January 21, 1939

I’ve been discussing lately, with Mamie, exactly what to do in the way of asking for a definite terminating date for my tour. When we were put on the foreign service roster (Jan. 1, 1938) our tours of duty were automatically extended to Oct. 20, 1938. After Jimmy’s death the President asked me to extend beyond that time, which I finally agreed to do on two conditions: first that I’d get a trip home this last summer on Commonwealth business; second that some arrangement could be made whereby, with no increased cost to me I could have air-conditioned quarters at the hotel. He unhesitatingly agreed and further asked, “What can I do to induce you to stay even longer than one year after your return?” I replied that since my reasons were chiefly domestic the matter was not open to discussion. He accepted that but expressed emphatically and repeatedly at that conference (which included breakfast and the remainder of the morning until 11:30) his satisfaction with my work, and his anxiety to keep me. In the meantime Vargas had, as previously reported, and with the President’s approval, raised my local allowance from 600 to 1000 pesos per mo.

The year I agreed to do is up in Oct. 1939. But now I find that the W.D. expects me to make up the 4 mos. & 11 days I was out of the Dept. during my trip to the States. That will interrupt John’s schooling, so, what to do!! If I go in Oct. (assuming W.D. approved) John’s school still presents a serious problem!! If I ask to go back this July, I’m breaking faith with Malacañan, and will have to get personal approval from Mr. Q. (I rather suspect I could get such approval easily, since I’m no longer so useful to them in doing a bunch of work at the Executive Offices.) Surprisingly enough, the General suggested strongly that I ask the W.D. for nothing except a 3 mos. extension, so as to return home in July ’40! I must decide soon!


January 18, 1939

Major De Lalande, representative of Brant Co. (Paris) made another visit to Manila. He’s frightened we are going to buy a small amount of mortar equipment from American Armament Co. He talked & talked so much that he has convinced me that his company really fears A.A. Co. as possible competitor.  But he convinced the General that there might be some danger (just what I don’t know) in buying an experimental lot of A.A. equipment so that deal is off; although only one month ago it had been determined here in office to buy more of the stuff than I recommended. We don’t have policies, we just walk tight ropes! Anyway, we are apparently to wait some more to see whether the Assembly will pass our bill to remit customs duties. If they do then we’ll buy, the General says, a number of mortars directly from Brant with necessary training ammunition; to carry training along until U.S. Ord. gets in position to manufacture both on quantity and reasonable price basis. In the long run this may prove to be the best plan –but 60 days ago we told Department Commander that we were placing an immediate order for from 48-72 modern mortars (I recommended 12). We made this statement on what Sutherland told me was the General’s decision and with this understanding the Dept. C.O. authorized us to take 10 loaned mortars off Luzon for training use in South. Now we’ll wait another couple months to see what Assembly is going to do.


January 10, 1939

Recently I gave a luncheon for 40 people at the Manila Hotel in honor of Gen. Santos, retiring Chief of Staff, and of Gen. Valdes, newly appointed to that post. The circumstances under which the change was made, gave a popular impression that everyone, including this office, was trying to kick Santos out. My luncheon was given, in the hope that Santos could make some “face” –so dear to the Oriental– through the implication that his transfer to his new job was really a promotion! He’s a much abler man than his successor, but he’s a “tan” and that condemns him in the eyes of the Mestizo group, and that group runs the P.I. Sec. Alunan is Santos’ new boss.


December 12, 1938

I’ve played bridge recently with Pres. Q: once for a weekend on the Casiana; once for an afternoon at Malacañan. He’s a peach of a player but somewhat unorthodox in bidding.

Today I’m scheduled to give a talk to 31st Infantry officers on Philippine Defense Plan. It will be fun to address a bunch of people of my own kind.

The results of my trip to the States are very well outlined in the notebook I carried with me. For that reason I don’t repeat them here.

How I wish poor old Jim were alive and here to go over things with me!

He’d be particularly astonished to find that, again, the 30 Division plan establishes the basis for all our work. No hint is ever given that it was once definitely and finally repudiated –that the Gen. shouted down in anger any suggestion that he had ever directed us to take 30 Divs. as an objective! He has completely forgotten that when, in a pinch, he momentarily had to look at facts, he hastily established 15 Divs. as the limit to which we’d aspire. Now the 30 Division plan is accepted, not only accepted, there’s no suggestion of any other thought. Luckily, I’ll be long gone before the Filipinos have the right to look about them and say, Well, the time is up, where are the 30 Divs?” There will be no answer to that one; not for 160,000,000 pesos aggregate!!

To save money we’ve curtailed training plans and original concepts in every direction.

