Chat with ex-Speaker Roxas: he said that there is a copper mine in Capiz which has contracted to sell the whole of its output for one year to the Japanese; he further stated that the vast iron fields which I set aside by Executive Order in 1915 as a government reservation had aroused the interest of Marsman who was now contesting the validity of this action; in Roxas’ opinion, Marsman will not put up a real struggle against the government. I suggested to him that it might be better for the government to lease this iron field to Marsman on a royalty basis. Roxas says he asked the High Commissioner before he left to get the consent of the President of the United States for the Philippine Government to (a) give Quezon flexible tariff rights to raise or lower 100% on any item of the custom’s tariff; and (b) to negotiate commercial treaties (under supervision of the American State Department) with foreign powers.
Quezon made an excellent talk to the Assemblymen just before our arrival at Davao: he spoke in Spanish and first called attention to their visit to Cotobato, and said that the former army post at Parang should be the capital not only of Cotobato but of all Mindanao. That it was equidistant from Zamboanga, Lanao and Davao. He then turned to the Davao question giving a very carefully worded exposition of the burning question of the day: he said “there is no Davao question,” and that the press had been guilty of irritating public opinion both in Japan and the Philippines. “It shows how the newspapers can embroil nations, even to the point of war,” he said, “but there is nothing in Davao which threatens Filipino rights nor the economic position of the country. If there is no Davao question there is a Davao situation, which is not to be sneezed at. By their handling of this matter, the Filipinos will be judged as to their ability and sense of justice in dealing with foreign nationals.” He went on to say that: “The Executive branch of this Philippine Government has examined the situation very carefully, with a determination to solve this matter with the Assembly. It is not desirable, nor is it necessary for the legislators to examine into this matter today.”
When the Negros docked, Quezon again put Osmeña to the fore, and the latter received the plaudits of the crowd and the Constabulary honors. Osmeña was to be in the front all day. (Very wise!) Quezon knows Osmeña would like it very much.
Wolff, Major Speth and I went with the procession to the end of the (plank) motor road, but there was not sufficient railway transportation for all the party, so we slipped back to lunch and to shop at Davao.
Swim with Quezon and Speth–water muddy and warm, but Quezon enjoyed himself with great zest. He went over his reasons for taking Assemblymen into his confidence:–to make them more nationally conscious and give them “a sense of responsibility to their country.” “These young men will be the statesmen of the future–but I am making it very hard for my successor.”
I asked Quezon whether the absence of Japanese on the streets etc., today in Davao was not on their part an act of policy (so this would not look like a Japanese colony), and he whispered that this had been staged by the Japanese Consul General.