Talk with Rafael Corpus, former director of Agriculture and new President of the Philippine National Bank. He told how Wood had tried to liquidate the bank; how eventually all the money supposed by Wood to be lost in sugar mills had been made good –even Philippine Vegetable Oil paid back 50%. Said he discovered more and more how the economic basis for the country was laid during my administration.
Sugar– said it was O.K. for seven years.
Hemp– said Sumatra’s attempt to rival the Philippines had failed.
Rice– said next year would be worse than this; that the floods in Pangasinan etc., had ruined the crop; that sugar had absorbed much of the rice land.
Iron– said Economic Council must establish a steel industry here –Japan was now taking 300,000 tons of iron ore yearly from Paracale in the Philippines– that our coal in Mindanao was just right for iron, but was too hard for ships. We had all the materials at hand, and even if it would compete with the United States we must insist on it. It was also a matter of national defense. We need a mineral survey, particularly of the vast and untouched iron fields of Surigao, reserved for the government.
Government of Quezon– said it had taken well so far.
Roy Howard article– said the fear of Japan was very real and the commercial classes would like an anchor –either the United States or England. Said fear of Japan did not penetrate to the common people in the provinces.
Sakdal & Communism– a very real problem –said some Filipinos had gone to the International in Russia and had come back with money. General Valdes told him one of these leaders had 50,000 pesos. Valdes confirmed this to Corpus.
Japanese– said they were very bold; that they were watching the development of the Davao matter; that they had been allowed by connivance or by supineness of Filipino officials to get these lands illegally and should not be blamed. Corpus says it was the Filipinos’ own fault.
Christmas dinner (lunch) with the Headquarters Commander of the 31st Infantry, the only regiment of American soldiers left in the Philippines. Excellent home food and a far better entertainment than last Christmas at Luxor in Egypt. Captain & Mrs. Lussier and Captain & Mrs. Howell.
Dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Gaches. Talk with old Colonel J.N. Wolfson who told me that McKinley’s secret instructions to Taft when he sent him out here to the Philippines as the first Civil Governor were to prepare the Filipinos as rapidly as possible for self-government –hence the “little brown brother” (and Taft’s fight for power against the United States army). Colonel Wolfson also told me of being retained recently (he is over 80 years of age) by 81 inhabitants from Tarlac who had been ousted from their lands by a local cacique under claim of a prior Spanish title, even tho some of them had Torrens titles. The judge of first instance in Tarlac had decided in favor of the cacique —Wolfson got this reversed in the Philippine Supreme Court.