
defense positions were Corregidor and various other
islands guarding Manila and Subic Bays. Early on, there
was a garrison force stationed at Intramuros (the Hailed
City), which was to become known as the Philippine
Department in 1913, but it was not a very prodigious
force in the early twentieth century.
The defense of U.S. interests in the Pacific and
the Far East was undertaken in earnest with the
beginning of the Russo-Japanese War in February 1904.
Japan's attack threatened to destroy the balance of
power in the Far East and the need for creating an
American war strategy for the region was greatly
emphasized. At this time, the "color plans" came into
being. These war plans were based upon studies developed
by the Army General Staff and the General
Board of

the Navy and were basically statements of principle in
the event of war with a particular country. ORANGE
denoted Japan and War Plan ORANGE considered Japan as
the possible enemy and provided the strategic concept
and missions to be followed in the event of war with
that nation.
Crucial to the successful working of the ORANGE
Plan was the cooperation of the Army and Navy. As was
stated, this was the major impetus behind the creation
of the Joint Board, but even so, there were difficulties
such as inter-service rivalry which made joint planning
problematic. The first ORANGE Plan in 1913 was
basically a statement of principles which assumed that,
if war occurred with Japan, the Philippines would be
Japan's first objective. The defense of the Philippines
was dependent upon the Battle Fleet, which, was normally
berthed in the Caribbean. At the outbreak of war, the
Fleet would have to steam from the Caribbean around the
Horn (as the Panama Canal had not yet been completed)
and then across the Pacific and refuel at the then
undeveloped bases at Pearl Harbor and Guam. In the
meantime, the Army garrison would have to hold out in
the Philippines. Optimistically, it was assumed that
the Fleet would arrive in a period from three to four
months. Only once the Fleet had arrived, been

established and secured a supply route to the U.S. could
that Army garrison realistically be relieved. The Army
garrison, reinforced, would.then be able to take the
offensive on the ground while the Navy battled for
control of the seas.
The basic premise of War Plan ORANGE remained
fundamentally the same over the years: the Army holding
out until the Navy could smash its way through. Because
it did not have sufficient strength for much else, the
Army would have to hold only Manila Bay. Countless
problems would arise with the ORANGE Plan; the Army and
Navy differed on many particulars, diplomatic relations
would change and military technology would greatly
advance. The ORANGE Plan was revised many times, but it
really did not change enough to adequately address
changing world conditions.
In 1913, upon the formulation of the first
ORANGE Plan, the threat of air power was negligible, the
concept of massive landing operations was but remotely
understood and the Philippines was to enjoy several more
years under American control. In 1913, the ORANGE Plan
might have worked but by 1941 its chances for success
were anything but a certainty. Accentuating difficul-
ties was the fact that there were no concrete plans to
get reinforcements to the Philippines. Also, just how

long the Army would have to hold became something of a
moot point. Simply hold on until the Navy got there,
the Army was instructed. What would happen if the Navy
encountered any lengthy delays was really not mentioned
or seriously considered. *
The ORANGE Plan continued to evolve in the
ensuing years. However it is necessary to consider other
U.S. Far East policy developments in the post-World War
One years to derive a more complete examination of the
question of the U.S. defense of the Philippines.
During the Woodrow Wilson Administration it was
decided to accelerate Filipino progress toward
independence, increase native involvement in territorial
government and to limit the scope of American control
within the Islands. Congress, in the 1916 Jones Act,
provided Filipinos a larger measure of control over the
Islands, stating that it had always been "the purpose of
the people of the United States to withdraw their
sovereignty over the Philippine Islands and recognize
their independence as soon as stable government can be
established therein." 5 However, this final recogni-
tion was not realized upon the conclusion of Wilson's
two terms. Yet, Wilson still stressed the above
sentiment in his last executive appeal, "to keep
our promise to the people of these Islands by

granting the independence which they so honorably
covet." 6 In fact, Wilson's desire to grant the
Philippines their independence can also be seen in a
1912 proclamation following his election to office in
which he stated, "That the Philippine Islands are at
present our frontier, but I hope we presently are to
deprive ourselves of that frontier." 7 The succeeding
administrations did not share Wilson's direct sentiments
on the matter of the Philippines. Instead, the
administrations of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover
were marked by inconsistency in their respective
approaches to Philippine independence and Philippine
defense. Analyzing this enables one to derive a better
understanding of the U.S. military position, strategy
and defense policies in the years preceding MacArthur's
tenure and World War Two.
In the 1920's, the Philippines was expected to
be the center of commercial enterprise in the Far East.
American businessmen, though, were hesitant to plunge
much capital in the Philippines unless guarantees were
forthcoming that the U.S. would keep the Islands
indefinitely. Realizing this. President Coolidge did
his utmost to assure American investors that the U.S.
intended to hold on to the Philippines and did not
anticipate Philippine independence in the foreseeable

future. Coolidges convictions on this issue are
evident in his administration's following report:
From the standpoint of American commercial interests
in the Far East, it would be unwise to relinquish
control of the Philippines at the present time. Our
trade with the Orient has been expanding year by
year...We need the Philippines as a commercial
base ...9
Thus, the Coolidge administration held that the
Philippines, was not ready for independence and needed
further tutoring in the democratic way of life.
Economically, the Philippines also needed additional
strengthening. This could be accomplished with American
capital once American businessmen realized that the
Philippines would remain an American territory for many
years. With the Philippines under U.S. control for the
foreseeable future its defense received greater
However, in the 1920's, U.S. foreign policy was
altered in such a way as to preclude the availability of
necessary force to ensure the protection of U.S. Far
East interestsi The Washington Conference for the
Limitation of Armaments in 1922 substantially dim-
inished the Navy under construction and on order, and
the naval bases West of Hawaii were to remain
in status quo by the terms of the Five Power Naval
Treaty. The basic provisions of the Five Power Treaty

were continued in the London Naval Treaty of 1930,
with ships smaller than aircraft carriers and
battleships now under limitation. The 5:5:3 ratio and
maintenance of the status quo in island fortifications
meant that Japan, Great Britain and the U.S. would be
militarily secure in their own respective home waters.
Possessing a fleet 60 per cent of American strength
Japan could not attack mainland United States or Hawaii
and the U.S. would have very little chance of
attacking Japan as well. At the Washington Conference
the Open Door in China was upheld by the
February 6, 1922 Nine Power Treaty, and the Philippines
were to be protected via the provisions of the Four
Power Treaty of December 13, 1921. 10 In short, these
naval treaties made U.S. defense of the Philippines
impossible, so Philippine security to a large measure
rested upon the good intentions of Japan.
Historian George Wheeler notes that in many ways
the Coolidge and Hoover administrations were returning
to the Roosevelt approach to Far East policy. Defending
the Philippines through a reliance on treaties, though,
basically made the Islands a hostage to Japanese
ambitions. Wheeler cites the "web of contradictions"
which ensnared the U.S. policy towards the Philippines.
Coolidge had no intention of increasing the size of the

U.S. Navy in classes not restricted by the naval
treaties, nor did he intend to reduce American
commitments in the Far East. His successor, Herbert
Hoover, had what appeared to be an ambiguous policy
towards the Philippines. Opposed to granting the
Filipinos their independence, Hoover, despite Navy
protests, reduced the ability of the American Navy to
defend the Islands by proclaiming the London Treaty to
be in effect. 11
The policies of Coolidge and Hoover invariably
weakened the U.S. position in terms of the defense of
the Philippines. The 1920's witnessed the Navy, so
necessary for the defense of the Philippines, not being
built up to a level either equal to the British or at a
5:3 ratio with Japan and the Army being reduced until
its General Staff was uncertain that it could hold the
Islands against any major Japanese effort. 12 And, the
London Treaty had left the U.S. Navy weakened to the
point that it was probably unable to uphold the Open
Door or defend the Philippines. These products of
inconsistent and ambiguous policies rendered the U.S.
military position in the Far East tenuous at best by the
mid-1930's in terms of the ability to protect her Far
East possessions.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines itself the
Wood-Forbes mission (1921) was giving serious attention
to the lack of any defense preparations by the Filipinos
for the Philippines. General Leonard Wood, in a report
to the Secretary of War in May 1921 noted that there was
"no adequate local organization of the Philippine people
for defense of the Islands against aggression." He
recommended that the American government "should at once
take the necessary steps to organize, train and equip
such a force." 13 The matter of developing a
Philippine Army was an important one, as such a force
could have undeniably augmented the U.S. military
presence in the Islands and enhance the overall
defensive capacity of the Islands. However, as the
Great Depression and the pos t-World War One spirit of
pacifism whittled down the U.S. Army's budget, talk
of a Philippine Army was put on the back-burner. 14
The Joint Board of the U.S. Army and Navy, at
this time, were busy severely criticizing the Five Power
Naval Treaty, for with it went the opportunity to
develop further naval bases in the Philippines and,
thus, a strengthening of Japan's position in the Far
East. Also, the Joint Board looked into what exactly
were the American interests in the Far East. Captain
Harry Yarnell, one of the naval members of the planning

committee, poignantly identified that there was a lack
of a clear definition of American policy in the Far
East. He questioned whether or not an all-out effort to
hold the Philippines for American policy and trade would
be worthwhile after all? He concluded by stating,
"These questions are not for the Army and Navy to
answer, but for the State Department." 15 This matter
was further complicated by the aforementioned 1916
promise of independence for the Philippines and the
resulting uncertain future for Army and Navy policy.
The defensibility of the Philippines was also
debated throughout this period by the Joint Board,
various other military and naval officials and
politicians. The preponderance of views were that the
Philippines was not defensible. In 1922, Senator Lodge
asserted that a complete defense was impossible without
expending "hundreds of millions of dollars." 16 Even
then, it would take perhaps half a century to make the
Philippines safe from attack. Major General Johnson
Hagood, in writing to President Hoover, stated: "it is
not within the wildest possibility to raise in the
Philippines a sufficient force to defend it against any
probable foe." 17 These views were typical of the
overriding consensus which pervaded. Until the advent
of MacArthur, the view that the Philippines was

defensible was held by but a minority. And even then
less than a majority believed that the Philippines was
The ORANGE Plan struggled with these views and
went through several revisions but its basic premise
survived. The 1928 version of the ORANGE Plan stated
that only the entrance to Manila Bay had to be held. In
this version the holding of the Bay itself was
considered secondary. It became an unstated adjunct
that if the Fleet did not arrive on time the Philippines
would fall. And, it was becoming clear that the Fleet
probably would not arrive on time. Despite the fact
that there now existed the Panama Canal and a separate
Pacific Fleet, the Navy realized that there were too
many factors which would reduce its effectiveness.
Precisely how long it would take to reach the
Philippines was unknown. Army officers who realized
this advocated the abandonment of the Philippines by all
American military forces, since keeping them there
waiting for the Fleet "would be literally an act of
madness." 18 If only Corregidor was to be held, and
the rest of the Philippines lost, then the presence of
the American Army garrison would serve no other purpose
then to "keep the American flag flying.
l *

Conceding the Philippines, in this scenario, was
even its staunchest supporter in Douglas MacArthur who
noted that because of a dearth of U.S. reinforcement
plans, the Islands were, for all intents and purposes,
lost even before war would commence. MacArthur though
had great confidence in himself to go along with his
contempt for War Plan ORANGE. He had told President
Hoover that:
If mobilization became first step
would be to send two divisions from the Atlantic
coast to defend the Phi1ippines... every inch...
and... successfully. A big man would pay scant
attention to the stereotype plans that may be filed
in the dusty pigeon holes of the War Department. 20
MacArthur eschewed orthodox military opinion by
believing that the Philippines could be defended without
War Plan ORANGE.
The view that an invasion of the Philippines was
an unlikely possibility, due to the exorbitant practical
and logistical difficulties it posed, was held by many
army officers. Despite an intelligence report in the
late 1920's which indicated that the Japanese could land
30,000 troops in thirty days, it was believed that an
amphibious invasion was too much of a risk for a
potential aggressor. This assessment was but wishful
thinking, as there were only 10,000 American and
Filipino troops to face the larger Japanese forces in
2 1
the event of war.