The Constabulary figure was finally fixed at 350 officers, 4500 enl. men. This leaves us (even counting provincials) with about 270 officers and 3000 enl. men. This number, the Gen. says, except for a special case here and there, is sufficient. We’ll scuttle the Reg. Force, except in name. It will be just a number of training cadres!! This great reduction the Gen. justifies on the grounds that we no longer carry any responsibility to maintain a reserve force for maintenance of law & order!! If that was the only reason for a Reg. Force, it never was justified! We may as well establish the Constab. and let it alone!! The Gen. decided to recall reservists for training only every other year!!

We’re doing nothing about pre-military training except in the sketchiest way. Yet, in the beginning, when the Gen. still looked at some of these problems from a professional, no matter how warped, viewpoint, he justified the 5 1/2 months training period only on the plea that each of them would undergo 10 years continuous training in schools; and would, after completion of trainee instruction, be called every year for unit training. But to preserve outward evidence of progress, which he thinks will get by with laymen who know nothing of efficiency, the Gen., as always, is willing to scuttle anything and everything real.

Will I be glad when I get out of this!!


November 15, 1938

As a result of my inspection of American Armament Equipment, and of the information we’ve received from the U.S. Ord (Ord. mortars & amm.) will not be ready for sale for at least 1 more year at quantity production prices, since all technical problems are not yet licked. I came back here and suggested the purchase of about 6-12 A.A. mortars with a thousand rounds or so of amm. to test out throughly this equipment. If satisfactory (and we have every reason to believe it should be) we’d have an additional source of supply in reserve, and would be able to secure items from the source offering the lowest price. Sutherland concurred in every respect except that he told me the Gen. wants to buy enough, at once, for 6 Divs. (48) and for 9 Divs. (72) if possible. Personally, I see no reason for going overboard this havily on the A.A. mortar since eventually we count on using U.S. Ord. But OK!!


November 10, 1938

Arrived in Manila from the States on Nov. 5, and found a vastly different situation, so far as it affects me and my work, than from the one existing when I left on June 26.

First of all, the General has apparently been stricken with the same obsessions with respect to me that he suffered from in the case of Jimmy. He always bitterly resented J’s popularity with Filipinos in general, and his intimacy with Malacañan in particular. So, while I was gone, he reorganized the office, so as to remove me completely in official affairs from Malacañan. Not content with this he re-arranged the office force so that I’m no longer his C. of S., but only another staff officer –he is theoretically the coordinator of the whole group. My section is plans, training, mobilization, education, etc. –the purpose being to keep me absorbed in academic work at my desk, and to rob me of any influence in the Army or at Malacañan. The only thing he forgets is that all of us are attached to Department Headquarters and whether he likes it or not the Senior Office of the U.S. Army on duty with this groups is compelled to make efficiency reports on the others [. . . .] While I was representing the office at Malacañan I kept him informed of everything pertaining to us. Now he gets only those things that are sent to him in letter form. Secretary Vargas is resentful of the change –but I told him it was a matter of indifference to me. I would make no move to recommend a change. Why the man should so patently exhibit a jealousy of a subordinate is beyond me. I guess it’s because he is afraid a conviction will grow in the minds of local people that he personally is not so important to the Army and to the P.I. If this is his thought, he’s taken the worst possible course, because when a subordinate maintains such contacts he can with propriety glorify the position, prestige and value of the Boss. He (if he has any modesty whatsoever, which I doubt) is handicapped in this direction. Administratively the new scheme is so clumsy as to require no comment.

Of course, he has accomplished one thing he wanted to do, that is, make certain that I’d get out as soon as I decently can. On the surface all is lovely. I will not give him the satisfaction of showing any resentment. But my usefulness is so curtailed as to rob the job of much of its interest, so I’m going at the earliest possible moment. If the d—– fool had only sent his plan to me while I was in the States I would not have returned; but I guess he was afraid to do this for fear of the explanation he would have had to make at Malacañan. Sec. Vargas knows that I worked honestly, and wirh some effectiveness so it would have been embarrassing to the Gen. to show why I declined to come back. He did not have that much courage!

I regret the campaign I conducted everywhere in the States to make him appear a wise counsellor, an asset to the Philippines, and a splendid man in his present post.

The A.G. informed me I’d be expected to make up the 4 months & 10 days I was outside the Philippine Islands. This would bring my tour to a close in early March (1940) and I had originally intended asking to stay until end of June, that year, as John could finish school. Now, I’m going to try to beg off the extra four months and get out of here next October.

