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Scandals in history: Inputs for peace process (Part 3)

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Inapplicable 12-l0- 1898 Treaty of Paris

The Treaty of Paris was used by the United States as the diplomatic and legal document for claiming ownership and sovereignty over Sulu and Mindanao which led to the military occupation of these Islamic monarchies immediately following the surreptitious takeover of the Jolo Spanish garrison at 2 o’clock dawn of May 19, 1899. The fact that the Sultanates Sulu and Maguindano never fell under the over-all control and sovereignty of the Spanish Crown, they could not be validly sold and ceded under the Article III of  the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris.

It was admitted by both the American and Spanish peace commissioners that what took place on August 13, 1898 was just a sham battle which was the principal reason why Spain didn’t like to turn over the Philippine Islands except on her terms. The Spaniards argued that because they were not defeated in real combat, they would only cede the Philippine Islands for $20-million. To corroborate this historical event, the following account is hereunder cited:

“On December 10, 1898 representatives of Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris. Spain renounced all rights to Cuba and allowed an independent Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and the island of Guam to the United States, gave up its possessions in the West Indies, and sold the Philippine Islands, receiving in exchange $20,000,000.00.” {Department of Navy-Naval Historical Center 805 Kidder Breeze-Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. 20374-5060}

In retrospect, it is utterly unthinkable and paradoxical that Spain reputedly one of the most civilized, powerful, and highly educated empires of the l8th Century world, did not know the real meaning of sovereignty. Or was she just taking advantage of the low educational status of the Moros at that period so she had the temerity and audacity to claim total ownership and sovereignty not only over the Philippine Islands but also over the two Islamic states of Mindanao and Sulu? Confirming the fact that the Spaniards failed to conquer, colonize and Christianize Mindanao and Sulu, is the historical narration of Florence Horn, author of the book entitled, “ Orphans of the Pacific,” copyright 1941, quoted as follows:

“Moro history is gory. These people were not really beaten after three hundred years of Spanish effort. Americans brought them to terms only after decisive, bloody, massacres which aroused the American public because women and children were done away with along with the men.”

Spanish Sovereignty No More Than A Myth

The biggest bombshell about this fraudulent political, diplomatic, military, and commercial deal explicitly stipulated under Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris was, while the United States Congress on February 6, 1899 approved this treaty by just a margin of one vote,  when it was presented to the Spanish Cortes on March 16 for ratification, it was totally rejected  which forced the Queen Regent of Spain to sign a decree dissolving it and the following day March l7, she ratified the treaty. Under international law, a treaty without being ratified by the legislatures of both contracting states is deemed null and void. To buttress my assertion that there was really something wrong with the December 10, I898 Treaty of Paris, here’s what htt://www.morolandhistory.comp./03.PG-Americans/1.americans. htm has to share:

“Preparing for their mission, Bates and his staff scoured the Spanish archives in Manila and discovered that Spanish sovereignty had in fact been no more than a myth and a contrived fiction. Of greater significance, it was dubious Spain had ever had the” right “ under international law to cede the lands belonging to the Moros as part their holdings in the Philippine Islands. This discovery prompted Otis to revise Bates mission to one of gaining acceptance of U.S. sovereignty by the various Moro peoples, and a pledge for them to stay neutral and on the sidelines during the fighting to come, a daunting tasks.”

By Clem M. Bascar




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