The failure to strengthen the forces in the
Philippines, according to Louis Morton, strikingly
reveals the dilemma of America's position in the Pacific
and the Far East. National policy, Morton asserts,
dictated the defense of an insular position which could
not be held with existing forces. The ORANGE Plan was
merely a reflection of this contradiction between
American interests and commitments in the Pacific. That
is, the nation would not abandon the Philippines, but
neither could it grant to the Army and Navy funds that
would ensure the Philippines defense. American policy
had created a wide gap between objectives and means and
forced on its military planners a compromise strategy
(War Plan ORANGE) and the virtual abandonment of the
Philippines and other Far East possessions. It is
undeniably true that the policies pursued by the U.S. in
the Far East, colored by isolationist sentiment, had so
reduced the effectiveness of the U.S.'s armed forces as
to make its possessions in the Pacific "a distant and
exceedingly grave liability." 22 War Plan ORANGE and
its subsequent gradual scaling down is most indicative
of this.
In 1933, the Philippine Department Commander,
Major General E.E. Booth, recommended that the United
States arrange for the neutralization of the

Philippines. This would be done by withdrawing U.S.
military forces from the Islands and that the
Alaska-Oahu-Panama line be adopted as the new strategic
frontier in the Far East. This would remove the weak
spot in American defenses, reduce the drain on the U.S.
budget and leave the U.S. free to take the offensive at
a moment and place of its own choosing in the event of
war. 23 To no surprise, Booth's recommendation was
not favorably acted upon. The Philippines was too much
of an asset for the Army and the Navy to withdraw from
it. Yet ironically it was accepted that the Philippines
would indeed fall in the event of war. The perplexing
U.S. policy towards the Philippines of on one hand
wanting to retain the Islands and yet on the other not
taking measures to adequately fortify the Islands
factored heavily in the eventual loss of the said
Islands in 1942.
The concept of neutrality was also shared by
prominent Filipinos in government who by the early
1930's were growing anxious over the combination of an
apparent lack of defense preparations in the Philippines
and the Japanese activity in Manchuria. With Japan
becoming more aggressive in the region, the Filipinos
were becoming uneasy in terms of their national
security. Meanwhile, U.S. policy towards the

Philippines was undergoing a transformation itself. The
Great Depression and "hard times" for American industry,
agriculture, and labor led to an insistence in the U.S.
to grant the Islands their independencei It was held
that Filipinos competed with California labor and needed
to be excluded. It was also believed that the
Philippines was having an adverse effect on U.S.
industry. Philippine sugar weakened the American beet
sugar markets, Philippine cigars damaged the American
tobacco industry, Philippine coconut oil went into
margarine thereby hurting the American dairy industry,
and the same oil was making inroads into American hog
lard use. Thus, by the early 1930's the U.S. was
prepared to give their perceived economic competitors,
the Filipinos, their freedom. 24 The economic
competition and the exorbitant costs of defending the
Philippines made the retention of the Islands an
unattractive prospect by the early 1930's. Therefore,
the defense of the Philippines would now to a large
degree, rest with the Filipinos themselves. Defense was
now an issue with which the Filipinos had to seriously
concern themselves with. In 1933, with the advent of
the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act, another element seeking
neutrality surfaced. The Act included a passage which
provided for "perpetual neutrality" for the Philippines

upon her independence. 25 But, the Hare-Hawes-Cutting
Act was vetoed by Hoover primarily because the
Philippines could not raise sufficient revenues "to
provide the force necessary for maintaining internal
order and the minimum of external defense, even were no
economic degradation anticipated." 26 The absence of
sufficient funds on the part of the Filipinos to
adequately support a military establishment was the main
reason behind there not being a Philippine Army (and
adequate national security) by the early 1930's.
Incidentally, there did exist a small facsimile
of a native army in the Philippines in the form of the
Philippine Scouts and the Philippine Constabulary. The
Philippine Scouts were in the service of the U.S. Army
and comprised three infantry regiments. The Philippine
Scouts were an important part of the U.S. Army in the
Philippines, making up half of the strength of the U.S.
Army's Philippine Department. Being enlisted and non-
commissioned officer personnel, the Scouts had no say in
policy and were under the command of U.S. officers. The
Philippine Constabulary, like the Scouts, were formed by
the U.S. Army in 1901. Organized in a military manner,
the Philippine Constabulary was in existence primarily
to maintain peace and order in the Philippines. Trained
and intended for civil use, the Philippine Constabulary

could not be expected to protect against foreign
invasion. The Philippine Constabulary was loyal to the
civil government and by the early 1930's their numbers
reached 6,500. 27 Also, a National Guard had been
formed in the Islands during World War One which had
numbers exceeding 14,000 before its eventual dis-
bandment. 28 Nevertheless, by the early 1930's, there
was insufficient native troops strength in the
Philippines for adequate defense on their own. Without
neutrality, the Islands sorely needed continued reliance
upon the United States.
The Philippine Independence bill which did
finally pass in 1934 was the Tydings-McDuffie Act which
included the same passage as the earlier bill pertaining
to the seeking of "perpetual neutrality" for the
Philippines. Neutrality is theoretically one way in
which the defense problem could be dealt with.
Neutrality can oftentimes preclude a nation from being
invaded or involved in hostilities, but this is in no
way a certainty. Neutrality agreements have been broken
time and time again. Therefore, in apparent realization
of this fact, the Philippine legislature in 1934 passed
bill 734 which was essentially:
An Act creating the Bureau of National Defense in
the Government of the Philippine Islands, defining
its power and duties; Providing for the Compulsory

Military Instruction in all Public and Recognized
Private Schools, Colleges or Universities; Providing
for Scholarships in Military and Naval Schools in
the United States or foreign countries; and Creating
an Officers' and Enlisted Reserve Corps of the
Philippine Islands and Appropriating the Necessary
Funds Thereof, and for other purposes. 29
The significance of this Act was that it was an
official recognition that the Filipinos would have to
assume the responsibility for their own national defense
once their Commonwealth status had expired and they were
no longer under the protection of the United States.
They had to be able to protect themselves once the U.S.
Army withdrew. Bill 735, however, did not survive the
veto of Governor-General Frank Murphy.
While approving the gist of the bill, Murphy
believed that more time and preparation on writing it
was warranted due to its significance. Murphy explained
in the wake of his veto of bill 735:
I am in complete sympathy with the desire of the
Philippine people to insure the defense and
integrity of their country. Prompt and vigorous
action should be initiated to devise a strong policy
of National Defense for the protection of the
Philippine Islands when separated from the United
States. 30
Therefore, Murphy would be most amenable to a
more adequate, less hurried and more thought but bill.
The problem of insufficient funds in the Philippine
government to embark on a policy of National Defense
also concerned Murphy. Much like Hoover, Murphy

questioned the ability of the Philippine government to
handle the added financial burden. What Murphy proposed
instead was that the Philippines take advantage of the
knowledge and experience of their U.S. counterparts and
military experts so that the matter of National Defense
could be more adeptly addressed. 31
Heeding the advice of Murphy, Nationalista Party
head Quezon was undoubtedly assessing the viability of
bringing in one American of unmatched expertise in the
field of military matters. This person, waiting in the
wings, was none other than the United States Chief of
Staff General Douglas MacArthur. The future of the
National Defense of the burgeoning Commonwealth would
soon fall into the hands of this man. Meanwhile, the
world situation was becoming more tense as Japan was
growing stronger and more ambitious on the Asian
mainland. Nevertheless, a Japanese newspaper The Osaka
Asahi. had been quoted as saying that Japan did not have
her eye in the Philippines:
She has no mind to occupy the Islands, whether they
are fortified or not. If Japan should decide to
occupy the Archipelago, it would be to save herself
from a menace to her safety. 32
Although this statement was self-contradictory,
many read and believed just the initial segment of it.
The Philippines, though, as later events proved, was

indeed in great danger. The issue of the defense of the
Philippines from 1898 to the early 1930's is one which
was marked by inconsistency, vacillation and
ambiguousness on the part of the United States. The
Philippines was recognized as a valuable asset early in
the century, yet its security was compromised through a
series of treaties and the lack of adequate military and
naval strength being devoted to it. The plan for its
defense (War Plan ORANGE) was inadequate and virtually
conceded defeat. By the early 1930's the Islands were
seen as a liability and an economic competitor. Because
of this, neutralization of the Islands was considered
and setting her on her own was determined. Thus, by
1934, the Philippines was compelled to tackle the
question of its future security on its own. With meager
native forces intact, the immediate defense capacity of
the Islands was negligible. It was in this situation
that the Philippines looked to MacArthur for much needed
assistance insofar as their defense was concerned.

^Gerald E. Wheeler, Prelude to Pearl Harbor?
The United States Navy and the Far East (Columbia:
University of Missouri Press, 1968), 12.
2 Louis Morton, "WAR PLAN ORANGE: Evolution of a
Strategy." World Politics II (1959): 221.
3 Ibid.. 221, 249.
4 Preceding discussion of War Plan ORANGE derived
from Ibid.. 221-230.
564th Congress, United States Statutes At Large
(Government Printing Office: Washington D.C., 1917),
666th Congress, 3rd Session, Congressional
Record (Government Printing Office: Washington D.C.,
1919), 26.
7 As quoted in Harley Notter, The Origins of the
Foreign Policy of Woodrow Wilson (Baltimore: Maryland
Press, 1937), 190-191.
8Gerald E. Wheeler, "Republican Philippine
Policy, 1921-1933," Pacific Historical Review 28
(November 1959), 381.
9 Ibid.. 382.
10 Ibid.. 385. For a thorough discussion on the
Disarmament Conferences see: Ernest Andrade Jr., "The
United Stated Navy and the Washington Conference," The
Historian 31 (1969): 345-363; and Thomas H. Buckley,
The United States Navy and the Washington Conference.
1921-1922 (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee
Press, 1970).
11Wheeler, "Republican Philippine Policy",
12Louis Morton, "American and Allied Strength in
the Far East," Military Affairs XXIX (1949), 24-25.

13Joseph Ralston Hayden, The Philippines: A
Study in National Development (New York: MacMillan
Press, 1942), 734.
14Conclusion based on Ibid.. 734-740.
15Morton, "War Plan Orange," 221.
16As quoted in Ibid.. 226.
17 Hayden 742.
18Morton, "War Plan Orange," 237.
19 Ibid . 238.
20Theodore Friend, Between Two Empires: The
Ordeal of the Philippines. 1929-1946 (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1965), 162.
2 Ibid.. 162.
22 Morton, "War Plan Orange," 250.
23 Ibid., 233.
24Discussion based on Wheeler, "Republican
Philippine Policy," 390.
25 Jose Aruego, The Framing of the Philippine
Constitution (Manila, Philippines: University
Publishing, 1949), Vol. II, 817.
24 As quoted in Hayden, 735.
2 7 The__Constabulary Story (Quezon City:
Bustamante Press, 1975), 83, 90, 100.
28 Hayden, 733-734.
29 As quoted in Ibid. 735 .
30 As quoted in Ibid.. 735-736 .
31Sidney Fine, Frank Murphy: The New Deal Years
(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981),
32Article quoted in Miguel Coriejo, Commonwealth
Diarv of the Philippines (Manila, Philippines: Private
Printers, 1939) 565. Article originally came out in
1930 .