When the President and Mr. Vargas raised my allowance to 1000 per mo., and when they volunteered to give me air-conditioned rooms at the same price as the old ones, I see now that they convinced the Gen. he should get rid of me. It was in keeping with his hypocritive habits that these were the subjects concerning which he expressed so much personal satisfaction in the last interview I had with him just before I left for the U.S. But I must say it is almost incomprehensible that after 8 years of working for him, writing every word he publishes, keeping his secrets [ . . . ] he should suddenly turn on me, as he has all others who have ever been around him. He’d like to occupy a throne room surrounded by experts in flattery [. . . .]

So far as I’m personally concerned all this means nothing; as I have not and never have had any intention of remaining in the Philippine Islands beyond a definite, limited period. My fury is academic rather than practical and actual; [ . . . ] T.J. is no higher (apparently) in his estimation than I. His confidence in our integrity and gentlemanly instincts must be high, at that, because I cannot believe he’d deliberately make enemies of anyone that he’d fear might in the future reveal the true story of his black and tan affair, [ . . . ] his speculations on his chances to be Vice-President of the U.S.; [ . . . ] his extravagant condemnations of Pres. of U.S. et al when he was summarily relieved before he reached San Francisco; his chiselling to increase the emoluments he’s getting from the Phil. Govt; his abject fear that he’ll do anything that might jeopardize his job (rather his salary of 66,000 and all expenses). Oh hell –what’s the use! The point is he knows we won’t tell these things!

Now that I’ve jotted all this down I hope that it never again comes, even momentarily, to my mind!


December 13, 1937

We had considerable excitement recently due to forced landings by three of our airplanes while they were returning from a southern island trip. On eastern shore of Luzon they ran into the edge of a typhoon area, and, practically out of gas, each had to seek a spot to get down. One plane reported in by wire within an hour of landing; the occupants of another reached a telegraph station two days later; while the third, perched on a tiny islet that was completely isolated by weather, was unreported from Monday noon until Friday morning. Unfortunately this plane, piloted by Lt. Lee,  had Gen. Santos as one of the passengers (Segundo was the other). As a result headlines and all types of newspaper publicity centered around Santos and, this apparently irritated the President no end, who doesn’t like to see someone else’s name in the public prints.

He has written a letter to Santos demanding a full report on the trip with “whys”, “whats”, “whos”, and etc., etc. The letter was drafted by [ . . . ] who in his usual bootlicking, made its language as bitter, sarcastic and nearly intolerable [ . . . ] The Pres. even stooped to calling in a newspaper owner, Romulo, and inspiring an editorial of criticism against Santos. The whole incident is apparently to be used to relieve Santos, if possible, so they are working up an artificial sentiment of resentment toward him.

Actually the facts and reasons are simple.

The President wrote Santos a letter two months ago directing the destruction of all Moro cottas. Santos got the original order considerably modified in favor of reason and moderation, but it was still sufficiently severe to arouse Moro antagonism and sporadic revolt. A few of them gathered in a cotta at Lanao and trouble started which constantly grew more serious. Calls for help came from the local constabulary and finally Santos conferred at length with MacA. It was agreed to send down additional land forces, to get three planes ready for tactical operation in case of necessity, and to have Santos go down by plane to make an extensive survey of the situation.

Gen. MacA. fully agreed that Santos should go. The reasons were several:

  1. Santos is intimately acquainted with the country and the people.
  2. It was necessary to get first-hand information concerning the seriousness of the situation.
  3. It was obviously necessary to coordinate the plans and efforts of the army with those of the Governor-Commissioner of Mindanao, etc.

Gen. MacA. was the one who insisted that the planes, if they went, should be equipped for action. Jim and I have advised Santos to sit quietly, saying nothing except to answer the letter plainly, truthfully and without apology. He used his judgment and did the best he could. I cannot believe anyone will try to carry the thing too far. But I notice the Gen. says the only error made in the whole incident was the “decision to return to Manila”. This decision was, of course, Santos’ own so if that was the only error, he alone bears the responsibility!!!


October 11, 1937

These notes were originally started more as an “aide memoire” –and as a matter of possible future interest have obviously become necessary as a protection against changes in orders and directives. Changes in plans are of course always necessary when the period for their execution extends over a decade, and their details include all the activities, agencies and requirements of a national army. Changes are not bad in themselves, but when there is met a flat denial that the original plan ever existed it is best to keep in written form, some record of the principal features of the orders and directives a subordinate is following in his daily work. It is a terrible way in which to work –and feeling that it is necessary to observe such a practice carries an implication that “Someone is crazy.” Maybe the keeping of notes will reveal whether or not it is I.