Manila, P.I., January 4, 1899

To the People of the Philippine Islands

Instructions of His Excellency, the President of the United States, relative to the administration of affairs in the Philippine Islands have been transmitted to me by direction of the Honorable, the Secretary of War, under date of December 28, 1898. They direct me to publish and proclaim in the most public manner to the inhabitants of these islands that in the war against Spain the United States forces came here to destroy the power of that Nation and to give the blessings of peace and individual freedom to the Philippine people; that we are here as friends of the Philippinos to protect them in their homes, their employments, their individual and religious liberty; that all persons who, either by active aid or honest endeavor co-operate with the Government of the United States to give effect to these beneficient purposes, will receive the reward of its support and protection.

The President of the United States has assumed that the municipal laws of the country in respect to private rights and property and the repression of crime are to be considered as continuing in force, in so far as they may be applicable to a free people, and should be administered by the ordinary tribunals of justice, presided over by representatives of the people and those in thorough sympathy with them in their desires for good government; that the functions and duties connected with civil and municipal administration are to be performed by such officers as wish to accept the assistance of the United States, chosen in so far as it may be practicable from the inhabitants of the islands; that while the management of public property and revenues and the use of all public means of transportation are to be conducted under the military authorities until such authorities can be replaced by civil administration, all private property, whether of individuals or corporations, must be respected and protected. If private property be taken for Military uses it shall be paid for at a fair valuation in cash if possible, and when payment in cash is not practicable at the time, receipts therefore will be given to be taken up and liquidated as soon as cash becomes available. The Ports of the Philippine Islands shall be open to the commerce of all foreign nations, and goods and merchandise not prohibited for military reasons by the Military Authorities shall be admitted upon payment of such duties and charges shall be in force at the time of importation.

The President concludes his instructions in the following language:

Finally, it should be the earnest and paramount aim of the Administration to win the confidence, respect and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by insuring to them in every possible way the full measure of individual rights, and liberty which is the heritage of a free people, and by providing to them that the mission of the United States is one of the beneficent assimilation, which will substitute the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule. In the fulfillment of this high mission, while upholding the temporary administration of affairs for the greatest good of the governed, there will be sedulously maintained the strong arm of authority to repress disturbance, and to overcome all obstacles to the bestowal of the blessings of good and stable government upon the people of the Philippine Islands.

From the tenor and substance of the above instructions of the President, I am fully of the opinion that it is the intention of the United States Government, while directing affairs generally, to appoint the representative men now forming the controlling element of the Philippinos to civil positions of trust and responsiblity, and it will be my aim to appoint thereto such Philippinos as may be acceptable to the supreme authorities in Washington.

It is also my belief that it is the intention of the United States Government to draw from the Philippino people so much of the military force of the islands as possible and consistent with a free and well constituted government of the country, and it is my desire to inaugurate a policy of that character. I am also convinced that it is the intention of the United States Government to seek the establishment of a moot liberal government for the islands, in which the poeple themselves shall have as full representation as the maintenance of order and the maintenance of order and law will permit, and which shall be susceptible of development on lines of increased representation and the bestowal of increased powers into a government as free and independent as in enjoyed by the most favored provinces of the world.

It will be my constant endeavor to co-operate with the Philippino people seeking the good of the country, and I invite their full confidence and aid.

Major General, U.S.V.
Military Governor