American fury in the Philippines. XXIV / Samar

[Circular No. 6.]
To All Station Commanders:
The brigade commander has become thoroughly convinced from the great
mass of evidence at hand that the insurrection for some time past and
still in force in the island of Samar has been supported solely by the
people who live in the pueblos ostensibly pursuing their peaceful
pursuits and enjoying American protection, and that this is especially
true in regard to the "pudientes," or wealthy class. He is and for
some time past has been satisfied that the people themselves, and
especially this wealthy and influential class, can stop this
insurrection at any time they make up their minds to do so; that up to
the present time they do not want peace; that they are working in
every way and to the utmost of their ability to prevent peace. He is
satisfied that this class, while openly talking peace, is doing so
simply to gain the confidence of our officers and soldiers, only to
betray them to the insurrectos, or, in short, that while ostensibly
aiding the Americans, they are in reality secretly doing everything in
their power to support and maintain this insurrection. Under such
conditions there can be but one course to pursue, which is to adopt
the policy that will create in the minds of all the people a burning
desire for the war to cease,- a desire or longing so intense, so
personal especially to every individual of the class mentioned, and so
real that it will impel them to devote themselves in earnest to
bringing about a state of real peace, that will impel them to join
hands with the Americans in the accomplishment of this end. The policy
to be pursued in this brigade, from this time on, will be to wage war
in the sharpest and most decisive manner possible. This policy will
apply to the island of Samar and such other portions of the brigade to
which it may become necessary to apply it, even though such territory
is supposedly peaceful or is under civil government. In waging this
warfare, officers of this brigade are directed and expected to
co-operate to their utmost, so as to terminate this war as soon as
practicable, since short severe wars are the most humane in the end.
No civilized war, however civilized, can be carried on on a
humanitarian basis. In waging this war, officers will be guided by the
provisions of General Orders, No. o00, Adjutant-general's Office,
1863, which order promulgates the instructions for the government of
the armies of the United States in the field. (Copies of this order
will be furnished to the troops of this brigade as soon as
practicable. In the mean time commanding officers will personally see
to it that the younger and less experienced officers of the command
are instructed in the provisions of this order, wherever it is
possible to do so.)
Commanding officers are earnestly requested and expected to exercise,
without reference to these headquarters, their own discretion in the
adoption of any and all measures of warfare coming within the
provisions of this general order which will tend to accomplish the
desired results in the most direct way or in the shortest possible
space of time.They will also encourage the younger officers of their
commands to constantly look for, engage, harass, and annoy the enemy
in the field; and to this end commanding officers will repose a large
amount of confidence in these subordinate officers, and will permit to
them a large latitude of action and a discretion similar to that
herein conferred upon the commanding officers of stations by these
headquarters. In dealing with the natives of all classes, officers
will be guided by the following principles:
First. Every native, whether in arms or living in the pueblos or
barrios, will be regarded and treated as an enemy until he has
conclusively shown that he is a friend. This he cannot do by mere
words or promises, nor by imparting information which, while true, is
old or stale and of no value; nor can it be done by aiding us in ways
that do no material harm to the insurgents. In short, the only manner
in which the native can demonstrate his loyalty is by some positive
act or acts that actually and positively commit him to us, thereby
severing his relations with the insurrectos and producing or tending
to produce distinctively unfriendly relations with the insurgents. Not
only the ordinary natives, but especially those of influence and
position in the pueblos, who manifestly and openly cultivate friendly
relations with the Americans, will be regarded with particular
suspicion, since by the announced policy of the insurgent government
their ablest and most stanch friends or those who are capable of most
skilfully practising duplicity are selected and directed to cultivate
the friendship of American officers, so as to obtain their confidence,
and to secretly communicate to the insurgents everything that the
Americans do or contemplate doing, particularly with regard to the
movement of troops. In a word, friendship for the Americans on the
part of any native will be measured directly and solely by his acts;
and neither sentiment nor social reasons of any kind will be permitted
to enter into the determination of such friendship.
Second. It will be regarded as a certainty that all officials of the
pueblos and barrios are likewise officials of Lukban and his officers,
or at least that they are in actual touch and sympathy with the
insurgent leaders, and that they are in secret aiding these leaders
with information, supplies, etc., wherever possible. Officers will not
be misled by the fact that officials of the pueblos pass ordinances
inimical to those in insurrection, or by any action taken by them,
either collectively or individually. The public acts of pueblo
councils that are favorable to the Americans are usually negative by
secret communication on the part of the parties enacting them to those
in insurrection. Therefore, such acts cannot be taken as a guide in
determining the friendship or lack of it of these officials for the
American government.
Third. The taking of the oath of allegiance by officials, presidentes,
vice-presidentes, consejeros, principales, tenientes of barrios, or
other people of influence, does not indicate that they or any of them
have espoused the American cause, since it is a well-established fact
that these people frequently take the oath of allegiance with the
direct object and intent of enabling them to be of greater service to
their real friends in the field. In short, the loyalty of these people
is to be determined only by acts which, when combined with their usual
course of conduct, irrevocably binds them to the American cause.
Neutrality must not be tolerated on the part of any native. The time
has now arrived when all natives in this brigade, who are not openly
for us must be regarded as against us. In short, if not an active
friend, he is an open enemy.
Fourth. The most dangerous class with whom we have to deal is the
wealthy sympathizer and contributor. This class comprises not only all
those officials and principales above mentioned, but all those of
importance who live in the pueblos with their families. By far the
most important as well as the most dangerous member of this class is
the native priest. He is most dangerous; and he is successful because
he is usually the best informed, besides wielding an immense influence
with the people by virtue of his position. He has much to lose, in his
opinion, and but little to gain through American supremacy in these
island. It is expected that officers will exercise their best
endeavors to suppress and prevent aid being given by the people of
this class, especially by the native priests. Wherever there is
evidence of this assistance, or where there is a strong suspicion that
they are thus secretly aiding the enemies of our government, they will
be confined and held. The profession of the priest will not prevent
his arrest or proceedings against him. If the evidence is sufficient,
they,will be tried by the proper court. If there is not sufficient
evidence to convict, they will be arrested and confined as a military
necessity, and held as prisoners of war until released by orders from
these headquarters. It will be borne in mind that in these islands, as
a rule, it is next to impossible to secure evidence against men of
influence, and especially against the native priests, so long as they
are at large. On the other hand, after they are arrested and confined,
it is usually quite easy to secure abundant evidence against them.
Officers in command of stations will not hesitate, therefore, to
arrest and detain individuals whom they have good reasons to suspect
are aiding the insurrection, even when positive evidence is lacking....