Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

June 12, 1942

At Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York. I saw Quezon and Osmeña at 9 a.m.

They both seemed depressed, and the latter was absent-minded. I learned the reason for this depression while Morgan Shuster and I were questioning Quezon about his war book. He said he had had one of the most discouraging interviews of his life last night with two owners of publishing businesses–not merely editors, (Henry Luce and Roy Howard). And he was not satisfied that the future relations between the United States and the Philippines were not even yet settled, in spite of President Roosevelt’s cable to him on Corregidor that the islands were to be “taken back, independence granted and secured and protected”–a promise upon which he had staked so very much. Now, he began to believe that all the United States would do for them would be to “put them back in the same place they were in the beginning.” When I asked him exactly what he meant, he did not clarify the situation, but Shuster and I afterwards presumed these words to mean a sort of “phony” independence was to be theirs, and without being “secured and protected,” and, even possibly under the hegemony of Japan.

Shuster then remarked that there was a large number of persons in the United States today who were at heart pacifists and would be ready for an arranged peace.

When we were alone together once more, I asked Quezon why, when he was on Corregidor and refused the Japanese offer of “independence with honor,” he had been so sure in staking the whole future on confidence in a positive victory over Japan. He replied: “It is the intelligence of the average American and the limitless resources of your country which decided me. The Americans are, of course, good soldiers, as they showed in Europe during the last war, but as for courage, all men are equally courageous if equally well led. Merely brave men certainly know how to die–but the world is not run by dead men.” He cited the case of the Spartans and the Athenians. “What became of the Spartans?” And then he added that in making on Corregidor that momentous decision, he “wasn’t sure.”

It later appeared that one of Luce’s publications–Fortune in its August number was to publish an excellent analysis of Far Eastern affairs by Buell. They sent Quezon a preview copy of this article which however carried an absurg suggestion that independence be postponed in the Philippines until 1960, the islands to be garrisoned meanwhile by the United Nations. “What” cried Quezon, “they propose to garrison us with Chinese and Russian soldiers? The moment that article comes out, the Japanese radio will use it. The people of my country will turn at once to the Japanese side, and I shall be completely discredited. You propose to return Formosa to China? How foolish. Better garrison Formosa by the United Nations armies, and thereby protect the Philippines and insure peace in the Far East.”

Quezon says he finally converted Luce and Howard to this view, and Luce is going to advocate Philippine independence immediately after the war. Quezon is quite worn out by the strain of these arguments, conducted until 1:30 last night and for an hour this morning. He remains still greatly depressed by the views of Howard and Luce on the Philippines’ status after this war is over. He now sees that the final success of his life’s work really depends upon Roosevelt’s party remaining in power in Washington.

While we were somewhat gloomily surveying this episode of the inside working of New York editorial minds, an American press agent came in and told Quezon that at two-thirty p.m. on Sunday, the Flag Day of the United Nations, President Roosevelt will announce the recognition of the Philippines as one of the United Nations. This is the prompt result of the negotiations conducted by Quezon through Hopkins, and is surely a swift remedy for the enervating doctrines of Luce and Howard.

Quezon, in the midst of serious distractions and worries about the future of his country, has been stirred up by Shuster to make another effort to concentrate on his book. He has just wired General MacArthur inviting him to write and cable a foreword to his proposed book. I reported to Quezon that Shuster expected to sell 25,000 copies of the book, if gotten out promptly, which figure at 15% royalty on a $3.00 book would net him (Quezon) $10,000. The President’s comment in reply was that he had an offer of that sum for ten lectures in the United States which would be much easier for him that writing a book. However he believes that with his experiences and observations of the Japanese attack on the Philippines, such a book by him would serve a useful purpose. He asked me to get from Colonel Andres Soriano and from General Valdes the facts for the period between the invasion of the Philippines and the entry, unopposed of the Japanese into Manila. This I am proceeding to do, since both officers are here in this hotel with us.

(Note by the writer. The following pages are now, seven years later, inserted in this diary upon its preparation for the press, because, although the information was obtained by President Quezon’s direction for his own use in his book, it was never so used by him, and it now seems worth while to preserve for future students testimony as to the effect of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines from two highly competent witnesses of the scenes described and especially as coming from key men in the situation.)

Having been in France myself during the German invasion of that country in 1940, I had in my mind a picture of the kind of observations by members of Quezon’s entourage which should, in my opinion be included in a description of the fall of the Philippines.

Beginning with a question to Don Sergio Osmeña, I asked him how the municipal officials of Luzon had stood up to the invasion, remarking that in France I had been told they all had run away except for one mayor in the north, who had stood his ground.

Osmeña replied that they all stood firm in the path of the Japanese invasion in Luzon, and mentioned one mayor in the Province of Albay, who, when the head of the Japanese column entered his town, climbed on the step of the leading automobile and emptied his revolver into it, then fell back dead. Further questions to Osmeña were not possible because he was off to Boston to speak there in substitution for Quezon, who had been invited to luncheon tomorrow in the White House by President Roosevelt.

