Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

November 13, 1935

Called at Pasay. Quezon was closeted with General MacIntyre, General Creed Cox (Chief of the Bureau of Insular Affairs), Osmeña, Roxas, Paez and Carmona –I believe they were discussing the subject of the bonds of the Manila Railroad. Later, had fifteen minutes talk with Quezon, who told of his learning that the Governor General and Secretary of War were going ahead after all with defining the High Commissioner’s prerogatives. Quezon says he got out of bed and drove to Malacañan; the Secretary of War offered to leave the room , but Quezon asked him to stay so that he could hear what he said to the Governor General. Then Quezon went for the Governor General who, in reply, spoke of the army and navy. Quezon replied that while some of his best friends were in the army, that body as an institution seemed unable to think rationally on some subjects. The Governor General offered to resign as High Commissioner, if he had forfeited Quezon’s confidence, but the latter replied that this was not necessary. Then Quezon told the Secretary of War that the army had even “betrayed” an American Governor General (me). That if they tried on anything now he would ask the President to withdraw the United States Army, and he would take over the defense of the Philippines himself. He then told the Secretary of War that if he would treat him frankly and “without mental reservation” he would find that he was always ready to come half way to meet American views, but that if he conducted plans behind his back, he would get no co-operation from him, and then all that would be left for the Secretary of War to do would be to order his soldiers to shoot him. Quezon thinks this has definitely settled the relations between the Philippine Government and the army; says he reminded the Secretary of War how he had gome to Washington to get the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act amended just so as to cut out a provision retaining the army here after independence. Quezon thinks he had now nothing adverse to expect from the office of the High Commissioner.

Another subject discussed at this animated meeting just before the inauguration of Quezon as President of the Philippine Commonwealth, where Secretary of War Dern and Governor General Frank Murphy “went to the carpet” with President-elect Quezon was the question of the number of guns to be fired by the American Army to salute the new government. This salute had already been fixed by the Secretary of War, before his arrival at Manila, at 21 guns. Later, after his first few days in the Philippines, Secretary Dern changed his mind, yielding under American “Old Timer” influence in Manila (Quezon thought through Murphy, on the instigation of the Bulletin), so it was decided to make the salute only 19 guns. Quezon heard of this by chance, so he hurried to the meeting at Malacañan Palace, where Dern and Murphy were in conference. Quezon told them both that he did not like this being done behind his back; that he would take his oath of office in his house in Pasay, and would not attend the inauguration; that he was only a farmer’s son (and a poor farmer) and all his life had found ceremonies irksome, but this matter of the salute was one affecting the new Commonwealth. Quezon stated that Murphy turned blue and Dern pink. He told them they had selected the wrong man to trample on –that no Secretary of War had any authority over him– not even the President could remove him unless he used his Army to do it and he intended the United States Government to understand this right at the beginning. That if, by the Tydings-McDuffie Act the United States intended to give sham self-government to the Filipinos, as the English had to the Egyptians and to the Indian Princes, he would not be a party to it. Dern very decently said he appreciated the way Quezon was talking. Thereupon, President Roosevelt was brought in by cable, and he sent a personal appeal to Quezon to go through with it, which the latter accepted, rather than embarrass Roosevelt and make the Congressional delegation appear ridiculous. Quezon adds that after this “brush,” his stomach ulcer cleared up, and he got well again.

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