Treating national defense as the "first and
urgent need" 1 of the Commonwealth, the mercurial Manuel
Quezon forthrightly seized the initiative in legislation
and collared the reigns of command of the army to
eventually design defense policy according to his
vision. The fledgling new Commonwealth nation,
following the Tydings-McDuffie Act, sorely needed to
augment its defense and national security not only to
satisfy the needs of the present but also the ample
demands of the future. Along these lines, Quezon wrote
to the Secretary of War in November 1934:
The existence of an adequate defense for the
Philippines will be a powerful influence in
preserving peace, since even should international
treaties for the neutralization of the Islands be
constructed, pronounced weakness will encourage
disorder and ignite aggression. Obviously, the new
nation's military policy, both by inclination and
compulsion, will be purely defensive but its
defenses must command respect. 2
Eschewing the notion of hiding under the veil of
neutrality or the security blanket of a "protector"
organization such as the United States or the League of
Nations, Quezon continued his argument for the creation

of an independent, affordable, defensive force for his
nation through the military training of his people:
Our national security (should) not depend on those
instruments of peace only; neither (should) we let
the burden of our national defense during the
Commonwealth rest mainly on the United States. We
(should) favor the military training of our citizens
but not the creation and maintenance of costly
military establishments in peace time. 3
Thus, the relevance of adequately addressing the
question of national defense did not escape Quezon. As
stated, Quezon needed an expert in the field to assist
in the building of his nation's defense. For many
reasons, Douglas MacArthur was the logical choice.
MacArthur was extremely familiar with the Philippines
and had developed a close relationship with Quezon over
the course of his career which included three prior
tours of duty in the Philippines. During MacArthur's
tenure as Commanding General of the Philippine
Department (1928-1930) he cultivated an amicably deep
relationship with Quezon. Quezon was so impressed with
MacArthur that he even publicly suggested that he
(MacArthur) be appointed Governor-General. Further
verification of his liking for MacArthur is included in
a correspondence from MacArthur to a friend in the U.S.
requesting that the friend collect and assemble all the
newspaper clippings on MacArthur's appointment as Chief
of Staff and then present them to Quezon as a gift. 3

MacArthur also possessed a record beyond reproach and
was one of the few who publicly affirmed that the
Philippines was indeed, defensible.
Once independence was assured and complete
autonomy was granted, after the passing of the
Tydings-McDuffie Act, the preparations in the
Philippines for its defense requirements assumed a
new importance. In the Philippine Constitution, the
"Declaration of Principle" succinctly states that while
the Philippines renounced war as an instrument of
national policy and adopted the generally-accepted
principles of international law as part of the law of
the nation, the prime duty of the government was the
defense of the state. Also included in the Constitution
was a provision calling for the compulsory duty of all
citizens to render personal military or civil service,
regardless of peace-time or war-time. 6
Even before corralling his military adviser,
Quezon realized that the difficulties to overcome would
be plentiful in the fulfillment of his nation's defense
requirements. He was confident, though, that the U.S.
would react favorably to Filipino requests for
assistance with their monumental task. Assistance from
the U.S. in organizing, equipping, financing and
training the military forces would be vital to success.

Problems associated with the building of a national army
were compounded by the earlier stated fact that up till
this time, under U.S. sovereign protection, the
Philippine Government had maintained only the Philippine
Constabulary and no other larger military establishment.
Accordingly, the defense system had to develop
successively in stages. That is, "from conception,
adoption and preliminary organization, to final
fruition." 7 And in order to develop along these
lines, a veritable icon of military genius was needed to
spearhead the whole organization.
On Murphy's suggestion and on his own personal
initiative, Quezon journeyed to the U.S. to seek the
advice of a "competent man on whose judgement I could
depend." The formidable task at hand necessitated
that the Philippine Government procure, for a period of
at least five years, the friendly counsel of and the use
of professionally-trained military leaders of
wide-experience like MacArthur. In talking with
President Franklin D. Roosevelt upon his arrival in the
U.S., ostensibly on the subject of U.S. bases in the
Philippines, both concluded that Quezon should seek to
obtain such trained assistance from the United States.
This seemed to follow, as for several years, under
special authorization, the Philippine Government had

been allowed to choose and utilize select officers of
the U.S. Army in the development and training of the
Philippine Constabulary. After visiting Roosevelt,
Quezon then proceeded to look up his good friend and
current U.S. Chief of Staff, MacArthur. *
The selection of MacArthur was a crucial one for
the Philippines in terms of its security interests.
The U.S. had seemingly procrastinated over vital matters
relating to the future defensive needs of the
Philippines in the past and in recent times. This,
coupled with the fearsome Japanese menace in the region
made it clear to the Filipinos that the defense of their
nation could not be left to others. Quezon realized
this, after witnessing President Roosevelt not being
able to make a commitment on the issue of Philippine
defense being to consumed in other domestic-related
issues. Hence, it was apparent that a committed
American military personality replete with influence in
Washington to bring attention to the Philippines was
needed. A competent military man notwithstanding, the
Philippines also needed a man who could serve as
a lobbyist, exerting influence in Washington from the
Islands on Philippine matters of self-defense.
MacArthur was the man who could do all this for the
Philippines, and more. In his role as the military

adviser to the Commonwealth, MacArthur would be chiefly
responsible for formulating the Philippine defense
system and also be in-charge of the U.S. military
mission in the Philippines.
MacArthur was very familiar with the Philippines
and the conditions there. He exuded confidence in
himself and in the Filipino soldier, noting to Quezon
that the Filipino soldier was the match of any other
soldier in the world. Most importantly, MacArthur was
of the belief that the Philippines could be defended.
Also, if Quezon could somehow obtain the services of
MacArthur, the honor and prestige of having an ex-Chief
of Staff of the U.S. Army in the Islands as Military
Adviser would be great indeed. Bringing MacArthur over
when his term of Chief of Staff was to end in October
1935, would surely be a feather in Quezon's cap, and he
ought to be President of the Commonwealth by that time
as wel1.
In Washington, Quezon pointedly approached
MacArthur concerning his widely-known sympathetic
assessment of Philippine defense requirements. The
following took place in either March or April 1934 and
is documented in a number of books and other sources.

Opening, Quezon queried, "General, I have come
to see you on a matter which concerns the very life of
my country. If you can give a frank and complete answer
to the question I shall propound, please give it. On
the other hand, I want no answer from you if you have to
give it with mental reservations, because it affects
military matters."
"What is the question?" MacArthur then asked.
"General, do you think the Philippines can be
defended after they shall have become independent ten
years hence?"
"I don't think n S O MacArthur replied, "I
know that the Islands can be protected, provided of
course, you have the money which will be required."
MacArthur continued, "By this I mean that you can
organize such defense as will make the conquest of the
Philippines so expensive and so costly in life and money
that no nation in its senses will attempt to do it."
An exuberant Quezon then asked how much money
would be required. MacArthur answered that only ten
million pesos ($5 million) would be needed in addition
to the current six million peso ($3 million) Philippine
Constabulary expenditure. Financing equivalent to $8
million would be sufficient for a citizen army based on
a small regular force for the Philippines. Championing

such a force, MacArthur stated, "If you have a small,
regular force as a nucleus to be expanded by employing
the citizen army in time of peril, no nation will come
to attack you, for the cost of the conquest will be more
than the expected profits." 11
Quezon then posed the next question to
MacArthur: "Would you be willing, General, to undertake
the study, preparation and execution of a plan of
national defense of the Philippines? And do you think
you can do it within the limited resources of a country,
bearing in mind the other important and unavoidable
obligations of a progressive modern government?" Before
giving an answer, the General asked of Quezon: "Can you
spend yearly ten million pesos more than what you are
now spending on the Constabulary?" 12
Receiving an affirmative answer from Quezon,
MacArthur responded in the following way:
I am willing to undertake the task of preparing your
people to defend themselves alone against foreign
invasion, and I shall be very glad to undertake it
as a duty to my own Government and people. America
is committed to grant the Filipino people their
independence. To my mind, this duty involves not
only the granting of that independence, but it also
implies the duty of giving every assistance so that
you may make that independence secure in your hands,
for you and for every succeeding generation. 13
MacArthur felt an obligation was owed the
Philippines by the U.S. and felt that this

responsibility, in light of burgeoning Philippine
aspirations, should not be shunned. The following quote
echoes these sentiments:
We cannot just turn around and leave you alone. All
these many years we have helped you in education,
sanitation, road-building and even in the practice
of self-government. But we have done nothing in the
way of preparing you to defend yourselves against a
foreign foe 14
The basic driving force in MacArthur's
envisioned defense for the Philippines would be one of
deterrence rather than the creation of an actual,
aggressive fighting force. The potential costs of
attacking the Philippines would be made too high for any
nation to realistically consider it. Be that as it may,
MacArthur's confident tone seemed to encompass even the
potentialities of the consequences should a nation ever
decide to assume the costs and attack the Philippines.
He proclaimed to Quezon: "As the Military Adviser, I
will forge for you a weapon which will spell the safety
of your nation from brutal aggression until the end of
time." 15
Concluding their tete a tete. the enthusiastic
Quezon asked his confident friend to reiterate more or
less what he had just asked him! Quezon asked, "Would
you be willing to come to the Philippines to be the man
to put into execution the ideas you have just
expressed?" 16

"The Philippines is my second country...America
has a great responsibility for the further safety of the
Filipino people," MacArthur answered. 17 Consenting
again, MacArthur believed that with anything but a
dynamic future awaiting him as an ex-U.S. Chief of
Staff, the assignment as Military Adviser to the
Philippines would be a rather "fitting end" to his
illustrious career. 18
Providing he could secure the consent of
President Roosevelt and the Secretary of War, Quezon
could get his prized General. MacArthur not only was
undisputably one of the foremost military minds in the
U.S. Army, he was also a man who Quezon deeply trusted.
That Quezon was to entrust the forging of the defense of
his nation to MacArthur speaks to this fact. The two
were close friends, as MacArthur's selection of Quezon
to be a Godparent of his son thus bringing the two
families even closer attests to. Thus, the two men
regarded themselves as "compadres". 19 The military
adviser post was exceedingly attractive to MacArthur,
for it offered him an honorable way of relinquishing the
highest position that could be offered him by the U.S.
Army. Instead of facing a mandatory reduction in rank
and being literally "put out to pasture", as was
customary for ex-Chiefs of Staff, MacArthur would now

procure the prestige and responsibility of being the
architect of a new army. It would be a manifestation of
his guile, expertise and military knowledge and would
also conceivably be the tangible culmination of his so
life-long military career.
To facilitate matters, Quezon again journeyed to
the U.S. for the purpose of obtaining legislation which
would lend authorization to the assignment of MacArthur
as well as a military mission for the Philippines.
MacArthur drafted a letter signed by Quezon in which
MacArthur's services were requested. A correspondence
was sent to the Secretary of War pleading for the
inclusion of the Philippines into a 1926 Act which gave
authority to the detailing of U.S. military missions to
North, Central and South America. Striving for an
amendment to this Act, Quezon had to belabor the point
that the development of the Philippine Army would be
from an infantile stage:
This difficult task is one which the Insular
Government must have, for a period of at least five
or six years, the friendly counsel and exclusive use
of professionally-trained military leaders of wide
experience. 20
Quezon's plea through MacArthur, eventually led
to the approval of the amendment to include the
Philippines in this Act. Thus, the pieces were coming

