Harry S. Truman photo

Toasts of the President and President Quirino at the State Dinner.

August 08, 1949

GENTLEMEN, this is an historical occasion. We have here tonight, Mr. President, what you might call enough representation to be the whole Government of the United States. You have the President, and the Vice President, the Speaker of the House who, according to my civic studies is supposed to be the second most powerful man in government--I don't know whether he is or not; and we have the Chief Justice of the United States, head of the greatest court in the world. We have the Cabinet all represented here. We have the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and the ranking Minority Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, who was Chairman of the 80th Congress. We have the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which starts the tax program in the United States. We have the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the House, who is the originator of appropriations for the operation of the Government of the United States. We have the minority Members of the House and Senate represented here.

And I think that the situation is so arranged that we can truthfully say that we are honoring the Republic of the Philippines. The Republic of the Philippines is something new in the history of the world. Never before--from Egypt, Assyria, Greece and Rome, to Great Britain and the Empire of the French--has it been the province-the privilege--of the most powerful nation in the world to create a Republic and donate to it sovereignty in its own right, until the Republic of the Philippines was created.

I have an extreme and very close interest in the Philippine Republic, for the simple reason that I happened to be--by the accident of death--President of the United States when the Republic of the Philippines was instituted on July 4, 1946.

It was my privilege to be acquainted with the first President of the Philippine Republic, and the second President of the Philippine Republic, and now we have the third President of the Republic of the Philippines, and the first official visit from a President of the Republic of the Philippines to the United States of America.

I want to offer a toast to the President of the Philippine Republic, and to wish for the complete and entire success of that great Republic.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a state dinner at the Carlton Hotel in Washington. President Quirino responded as follows:

Mr. President:

I think it is opportune for me to reveal that there are several reasons why I came to the United States. It was, of course, in response to the gracious invitation of your great President that I decided to come. But, behind that invitation I had my own selfish reasons for coming here.

I remember three: One was to be able to get rid of my political opponents there who were attacking me--I thought I could relax here. The second is that I want to derive inspiration from the career of President Truman, who succeeded to the Presidency of the United States after the death of President Roosevelt, and got himself elected afterwards.

And the third is, and this is most recently, I find that I have to prepare myself to answer all those sometimes unholy attacks of my colleagues in the Philippines because of the fact that I am a widower. I think I will be better prepared while in America to defend myself from still being a widower. I don't know if I shall ever follow Vice President Barkley's example. But I think I will be learning something from the trial which is being prepared by the Chief Justice, with the President of the United States, the Prosecuting Attorney, and myself as special witness--on condition that he give to me the advantages of being a widower in Washington.

Mr. President, I feel highly honored to be your guest this evening. I little thought that some day I would be the honored guest of the President of the United States. Perhaps there is a little bit of a parallel between your career, Mr. President, and mine. You just stated that in your youth you were fond of music, and had thoughts of being a musician some day.

When I was about the same age, 15, I used to draw pictures. I wanted to study painting, and aspired to be a noted Philippine painter some day. You did not have your wish realized, and I didn't have my wish realized. But I know that you are the President of the greatest republic of the world today, and I know, too, that I am fortunate in being given the opportunity to preside over the destinies of one of your daughter republics.

In England, in 1947, I came to know that the Philippines is the granddaughter of England, because America is considered to be a daughter of England. The Philippines, being considered a daughter of the United States, naturally is considered the granddaughter of England.

But I must say at this moment, Mr. President, that the Philippines is the esteemed and only daughter of the United States in the Far East. We are proud of that, and we want to assure you that we are doing our best to justify the confidence you have placed in us, in ushering us into the family of nations in 1946. We are doing our best, and the progress of the Philippines is largely the development of the life history of four Presidents of the United States. The history of the Philippine Republic is therefore largely the story of four Presidents of this great country.

President McKinley stumbled upon the Philippines in 1898. Not knowing what to do about it, he thought of just keeping it, not for exploitation, but for the purpose of educating and civilizing its people and preparing them for self-government. It was President Wilson who conceived the idea of giving us permanent government, and promised to give us our independence as soon as we could stand on our own feet strongly and stably. It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who granted us, by law, that independence, and fought for that independent sovereignty during the darkest hour of the Philippines.

But it remained for you, Mr. President, to give life, to give dignity, to give distinction, and what I expect will be security, for that new republic of the East. All of which makes us doubly grateful, not only to you but to this Nation of the United States. For this reason we are proud of you, and we are determined to make your handiwork an example of your noble career in your world mission.

May I offer a toast to the President of the United States, who today rules the whole world.

Harry S. Truman, Toasts of the President and President Quirino at the State Dinner. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/229831

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