We abandoned our independent foreign policy


Since President Duterte took office, he has been claiming that he is pursuing an “independent foreign policy.” The sad part is that we had an independent foreign policy, until the start of his administration. How we got to this mess may be traced to the often quoted commencement speech of then Sen. Claro M. Recto titled “Our Mendicant Foreign Policy.”

In that speech Recto said: “In the parliament of the United Nations, it is no more difficult to predict that the Philippines will vote with the American Union, than the Ukraine will vote with the Soviet Union. (Author’s note: The Ukraine was then part of the USSR.) American policy has found no more eloquent spokesman or zealous advocate and Russian policy no louder critic or more resourceful opponent than the Philippines. Americans may disagree with their own foreign policy, but it has no better supporters than the Filipinos.”

That statement of Recto is false. We have differed with the United States on issues vital to our national interest. Four months after Recto’s speech at the University of the Philippines on April 17, 1951, America convened the San Francisco Conference to conclude a peace treaty with Japan. It explicitly stated that Japan shall not be required to pay reparations. Japan was then being set up as a bulwark against communism.

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