Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

September 29, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon back from Saranac in his apartment in the Shoreham; still on his back and confined to his bedroom; full of fight over the joint resolution introduced in the Senate by Mr. Tydings for immediate independence of the Philippines. No fever and yet not much strength–but the spirit burning fiercely. Tries not to speak and writes his remarks on a pad, but occasionally breaks in with a muffled voice.

The story of the joint resolution since I left Quezon in Saranac nearly three weeks ago, is the substitution for our form for independence (as soon as the Japanese are driven our of the P.I.) of a straight-out declaration for immediate independence, as suggested later by Frank Murphy. When Murphy got back to Washington he telephoned the White House that he did not want the Philippines “treated like India.”

Quezon has sent the two forms of resolution down to Tydings who had gone to see Roosevelt (for the first time in years) and, while he seems not to have actually shown the resolution he had selected (and enlarged) for immediate independence, he came out and announced that Mr. Roosevelt and Secretary Hull were in favour of it, and introduced it in the Senate on September 24th with a brief statement stressing the importance of preventing the Japanese grant of “independence” from influencing any Filipinos to fight alongside the Japanese army when our forces re-entered the Philippines.

Then the opposition got to work in the press. Mr.Walter Lippman attacked the new resolution introduced by Senator Tydings in two newspaper articles on September 28th and 30th, and Quezon replied to the first in very vigorous terms on September 29th, being ably supported by the veteran journalist, Mr. William Philip Simms. Editorials in the Washington Star and Washington Post opposed the Tydings’ resolution.

Quezon as is usual in one of his political fights, is alternately in high spirits and in the trough of depression.

I saw him at 6 p.m., September 29th, and he opened up by writing his views to me, in answer to my remarks. He said he had been willing to accept independence when the Japanese were expelled, but now it was too late to yield on immediate independence–the Filipinos could not be made to understand. He added “rather than yield, I’ll go Jap.” Stimson and the Interior Department (Ickes) were opposed to it, according to Quezon; Roosevelt was writing his message to Congress on the subject, and was to send it first to Quezon on Monday, October 4th. Quezon had sent General Valdes before the Senate Committee to read his (Q’s) views in support of the resolution “word by word” and could not now retract.

I told him this move should have been made last February (1943) when we first took it up–but Quezon said that Osmeña was then opposed. (Quezon was also then uncertain of Roosevelt’s position on the question.)

The President then reached under his pillow and showed me two telegrams from MacArthur of September 25th, and 27th, 1943. The first congratulated Quezon upon Tydings’ resolution, and said he knew of no people who would better adorn independence than the Filipinos. That early in August he (MacArthur) had become deeply concerned over the possible effects of the Japanese declaration of “independence” for the Philippines and had cabled the Chief of Staff that it was necessary for the United States to grant independence before the Japanese did so, and had asked the Chief of Staff to show his cable to the Secretary of War and to the President. MacArthur added that probably Quezon had not been apprised of his cable!

MacArthur’s second cable was to ask Quezon, in the event of the passage of Tydings’ resolution, to give MacArthur command without salary of the Philippine Army to use with the American Army to reconquer the Philippines, a task to which he had dedicated the rest of his life.

At this point Andres Soriano came in and joined us; he is trying to get released from his post as Secretary of Finance, but Quezon told him (in Spanish) that he must wait until next May.

Later I dined with Soriano; he told me he had been trying ever since last Spring to get out of the Cabinet; he wanted to join the Philippine Army in Mindanao and be a general officer there. Also wishes to launch his preparations for the rehabilitation of the Philippines. Wants to make it an industrial and shipping nation to take over part of the business in the Islands of the class of enterprise which had made Japan so strong in the past. Quezon kept telling him to wait.

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