Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright Orders Remaining Filipino-American Forces to Surrender

Brevet Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright IV (August 23, 1883 - September 2, 1953) broadcasts surrender instructions from Manila's KZRH Radio Station after midnight on May 7-8, 1942. The Japanese officer is probably Lieutenant Colonel Hikaru Haba, 14th Area Army Intelligence Officer. The camera in the lower right corner belongs to the Japanese press corps. KZRH was a Japanese propaganda station after Manila was occupied on December 25, 1941. Wainwright's orders to the Visayan-Mindanao Force under Brigadier General William F. Sharp (September 22, 1885 - March 30, 1947) humiliated Wainwright and he strenuously objected. Realizing that the broadcast would give Sharp another twenty-four hours to brief MacArthur and prepare his men, he relented. The Japanese picked Wainwright and five officers up at 1700 Hours and after many delays they arrived in Manila and went directly to KZRH. Wainwright, emotions constrained, spoke directly and without eloquent flourishes. "By virtue of the authority vested in me by the President of the United States, I as commanding general of the United States forces in the Philippine Islands, hereby resume direct command of Major General [William F.] Sharp's command of the Visayan-Mindanao force and of all troops under his command. I now give a direct order to General Sharp...Subject: Surrender...The message: To fully stop the further useless sacrifice of human life on the fortified islands, yesterday I tendered Lieutenant General [Masaharu] Homma, the commander in chief of the Imperial Japanese Forces in the Philippines, the surrender of the four harbor forts in Manila Bay. Genneral Homma declined to accept my surrender unless it included the forces under your command...After leaving General Homma with no agreement between us I decided to accept in the name of humanity his proposal and tendered at midnight, night 6-7 May 1942...the formal surrender of all American and Philippine Army troops in the Philippine Islands. You will therefore be guided accordingly, and will repeat will surrender all troops under your command...This decision on my part, you will realize, was forced upon me by means beyond my control." American units in outlying islands refused to follow Wainwright's orders, unaware of the direct and indirect threats towards the prisoners on Corregidor, but Sharp made most comply by June 9, 1942. Haba's underestimation of the size of the Filipino-American forces led directly to the the Bataan Death March when the Japanese failed to bring up enough food, water and transportation for 80,000 captured Allied soldiers.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Thursday, May 7, 1942