19th March 1934

United States Congress passed the Tydings-McDuffie Philippine independence bill

The House of Representatives of the United States Congress passes the Tydings-McDuffie Philippine independence bill without a record vote. Manuel L. Quezon, President of the Philippine Senate and head of the Philippine Mission to Washington, states: “This is a real independence measure in that it provides for the withdrawal of all army reservations after independence and leaves the question of naval bases for future settlement. It is planned to invite a congressional commission to visit the Philippines after the law is signed so that it can hear the Filipinos with reference to other provisions of the law which they objected to and which we haven’t been able to remedy at present.” He endorses the suggestion of Rep. John D. Dingle that Governor-General Frank Murphy become the first High Commissioner. Resident Commissioner Pedro Guevara declares: “I am in a position to say that the bill would be accepted by the Filipino people. It is a fulfilment of a pledge, a glorious crowning of America’s humanitarian task . . . a glorious culmination of American efforts to build a new nation in the Far East”. Rep. John McDuffie states, “This represents a solemn fulfilment of our pledge to the Filipino people.” Answering a barrage of questions from the Republican side during the discussions, McDuffie assured the House that naval bases will be retained, subject to a conference between the President and the Philippine Government within two years after independence. Several Democrats said that the charge of Rep. C. J. Colden that the Filipinos were not sincere in their demands for independence is “absurd”. Isauro Gabaldon, a member of the Mission, states that the bill is the worst possible bill and predicts that the Filipinos will not accept it. Rep. R. L. Bacon, Republican, challenges the right of Congress to grant independence. Sen. W. H. King stated “It’s a damned immoral thing to hold these people under domination for the next 10 or 15 years against their wishes”. Bacon and Colden charged that the bill was backed by the American sugar and oil interests.