Carlos P. Romulo
|President of the United Nations General Assembly|
|Herbert Vere Evatt|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
|Joaquin Miguel Elizalde|
|Joaquin Miguel Elizalde|
|Secretary of Education|
|Onofre Corpuz (Acting)|
|Resident Commissioner to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Philippine Islands|
August 10, 1944 - July 4, 1946
|Joaquin Miguel Elizalde|
|11th President of the University of the Philippines|
|Vicente G. Sinco|
|Salvador P. Lopez|
Carlos Peña Romulo
14 January 1898
Camiling, Tarlac, Captaincy General of the Philippines
|Died||15 December 1985 (aged 87)|
|Resting place||Heroes' Cemetery |
Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines
|Alma mater||University of the Philippines Manila|
|Branch/service||Armed Forces of the Philippines (Reserve)|
commissioned to United States Army
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Carlos Peña Romulo, (14 January 1898 - 15 December 1985) was a Filipino diplomat, statesman, soldier, journalist and author. He was a reporter at 16, a newspaper editor by the age of 20, and a publisher at 32. He was a co-founder of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, a general in the US Army and the Philippine Army, university president, President of the UN General Assembly, was eventually named one of the Philippines' National Artists in Literature, and was the recipient of many other honors and honorary degrees. He was born in Camiling, Tarlac and he studied at the Camiling Central Elementary School during his basic education.
Romulo served eight Philippine presidents, from Manuel L. Quezon to Ferdinand Marcos, as the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and as the country's representative to the United States and to the United Nations. He also served as the Resident Commissioner to the U.S. House of Representatives during the Commonwealth era. In addition, he served also as the Secretary of Education in President Diosdado P. Macapagal's and President Ferdinand E. Marcos's Cabinet through 1962 to 1968.
Romulo served as Resident Commissioner of the Philippines to the United States Congress from 1944 to 1946. This was the title of the non-voting Delegate to the US House of Representatives for lands taken in the Spanish-American War, and as such, he is the only member of the US Congress to end his tenure via a legal secession from the Union.
In his career in the United Nations, Romulo was a strong advocate of human rights, freedom and decolonization. In 1948 in Paris, France, at the third UN General Assembly, he strongly disagreed with a proposal made by the Soviet delegation headed by Andrei Vishinsky, who challenged his credentials by insulting him with this quote: "You are just a little man from a little country." In return, Romulo replied, "It is the duty of the little Davids of this world to fling the pebbles of truth in the eyes of the blustering Goliaths and force them to behave!", leaving Vishinsky with nothing left to do but sit down.
In the days preceding the UN General Assembly vote on the Partition Plan for Palestine, Romulo stated "We hold that the issue is primarily moral. The issue is whether the United Nations should accept responsibility for the enforcement of a policy which is clearly repugnant to the valid nationalist aspirations of the people of Palestine. The Philippines Government holds that the United Nations ought not to accept such responsibility." Thus, he clearly intended to oppose the Partition Plan, or at most abstain in the vote. However, pressure on the Philippines government from Washington led to Romulo being recalled, replaced by a Philippines representative who voted in favor of the Partition Plan.
He served as the President of the Fourth Session of United Nations General Assembly from 1949 to 1950--the first Asian to hold the position--and served as president of the United Nations Security Council four times, twice in 1957, 1980 and 1981. He had served with General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific, and became the first non-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in Correspondence in 1942. The Pulitzer Prize website says Carlos P. Romulo of Philippine Herald was awarded "For his observations and forecasts of Far Eastern developments during a tour of the trouble centers from Hong Kong to Batavia."
Romulo ran for the office of United Nations Secretary-General in the 1953 selection. He fell two votes short of the required 7-vote majority in the Security Council, finishing second to Lester B. Pearson of Canada. His ambitions were further dashed by negative votes from France and the Soviet Union, both of whom were permanent members with veto power. The Security Council eventually settled on a dark horse candidate and selected Dag Hammarskjöld as Secretary-General of the United Nations.
