High Commissioner to the Philippines

High Commissioner to the Philippines

High Commissioner to the Philippines was the title of the personal representative of the President of the United States to the Commonwealth of the Philippines during the period 1935-1946. The office was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, which provided for a period of transition from direct American rule to the complete independence of the islands on July 4, 1946. It replaced the office of Governor-General of the Philippines, who had direct executive authority. Under the Commonwealth, executive power was held by an elected Filipino President. The role of the High Commissioner was largely ceremonial.

Only three individuals held the office of High Commissioner. They were:

Frank Murphy, 1935-1936;
Paul V. McNutt, 1937-1939 and 1945-1946; and
Francis B. Sayre, 1939-1942.

Murphy had previously served as Governor-General. Sayre's tenure was interrupted by the Japanese military occupation of the islands during World War II. McNutt became the first American ambassador to the islands after they became independent.

On January 2, 1942, as Japanese forces entered the city of Manila, four members of the High Commissioner's staff, Elise Flahaven, George Gray, Virginia Hewlett and Margaret Pierce, lowered the American flag that flew at the High Commissioner's headquarters, burned it and buried its ashes to prevent its capture by the Japanese. On February 22, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area, again raised the flag at the High Commissioner's headquarters after recapturing Manila.

The High Commissioner's headquarters today houses the American embassy in the Philippines.

External links

* [http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ph-hc.html Flag of the High Commissioner of the Philippines]

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