LT. COL. PHILIP FOX LA FOLLETTE
ASSISTANT PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER IN GHQ SWPA
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

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Lieutenant Colonel Philip F. La Follette first appears in the October 1943 edition of the Brisbane Military Telephone Directory as the Assistant Public Relations Officer in the Public Relations Officer, in GHQ SWPA. He was located on the 8th Floor of the Commercial Bank Building which was adjacent to the AMP building. The May 1944 edition shows him in Administration in the Public Relations Officer, in GHQ SWPA in Room No. 403 in the Commercial Bank Building.

Lieutenant Colonel Philip F. La Follette reported to Colonel Le Grand "Pick" Diller.

La Follette was a well known progressive, liberal, isolationist. he was a former Governor of Wisconsin, and part of a powerful political family there.

A friend of his from Wisconsin, Lloyd Lehrbas heard that La Follette was in New Zealand. Lehrbas let General Douglas MacArthur know and he soon arranged for La Follette to be transferred to his Southwest Pacific Area. When Philip arrived in Melbourne he received a radiogram which read as follows:-

Captain Philip Fox La Follette,
0442362 ... Scheduled to arrive ...
November 4. Instruct him to report
to me for interview.

                             Macarthur

La Follette flew from Melbourne to Brisbane to pick up some field equipment, then flew to Cairns in a B-25 Mitchell, where he stayed overnight. He flew to Port Moresby very early the next morning, landing at dusk. The next day Major Philip La Follette personally reported for duty to General Douglas MacArthur at 12 noon on Monday 9 November 1942 in Port Moresby, in New Guinea. MacArthur told him that he was assigning him to the 32nd Division which was about to participate in a major offensive against the Japanese.

La Follette then drove with MacArthur down to the beach to the tents of the headquarters and advanced units of the 32nd Division where they met up with Edwin F. Hardin the Commanding General of the 32nd Division and his Chief of Staff Colonel John W. Mott. MacArthur entered Harding's tent and summoned La Follette into the tent.

La Follette flew over the Owen Stanley Range with General Harding and the combat team of the 32nd Division in November 1942 and landed at Mindaropa south of Buna. He received a radio message the next day to return to the South Pacific Headquarters at Noumea, New Caledonia.

He flew back to Port Moresby and then down to Townsville, where he was run over from behind by an Australian Army truck. He was lucky and was only very badly bruised. Whilst in hospital in New Caledonia he suggested to General Nathan Twining from Wisconsin, that he would like to rejoin the 32nd Division. A few days later he received a radio order from the Adjutant General in Washington assigning him to the 32nd Division.

He reported to General MacArthur's Headquarters in Brisbane in December 1942. It was decided that rather than be assigned to the 32nd Division, he was assigned to MacArthur's Public Relations Office.

La Follette had further meetings with General Douglas MacArthur as follows:-

1100 hours on Thursday 20 May 1943 in Brisbane - He was a Major at that time

1230 hours on Friday 18 June 1943 in Brisbane - He was a Colonel at that time. Colonel Diller also attended

1100 hours on Saturday 16 December 1944 at Tacloban

1145 hours on Friday 22 December 1944 at Tacloban

1715 hours on Saturday 23 December 1944 at Tacloban

1545 hours on Thursday 28 December 1944 at Tacloban

1100 hours on Friday 16 March 1945 at Manila

1015 hours on Sunday 18 March 1945 at Manila

1000 hours on Tuesday 20 March 1945 at Manila

1045 hours on Wednesday 21 March 1945 at Manila

1030 hours on Sunday 25 March 1945 at Manila

1050 hours on Thursday 19 April 1945 at Manila

1000 hours and 1130 hours on Sunday 22 April 1945 at Manila

1030 hours on Friday 27 April 1945 at Manila

1000 hours and 1630 hours on Tuesday 1 May 1945 at Manila

1030 hours and 1800 hours on Wednesday 2 May 1945 at Manila

1030 hours on Saturday 5 May 1945 at Manila

1830 hours on Sunday 13 May 1945 at Manila

1730 hours on Friday 1 June 1945 at Manila.

Colonel La Follette called in to say goodbye to General Douglas MacArthur on Friday 1 June 1945. La Follette left Manila the following day.

 

REFERENCES

Wisconsin Magazine of History, Volume 64, Number 2 / Winter, 1980-1981

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Karen Nunan for her assistance with this web page.

 

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