Diary of Basilio J. Valdes

March 6, 1942 — Friday

The President bought a second hand Cadillac for himself. He asked me to accompany him to go to La Granja to see Colonel Hilsman at 5 p.m. I did. We came back in time for dinner.(6:40 p.m.). After dinner we went out again to the Maao Sugar Central. On our way back we met the USSAFFE car on the road returning from Buenos Aires. When I told him so, he ordered our car to turn around and pursue it. That was a wild chase. We did not reach it. We returned to the Maao Central and he made me phone Colonel Hilsman to inquire the contents of the telegrams that he had sent. I was told that one was in code, the other only informing about two Japanese transports were seen at 5 p.m. off the coast of Gasan, Marinduque on the way to Mindoro. This began to worry him. He insisted that the report was wrong, and that very probably those transports were coming towards Visayas to arrest him. No amount of discussion would make him change his mind. Finally he asked me to instruct Colonel Hilsman to wire the Constabulary Lieutenant at Boac for verification. Fortunately, the coded radiogram was from General MacArthur informing us that all was quiet and that the enemy had disembarked troops in the northern part of Mindoro, undoubtedly to enforce the blockade of Verde Island passage. This quieted him a little and he retired at 12:40 a.m. At 3 a.m. the wire from Boac arrived informing that the two Japanese transports were coming from the South and were heading towards the northern part of Mindoro. This coincided with General MacArthur’s report.