Carlos P. Romulo
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Carlos Peña Rómulo (14 January 1899 – 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, and recipient of many honors and honorary degrees.
Rómulo 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.
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In his career in the United Nations, Rómulo was a strong advocate of human rights, freedom and decolonization. During the selection of the UN's official seal, he looked over the seal-to-be and asked, "Where is the Philippines?" US Senator Warren Austin, head of the selection committee, explained, "It's too small to include. If we put the Philippines, it would be no more than a dot." "I want that dot!" insisted Romulo. Today, a tiny dot between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea can be found on the UN seal. 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.
President of the UN General Assembly
He served as the President of the Fourth Session of United Nations General Assembly from 1949–1950, and chairman of the United Nations Security Council. He had served with General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific, was Ambassador to the United States, 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." He was a candidate for the position of United Nations Secretary-General in 1953, but did not win.
Philippine Presidential Aspiration
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.
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
He served as Resident Commissioner of the Philippines to the United States Congress from 1944 to 1946. He was the signatory for the Philippines to the United Nations Charter when it was founded in 1946. 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.
Rómulo, in all, wrote and published 18 books, which included 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 86, in Manila on 15 December 1985 and was buried in the Heroes’ Cemetery (Libingan ng mga Bayani). He was honored as the Philippines’ greatest diplomat in 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.′
Awards and decorations
Rómulo is perhaps among the most decorated Filipino in history, which includes 82 honorary degrees from different international institutions and universities and 74 decorations from foreign countries:
- Philippine Congressional Quezon Service Cross, April 17, 1951
- Philippine National Artist in Literature, 1982
- United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, January 12, 1984
- Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo Award
- Distinguished Service Star of the Philippines
- Philippine Gold Cross
- Distinguished Conduct Star
- Purple Heart
- Presidential Unit-Citation with Two Oak Leaf Clusters
- Philippine Legion of Honor (Commander)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix from the Greek Government
- Grand Cross of the Order of Carlos Manuel do Cespedes from the Republic of Cuba
- Pulitzer Prize in Correspondence, 1942
- World Government News First Annual Gold Nadal Award (for work in the United Nations for peace and world government), March 1947
- Princeton University- Woodrow Wilson Memorial Foundation Gold Medal award ("in recognition Of his contribution to public life"), May 1947
- International Benjamin Franklin Society's Gold Medal (for “distinguished world statesmanship in 1947”), January 1948
- Freeman of the City of Plymouth, England, October 1948
- United Nations Peace Medal
- World Peace Award
- Four Freedoms Peace Award
- Named in the 100 Most Prominent Rotarians in the world
- Philippine Presidential Medal of Merit, July 3, 1949
- Hero of the Republic Award, 1984
- Honorary Member of Alpha Phi Omega
Anecdotes from Beth Rómulo through Reader's Digest (June 1989)
At the third UN General Assembly, held in Paris in 1948, the USSR’s deputy foreign minister, Andrei Vishinsky, sneered at Rómulo 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 Rómulo, “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!"
When the UN official seal, which depicts the world, was being selected, Romy looked it over and demanded, “where is the Philippines?” “It’s too small to include,” explained US Senator Warren Austin, who headed the committee. “If we put in the Philippines it would be no more than a dot.” “I want that dot!” Romy insisted. Today, if you look at the UN seal, you will find a tiny dot between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.
Rómulo 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, Rómulo must have drowned!”
In later years, Rómulo 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."
- I Saw the Fall of The Philippines
- Mother America
- My Brother Americans
- I See The Philippines Rise
- The United
- Crusade in Asia (The John Day Company, 1955; about the 1953 presidential election campaign of Ramon Magsaysay)
- The Meaning of Bandung
- The Magsaysay Story (with Marvin M. Gray, The John Day Company 1956, updated re-edition by Pocket Books, Special Student Edition, SP-18, December 1957; biography of Ramon Magsaysay, Pocket Books edition updated with an additional chapter on Magsaysay's death)
- I Walked with Heroes (autobiography)
- Last Man off Bataan (Romulo's experience during the Japanese Plane bombings.)
- The Filipino Flag Rises...Alone
- Im a Filipino
- Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press.
- Romulo, Beth (June 1989). "Unforgettable Carlos P. Romulo". Reader's Digest
Resident Commissioner of the Philippines to the United States Congress
- Extensive biography
- Carlos P. Romulo at WN
- Carlos P. Romulo at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Carlos P. Romulo" is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
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
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