Franklin D. Roosevelt

Resignation of the First United States High Commissioner to the Philippines.

July 09, 1936

President received the following letter from the Honorable Frank Murphy, United States High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands:

Dear Mr. President:

Believing that continuance of your leadership and the success of the Democratic Party in the coming State and national elections are of first importance to the people of Michigan and the country at large, I have decided to make myself available to the Democratic Party as a candidate for the office of Governor of Michigan in the event I should be chosen at the party primary in September.

This decision has been reached after careful consideration and numerous conferences with party leaders in my own State who have assured me that my candidacy would meet with the general approval of members and friends of the Democratic Party in Michigan and would materially promote the success of our cause.

Subject to your approval, therefore, I tender herewith my resignation from the Office of United States High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands, effective at your pleasure. In taking this step I desire to express my gratitude for the privilege of representing our Government in the Philippines, first as Governor-General and later as High Commissioner, at a time when high ideals of public service and sound practices in governmental finance were being established for a young Nation. We have been privileged to help a people toward their freedom. Under your sympathetic direction the affairs of fourteen million people in a large and important possession on the other side of the world have been administered with due regard for their national ideals and aspirations and with a high sense of trusteeship for their economic and political welfare. It has been our constant aim to accord them fair treatment and equal consideration with our own people and all others owing allegiance to the American flag and authority.

Important problems are still pending for solution, one of which is the satisfactory settlement of future economic relations and conditions of trade between the two countries. It is to be hoped that these and other matters affecting the future welfare and security of the Philippine people will be settled on a basis of permanent interest and friendship, creditably to ourselves and our posterity. The Philippine people may be assured of my faith in them, my continuing deep interest in their welfare and the success of their Government, and my confidence in the happy consummation of our present enlightened policy of mutual respect and good-will.

With firm belief in our cause, and assurance of high personal regard and esteem, I remain

Very respectfully,

FRANK MURPHY United States High Commissioner

The President replied as follows:

My dear Frank:

I have received with mixed feelings your letter of resignation. While I regret that circumstances prompt you to relinquish the great office of High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands, the sense of regret is tempered by the thought that your action may pave the way for utilization in other fields of the varied and diverse talents which you have so successfully exercised in the discharge of your duties in the Pacific Archipelago.

For the way in which you have performed your duties I have only the highest praise. Great events have taken place during your tenure, first, as Governor-General and latterly as High Commissioner.

You have guided with integrity, sympathy, understanding, tact and discretion the aspirations of a people numbering more than 14,000,000 souls in their struggle to achieve nationhood. You have by wise exercise of the powers conferred upon you not only justified my own highest expectations; you have done a service for your country and for the cause of humanity.

As a result of your efforts there has grown up between the United States and the Philippines a feeling of cordiality and mutual trust without a parallel in the history of relations between a sovereign and a dependent people. This mutual cordiality and good-will have been achieved without sacrificing other considerations. On the practical side of affairs you have balanced the' budget while, at the same time, you have set high ideals of social justice and social responsibility.

These are some of the considerations that come to mind now that you have signified your desire to be relieved of your duties. In all the circumstances, therefore, I feel that I cannot do otherwise than to hold your resignation in abeyance with the understanding that, effective September 5th, next, you will be given leave of absence for two months without pay. Meanwhile, if developments should compel, at a later date, a reluctant acceptance of your resignation, I shall find reassurance in the fact that your superb knowledge of Philippine affairs, as well as the rich experience which you have gained, will be available always through the wise counsel you can give us in time to come.

With renewed assurance of my personal regard, I am

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Resignation of the First United States High Commissioner to the Philippines. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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