Monday, April 7, 2014

Carlos P. Romulo - The Greatest Filipino Diplomat

Carlos Peña Rómulo, (14 January 1898 – 15 December 1985), born in Camiling, Tarlac, 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.

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.

In his career in the United Nations, Rómulo 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.

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.[3] 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.

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.

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.[citation needed] 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.′

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