In late 1934, Secretary of War George Bern and
Franklin D. Roosevelt entertained MacArthur to discuss
his aspirations to become the Philippines' Military
Adviser. They enthusiastically greeted his statement of
intent upon the end of his term as Chief of Staff and
the necessary paperwork was executed to that end.
MacArthur then immediately directed his attention
towards assembling a staff. With MacArthur's
appointment a veritable fait accompli. Quezon returned
to the Islands to campaign for President in the
Commonwealth elections. Before departing, terms of
MacArthur's financial package were ironed out. He would
receive a salary of 36,000 pesos ($18,000) per year from
the Commonwealth Government, a yearly allowance of
30,000 pesos ($15,000) as well as accommodations in a
fully air-conditioned seven room suite atop the Manila
Hotel. MacArthur would also receive his U.S. Army pay
as a Major General. In fact, the deal was so sweet for
MacArthur that there was even a clause providing for his
appointment as High Commissioner should he ever elect to
assume that office while temporarily resigning from his
post as Military Adviser. 2_L
Incidentally, the post of High Commissioner was
offered to MacArthur by Roosevelt just prior to the
General's departure for the Islands. MacArthur was

offered the post after Governor-General Frank Murphy
expressed the desire not to continue his assignment
under the newly-reduced powers as High Commissioner.
With Murphy apparently leaving, MacArthur was now asked
to wear two hats that of Military Adviser and High
Commissioner. MacArthur's enthusiasm for this dual
role was soon tempered, as the Judge Advocate General
let' it' be known that an officer could not hold two
appointments at the same time. Meanwhile, Murphy had
experienced a change of heart and retained the post of
High Commissioner after all. 22
In the meantime, Quezon had emerged triumphant
in the elections and encouraged MacArthur to expedite
his departure for the Philippines. As MacArthur was
winding up his duties as Chief of Staff and busily
preparing plans for the Philippines national defense
system, one cannot help but wonder what was going on in
his mind. Perhaps the role he would be playing in
helping prepare the Philippines for its eventual
independence would be a suitable challenge and
fulfilling experience for him. Anyway, as it was,
MacArthur promised Quezon dramatic results. He
guaranteed that the Islands would be militarily
self-sufficient within ten years. This guarantee was
issued with the understanding that MacArthur would

require a standing army of 19,000 and a reserve force of
400,000. Even early on, HacArthur1s expectations seemed
a bit unrealistic. His dramatic results would
ultimately turn out to be, for the Philippines,
traumatic results.

1"Philippine Yearbook" November 1936 (Manila,
Philippines: Bureau of Printing, 1936), 129.
2 Quezon's letter to Secretary of War, 19 Nov.
1934, enclosed in "Commonwealth of the Philippines,
Office of the Military Adviser, Report on National
Defense in the Philippines", (Manila, Philippines:
Bureau of Printing, 1936), 14-15.
3"Coalition Platform", Messages of_____________the
President. Vol. I. (Manila, Philippines: Bureau of
Printing, 1936), 246-247.
4D. Clayton James, The Years of MacArthur.
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970), Vol. I, 134.
5 Faustino Reyes to Vicente Bunuan letter, 20
September 1930 in Quezon Papers (MacArthur
correspondence file, 1929-1943 folder), Philippine
National Library, Manila, Philippines.
6Philippine Constitution, Section 3, 1935.
Quezon Papers, Philippine National Library, Manila.
7 Quezon to Secretary of War, 19 Nov. 1934.
Enclosed in "Report on National Defense", 14-15.
8Manuel Quezon, The Good Fi ght. (New York:
Appleton, 1946), 152.
9 Ibid. 152-153.
10Following quotes taken from Ibid.. 153-155.
Also in Frazier Hunt, The Untold Story of Douglas
MacArthur (New York: New American Library, 1954),
155-156; and Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences.
(Connecticut: Pawcett-Crest, 1964), 122.
lxAs quoted in, John Gunther, Inside Asia (New
York: Harper, 1939), 290.

12Quotes from Quezon's speech, "Philippine
National Defense", delivered at the University of the
Philippines, 18 January 1937, Juan Rivera Papers,
Philippine National Library. Also in Quezon, The Good
Fiaht. 153-156.
13 As quoted in Quezon, The Good Fiaht. 155-156 .
14As quoted in James, 481.
15MacArthur to Quezon letter, 1 June 1935,
Quezon Papers: Philippine National Library.
16As quoted in James, 482.
i2 Ibid., 482.
18 Ibid., 482-483.
19Frazier Hunt, p. 183. Also in MacArthur,
Reminiscences. 140.
2Quezon's letter to the Secretary of War, 19
Nov. 1934, "Report on National Defense", 14-16.
21 James, 484.
22 Frazier Hunt, 156-157.

While MacArthur was coming to devise and
implement his own Philippine defense plan, there were
many opinionated Filipinos who had ideas and plans of
their own insofar as the defense of their nation was
concerned. One such opinionated fellow, L. Siguion
Reyna, Technical Adviser to the Secretary of the
Interior, submitted a preliminary study entitled, "The
Problems of National Defense" on May 25, 1935. 1 The
report began by stating that until the final concession
of independence, the duty of national defense belonged
to the United States as an aspect of its sovereignty
over the Philippines. Upon complete independence, the
Philippines should be able to maintain and defend the
independence and integrity of the country against any
foreign intervention or aggression. This report goes on
to say that the prime need for the Philippines was a
highly-trained and properly equipped fighting
organization. However, the report surmises that the
Philippines could not support a large army because its
limited revenue was needed for not only the maintenance

of an efficient and stable government but also for
economic readjustment. 2
Reyna's report continued that the national
defense was to be organized within the limits of reduced
resources so as to obtain a maximum efficiency at
minimum cost. To organize an army along the lines of
those organized by Belgium and Switzerland was seen as
what was needed. This type or organization excluded a
navy because of its exorbitant cost even though the
Philippines had a vast coastline which needed
protection. In seeking maximum effectiveness at minimum
cost, Reyna concluded that the ideal force would consist
of a nucleus of a small regular army reinforced by a
reserve corps and a national militia. "All our national
defense activities must be so coordinated as to jointly
contribute to the defense of the nation in cases of
emergency," Reyna stated in the report. 3 Through the
incorporation of economic activities (such as the
agricultural colonization and road construction programs
in Mindanao) with military endeavors, it was hoped that
a waste of money and resources could be averted. To be
even more fiscally prudent, the report adds that the
army must remain useful not only in war, but also in
emergencies and in times of peace, "otherwise it would

be considered by the already overburdened taxpayers as a
real parasite in times of peace." 4
An interesting point argued in the report was
that the purposes for which an army was created
determined not only its character and organization, but
also its strength, preparation and equipment. Since,
the army to be formed was a citizen-army, military
training and service would be mandatory for the
all male citizens between 18 and 20 years of
age, and who possessed the necessary mental
and physical qualifications,
all Filipinos of whatever age or sex who
were engaged in activities that were desig-
nated to be of dual character, or were
employed in a classified or non-classified
civil service of the insular, provincial or
municipal governments.
all members of the reserve corps, and
all Filipino students in any school or any
education center under the direction and
supervision of a government
all other citizens, without distinction as
to age or sex are also required to render
personal military service. 5
Reyna painstakingly detailed his plans for the
creation of an office of the commissioner of National
Defense and Public Order. He described total
organization from how the core of the regular army
would be formed to the total reorganization of the
Philippine Constabulary. The reorganized PC would form
the nucleus of the new Army, which could reach a

strength of over 9,500 men. Reserves would number 38,156
in the first year alone. Also, Reyna developed ways in
which various peace-time activities such as the police
forces the postal system and communications,
engineering, health and scientific personnel could be
adapted to fit into the army during war. This was in
keeping with his desire for economy without sacrificing
strength. 6 The Reyna report was a very useful and
detailed report whose facts and figures on projected
costs and enumerated comparisons with other armies was
evidently brushed aside by MacArthur. The Reyna report
is brought up in such detail to illustrate that there
were Filipinos who had comprehensive plans, designs and
recommendations for the defense of their nation. Many
Filipinos possessed the knowledge and the skill to plan
and recommend possible avenues on which the defense of
their nation could be built. Reyna was one of these.
MacArthur's select staff was comprised of Major
Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had been with the General at
the Chief of Staff's office, Major James D. Ord, Captain
Thomas Jefferson Davis and Major Howard J. Hutter.
Eisenhower had himself chosen Ord, his West Point
classmate, to accompany the mission and it was those two
who would do the bulk of the actual defense planning.
Davis was MacArthur's aide and Hutter would be the

personal physician of the mission. More specifically,
MacArthur was to assume officially the post of Military
Adviser to the Philippine Government. As the Military
Adviser, MacArthur would be in charge of all policy
directly associated with National Defense and would be
expected to keep a virtually constant line of
communication open with Quezon. Eisenhower and Ord were
entrusted with the substantive task of ironing out the
particular details of the defense plan. Along with his
duties as an aide, Davis was given administrative duties
and put in-charge of transportation and liaison
services. Hutter was assigned to the development of
health and sanitation plans for the Philippine Army. 7
Ironically, the plan that MacArthur devised was
in many aspects similar to Reyna's, that is, a citizen
army with a small regular force. Like Reyna,
MacArthur, recognized from the beginning the
impossibility of developing a defensive force in the
Philippines capable of concentrating its full power at
any threatened point of attack. In accordance
with this, MacArthur sought to develop his defense plan
in the following way: "A cordon system of defense was
practically forced upon the Islands due to the
impracticability of developing naval forces to preserve
inter-island communication against any powerful attack

by water." Thus, "the objective of the Defense Plan is
to insure such an excellent defense of each portion of
Philippine territory that the cost of subjugation would
exceed the potential rewards accruing to any aggressor."
* MacArthur resolved to do this with his small army.
The small army though would be backed up by a prodigious
reserve force making this all possible.
MacArthur's defense plan for the Philippines
specified that the nation be separated into ten
Military districts. Each Military district would
contain a force sufficient in strength "that it would
assure maximum protection in every island, District and
Province." Nevertheless, "such a system cannot protect
any Island nation against the consequences by a blockade
by sea. However, it represents the ultimate that a
small and relatively poor nation can hope to accomplish
and at the very minimum gives to such a nation the hope
through preservation of territorial integrity it may, in
event of a prolonged blockade, acquire powerful allies
before the moment of final starvation arrives."
Worded by Eisenhower, the plan appears to be a close
facsimile of the earlier War Plan Orange. That is, to
hold on in the face of a mighty enemy until relief
arrives. Relief would arrive in the form of the U.S. in
accordance with the postulates of War Plan Orange. The

plan stated that the U.S. would help. However, U.S.
responsibility for Philippine defense would end when the
Islands got their independence. Thus, they had to be
ready to safeguard their own security needs.
While still in the U.S., at the U.S. War
College, Ord and Eisenhower envisioned a coastal defense
for the Archipelago which would be made up of 150 fast
bombers' "whose threat will be sufficient to keep major
portions of a hostile navy completely outside these
territorial waters." 10 Although the acquisition of a
battle fleet by the Philippine government lay
"completely outside the realm of practicality" since the
"item of cost alone precludes serious contemplation .of
such a project," MacArthur's defense plan recognized
"the vital need for some marine and air equipment" to
defend Philippine waters and also to "preserve
communications between the Islands of the Archipelago."
11 Thus, the need for air power was recognized and a
semblance of a Philippine Air Force was hypothesized.
To prevent enemy expeditionary forces from
approaching Philippine coasts with impunity and to
constantly "threaten the safety of any hostile surface
craft attempting to operate in Philippine waters" a
relatively small fleet of tiny torpedo boats "manned by
crews thoroughly familiar with every detail of the

