Diary of Dwight D. Eisenhower

March 9, 1939

Last week the 1st Boeing clipper arrived in Manila, on the same day that the first unit of Mosquito fleet, a 55-foot Thornycroft motor torpedo boat, reached here. One 65 foot boat is due to arrive in a couple of months.

General MacArthur has apparently been quite disturbed lately concerning the President’s attitude toward the defense program. The General says that the President does not really believe in the plan, and is ready to sabotage it at the 1st opportunity. The two of them must have had a conversation within the past 2 or 3 weeks that did not sit so well with the General. One thing that upsets the General is the President’s continuous efforts to re-enforce and improve the constabulary, even at the expense of the army. The General was not successful in getting the government to return to us sums spent on import duties, although it was suggested that we could obtain reimbursement in our next budget. Moreover, under agreement with Malacañan there is none included in the 1939 budget (6 mos. period to July 1) and in 1945 budget a proviso to effect that if there is a shortage of funds in the general treasury, constabulary expenses may be charged to the army. If this should happen we could not function! In any event it is obvious that General MacA. is fearful of what Pres. Q. may or may not do and, in our office conferences, constantly expresses dissatisfaction with the Pres. and criticizes many of his actions, whether or not these actions have any connection with the army.

One thing that the General talked about a lot was the President’s action in getting P500,000 from the Assembly for “law enforcement”. The excuse was the very serious labor unrest, accompanied by some disorder & lawlessness, that has lately been experienced in Bulacan, Pangasinan, etc. What the need for this money is, I don’t know since the constabulary now has 350 officers and 4500 men and if rhese were properly employed, no additional help should be necessary. However, Gen. Francisco, head of Constabulary is not too bright, and has probably dispersed his force so widely as to have no adequate reserves left. My own opinion that the P500,000 incident is merely the President’s way of notifying the whole country that the whole govt. is back of him in keeping order etc. But the incident apparently stirred up the ire of the General who believes that the labor trouble was used only as an excuse by the Pres. in order to get in his hands a large sum of money that could be spent without supervision.??

More and more it becomes obvious that constructive action on this job has almost ceased. In the office itself the work is so uncoordinated that operation is difficult. I do not know, and I cannot find out, how much money is available for important training and selected projects and much of our confusion arises from absence of intimate, daily, contacts with Malacañan. Further, since there is no head of this office –except the General–who is here only an hour a day– everyone does as he pleases, and no real coordinated progress is possible. I’m ready, more than ready, from a professional viewpoint, to go home. Interest has gone. I work on academic subjects, because I have no longer power or opportunity to start execution of needed projects. I hate confining work that shows no results –so, as soon as I can decently go –I’ll simply Hooray!!