In the broiler heat of a tin-roofed basketball stadium, 863 delegates of the Philippines' Liberal Party gathered one day last week to nominate a presidential candidate. For the first time in the party's brief postwar history, it had a choice to make. The alternatives: to renominate powerful and clever President Elpidio Quirino for a second term, or shuck him and his corruption-tainted regime and nominate peppery Carlos Romulo, ex-Foreign Secretary, ex-president of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Romulo wing calculated it needed only one break on the convention floor to win a majority of delegates. But that one break was...

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