coastline and surrounding waters" would be employed
with the aircraft to have "a distinct effect in
compelling any hostile force to approach cautiously and
by small detachments." 12
In describing the "Air and Marine Element" of
his defense plan it was stressed that, "because of a
lack of funds, multiplicity of types is to be avoided,"
and "wherever practicable, simple, relatively
inexpensive items are to be preferred over the more
elaborate and expensive varieties." 13 This was a
theme, if you will, which permeated all phases of the
defense plan. Concluding on the "Air and Marine
Element", it was noted that:
Under the Plan every centavo that can be spared from
other equally essential purposes will eventually be
invested in the development and maintenance of a
bombing fleet of reasonable size so as to assure the
ability of marine and air units, working in complete
cooperation, to deny the use of territorial waters
to hostile surface craft, 14
Guided by the Swiss example, and perhaps the
Reyna report, MacArthur envisioned an Army of
citizen-soldiers backed up by a small regular,
professional force which initially would be made up of
the Philippine Constabulary. In brief, MacArthur hoped
that the Commonwealth would have, at independence in
1946, forty divisions or approximately 400,000 men,
stationed at various vital points throughout the

archipelago. The Regular Force would be comprised of
the Calvary, Field Artillery, Air Corps, corps of
Engineers and such. The nucleus of the Army would be
the Philippine Constabulary with a State Police force
formed to deal with domestic peace and order. The
Philippine Scouts, although part of the U.S. Army in the
Philippines, would augment the P.C. in forming the
native army. The Reserve Force would consist of young
men who had just completed their training programs. The
fundamentals of military training would begin in
elementary school with the trainees aged from 10 to
18. Emphasizing military discipline and patriotism,
these R.O.T.C. programs were intended to provide the
necessary training to prepare Filipino youngsters for
exemplary military service. 15
Ord and Eisenhower worked diligently on the
details, constantly reminded by MacArthur of his
criteria for minimum expense. It got to the point where
MacArthur made cutting costs the primary concern for the
detailers of his defense plan. After several revisions
and cuts in pay and allowances, periods of training and
in the elimination of non-essential forces, Ord and
Eisenhower brought their scaled-down version to
MacArthur. The Regular Army was reduced to 1,500
officers and 19,000 troops with the yearly financial

expenditure estimated at 22 million pesos ($11 million).
14 That figure was much too high for MacArthur who had
earlier promised Quezon that yearly expenditures would
not surpass 16 million pesos ($8 million).
Ord's plan was based on military, not financial
considerations. But further cuts were needed MacArthur
claimed. So various cuts were made, such as assuming
that the Filipinos could forego new weapons and get by
with obsolete American rifles, reducing the pay of the
Philippine conscript "to little more than cigarette
money" and cutting the contingent of officers "to the
point where this would be dangerously close to an army
of recruits only. We thought that such a make-shift
force would be rejected out of hand as worthless for
defense." 17 So observed Eisenhower as MacArthur again
insisted they reduce the defense budget to a figure not
exceeding the $8 million mark.
The Army was further reduced to a mere 930
officers and 7,000 men. The training period was cut
from a year to only 5 1/2 months. A measure to increase
a state of full preparedness to 20 years instead of the
planned for 10 was done in order to reduce the cost of
acquisitions and equipment. Costly units, such as
coastal artillery, were to be postponed until later in
the 20 year period. Equipment was eventually to take up

the bulk of the yearly 16 million pesos expenditure
after the initial construction of quarters took place.
Ten year projections set the following expenditures: 10
million pesos ($5 million) on the off-shore patrol; 20
million pesos ($10 million) on the air corps; 60 million
pesos ($30 million) for the regular force and 70 million
pesos ($35 million) on the reserve force. 18 Excessive
equipment was also removed as an encumbrance from the
army. Transportation was, strangely, included in the
broad classification of excessive equipment. 19 Sans
transportation the army not only had shortages in
trained men, it was also virtually immobile.
With the essentials of their defense plan ready,
MacArthur and the American Military Mission journeyed to
the Philippines, arriving on October 26, 1935. The
fundamentals of a defense plan were provided for, but
the incomplete portions of it would be accomplished upon
the first-hand inspection of the actual conditions in
the Islands. MacArthur brought what he intended on
being the legislation of the defense plan, written by
him and expected to be accepted verbatiin. The
Commonwealth was to be inaugurated on the 15th of
November and MacArthur wanted the defense plan put into
effect on the 20th of November. Also, Ord and
Eisenhower had composed a speech which Quezon was to

deliver in his address to the National Assembly to
introduce and explain the defense plan. 20 The speech
which Quezon did deliver, aside from minor alterations,
did in fact include the fundamental body of the earlier
speech written by the Military Mission. Quezon formed a
National Defense Committee prior to the inauguration of
the Commonwealth which accepted, in principle, the
MacArthur plan for national defense. Before the first
session of the National Assembly, November 26, 1935,
Quezon defended the dimensions of the national defense
policy based on the Military Mission's proposals:
Self defense is the supreme right of mankind no more
sacred to the individual than to the nation, the
interests of which are immeasurably of greater
significance and extent. A threat against the
nation involves not alone the life of one individual
but of millions; not the welfare and fortune of a
single family but of all...In my opinion the plan
reflects the lessons of history, the conclusions
acknowledged masters of warfare and of statesmanship
and the sentiments and aspirations of the Filipino
people. It is founded upon enduring principles that
are fundamental to any plan applicable to our
needs ...21
The national defense plan was then put into
legislative form in the National Defense Act
(Commonwealth Act No. 1) and approved by the National
Assembly on December 21, 1935. The defense plan, as
Quezon stated in his address to the National Assembly,
was based on:

All individuals and natural resources being used by
the state in the interest of self-preservation; the
provision of actual security; the insistent needs
for the current and future shape of the economy, and
the necessity for a gradual rather than sudden
growth of the defense establishment that would be
required. 22
Considering the November 26 speech which Quezon
delivered before the First National Assembly (again
prepared for him by the Military Mission), Quezon not
only extolled the benefits of the proposed National
Defense Plan, he also gave a thorough summary of its
basic principles. The basic principles included the
tenets that every citizen was committed to serve in the
nation's defense; that the plan would furnish adequate
security; that the plan concentrated on economy and
gradual growth thus making it appropriate for the
Philippines and that the success of the plan relied on
the country being able to adjust to measures and
policies which would preclude waste. Quezon, as
president , would be given the power to establish the
nations defense system. However, the National Assembly
was empowered with the authority to evolve and prescribe
the general policies which were to govern the
development of the army. To placate the apprehensions
of those who feared that Quezon might become too
powerful, this provision, giving the National Assembly
overriding authority concerning fundamental changes and

policy-making for the national defense was enacted. The
Legislature would have control of defense expenditures.
Quezon also made the point that the military authority
was superseded by the civilian authority and that the
Chief of Staff was a direct subordinate to the
In this speech, the vital need for an adviser
such as MacArthur was stressed. Referring to MacArthur,
Quezon stated: adviser is needed who has the technical
ability that extends to every phase of the military
profession. Unless these qualifications can be made
constantly available to the Commonwealth we will pay
for this lack in millions of squandered pesos, years
of wasted time, and in confusion of effort and added
risks to our nation's security. 24
The final draft of the National Defense Act was,
not surprisingly, identical in principle and substance
to the Military Mission's earlier proposal. The army
would be divided into two elements. One, a regular
force of approximately 10,000 men augmented by the
Philippine Constabulary with its 7,000 men. This
regular force would be supported each year by a reserve
force of 40,000 men who had been the recipients of 5
1/2 months of intensive training. 25 To lead this
army, Quezon saw fit to appoint Paulino Santos as Chief
of Staff and Generals Reyes, Basilio Valdez and Vincente
Lim as top-ranking senior officers. These men joined in

the task of building an army from the ground floor up.
As earlier discussed, there was really no nucleus from
which the constructors of the Philippine Army could call
upon as the Philippine National Guard remained little
more than a distant memory since its demise in 1918. The
Philippine Scouts though, were a disciplined and
cohesive unit. This mixed American and Filipino force
could not be used as the nucleus for the Philippine Army
since it was already assigned to the service of the U.S.
2 6
The omission of allowances for a naval force to
protect the coastline of the Philippines which was
larger than that of the U.S. was the focus of much
criticism of the National Defense Plan. MacArthur's
assurances that his "hit and run" small motor boat
patrol and army bombers could defend the coast eased the
fears of most, but not all. In fact, there were many
who believed that for every motor boat MacArthur
produced, the Japanese could counter with a monstrous
destroyer. Also, the air superiority of the Japanese in
a potential hostile scenario was undoubted. 27
These fears seemed to have foundation, as both
MacArthur's defense plan and the National Defense Plan
appeared unconcerned with the strategic consequences of
the fact that the Philippines was a nation made up of an

isolated collection of islands spread over hundreds of
miles of ocean and in dire need of naval protection.
However, Quezon defended the exclusion of a navy for the
following reasons in a late 1935 speech:
One desirable effect of a decision to forego the
construction of a battle fleet will be to emphasize
the passively defensive character of our military
establishment. Tactically, a fleet cannot operate
as a purely defensive force and is useless unless it
can proceed to sea and engage its enemy beyond the
limits of its own bases. Moreover, the existence of
a powerful navy inherently implies a possibility of
aggressive intent, since only with strong naval
support could an army hope to invade territory of an
overseas enemy. Consequently, as an island nation,
our lack of sea power will confirm before the world
our earnest intent to develop an army solely for
defensive purposes. 28
The assumption that the Philippines could not be
conquered except at a high cost and the belief that she
would also be protected under the veil of a general
neutralization treaty led to MacArthur and Quezon
relying only upon the creation of a land-based defense
force. The omission of adequate naval protection proved
to be disastrous for the Philippines when the Japanese
did eventually initiate hostilities. The omission of a
navy really involved no choice. The Philippines could
not have built or manned one adequate to protect the
Islands .
As 1935 drew to a close, it was revealed to the
National Assembly that the National Defense Bill (Act)

demanded a total budget of 15,996,531 pesos
(approximately $8 million). Included in this figure was
the 7,117,485.50 pesos (approximately $3.5 million)
expenditure for the Philippine Constabulary. Hence, the
net additional expenditure needed to implement the
defense plan amounted to 8,879,045.50 pesos
(approximately $4.4 million). An appropriation of 3
million pesos (approximately $1.5 million) was also
included in the initial expenses for national defense.
2 9
Quezon continued his December 1935 speech to the
National Assembly by further detailing the
technicalities of funding the National Defense Bill.
The cost of the military establishment had to be at the
lowest possible figure sufficient enough to provide for
the defense and security requirements of the nation.
Quezon realized this and knew that it was essential
because of the condition of Philippine finances and the
fears of "militarization" amongst the people that he
keep military expenditures as low as possible.
Utilizing all unalloted funds, Quezon concluded that the
excess expenses would amount to only 126,614 pesos
($60,000). However, an emergency fund had to be
maintained since the defense program was to be of at
least ten years duration, so something had to be done.

