American Objections, Secular and Ecclesiastical
From Our Own Correspondent NEW YORK.
The interest of Catholics in the Philippines has lately been aroused by the Eucharistic Congress. In America there is now another reason for Philippine news value.
The visit of Manuel Quezon, President of the Philippine Commonwealth, to this country has created quite a controversy concerning their proposed freedom. His visit was to discuss plans for the establishment of better economic relations between the two Governments.
He took advantage of his visit by making it clear that he favoured complete autonomy for the Philippines before 1945, the year set by the United States for their independence.
President Quezon emphatically denied the charges made by several critics who contend he is building a military dictatorship in the Philippine Islands. Oswald Garrison Villard, associate editor of the Nation, started the controversy when he boldly criticised President Quezon's policies. He expressed fear of a military dictatorship and " great anxiety for the Philippines."
According to Mr. Villard, President Quezon's military training programme sounds "suspiciously like Rome, Berlin and Moscow " and he suggests the neutralisation of the Philippines as the answer to her problems.
The Rev. James M. Gillis, C.S.P.. writing in the current issue of the Catholic. World, considers it a foolish move on the
part of the United States in granting the Philippines their freedom. Their proximity to the ever-expanding Japan put the Philippines in a very dangerous position. If Japan gained control of the islands, he says, it would be a disastrous blow to the Catholic Church since, for obvious reasons, the foreign clergy would be forced to leave the islands.
There are 12,000,000 Catholics in the Philippines and nearly fifty per cent. of the priests serving these people are foreign born, mostly Americans.
Puerto Rico Nationalism
During a recent riot in Puerto Rico a hundred persons were wounded and more than a score killed when police tried to prevent a parade of the " Liberating Army," the Nationalist military unit.
A growing spirit of Nationalism is pervading the hitherto tranquil island of Puerto Rico. The Nationalist party, a militant organisation composed mostly of young Puerto Ricans. has pledged itself to secure Puerto Rico's independence from the United States at any cost even resorting to arms if necessary.
The Nationalist party, however, numbers but a few thousand in Puerto Rico's population of 1,543,918. Like all other extremist minorities they can make things very unpleasant for the United States.
American investors control most of Puerto Rico's resources and if they were to withdraw their capital the island would rapidly fall into a state of economic chaos.