BUENCAMINO, DECEMBER 25, 1898
[Original in Spanish. Unsigned draft apparently in handwriting of F. Buencamino.
[DEC. 25TH, 1898]
Sr. Juan Macleod told us day before yesterday (23) in the morning
that Gen. Otis desired to hold a conference with us D. Francisco Soriano,
D. Nicolas Jalandoni, D. Claudio Lopez, and D. Jose Ner. At four
o'clock in the afternoon the conference took place in the palace of the
Ayuntamiento and Gen. Otis told us that he had been informed by Gen.
Rios that he had been ordered by the Government at Madrid to turn over
Iloilo to the government of occupation; Gen. Otis added that he had been
ordered to send 2000 men under command of General Miller to occupy
Iloilo, Cebu and the other islands of the Visayas and Mindanao.
He said besides that he had called us, knowing our influence in Iloilo,
to serve as intermediaries with the revolutionary chief of Iloilo, and to
arrange that the troops should disembark from the transport without any
disturbance; he said that his object was to insure order and to provide
for the protection of strangers in that city, defending the government of
the Island from the people of the surrounding country.
We replied that we would be intermediaries but that we should decline
to assume any responsibility at all. We said we thought it was not
necessary to disembark in Iloilo more troops than those required for the
purpose mentioned since if more were landed a conflict would probably
ensue, and this we did not desire. Gen. Otis replied that he would not
land more troops than necessary and that he in tended to distribute the
rest of the 2000 men as soon as possible in Cebu and the other islands.
On both sides it was agreed that the commissioners should go abroad an
American ship of war on the afternoon of the 26th.
This morning (the 25th) the commissioners sent word to Sr. Don Juan
Macleod to tell General Otis that in case they found Iloilo on their arrival
in the hands of the revolutionary forces, the disembarkation of troops
should be postponed until a decision on the matter should be obtained
from the Filipino Government presided over by Don Emilio Aguinaldo,
and in order to insure the arrival of the decision with the greatest possible
promptitude a ship of war should be placed at the disposal of the government
of Iloilo, to serve as a mail boat and to aid the said government
of Iloilo in its general and special correspondence with the central
government of the Philippines, and that they desired especially to have
these questions are referred for the decision of the highest persons in the
said Government. The Commissioners have not yet received a reply to
Sr. Soriano states that he believes that from General Otis' actions it
is his earnest intention to annex us, although from the words of the said
general it may be inferred that there exists in the Senate of Washington
two parties, annexationists and antiannexationists, the first being stronger
and founding their belief upon the fact that they have incurred a moral
obligation to set up a government themselves since they destroyed the
former one. He also thinks that General Otis wants to divide us and he
bases this belief upon the fact that he has not come to an understanding
with the central government upon the matters described above, but has preferred
to treat directly with the Visayas. Sr. Soriano adds that General Otis
told them that it was fitting that they should recognize the American government
because it is the most ideal of the whole world, and since it will
leave to us the government of the country requiring only that we recognize
the Government in Washington, and when the American Government is
once recognized the riches of the country will be increased. Besides, Otis
told him that the Americans had no intention of fighting since they have
an order from McKinley to yield as much as possible and are charged to
make a study of all the islands.