Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

August 4 and 5, 1944

Long talk with Dr. Trepp the day after the funeral. What an extraordinary career was Quezon’s!–born a village boy in Baler in 1878, of mixed Spanish and Ilongot blood, he spent his childhood in one of the most remote and inaccessible little villages of the southwest Pacific. He died as the President in exile of the conquered Philippines, and was given the most impressive funeral which I ever attended. The cathedral was full and many dignitaries were there. He was buried in Arlington Cemetery–a great military display headed by General Marshall and Admiral King. His body is left there until it can be sent back to the Philippines on an American battleship.

Trepp described to me Quezon’s last illness: Asheville was the “low point” and Quezon began to improve again at Saranac Lake. He was kept in touch with the progress of the war by daily readings from newspapers, and attended now and then to a little executive business by letter and telegram. He wrote to MacArthur two days before his death. He was, however, not unaware of the seriousness of his condition. He told Nieto just a day or two before the end to look out for all his affairs and he had a long and satisfactory talk with his wife. At ten o’clock on the morning of August 1st, 1944, he suddenly had a hemorrhage–about a liter of blood which practically choked him–sank rapidly and died peacefully.

Trepp says that Quezon wore himself out completely by his quarrel with Osmeña over the presidency in November 1943, and never recovered. He was often found in tears in his bed at that time. This, Trepp names as the proximate cause of his death.

Mr. Serapio Canceran, the private secretary of the late President expresses deep concern over the possible killing of General Roxas by the Japanese because he is believed to be the “undercover” head of the guerrillas. He says that two days before he died, Quezon sent a cable to General MacArthur asking him to rescue Roxas and get him away from the Japanese. “This,” replied MacArthur “would be very difficult to do.” Dr. Trepp believes that Roxas will be elected first president of the Philippine Republic.

A few months later, Trepp himself died in Doctors’ Hospital in Washington of cancer of the stomach. I saw him several times in his last days, and this simple and honourable man suffered greatly towards his end.

THE END

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