5 8
Quezon's recommendation was that, "the National Assembly
consider as soon as possible the convenience of revising
the present system of taxation to adapt it to the actual
needs of the government, compatible with the capacity of
the people to shoulder the tax burden." 30 Thus,
Quezon would even consider a revision of the nation's
tax system to fund the defense plan.
To defray some of the cost the National Defense
Plan incorporated an economic aspect to its framework.
That is, the army would help build up local industries
by patronizing local products whenever possible. In
asserting the need for self-sufficiency in this area,
Quezon stated: "The Philippines should establish a
factory of small arms and munitions to make us
independent of foreign supplies in that in the event of
trouble we can depend on ourselves." 31
The National Assembly gave a resounding positive
indication in favor of the National Defense Bill during
their deliberations on it. There were, however, those
who opposed it. The foremost critic of the National
Defense Bill (Commonwealth Act No. 1) was one Camilio
Osias. The editor of the Philippine Forum. Osias
believed that, "...spending an absolute minimum P 16
million for the next ten years with the prospect of
increase, on ah untried military experiment is embarking

on a saturnalia of extravagance." 32 Osias identified
several "objectional features" in the plan including a
proposal of P300,000 for a retirement and pension fund.
The expenditures on the defense plan, according to
Osias, would "leave insufficient funding for education,
agriculture, industry, sanitation, public improvements
and would cause a myriad of other problems." 33
Osias is the man who denigrated MacArthur's idea
that the Philippines was defensible by calling it a
"Lilliputian dream". There was no realistic provision
for adequate naval or air protection. In attacking the
sensibility of the fiscal policies contained in the
National Defense Bill, Osias said: "Either this bill
appropriates too much money or too little money...too
much money for the resources of our government or of our
country... too little for real effective defense as is
contemplated by the framers of this bill." 34 The
engulfing of the Philippine Constabulary by the Army
also disconcerted Osias: "Here we have a case of a
child not yet born and already so promising in its
meteoric advance that it will absorb its parent within
one year. The PC and the Army operated on different
philosophies; it was not that simple to have one form
the foundation for the other." 35

Osias seems to have raised entirely relevant
objections to the proposed defense plan. Another aspect
of it which stirred his ire was the provision in the
bill which made all Filipinos liable to military
service. Osias saw this as unconstitutional because the
Philippine Constitution permitted its citizenry a choice
between military or civil service. He also noted that
"governmental power to requisition all resources,
tangible or intangible, and all such services and all
other assets or possessions, public or private, as may
be necessary for national defense was exceeding its
limits." 36 The bill militarized the Philippines and
it was "unjust to compel citizens to serve in the army
who held the view that the spirit of Christianity and
the spirit of war are incompatible." 37 His final
complaint noted that the bill provided for too many
generals, as "the grade of general exists only in time
of war." 38 Hence, there were those who identified the
National Defense Bill's weaknesses even here at the
deliberation of its official inception.
The National Defense Plan contained numerous
deficiencies. Osias was one man to point them out.
There were other critics of the plan who dissented from
its passage in December 1935. One outstanding source,
from which additional deficiencies of the plan are

enumerated, is an anonymous memo addressed to Quezon.
The memo identifies three problems with the plan. These
are, the lack of a naval force; the absence of the
Army's utility in peace-time; and the dilemma of
financing the Army. 39
"At least, a modest navy that could effectively
act as auxiliary to land forces in the defense of even
part of the national territory ought to be included..."
40 The memo states, bringing up the point that the
large coastline made a naval presence imperative. The
second criticism listed in the memo was! "The National
Defense Act should provide for the use of the services
of the army and the navy, in cooperation with the civic
authorities, in connection with the execution of relief
measures in case of calamities and emergencies." 41
The memo then considered alternative ways with which the
whole project could be funded. A proposed National
Defense Fund was mentioned which would be the receptacle
for monetary fines collected by the army. *2 Again,
more pertinent criticisms of MacArthur1s defense plan
and the National Defense Act. Criticisms which
MacArthur and his staff evidently felt did not warrant
their attention.
As stated, the National Defense Act was passed
by the National Assembly on December 21, 1935. This Act

was the first Act of the new Commonwealth and draws a
sharp contrast to the first Act of the First Philippine
Assembly, which allocated funding for the construction
of school buildings. Frederic S. Marquardt, in his
book, Before Bataan and After, observing this notes how
"Quezon and MacArthur were wise enough to see that the
Philippines, would need more soldiers than teachers;
bunkers than schools*" 43 Alarm must have overcome
pacifists who feared such "militarization" and shifts in
governmental priorities.
An aura of urgent enthusiasm and confidence
prevailed in the Philippines. The criticisms of the
defense plan notwithstanding, MacArthur's and Quezon's
dream of a sound national defense for the Philippines
was about to come to fruition. So they thought.
Reality would soon dictate the astuteness of their
critics, though. Difficulties would soon arise, as
author Stanley Karnow expertly expressed which sums up
this rather well:
Quezon, by entrusting MacArthur with the security of
the Philippines, felt that the United States was
consecrated to his country's protection. But
MacArthur's concept for defending the Archipelago
was at best clouded, and, as Quezon discovered when
the chips fell, the American commitment was murky.
4 4
Quezon's belief that the U.S. was committed to
the defense of his burgeoning nation was predicated on

the natural assumption that since the U.S. still held
legal title to the Philippines (by virtue of the terras
of the Treaty of Paris in 1898) it was still legally
impelled (as a nation of laws) to defend what was still
part of her territory. The U.S. and the Philippines
also shared a moral and cultural bond which would be
abrogated in the perceived unlikely scenario of the U.S.
abandoning the defensive responsibilities of the
Philippines. The mere presence of MacArthur, the
military mission as well as other U.S. military
personnel further indicated that there still remained a
U.S. commitment to the defense of the Islands.
MacAthur's 1936 view of the continuing U.S.
commitment to the Philippines is stated below and was
most likely the accepted view of the Philippines at the
...But in the fundamental obligation of sovereign
government, namely, that of preparing for the common
defense, the Philippines were woefully unprepared
for independence. A common recognition of this
vital fact was one compelling reason for
establishing temporarily, in the Tydings-McDuffie
Act, a Commonwealth or transitional form of
government which, in its ten duration, would afford
Filipinos an opportunity to correct this situation.
It was realized that development of a reasonably
adequate defense system in the Islands was important
to the United States as well as to the Filipinos
themselves. Very naturally the United States cannot
ignore or forget its thirty-five years of liberal
instruction, patient training ancl material as well
as sentimental investment in the Philippines. Not
only would the growth of democracy and democratic

institutions in the Western Pacific be completely
destroyed should the Philippines ever fall under the
domination of a despotic foreign power, but American
pride and prestige would receive a severe, if not
unendurable blow. 45
Therefore, MacArthur was under a similar
assumption that the Philippines were too valuable for
the U.S. to lose and could, thus, count on U.S. support
in the event of a war or in a like crisis situation.
Despite what the commitment might really have been, it
is not surprising that Quezon, MacArthur and most
Filipinos possessed these basic assumptions.
Another place where Filipinos could find
assurance that the U.S. would come to their aid was in
the Tydings-McDuffie Act. Although the affairs of the
Philippines would be placed in the hands of the
Commonwealth government, the United States reserved the
right to review Philippine court decisions, limit the
Philippine public debt and foreign loans, maintain
military and naval reservations, keep armed forces in
the Philippines, and (most importantly) intervene for
the preservation of the government of a Commonwealth or
for the protection of life, property, and individual
liberty. Thus, based on this, one would assume that the
U.S. would protect the Philippines against any
malefactor. 46 After 1946, it was assumed that the
Philippines would provide for its own security with
minimal U.S. assistance.

i In the next part of this paper, how the defense
actually developed from 1935 to 1941 will be examined.
In the succeeding years, following 1935, it became
clear that as the plan unfolded it was not receiving
adequate support or funding and as a result it would
accord little security for the Philippines in the phase
of impending doom. MacArthur had promised too much, too
soon and when he did not deliver as promised, Quezon and
others became disillusioned with him. This further
hindered the prospects for success of MacArthur's
defense plan and the National Defense Act.

1L. Siguion Reyna, "The Problems of National
Defense," 25 May 1935 (Quezon Papers: Philippine
Library , Manila, Philippines), 3-8.
2 Ibid.. 3.
3 Ibid. , 3-4.
4 Ibid. . 3-4.
3 Ibid. , 3-4.
sIbid. , 8 .
7 Dwight D. Eisenhower, "Diary of the
Military Mission in the Philippine Islands," 27
December 1935 entry, (Dwight D. Eisenhower Library).
Also Dwight D. Eisenhower, At Ease: Stories I Tell Mv
Friends. (Garden City: Doubleday Press, 1967),
8 Eisenhower, "Diary," 27.
10 Douglas MacArthur, "Commonwealth of the
Philippines, Office of the Military Adviser, Report on
the National Defense in the Philippines," (Manila,
Philippines: Bureau of Printing, 1936), 24. Also
obtainable at Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.
11 Ibid., 24.
*2Ibid.. 24.
13 Ibid.. 24.
^Ibid.. 24-25.
15"National Defense Act", Commonwealth Act No.
1. Copy of document available at Philippine National
Library in the Quezon Papers 1935 folder, Manila,
Philippines .
16 Eisenhower, "Diary", 27 December 1935.

17Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier.
General of the Army. President-Elect ~ 1890-1952. (New
York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1985), Vol. 1, 105.
18Theodore Friend, Between Two Empires. (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1965), 163.
19 Eisenhower, "Diary", 27 December 1935.
2 0 Ibid.
21Manuel Quezon, "Speech of Quezon at the
Inaugural Session of the National Assembly," 25 November
1935, (Quezon Papers, Philippine National Library,
Manila, Philippines).
22Message of the President of the Philippines to
the National Assembly on National Defense, 25 November
1935, Messages of the President. (Manila, Philippines:
Bureau of Printing, 1936), Vol. 1, 278.
23Quezon, "Speech of Quezon at the Inaugural
Session of the National Assembly," 25 November 1935.
2 5 Third Annual Report of the United States High
Commissioner to the Philippine Islands Covering the Year
1938 and the First Six Months of 1939. (Washington,
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1943), 21. Available
at Philippine National Library, Quezon Papers.
26Manuel Quezon, The Good Fight. (New York:
Appleton, 1946), 165.
2 7 U.S., Hearings Before the Committee on
Military Affairs. House of Representatives. 63rd
Congress 1st Session (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1933), 21. Available at Philippine
National Library, Quezon Papers.
28Rodriguez, Eulogio B., ed. President Quezon:
His Biographical Sketch. Messages and Speeches. (Manila,
Philippines: Publishers, Inc., 1940) 18. Available at
Philippine National Library. 2
2,Quezon's speech to National Assembly, 1
December 1935, Quezon Papers, Philippine National

30 Ibid.
3*Philippine Yearbook. November 1936, (Manila,
Philippines: Bureau of Printing, 1936), 129.
32Emilio Osias, The Storv of a Lone Career and
Varied Tasks (Quezon City, Philippines.' Manglapaz
Printing, 1971), 228.
33 Ibid. 228.
34Ibid.. 229.
35 Ibid.. 229.
3 Ibid . 230.
3 7 Ibid 230.
38 Ibid. 230.
39 Incomplete and undated memo to Quezon, in 1935
foider, Defense and Fortification file, Quezon Papers,
Philippine National Library.
* 1 Ibid.
92 Ibid.
93 Frederic Marquardt, Before Bataan and After.
(Indianapolis: Bobs-Merri11, 1943), 234.
44Stanley Karnow, In Our Image. (New York:
Random House, 1989), 271.
A 5 Douglas MacArthur, "Report on National
Defense," (Manila, Philippines: Bureau of Printing,
1936), 13.
46Claude A. Buss, The United States and the
Philippines :____Background for Policy (Stanford,
California: Stanford University Press, 1977), 15-16.

