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The Philippine-American War Documents

Aguinaldo's Manifesto Protesting the United States'
Claim of Sovereignty Over the Philippines

January 5, 1899

General Otis styles himself Military Governor of these Islands, and I protest one and a thousand times and with all the energy of my soul against such authority. I proclaim solemnly that I have not recognized either Singapore or in Hong Kong or in the Philippines, by word or in writing, the sovereignty of America over this beloved soil. On the contrary, I say that I returned to these Islands on an American warship on the 19th of May last for the express purpose of making war on the Spaniards to regain our liberty and independence. I stated this in my proclamation of the 24th of May last, and I publish it in my Manifesto addressed to the Philippine people on the 12th of June. Lastly, all this was confirmed by the American General Merritt himself, predecessor of General Otis, in his Manifesto to the Philippine people some days before he demanded the surrender of Manila from the Spanish General Jaudenes. In that Manifesto it is distinctly stated that the naval and field forces of the United States had come to give us our liberty, by subverting the bad Spanish Government, And I hereby protest against this unexpected act of the United States claiming sovereignty over these Islands. My relations with the United States did not bring me over here from Hong Kong to make war on the Spaniards for their benefit, but for the purpose of our own liberty and independence. . .

NOTE: Aguinaldo's manifesto was issued as a protest against General Otis' publication endorsing President McKinley's December 21, 1898 Benevolent Proclamation claiming himself as "Military Governor of the Philippines." When Otis read this manifesto he considered it as tantamount to declaration of war by Aguinaldo.

Source of Treaty Texts: The Statutes At Large of the United States of America from March 1897 to March 1899 and Recent Treaties, Conventions, Executive Proclamations, and The Concurrent Resolutions of the Two Houses of Congress, Volume XXX, published by the U.S. Government Printing Office, 1899. Copy courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, Asian Division.

Document copy researched by Madge Kho of Somerville, MA 

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