Harry S. Truman photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing Bills Providing for Philippine Rehabilitation and Trade.

April 30, 1946

I HAVE TODAY signed H.R. 5856 and S. 1610, the two bills which constitute the heart of the program for Philippine Rehabilitation and Recovery.

On October 6, 1943, President Roosevelt called upon the Congress "to make provision to determine the adjustments necessary in the existing provisions of law which govern the economic relations between the United States and the Philippines so as to assist in making the Philippines, as an independent nation, economically secure."

That recommendation was made in the heat and desperation of struggle. It climaxed promises made to the people of the Philippines that not only would their land be liberated from the tyranny of the enemy, but that they would be given their full independence and would be rehabilitated from the ravages of war.

The enactment of H.R. 5856 and S. 1610 into law marks the fulfillment of the last of these promises.

In S. 1610, we are making provision for war damage payments to those who suffered war losses in the Philippines, and for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of public property. We are also undertaking to rehabilitate and develop those technical skills and services which will be essential for the survival and growth of the Philippines as an independent nation.

In H.R. 5856, we are providing for the establishment, through an executive agreement, of an unprecedented plan of preferential trade relations with the Philippines to last for twenty-eight years. We have never entered into similar agreement with any foreign government. Preferential trade relations are alien to the policy of this administration. In substance, however, H.R. 5856 is a rehabilitation act. Its sole purpose and guiding philosophy is to furnish a formula for the rehabilitation of the Philippine national economy through the encouragement of private enterprise and private initiative. H.R. 5856 provides an economic function for the buildings and factories which will be restored and rebuilt under the terms of S.1610.

While it is unfortunate that the Congress saw fit to provide in S. 1610 that no war damage payment in excess of $500 shall be made until the executive agreement shall have been entered into between the President of the United States and the President of the Philippines under the terms of H.R. 5856, to all practical purposes this provision is surplusage, as the benefits which will flow under the enactment of the two bills are so great as to ensure execution of the executive agreement by the Republic of the Philippines.

This is unprecedented legislation for the United States, but the situation itself is unprecedented. We are about to grant political independence to these people. Today we are giving them a chance to preserve and develop their nation on a temporary economic basis of trade preferences. Political independence without economic stability would be totally ineffective.

I am happy to approve these two measures, which give notice to the people of the Philippines and to the entire world that we are redeeming our promises to the heroic Philippine people.

Note: As enacted, S. 1610 is Public Law 370, 79th Congress (60 Stat. 128); H.R. 5856 is Public Law 370, 79th Congress (60 Stat. 141).

The agreement between the United States and the Philippines respecting trade was signed at Manila on July 4, 1946, and entered into force January 2, 1947 (61 Stat. 2611).

Harry S. Truman, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bills Providing for Philippine Rehabilitation and Trade. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232826

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