MacArthur's tenure in the Philippines began on a
sobering note as a result of some rather questionable
moves on the part of U.S. President Franklin D.
Roosevelt. MacArthur had wanted to arrive in Manila
with the rank of Chief of Staff still bestowed on him.
Arriving in the Philippines as the Chief of Staff of the
U-S. Army would no doubt greatly impress the Filipinos.
Roosevelt promised this to MacArthur, yet surprised the
General, in early October 1935, when he instructed the
War Department to make known to MacArthur the fact that
had been relieved and replaced as Chief of Staff by
Malin Craig. With this, MacArthur automatically
received a reduction in rank from a four star to a two
star Major General. More importantly* MacArthur would
begin his mission in Manila as the ousted Chief of
Staff. 1 In his candid memoirs, Eisenhower observed
MacArthur's reaction: "The General launched into an
explosive denunciation of politics, bad manners, bad
judgement, broken promises, arrogance, unconstitution-
ality, insensitivity and the way the world had gone to

hell." 2 MacArthur's pride was damaged, as he
contemplated the reasons behind the actions of
Roosevelt . One possible explanation was that i t
occurred only to assure the appointment of Craig. As it
was, it was a "downer" for MacArthur at the dawn of a
new phase in his life .
Another incident which accentuated the
inauspicious start for MacArthur and could be viewed as
a precursor for the future was a dispute between
MacArthur and High Commissioner Murphy over the
ceremonial honors to be extended to Quezon at his
inaugural ceremony. Murphy had contended that, since
the local policy in the Philippines had always been to
enlarge local control and diminish American authority to
the extent possible, the relegation of the High
Commissioner to a secondary position would be fatal to
the effective maintenance and exercise of that
authori ty. He was upset at policies which were
apparently subordinating the High Commissioner to the
President of the Commonwealth . 3
Accordingly, Murphy recommended to Secretary of
State Dern that Quezon receive only a 19 gun salute, the
same salute accorded U.S. State Governors. Upon hearing
this, an irate Quezon complained to Murphy and Dern whom
he later described "turn blue and pink". However, they

did not alter the decision (which Roosevelt ultimately
made himself) and a resulting "loss of face" happened
upon Quezon. Quezon even stated that he would boycott
his inauguration if he did not receive a 21 gun salute.
Knowing this was a bluff, one Joseph Hayden stated:
"Nothing could have kept the Presidente from that
occasion except his own demise." *
Foremost MacArthur biographer D. Clayton James
best assesses the symbolic importance of these two
Surely, the matter of ceremonial honors was a minute
and vain one, but, as events turned out, it was
prophetic of the affinity between MacArthur and
Quezon on the one hand and American civilian and
military officials on the other hand during the next
six years. Only on rare occasions would the
Philippine President and his Military Adviser obtain
priority for any of their defense requests, no
matter how urgent they seemed in Manila. The
Gullivers of Washington would have more important
things on their minds than the problems of the
leaders with pretentious titles in the far-off
Philippine Lilliput. 5
Thus, not only was the plan's chances for
success doubted, there also seemed to be a lack of
committed support from its intended benefactor. With
little assistance from t^e U.S. the fate of the plan
would certainly be most dubious.
Additionally, Quezon encountered serious
criticism from his countrymen on the viability of the
recently passed National Defense Act. Financial concerns

were seized upon by his detractors as an area of
critical emphasis. This was an issue which Quezon had
to face head-on.
On financial concerns, it was questioned if the
nation stood a chance to cover its defense bills without
destroying the ability to cover other government
expenditures. Money could be diverted to agricultural
adjustment, education and economic development programs
other than to the defense budget and the
salaries of MacArthur and the other American advisers.
Quezon countered this by claiming that no nation in the
world could achieve progress if it had not achieved a
certain degree of security. The defense plan was for
defensive purposes only and would provide the security
needed for economic development. The defense plan would
have no adverse effect on the national economy and all
financial obligations could be met providing the
preferential trade relations with the U.S. were
continued for a considerable period after 1946. If
these preferential trade allowances ended or if an
economic crisis would occur then a substantial
reduction of national revenues and expenditures would
take place. The main thing was to keep expenditures
below income in the years following 1936, Quezon

Criticism from the U.S. also arrived soon after
MacArthur and the Military Mission set foot on the
Islands. Chief of Staff Craig and the General Staff's
War Plans Division maligned MacArthur's defense plan
almost from its inception. MacArthur's defense plan, in
the form legislated by the Philippine National Assembly
was dismembered and negatively dissected in a December
2, 1935 report by Brigadier General Stanley D. Embrick.
The text of this report is found in D. Clayton James',
The Years of MacArthur. Vol. 1, pages 502-503. The
following conclusions were drawn in the Embrick report:
2. Such an establishment, or indeed any form of
military establishment that can be maintained by
the Philippine government, would be wholly
ineffective in itself, to protect the Philippine
Islands against Japan. For this there are two
major causes, both irremediable, viz.:
a. Unlike Switzerland, the Philippines are
not a compact land unit, but an archipelago. The
intervening water areas will be controlled in war
by the naval forces of the enemy. In consequence,
the Filipino forces can not be concentrated against
attack and the various islands can be captured in
turn by relatively small forces of the enemy.
b. Since the Philippines lack the resources
to support an industry that would avail for
munitioning, and are unable to support a navy, they
would be cut off in war from all foreign sources of
supply. Hence, it would be necessary for them to
obtain abroad and to continue to maintain during
peace, not only the initial equipment for their
forces but all the munitions required for the
duration of the war. The cost of this for a force
of any magnitude could not possibly be borne by the
new Philippine State.

3. The foregoing objections to a military
establishment of the character stated are obvious
and insurmountable. Such an establishment can have
little or no value as an end in itself. Its only
value would be that of supplementing military
(including naval) measures the United States might
be induced to take for the defense of the
Philippines. This thought, openly expressed by
some, must be in the back of the minds of all
informed proponents of such an establishment.
4. A military system created purely and simply
for the purpose of maintaining internal order would
be infinitely more valuable to the Philippine State
than a large expensive national defense force which
could neither repel invasion nor cope successfully
with internal disorders. The groundwork for such a
system already exists in the Philippine
Constabulary. The Philippine Constabulary has been
maintained for many years as a national police
force and has carried out the task of maintaining
order efficiently and at a reasonable cost. It is
organized on a military basis, and few changes in
its organization would be necessary. The funds
require to equip and maintain a constabulary force
of a necessary size would not be excessive.
5. If the United States does not intend to
assume responsibility for the defense of the new
Philippine state, it should announce that fact at
an early date. A definite pronouncement on the
part of our Government that the Philippine state
must rely on its own resources and the good faith
of nations for the maintenance of its independence
might influence Filipino leaders to adopt the type
of military force outlined in paragraph four,
rather than the type now being considered. 7
Embrick's report coupled with Osias' earlier
identification of "objectionable features" of
MacArthur1s plan offer competent, objective analysis and
assessment of the feasibility of MacArthur1s plan for
the defense of the Philippines. As author Michael
Schaller wrote:

"In December 1935 nearly the entire General Staff
endorsed a report by the Army War Plans Division, which
debunked MacArthur's assumptions. It described the
Philippine Army as wholly ineffective in protecting the
country..." 8
In something less than a begrudging concurrence
with the above report, the soundness of the concerns of
the General Staff as to the realistic feasibility of
MacArthur's plan seem just. The Philippines was
geographically, socially and economically different from
Switzerland (the country whose defense system MacArthur
aspired to emulate) lacking the economic base to fund
the military establishment or to survive a struggle of
attrition. The General Staff were also correct in
concluding that the army that MacArthur dreamed of would
possess "little or no value as an end in itself", its
only purpose being to supplement U.S. defensive
structures "induced" into defending the Philippines.
Also realistic were the report's contentions that Japan
could easily overrun MacArthur's minute and isolated
forces; that the defense program could bankrupt the
young nation while enraging the Japanese; and the
proposal of concentrating efforts into maintaining
internal order by expanding the Philippine Constabulary
in lieu of building a large and costly army. 9

Undaunted, MacArthur paid little heed to his
critics and forged ahead with his defense plan which
to his critics appeared grandiose, inappropriate and
potentially confrontational. Quezon was taken by
MacArthur's confidence in the ability of the Filipino
people to achieve success. In one poignant moment, he
told MacArthur that he, "...would be at a loss to
replace you and that unfortunate consequences might
result from your departure." 10 With support like
this, MacArthur proceeded with optimism and undeniable
confidence that his plan would succeed.
MacArthur submitted his first formal report to
Quezon on the matter of national defense in April 1936.
He issued a glowing report for the purpose of, as D.
Clayton James asserts, "...boosting Filipino morale and
support for the defense plan and to convince Washington
officials of its worth since he would soon be requesting
surplus and obsolete equipment from the War Department."
11 Quezon was unquestionably behind MacArthur and
shared his vigor for the program, but tangible results
were needed to accompany the positive rhetoric. And,
MacArthur realized that the Philippine army needed the
United States and must depend on them, "...for
cooperation and support, particularly for its source of
supply for needed equipment." 12 In this, we find yet

another fault in MacArthur's defense plan. This fault
is precisely identified by historian Carol Petillo:
Despite evidence which clearly argued that the
United States was less interested in Philippine
development then at any time in the past three and a
half decades, MacArthur still believed that its
relationship with the Philippine Islands would bode
well for both nations. His subsequent plan for
Philippine national defense was based on the
assumption that the United States valued its
connection with the Islands and would continue to
offer support when necessary. The definition of
this support was, however, the subject of much
dispute on both sides of the Pacific. Because the
issue was never settled and because each side
misunderstood the expectation of the other, the
ultimate results were disastrous. 13
MacArthur should have realized that the U.S.
interest in the Philippines was not altogether conducive
to the forging of a defense program for that nation
predicated on U.S. assistance. Therefore, MacArthur
should not have had the success of his plan predicated
upon U.S. support. Herein lies another fundamental flaw
in MacArthur's defense plan for the Philippines. He
should have been more aware of the state of
U.S.-Phi 1ippine relations at the time and not make the
failure or the success of his defense plan dependent
upon that relationship. However, without U.S. support
no plan could succeed.
MacArthur was optimistic and enthusiastic in his
April 1936 report entitled, "Report on the National
Defense in the Philippines". Eisenhower had drafted a

more pessimistic report which was rejected and this
bombastic one was prepared. MacArthur had the ultimate
editorial authority on the final draft, and began with a
veritable fabrication, by claiming!
Progress has exceeded original anticipation. In the
world today there is no other defense system that
provides an equal security at remotely comparable
cost to the people maintaining it. When fully
developed, the defense system will present to any
potential invader such difficult problems as to give
pause even to the most ruthless and powerful. 14
Eisenhower later remarked on this extraordinary
document which was issued only after the Military
Mission had been in the Philippines for six months!
MacArthur's report was far too optimistic. Actually
we had barely gotten started, and there was no
Philippine Army to speak of. Few of the camps had
been built and the system of registering the
Filipinos for training had barely begun functioning.
1 5
Not a single conscript had yet reported to duty
and MacArthur was being entirely presumptuous in making
his bold statements.
Whi1e the War Department remained skeptical of
MacArthur, his report did receive some endorsements.
Admiral O.G. Murfin of the Asiatic Fleet commenting on
the "splendid document" stated: "You are already going
places and are moving along with your plans faster than
the most optimistic could have hoped for." 16 Another
wrote MacArthur that his, "...defense system was a happy

approach to an ultimate solution." 17 Yet another
commented: "Your plan will go down in history as the
first sound plan for Adequate and Economic National
Defense for Defense Purposes Only." 18 The only thing
that NacArthur's defense plan for the Philippines will
go down in history for ended up to be its ultimate
failure, based on an ill-conceived defense strategy,
unrealistic expectation of support from the U.S., and a
lack of financial, material and moral support from those
he expected to support him.
With ray plan, the Philippines would achieve a peace
which upholds Christian virtues and defies the
threat of rapacious greed a peace that will mean
continued happiness and freedom for God-worshipping
and democratic people. I will forge you a weapon
that will spell the safety of your nation from
brutal aggression until the end of time. 19
MacArthur's pronouncements in 1936 garnered
little support, as his position ran counter to the
already-accepted War Plan Orange. MacArthur wanted to
defend the entire Archipelago. As MacArthur was
developing his National Defense Plan, military leaders
in Washington were re-evaluating the United States
position in the Pacific. The Army, cognizant that the
budget reductions of the past twenty years had
rendered even the minimal defense of the Philippines as
outlined in War Plan Orange, virtually impossible
suggested a withdrawal from the Philippines and China by

