GENERAL TO LUCENTE, JUNE 23, 1900
[Original in Spanish. Unsigned document. P.I.R., 1223.1.]
JUNE 23, 1900.
Sr. CIPRIANO LUCENTE,
My DEAR SIR AND FRIEND: I have the honor to inform you that
the 3rd instant, the American civil commission, of which Mr. Taft is
the president, arrived here with the purpose, I understand, of studying
the necessities of the country and to ascertain the aspirations of its
inhabitants, in order to establish subsequently, the form of government
which, in its opinion, may best accord with the former and meet the
latter. I also inform you that this Commission not wishing, according
to information which I have received from Manila, to treat with
the people in arms, unless such arms arc first laid down, naturally
will completely ignore our Honorable President, whose unalterable opinion
is to secure the Independence of the Philippines, cost it what it may,
and however long the present war may last. In view of this position
of the Commission, our President does not nor does he wish to recognize
that it has any official character, it being indeed the general
belief of all our politicians that said commission lacks this character.
For this reason, being desirous of avoiding ulterior results, which might
prejudice us, as it is probable that the Commission will endeavor to
collect the greatest amount of data possible in favor of the present
policy of the Government of the United States, and as it is possible
that it may send some of its representatives to your province in order
to take advantage among the pacific people of their good faith in some
cases and their ignorance in others, I deem it advisable to address you
by means of this letter, hoping that your patriotism and ardent love
for the Philippines, will lead you to circulate actively the following
instructions in the towns under your jurisdiction:
1. Whenever any person, Filipino or foreign, of any condition, should
be questioned as to whether the Filipinos wish peace or not, answer
shall be made that they wish peace.
2. If they are asked in what manner they wish that peace be
secured, answer shall be made in the manner which Sr. E. Aguinaldo
may deem best, whom we up to the present time recognize as President,
whose orders we await and which we are always disposed to obey; consequently
we are of the opinion that said gentleman is the best person
with whom the Commission could treat.
3. If they should be asked why they are still in the towns while
their President is still bearing arms, they shall answer; That not believing
ourselves suitable for the war, and being forced by matters beyond
our control, more than anything else, we are in the towns and
obey the government of occupation in all that it may order, hoping in
this manner to secure the best possible solution of the Philippine problem.
4. If they should be asked what the solution is that the Filipinos
desire, they shall answer: as Filipinos, we desire the Independence of
5. If they should be asked whether they want annexation, they
should answer: If possible, we do not want annexation.
6. If they should be asked whether they serve the American Government
through convenience alone, they shall answer; No, we have already
said that we serve because we are obliged to do so by force
Persons who, by reason of their ignorance, should find it difficult
to understand or learn these instructions, shall be told to make answer
to any question which may be asked them: I obey the commands of the
President of the Republic of the Philippines, Sr. Emilio Aguinaldo, or
also: what the local chief and other principales of the town may order.
These are, my dear friend, the instructions which I have the honor
to entrust to your zeal and prudence, hoping that you will study them
exhaustively, in order to ascertnin whether there are any other questions
which they may put to us, in which event you will write me promptly
and inform me of it, so that I may prepare the proper answer.
In the event that the Commission should desire the opinion of the
people in writing, or when you should consider such method advisable,
you are authorized to draft instructions in the form of a statement,
securing the signatures of all the persons in the town able to affix it.
Hoping that you will have the courtesy to acknowledge receipt here-of,
I remain as ever your affectionate friend and General.
[Here follows a list of towns to which the above is to be sent.]