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TERRITORIES: Missouri in Manila

2 minute read

Through Manila’s hot and malodorous streets last week passed a great gaudy parade for Philippine independence. Guest of honor, chief reviewer and actual agitator of the parade was a fleshy U. S. sportsman, Missouri’s Democratic Senator Harry Bartow Hawes, author of a pending bill in Congress to free the islands.* He stood on the steps of Manila’s Legislative Building to receive ovations, watch the fun. Beside him stood Nevada’s Senator Key Pittman, many a Filipino official. For two hours Senator Hawes watched 50,000 natives file by—school children, college students, labor unionists, club women, civic workers, politicians. Loud and long were the cheers for Senator Hawes. Said he afterwards: “That turnout convinced me the Filipinos want independence. If anyone doesn’t want it, he must be in hiding.”

Governor General Davis (he is also from Missouri), Army officers and U. S. businessmen ignored the parade. Earlier charges were heard that instructors at the National University had coerced students to participate by threats to reduce their grades 5%. The demonstration which drew 100,000 spectators was orderly and good-natured. Trouble developed only when a band of 200 Filipino rowdies invaded the lawns of the Army & Navy Club, began throwing stones. They were driven off by club members.

Meanwhile in Missouri there was much bewilderment as the motive for Senator Hawes’s crusading passion for Philippine independence. The question was not a live political issue there. His friends ascribed three reasons: 1) an original human and unselfish interest in freeing the Philippines; 2) publicity accruing to him as the leader of a Cause; 3) promptings of U. S. beet sugar interests which want to shut out the Philippine product. In Washington last week Governor General Davis’ annual report on the Philippines was made public. He declared that, during the 1930 Depression, the islands had been saved from “a major economic disaster” because they had free trade with the U. S.

*Last month Senator Hawes’s Missouri colleague, Republican Roscoe Conkling Patterson, also visited Manila, went away opposed to immediate Philippine independence.

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