Diary of Dwight D. Eisenhower

January 21, 1939

I’ve been discussing lately, with Mamie, exactly what to do in the way of asking for a definite terminating date for my tour. When we were put on the foreign service roster (Jan. 1, 1938) our tours of duty were automatically extended to Oct. 20, 1938. After Jimmy’s death the President asked me to extend beyond that time, which I finally agreed to do on two conditions: first that I’d get a trip home this last summer on Commonwealth business; second that some arrangement could be made whereby, with no increased cost to me I could have air-conditioned quarters at the hotel. He unhesitatingly agreed and further asked, “What can I do to induce you to stay even longer than one year after your return?” I replied that since my reasons were chiefly domestic the matter was not open to discussion. He accepted that but expressed emphatically and repeatedly at that conference (which included breakfast and the remainder of the morning until 11:30) his satisfaction with my work, and his anxiety to keep me. In the meantime Vargas had, as previously reported, and with the President’s approval, raised my local allowance from 600 to 1000 pesos per mo.

The year I agreed to do is up in Oct. 1939. But now I find that the W.D. expects me to make up the 4 mos. & 11 days I was out of the Dept. during my trip to the States. That will interrupt John’s schooling, so, what to do!! If I go in Oct. (assuming W.D. approved) John’s school still presents a serious problem!! If I ask to go back this July, I’m breaking faith with Malacañan, and will have to get personal approval from Mr. Q. (I rather suspect I could get such approval easily, since I’m no longer so useful to them in doing a bunch of work at the Executive Offices.) Surprisingly enough, the General suggested strongly that I ask the W.D. for nothing except a 3 mos. extension, so as to return home in July ’40! I must decide soon!