Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

September 15, 1936

Quezon asks the Assembly to permit the recall of the “Chinese book-keeping” bill, as he will not veto it if passed, but asks that the Chinese be given a term (2-3 years?) to prepare!! This is a bill already mentioned in the preceding pages of this diary, which requires Chinese in the Philippines to keep their accounts for tax inspection in English, Spanish or a native dialect. The Herald, Tribune and Bulletin commend his action editorially. As this is the law for which he and I fought so hard nearly twenty years ago, and the unconstitutionality of which as declared by the United States Supreme Court caused Quezon to denounce savagely to me only three months ago the legal decisions of both Chief Justice Taft and Justice Johnson,–that is, to say the least, a most extraordinary reversal on Quezon’s part. The power to make this law is now said to be existent under the new Commonwealth constitution. It is very sad for me to see him jettison one of the principles which he held most ardently. He now gives somewhat the appearance of a man riding a bucking broncho–not of a leader.

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