From Jan 1952 to May 1953, Romulo became only the second former member of Congress to become the Ambassador to the United States from a foreign country, following Joaquin M. Elizalde, who had been his immediate predecessor in both posts. He later served as Ambassador again from Sept 1955 to Feb 1962.
Instead, he returned to the Philippines and was a candidate for the nomination as the presidential candidate for the Liberal Party, but lost at the party convention to the incumbent Elpidio Quirino, who ran unsuccessfully for re-election against Ramon Magsaysay. Quirino had agreed to a secret ballot at the convention, but after the convention opened, the president demanded an open roll-call voting, leaving the delegates no choice but supporting Quirino, the candidate of the party machine. Feeling betrayed, Romulo left the Liberal Party and became national campaign manager of Magsaysay, the candidate of the opposing Nacionalista Party who won the election.
He was the Philippines' Secretary (Minister from 1973 to 1984) of Foreign Affairs under President Elpidio Quirino from 1950 to 1952, under President Diosdado Macapagal from 1963 to 1964 and under President Ferdinand Marcos from 1968 to 1984. In April 1955 he led the Philippines' delegation to the Asian-African Conference at Bandung.
Romulo supported President Ferdinand Marcos through most of his presidency. But he resigned in 1983, soon after the assassination of Benigno Aquino, citing poor health. Gregorio Brillantes interviewed him in 1984, and he said he resigned "heartsick" because of the assassination of Aquino, whom he considered a "friend", and the resulting freefall of the Philippines' economy and international reputation.
According to Beth Day Romulo, the Marcos administration had asked him to sign an ad which the administration was planning to place in the New York Times and other major international dailies. Carlos P. Romulo refused to sign the ad, and instead resigned.
Romulo, in all, wrote and published 22 books, which includes The United (novel), I Walked with Heroes (autobiography), I Saw the Fall of the Philippines, Mother America and I See the Philippines Rise (war-time memoirs).
He died, at 87, in Manila on 15 December 1985 and was buried in the Heroes' Cemetery (Libingan ng mga Bayani). He was honored as "one of the truly great statesmen of the 20th century." In 1980, he was extolled by United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim as "Mr. United Nations" for his valuable services to the United Nations and his dedication to freedom and world peace.
Romulo is perhaps among the most decorated Filipino in history, which includes 72 honorary degrees from different international institutions and universities and 144 awards and decorations from foreign countries:
At the third UN General Assembly, held in Paris in 1948, the USSR's deputy foreign minister, Andrei Vishinsky, sneered at Romulo and challenged his credentials: "You are just a little man from a little country." "It is the duty of the little Davids of this world," cried Romulo, "to fling the pebbles of truth in the eyes of the blustering Goliaths and force them to behave!"
Tito: "Do you drink?"
Romulo: "No, I don't."
Tito: "Do you smoke?"
Romulo: "No, thank you."
Tito: "What do you do then?"
Romulo: "I etcetera."
At this, Marshal Tito was tickled by his reply and loudly exclaimed around the room, "I etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!"
Romulo was a dapper little man (barely five feet four inches in shoes). When they waded in at Leyte beach in October 1944, and the word went out that General MacArthur was waist deep, one of Romulo's journalist friends cabled, "If MacArthur was in water waist deep, Romulo must have drowned!"
In later years, Romulo told another story himself about a meeting with MacArthur and other tall American generals who disparaged his physical stature. "Gentlemen," he declared, "When you say something like that, you make me feel like a dime among nickels."
Resident Commissioner of the Philippines to the United States Congress
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Joaquin M. Elizalde
| Resident Commissioner from the Philippines to the United States Congress
Herbert Vere Evatt
| President of the United Nations General Assembly
Vicente G. Sinco
| President of the University of the Philippines
Salvador P. Lopez