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Peter Eisner, award-winning journalist and author of MacArthur’s Spies, delivers a lecture entitled, “Chick Parsons: A Profile in Courage during the Philippine WWII Resistance Movement,” held at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 25, 2018.


WASHINGTON — “Tonight, we are here to learn about the past. Let Peter Eisner bring all of us back to the heady days of the 1940s, as the clouds of war slowly enveloped the Philippine islands, to be parted eventually by the sunshine of freedom and democracy,” said Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez in welcoming guests to a lecture on the life of Charles “Chick” Thomas Parsons, Jr. at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on Jan. 25, 2018.

“But more importantly, we are also here to honor the life and memory of Chick, our veterans and other men and women who fought bravely for our liberty. Let their service and sacrifices never be forgotten and always remembered,” Romualdez added.

The lecture entitled, Chick Parsons: A Profile in Courage during the Philippine WWII Resistance Movement, was delivered by author and journalist Peter Eisner.

Mr. Eisner is an award-winning foreign correspondent, and formerly an editor and reporter at The Washington Post, Newsday and the Associated Press.

He also recently published the book MacArthur’s Spies, during the research of which he uncovered a trove of historical material about Parsons’ remarkable life, commitment to the Philippines, and clandestine missions, which proved vital to MacArthur’s famed return at Leyte in 1944.

In his lecture, Mr. Eisner recounted the life story of Chick Parsons from his childhood in Manila, to eventually being a successful businessman and popular man-around-town in Philippine society, until the Japanese invasion in 1941.

He recounted how Chick Parsons evaded long-term internment during the war, and eventually was able to leave for the United States.


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Philippine ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez gives opening remarks at the lecture.


Parsons would later return to the Pacific to assist in the war effort and help Gen. Douglas MacArthur prepare for the liberation of the Philippines through his extensive contacts, coordination with the Philippine underground, skillful disguises, and daring incursions via submarines.

He became a Filipino citizen in 1947.

“Author Peter Eisner’s presentation revealed the depth and enduring character of ties between the Philippines and America at both the personal and national level. We gained insight on the wartime history of shared sacrifice and commitment to a common purpose,” noted Ambassador John Maisto, President of the US-Philippines Society.

Mr. Eisner concluded his lecture by drawing a personal connection to Chick Parsons.

His father, U.S. Navy Ensign Bernard Eisner, was an officer on LST 463, which was in Leyte Gulf on Oct. 20, 1944 unloading men and supplies early in the day and evacuating the wounded later on.

He said that he would like to believe that his father survived that day partly due to the intelligence provided by Chick Parsons and the guerrillas in Leyte island.

“Mr. Eisner’s closing reflection is just but another demonstration of the shared history and shared sacrifices of Filipinos and Americans. And it is a relationship that continues to be enhanced and nurtured by the close people-to-people ties between our two countries more than 70 years after,” observed Romualdez after the lecture.

“Chick Parsons embodied personally the close relationship forged between two countries and peoples going as far back as the 1920s and ’30s, and especially during the war years that followed,” Maisto also said.


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Chris Larsen, a friend of one of Chick Parsons’ sons, speaks during the Q&A, while Mr. Hank Hendrickson, Executive Director of the US-Philippines Society and program moderator, looks on.


The lecture was jointly organized by the Embassy and the US-Philippines Society.

Among those in the diverse audience were Americans who lived in the Philippines during or immediately after World War II, and whose families were friends of Chick Parsons and his sons.

The lecture was also livestreamed on the Embassy’s Facebook page.

“I was especially pleased to be able to speak here at the Philippine Embassy in Washington about the great Filipino and American hero, Chick Parsons. My goal has been to spread the word about Parsons, spymaster par excellence in the Pacific during World War II. I am on a mission to make sure Chick’s story of heroism and plain decency is better known to a wider audience and a new generation,” Peter Eisner said after his lecture.


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From left, Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, Peter Eisner and US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John Maisto.