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The Filipino-American Hostilities

American Apostasy It must be remembered that it was the Americans who first approached Aguinaldo in Hongkong and in Singapore to persuade him to cooperate with Commodore Dewey in wresting the power from the Spaniards. There was an informal alliance between Dewey and Aguinaldo an alliance to fight a common enemy. Aguinaldo was used by the Americans merely as a tool for their own selfish purpose. McKinleys Benevolent Assimilation Proclamation Before the conclusion of the Treaty of Paris, President McKinley pretended not to know what to do with the Philippines. There were American vested interests who pressured McKinley into taking the Philippines: the American economic interests; the naval and military interests; and the religious interests. McKinley finally instructed the American peace commissioners in Paris to demand the cession of the Philippines to the United States. December 21, 1898 McKinley issued his so-called Benevolent Assimilation. It expressly indicated the intention of the United States to stay in the Philippines by exercising the right of sovereignty over the Filipinos. President McKinley instructed his military commanders in the Philippines to extend American sovereignty over the entire country by force. General Elwell Otis received the proclamation. January 4, 1899 Otis published McKinleys proclamation with some amendments inserted in such a way as not to convey the meanings of sovereignty, protection, and right of cession. Filipino Reaction Unfortunately, General Miller, then in Iloilo, published the original text of the proclamation. A copy fell into the hands of the officials of the Revolutionary Government. Antonio Luna, editor of La Independencia, led the attack on the proclamation and pointed out that it was merely a subterfuge to quiet the people temporarily until measures could be inaugurated and applied to put in practice all the odious features of government which Spain had employed January 5, 1899 Aguinaldo issued a counter-proclamation. In a revised proclamation issued, Aguinaldo protested most solemnly against this intrusion of the United States Government on the sovereignty of these islands. Otis regarded the two Aguinaldo proclamations as tantamount to war. Attempts to Relax the Tension Aguinaldo knew that not having sufficient arms and ammunition the Filipino troops would be at a terrible disadvantage, once war commences. January 9, 1899 Aguinaldo wrote Otis notifying him of the appointment of Florentino Torres, Ambrosio Flores, and Manuel Arguelles to meet with the same number of American commissioners.

The purpose of the meeting of the commissioners was to work out a plan for the adjustment of the conflicting political interests January 9 29, 1899 The dates of the conferences The American panel tried to fool the Filipino panel into believing that they were ready to hear and to consider Filipino aspirations. In reality, they wanted the conference to continue indefinitely pending the arrival of American reinforcements from the United States. The Filipino military officers suspected that the Americans were merely fighting for time. January 31, 1899 Another meeting of the Filipino and American commissioners was scheduled. Otis pleaded with Florentino Torres, to exert his best efforts in influencing the Malolos Government to stop the hostile demonstrations against the United States.

The San Juan Bridge Incident February 1, 1899 a group of American engineers was arrested by the Filipino troops February 2, 1899 Otis filed a protest with Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo pointed out that the Americans were only detained because they were found well within the Filipino lines in accordance with the decree of October 20, 1898 prohibiting foreigners from approaching the Filipino defensive works. General Arthur MacArthur protested the presence of Colonel Luciano San Miguels soldiers within his territory. February 4, 1899 an incident occurred which led to the outbreak of the FilipinoAmerican hostilities. At about eight in the evening, Private Willie W. Grayson, with two other members of his patrol, advanced ahead of the village in San Juan to ascertain whether there were Filipino soldiers in the vicinity. February 5, 1899 MacArthur, without attempting to find out the cause of the firing, issued his order to advance against the Filipino troops. Investigation of the Incident Captain Fernando Grey wired Malolos saying that the Americans had started the hostilities. February 6, 1899 Aguinaldo sent an emissary to Otis to convey to the American commander that the firing on our side the night before had been against my order. Aguinaldo sent a telegram to all local chiefs informing them of the start of the FilipinoAmerican hostilities and ordering them to prepare the people for any emergency. Aguinaldo ordered Felipe Buencamino, Sr. to start an investigation. February 7, 1899 Buencamino asked Secretary of War Baldomero Aguinaldo for information regarding the incident. It appeared from the investigations that the senior military officers were not at their posts during the incident. February 2 and 3, 1899 the Filipino employees in American ships were dismissed from the service for no reason at all. February 4, 1899 some 200 to 300 American soldiers boarded two cascos in Manila and were towed to Cavite. Upon their arrival here they were not disembarked but sent back to Manila where they joined the other American contingents.