Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Carlos P. Romulo on Stamps

Carlos Peña Rómulo (14 January 1899, Camiling, Tarlac, Philippines – 15 December 1985, Manila, Philippines) was a Filipino diplomat, politician, soldier, journalist and author. He was a reporter at 16, a newspaper editor by the age of 20, and a publisher at 32. He is the co-founder of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines. He was secretary of Foreign Affairs under President Elpidio Wuirino and was later posted as Ambassador to the United Nations and was the first Adian President of the UN General Assembly (1949-1950).

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!”

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: 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 Romy’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." (Anecdotes from Beth Rómulo through Reader's Digest)

The stamp above was issued on January 14, 1979.