Quezon himself contributed only the following brief statements: that one of the lessons they learned during the invasion was that the Philippines could be defended–with one thousand planes, one hundred submarines and one hundred mosquito boats. The mosquito boats which he himself had ordered in Great Britain for the defense of the Philippines had never been delivered to him; they had been diverted to help Finland in the first of her two recent wars with Russia. England promised to replace them but was prevented by the war from doing so. Anyway, he remarked, at the banquet given him today by the Chase National Bank, he had told them: “This is not our war.” He also added that General Aguinaldo had most certainly not been a Quisling during the invasion; indeed, he observed, in recent years the General had been in favour of immediate independence for the Philippines because he believed that his country was in deadly danger under the American flag. The next morning I secured from Basilio Valdes the following statements on the subject of the invasion. He had been Commanding General of the Philippine Army until it was mustered into the American service, then he became Quezon’s Chief of Staff for the Filipino units in the army, and Minister of National Defense in Quezon’s Cabinet.

The following are the statements from Valdes as I understood his account:

Valdes reports that Americans made up only 20% of the army of defense, but the American newspapers overstressed the American participation in the whole war; that it is very difficult indeed to make any exact figures for the casualties.

He said that in the organization of the Philippine Army, for the first two years, 1936 and 1937, they drafted the prescribed 40,000 men a year. For the succeeding years, having found the financial burden too great, they drafted but 25,000 men a year. (Get copy of Valdes’ last annual report as Chief of Staff to President Quezon; a copy must be in the War Dept.)

Valdes says that when the invasion occurred, there was some panic at first in Manila, but none in the provinces. They had studied the disaster in the downfall of France, and military maneuvers were not hampered by crowds on the roads; certain roads were immediately closed to the public. They held the enemy above San Fernando Pampanga until the troops which had been engaged on the Lucena front were moved around Manila to the Bataan lines–a brilliant military move.

Valdes states that Quezon was in a wheel chair all the time he was on Corregidor; that he discarded it on entering the submarine; 24 hours after reaching Panay, he was able to go up two flights of stairs.

Fifth Columnists and Trickery: Valdes: “After the battle of Morong (in Bataan), General Segundo said, we had to withdraw and with us were cavalry from Stotsenburg who had lost their horses in the battle. The next day we retook Morong; so we searched the forest for those horses. We met a man in Filipino uniform who spoke perfect English; he said he knew where the horses were and led us up a trail. But he led our two officers, a major and a lieutenant up to a machine gun nest–thereupon the guide (Jap) threw himself on the ground. Our lieut. was killed, the officer in command of the machine gun, and the others fled. Then the major killed the false guide. The Japanese were always after Filipino uniforms.”

When asked who the fifth columnists were, Valdes said: “First of all, those opposed to Quezon’s administration such as the Sakdalistas in Laguna and Bulacan and Tayabas, tho their leader Ramos, in prison for sedition, had been moved from the Philippines to an American prison. (For Ramos and Sakdalistas see Hayden’s book). The new name for Sakdalista is Ganap, which also means “I protest.” The Japanese had made much of Ramos and sent him back to the Philippines.

Second: The Japanese-Filipino mestizos, of whom there were not many in the Philippines.

Third: General Artemio Ricarte, el Vibora (Viper) of the old Filipino insurrectionary army. He is now riding around Manila with an a.d.c. and Japanese soldiers beside him. (He caused me a great deal of trouble when I was Governor General and I sent Clyde Dewitt to Shanghai on a small coast guard cutter to arrest him with a warrant from the American Judge there–Dewitt was sea sick for the eleven day trip by sea–Ricarte escaped with the aid of an English clergyman.) Shuster, who was with us in this New York hotel while General Valdes was talking, related an experience of his own with Ricarte about 1903, when Shuster was Collector of Customs in Manila: Ricarte came over from Hong Kong to Manila, and Shuster went out to meet the steamer personally, to hand the oath of allegiance to the United States for Ricarte to sign. Ricarte replied that he was insulted by being asked to take such an oath and that he had breathed enough of the air of his native land, now that it was so polluted. So back he went to Hong Kong, crying out that he would live to see the day when every American was driven out of the Islands. Now he comes back with Japanese to see his curse fulfilled!

Fourth: In Angeles, Pampanga, 8 kilometers from Fort Stotsenburg, a Filipino furniture maker named [Timio kept a shop, at the back of which he had a speakeasy.] When the officers from Stotsenburg used the W.C. by his speakeasy, they would sometimes talk together, and Timio had a stenographer in the adjoining room, and furnished news to the Japs. This man was awarded a contract for making dummy airplanes of bamboo and cloth for the army camouflage, and when the bombardment of Camp Clark air field took place, not a single dummy plane was hit.

Fifth: In the second week of the war, telephone messages went all over Manila saying the watersupply had been poisoned. Three sakdalistas in a car were caught driving around Manila and shouting this news. Valdes had them arrested; lots of people came to his office to know if the rumours were true and in order to convince them he had to draw a glass of water and drink it in their presence.

Sixth: Story of Claro M. Recto, former Justice of the Supreme Court. After the bombing of Baguio, there was a stream of cars which started south for Manila; when they arrived at the “Forks” in Pampanga, “a man in uniform” directed them off to the right in the direction of Stotsenburg, so the line of automobiles served as a “pointer” to aircraft above, and the bombing at Stotsenburg began just before the motors got there.

Seventh: Cutting of wires to detectors on Clark Field (see below).

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