Carlos P. Romulo

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Carlos P. Rómulo
Carlos Romulo.jpg
President of the United Nations General Assembly
In office
Preceded by Herbert Vere Evatt
Succeeded by Nasrollah Entezam
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
President Ferdinand Marcos
Preceded by Narciso Ramos
Succeeded by Arturo Tolentino
In office
President Elpidio Quirino
Preceded by Joaquin Miguel Elizalde
Succeeded by Joaquin Miguel Elizalde
Resident Commissioner to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Philippine Islands
In office
August 10, 1944 – July 4, 1946
Preceded by Joaquin Miguel Elizalde
Succeeded by Post abolished
11th President of the University of the Philippines
In office
President Diosdado Macapagal
Ferdinand Marcos
Preceded by Vicente G. Sinco
Succeeded by Salvador P. Lopez
Personal details
Born Carlos Peña Rómulo
14 January 1898
Intramuros, Manila
Died 15 December 1985(1985-12-15) (aged 87)
Manila, Philippines
Resting place Heroes' Cemetery
Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Alma mater University of the Philippines
Profession Diplomat, Parliamentarian

Purple Heart

Silver Star
Military service
Allegiance  Philippines
Service/branch Philippine Armed Forces (Reserve)
commissioned to United States Army
Rank Major General
Battles/wars World War II

Carlos Peña Romulo, QSC PLH (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. His hometown is Camiling, Tarlac and he studied at the Camiling Central Elementary School during his basic education.

Diplomatic career

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.[1][2]

Resident Commissioner

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.

United Nations

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.[3]

President of the UN General Assembly

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, in 1981, in 1980 and twice in 1957.[4] 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." He was a candidate for the position of United Nations Secretary-General in 1953, but did not win.

Ambassador to the United States

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.[5]

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.

Romulo, portrait by Soshana, oil on canvas, 1945
Ang Paglulunsad Memorial, Lingayen, Pangasinan (Carlos P. Romulo launched on January 10, 1945 Philippine and Pacific troops to liberate Luzon

Minister of Foreign Affairs

He was the signatory for the Philippines to the United Nations Charter when it was founded in 1945. 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, 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."[6] 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 recognitions

Gen. Romulo (3d from R), as President of the United Nations General Assembly, talks with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Carlos P. Romulo statue UN Avenue.

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:

Anecdotes from Beth Romulo 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 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!”

During his meeting with Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Marshal Tito welcomed Gen. Romulo with drinks and cigars, to which the general kindly refused. Their conversation went as follows:

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."


Carlos P. Romulo at the Clark Air Base (1979)
  • 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.)
  • Romulo: A Third World Soldier at the UN
  • Daughters for Sale and Other Plays

See also


  • 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

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Metin, Aris. "What is the Filipino Leader?". EDIzine: EDI-Staffbuilder's Official Online Newsletter. Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Retrieved 7 September 2013
  5. ^
  6. ^ Pace, Eric (December 16, 1985). "CARLOS P. ROMULO OF PHILIPPINES DIES". Archived from the original on December 16, 1985. Retrieved 2017-04-11. 
  7. ^ [1]

External links

  • Extensive biography
  • Carlos P. Romulo at WN
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joaquin M. Elizalde
Resident Commissioner from the Philippines to the United States Congress
Succeeded by
post abolished
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Herbert Vere Evatt
President of the United Nations General Assembly
Succeeded by
Nasrollah Entezam
Academic offices
Preceded by
Vicente G. Sinco
President of the University of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Salvador P. Lopez
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