But now General Otis acted for the first time like a diplomatist, and wrote me, through his Secretary, Mr. Carman, a letter inviting the Filipino Government to send a Commission to meet an American Commission for the purpose of arriving at an amicable arrangement between both parties; and although I placed no trust in the professions of friendly intentions of the said General—whose determination to prevent the Commission arriving at a peaceful solution of the difficulties was already evident—I acceded to the request, partly because I saw the order, dated 9th January, given by the above mentioned General confirmed, and on the other hand to show before the whole world my manifest wishes for the conservation of peace and friendship with the United States, solemnly compacted with Admiral Dewey.
The Mixed Commission
Conferences of the Mixed Commission, Americans and Filipinos, were held in Manila from the 11th to the 31st of the said month of January, the Filipino Commissioners clearly expressing the wish of our people for recognition as an independent nation.
They also frankly stated the complaints of the Filipino people about the abuses and atrocities of the American soldiery, being attentively and benevolently listened to by the American Commissioners. The latter replied that they had no authority to recognize the Filipino Government, their mission being limited to hearing what the Filipinos said, to collect data to formulate the will of our people and transmit it fully and faithfully to the Government of Washington, who alone could arrive at a definite decision on the subject. These conferences ended in perfect harmony, auguring well for happier times and definite peace when Mr. McKinley should reply to General Otis’s telegrams transmitting our wishes with his favourable recommendations, as the American Commissioners said.
Outbreak of Hostilities
While I, the Government, the Congress and the entire populace were awaiting the arrival of such a greatly desired reply, many fairly overflowing with pleasant thoughts, there came the fatal day of the 4th February, during the night of which day the American forces suddenly attacked all our lines, which were in fact at the time almost deserted, because being Saturday, the day before a regular feast day, our Generals and some of the most prominent officers had obtained leave to pass the Sabbath with their respective families.
General Pantaleon Garcia was the only one who at such a critical moment was at his post in Maypajo, north of Manila, Generals Noriel, Rizal and Ricarte and Colonels San Miguel, Cailles and others being away enjoying their leave.