1946. The Navy postponed the decision on this matter,
apprehensive of an Alaska-Hawaii-Panama defensive
perimeter (it would limit their field of activity). The
Joint Board finally agreed to revise War Plan Orange to
provide for a minimal defense of Manila Bay. It was
conceded that it would be impossible to halt a Japanese
invasion of the Philippines and this was certainly
reflected in the revised War Plan Orange. 20
MacArthur's opinion, of course differed substantially
from this prevailing U.S. thought. In his April 1936
report he concluded by making his opinion clearly known:
The effectiveness of the whole would be vastly
increased if supported by a powerful navy and a
large air contingent. However, the problem of
reducing Philippine defenses will present to any
potential invader such difficult problems as to give
pause even to the most ruthless and powerful. The
defense of every foot of shoreline in the inhabited
islands of the Archipelago will be insured. 21
Therefore, MacArthur, despite obvious
indications from the Joint Board, was committed to
defend the entire Archipelago with a citizen-army, on a
shoestring budget sans any substantial air or naval
force. This view, as Petillo notes, "...was his
(MacArthur's) view in 1936, and he adamantly maintained
his view even after assuming command of the United
States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) in 1941."
22 MacArthur's rhetoric was encouraging to the

Filipinos, but any military professional worth his salt
thought the plan was impracticable. With confidence
such as he exuded in 1936, it is understandable why no
one listened to MacArthur when he searched for
scapegoats to blame for his Philippine forces' defeat in
1941-42. Historian Schaller puts it best:
While the General and his defenders later blamed
Washington for providing insufficient support and
damned Tokyo for attacking "too soon" (in 1941
instead of 1946), those excuses did not alter the
fact that his inviolable Philippine force collapsed
like a house of cards in December 1941. 23
MacArthur's defense plan began to develop as its
basic reorganization and growth processes were
implemented. The Philippine Constabulary, combined with
the Philippine Army in 1936, then became detached from
the army in 1938 to form the National Police Force with
its old name, the Philippine Constabulary. The PC was
needed at the inception of the Army in 1936 to serve as
the nucleus of that entity. However, when the Army
expanded, the PC resumed its past civil duties. By the
end of 1938, when it came under the control of the
Department of the Interior it had a numerical strength
of 350 officers and 4,500 men. The army also expanded
as its numbers reached 7,048 enlisted personnel and 439
officers. The military might of the U.S. Army in the
Philippines in 1937 consisted of 10,251 enlisted

personnel and 529 officers. Moreover, Quezon had
intended on expanding the regular Philippine Army
force to a maximum of 10,000 enlisted personnel by the
end of 1938. 24
As far as recruits were concerned, by the end of
1937, two semi-annual classes of trainees, numbering
36,601, selected by lot from a register of all men 21
years of age, had been trained and assigned to the
citizen's army reserve. In 1938, 33,247 additional
reserves received training. The intention was to train
40.000 recruits every year so that by 1946 the citizen
army would consist of 400,000 men in 40 divisions. At
its pinnacle in twenty years, the plan was to reach
approximately 90 divisions of about 900,000 troops. 25
In January 1937, the training of reserves under
the defense plan commenced. By 1941, there were 466
officers and 3,666 enlisted men in the regular army and
132.000 men in a 13 division reserve. The pint-size
off-shore patrol coastal defense force was also growing
within the constraints of the plan's fiscal limitations.
2 6
Because of the meager budget, money was a
problem for the Military Mission. Eisenhower found it
most difficult to find finances to implement MacArthur's
defense plan. In May 1936, he notified MacArthur that

it was imperative to wait to call the 20,000 conscripts
who were scheduled to report in January 1937.
Eisenhower and Ord cited the lack of sufficient funds,
the fact that camp sites had not yet been chosen, that
there were no officers to supervise the training and
that there was no comprehensive supply system for the
130 widely-dispersed camps, among the many problems
facing them. MacArthur in response, as Eisenhower
states in his diary: "...gave us one of his regular
shouting tirades. I argue these points with more heat
and persistency than does Jim (Ord)... consequently I
came in for the more severe criticism." 27
Even though they were close, Eisenhower
encouraged MacArthur to confer with Quezon on a more
regular basis. MacArthur egotistically declined his
proposal as Eisenhower says, "...he apparently thinks it
would not be in keeping with his rank and position for
him to do so." 28 Because of this, Quezon and
Eisenhower spent a lot of time together. They conferred
so often that Eisenhower was given an office in
Malacanang Palace right next to Quezon's office. 29
MacArthur's bombastic pride prevented him from meeting
with Quezon on a consistent basis as he should have.
This. could be one of the reasons behind future tension
between the two men.

Impressed with MacArthur's handling of the
National Defense Plan, Quezon, on June 18, 1936 accorded
the title of Field Marshal to his Military Adviser. He
did this to give MacArthur's position greater
importance. Writing to the Speaker of the National
Assembly, Quezon explained he was raising MacArthur to
the highest military rank in international usage "as a
token of his efforts and for his constructive
statesmanship." 30 This was provided for in the
National Defense Act in the form of Section 95 of Title
IV. 3
Upon hearing of this, Eisenhower tried "to
persuade MacArthur to refuse the title since it was
pompous and rather ridiculous to be the Field Marshal of
a virtually non-existent army." 32 In his diary,
Eisenhower further commented on this matter*.
Because so many American officers (stationed in the
Philippines) believe that the attempt to create a
Philippine Army is somewhat ridiculous, the
acceptance by us of high rank in an army which is
not yet formed would serve as to belittle our
effort. 33
Confronting MacArthur directly, Eisenhower said*.
General, you have been a four-star General (in the
U.S. Army). This is a proud thing. There's only
been a few who had it. Why in the hell do you want
a banana country giving you a Field Marshalship?
This...this looks like you're trying for some kind
of ...(MacArthur stopped him). Oh Jesus! He just
gave me hell! (Eisenhower recollected later) 34

As historian Stephen E. Ambrose wrote,
"MacArthur, obviously, did not share Eisenhower's
sensibilities. He believed, and often said, that Asians
were peculiarly impressed by rank and title. Since that
suited his own tastes, he accepted the Field-Marshal
rank. 35 "I could not decline it without offense to the
President," MacArthur explained to Eisenhower. 38 In
reaction to the whole scene, Eisenhower remarked,
"MacArthur is tickled pink." 37 Eisenhower had thought
that everything was Quezon's idea. It was only later
that it was revealed to Eisenhower that the title of
Field Marshal had been the idea of MacArthur. 38
Even with the title of Field Marshal, MacArthur
(and Quezon) encountered many difficulties in defensive
preparations. Among the impediments were: illiteracy
and ignorance of many trainees, the presence of many
different dialects (actually different languages in many
cases) among the trainees which precluded effective
communication and the lack of all types of supplies from
funds to officers to weapons to shoes to tents. 39
Consequently, the troops who emerged from training were
ill-equipped for potential combat. For along with their
inept training there was also a shortage of guns and
ammunition (not much practice on the firing range). Not
surprisingly, the training was sorely inefficient, and

morale was low with discipline also being poor. These
problems were exacerbated by inadequate food and
substantial discrepancies in pay between Filipinos and
Americans. For example, a U.S. Army private would be
paid $30 per month, a Filipino private $7. A U.S. Army
sergeant received $126, a Filipino $22.50. To cite
another.glaring inequity, the Philippine Army Chief of
Staff received the same salary as that of a U.S. Army
colonel. 40 Things such as these further aggravated
MacArthur's difficulties with his defense plan and
illustrated to all its fundamental misconceptions and
Further difficulties are explained by Eisenhower
and yet another diary entry:
We at least Jimmy (Ord) and myself have learned
to expect from the Filipinos with whom we deal a
minimum of performance from a maximum of promise.
Among individuals there is no lack of intelligence,
but to us they seem...unaccustomed to the
requirements of administrative and executive
procedure. In conferences, they seemed to
understand well enough what was required and
promised to deliver shortly, but, thereafter it is
quite likely than nothing whatsoever will be done.
It is then developed that the Philippine officers
had not agreed at all, and the whole matter had to
be discussed again. These peculiar traits we are
learning to take into account. But, obviously, they
impede progress. 41
In mid-1936, MacArthur and Quezon planned to
take a trip to Washington D.C. to greet Republican
presidential candidate Alf Landon, whom the General had

wagered "several thousand pesos" on to beat his
long-time nemesis FDR. Roosevelt' s victory in the
Presidential elections had adverse implications for
MacArthur. Roosevelt expressed growing disbelief in the
efficacy of the Philippine defense plan, and the War
Department under Roosevelt's administration would
undoubtedly continue to charge exorbitant prices for
surplus weapons with the President doing little to
expedite deliveries. Roosevelt was concerned that
MacArthur's build-up of arms in the Philippines
imperiled the Philippines and precluded a possible
neutrality agreement between the Philippines and Japan
by "militarizing" the Islands. Roosevelt believed that
if Japan attacked, the Philippines would be overwhelmed
and the U.S. would have to evacuate what forces they
could, and then move "gradually westward in an island
hopping operation" to recapture Manila and the
Philippines. Although his desire for a neutrality pact
did not materialize, Roosevelt's prediction of a Pacific
War strategy turned out to be quite prophetic. *2
The matter of the proposed neutralization of the
Philippines in 1936-37 requires further amplification.
At this time, the U.S. wanted to reduce its commitments
in the Philippines but was unwilling (in the shadow of
war) to sacrifice the Islands to the appetite of Japan.

On November 16, 1936, President Roosevelt in an effort
to relieve international tensions, proposed a plan for
the neutralization of the Pacific Islands. 43
Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickles stated that the
President's proposal:
...did not go much into details, but he suggested a
possible agreement for the disarmament of
practically everything in the Pacific except Japan,
Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. This would
leave the Philippines, Shanghai, Hong Kong, the
Dutch East Indies, British North Borneo, and other
important places neutralized. Hawaii would remain
armed, but not that portion of Alaska nearest Japan.
The belief that Japan could not be trusted to
keep treaty pledges precluded the realization of
Roosevelt's plan to neutralize the Pacific Islands.
Commenting on a critical report of Roosevelt's proposal
entitled "Neutralization of the Islands of the Pacific.*
Pros and Contras" 45, historian Dorothy Borg stated:
(in the report) was persistently asserted that
the United States should not conclude the treaty in
regard to any aspect of the Pacific area until the
time arrived when conditions in the Far East had
been stabilized and a comprehensive settlement could
again be worked out involving concessions on both
sides. 46
In many circles it was thought that the Japanese
would judge the Roosevelt proposal a confession of
"defeatism" and "moral weakness". 47 This proposal is
significant in that it indicates Roosevelt's desire to
seek other avenues for the assurance of Philippine

security rather than the MacArthur plan. Probably not
realistic, Roosevelt's proposal does illustrate one of
the hindrances which MacArthur encountered at the
executive level in his effort to build the defenses of
the Philippines Roosevelt sought to defend the
Philippines by neutralizing it rather than supporting
MacArthurs Island defense initiative.
Meanwhile, in his final days as High
Commissioner, Frank Murphy made an appeal to Washington
to do something about MacArthur. In a December 28,
1936 statement, he "emphasized more than anything else
the growing menace" of the Military Mission to the
Philippines. Murphy emphatically stated that the
mission should not have been dispatched in the first
place and that it "be abandoned as soon as practicable."
MacArthur was described as "a lone horse" who was
difficult to deal with. Craig concurred with Murphy and
asserted that the mission be recalled no later than July
1, 1937. Embrick supported Craig but noted that the
government "would have a difficult time on its hands
with MacArthur" if MacArthur was recalled. 48
Nevertheless, Craig sent MacArthur a
confidential cable on August 6, 1937 which ordered him
to return to the U.S. for a new assignment after he had
finished two years of service in the Philippines...