Diary of Jorge B. Vargas

July 17th, 1946

Night was warm & suffocating. Suffered a lot on a/c of heat during the whole night—fortunately the mosquitoes had disappeared—but must have over exercised yesterday afternoon, as I feel not only too tired, sort of worn out, but had actually sore eyes & a heavy head. The heat was still in my entire body & was perspiring all the time, so much that for first time woke up this morning with my pyjamas wet on the shoulder and armpits. Did sleep so well during the night until early this morning, and was fast asleep when Tony the guard woke me up a little after six. Proceeded slowly to do my morning routine, because the perspiration was oozing out of me “que es un gusto.”

While at bath the faucet water stopped. Aquino specially suffered the consequences because he always bathes himself with cold water and the only water available at the tub was too warm for him. There was no water in his cell either when he came back and so kept on perspiring more profusely after the bath than before. Did not mind the warm water myself-— even immersed myself in the tub and when I returned to my room found that my faucet was still working, so had a towel bath with cold water in addition before starting to powder myself in preparation for dressing.

Was taking it slowly and was only in my drawers when the lieutenant dropped in. Said he had seen the KP schedule we worked out for him—Said it was good, wanted to know everybody was satisfied with the arrangement. Told him as far as Filipino group was concerned we believed the Germans also and of course the Chinese. Asked specially about the Schweitzer’s notation. Explained to him the problem we had in placing Schweitzer in the schedule and because of his refusal to do KP duty our group had to shoulder one more duty unit that was strictly fair—so we felt we had to let the prison authorities know about it. The lieut. asked what I would do with Sch. if I were in his place——answered him I suppose I could find several ways of making him obey reasonable orders like withdrawing some of his personal privileges locking him up In his cell during movie and social hours and the like. Said well, we will try to find out what’s best to do in his case.

Tony came in afterwards and said he heard I had had some unfortunate incident. When asked what, asked in turn haven’t they taken away one of your chairs? Then he noticed I still had two—told me some German had suggested to one of the guards looking for a chair for messhall to take one of mine instead of those they had stored for themselves in one of the unused rooms. The guard took one of their chairs anyhow and told to mind their own business-—Leaves them right for being always so envious and jealous of other people.

Swelteringly hot. Told Aquino at am. exercise about my asking the lieut. for permission for him to sleep these hot nights in my room——-we to bring his cot here after dinner and take it out again next morning, or if this not possible, to leave his door open all night as he has been suffering from heat trouble. The lieut. said it might be possible for him to transfer Aquino to my room permanently, but did not think a night arrangement was possible—neither would opening of door be practicable as most everybody else would want to have something done for him. Aquino and specially Laurel thought transfering Aquino to my room would be inconvenient for both of us ——so I just kept quiet. Will let Aquino decide what he wants to do——We again wondered what was causing delay in disposition of our cases, and we felt perhaps Roxas is moving cautiously. We mentioned possibility of having Roxas and MacArthur testify at our trial if there should be one—Laurel specially wants Roxas—his testimony would be vital on war declaration count. Says he distinctly remembers Roxas telling him when Laurel said he was prepared to refuse to declare war having done so already in Tokyo even if the Japanese killed him—”You have no right to be a martyr at the expense of our lives.” Roxas’ advise was the one that weighed most in Laurel’s final decision.

Movies today was one animal funny—assassination and “Murder in the Music Hall” a Republic picture. There is a lot of beautiful ice-skating while a murder plot is running mysteriously through the picture. They had brought down one of my chairs again, so I took one up to my room too after the show –was unable to identify my own chair which was marked. Perhaps somebody else had picked it up. It makes no difference –they are all alike.

Laundry this week came back late –Monday morning, not knowing how much longer we are staying here. Sent out today in addition to ordinary laundry –my white shorts flannel pants and blue silk pajamas.

At afternoon exercise Aquino referred to Roxas’ Party platform, as carried by Phil News Digest of May to the effect that the Liberal Wing will “mercilessly” prosecute all collaborators. This plank in the Roxas platform may cause Roxas to go very slow on amnesty matter, and may lead him not to act until he is certain all important objectors to a liberal policy towards collaborationists both from American quarters and his own party have been overcome. We decided, however, to try to contact either Pedro Lopez or Justice Jaranilla here in Tokyo and ask them to find out what’s what and through them perhaps send a message to Roxas we want to be sent home as soon as possible irrespective of any plans he might have as to favorable solution of our cases. Even Laurel was ready for this step and I was assigned to write to Lopez this week inviting him to come and visit us. Will do so for this coming Friday’s mail.

Today they gave us a notice in English and Japanese that beginning Aug. 1st, “package for persons interned at Sugamo Prison will not be accepted unless accompanied by a request for said articles from the individual interned here.” Hope this does not cover pkgs. containing newspapers which Leoni and perhaps other friends may send us from time to time, or those coming by mail from the Philippines. At any rate hope we will not be here by then.

Chinese group with BaMaw, Shimizu and Tom had some kind of oriental dancing and singing exhibition. BaMaw sang the Burmese royal song, Tom danced several Geisha classical dances, Shimizu did an imitation conversation between a Geisha and a guest, Jap, and one Chinaman sang several supposedly popular Chinese songs which all seemed very weird to me. Stahmer and I a few other Germans were the principal spectators.

At poker later, Osias was the heaviest loser-—Y10 and Jr. Y12 more. Aquino and I were the winners.

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