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


December 1943–May 31, 1944

Towards the middle of December 1943, Quezon moved with his family to Miami, Florida. He craved the sunshine and warmth of a climate more nearly resembling that of his own country, over which during his life in exile he constantly brooded. Reports of the state of his health were not encouraging, and the fight over his succession to the presidency had worn him out completely. He no longer had the vitality which had given him such astonishing recuperative powers in his previous illnesses. His country was still under the brutal heel of the invader.

In February, I proposed to go down to see him, but he returned a polite negative.

At the end of March I wrote him that I had to undergo a serious surgical operation, and he wired me they were all praying for a successful recovery.

As he was not doing well at Miami, he was moved to Asheville, North Carolina, a climate favorable to tuberculosis patients. Quezon was in Hathaway Cottage at the Grove Park Hotel, and as I entered, I heard low voices in conversation from his bedroom. He and his nurse were talking. Colonel Manuel Nieto and Dr. Trepp were in the sitting room, and they told me that Quezon had not been doing at all well at Asheville, and that the next morning they were going to move him back at Saranac in the Adirondack Mountains, in northern New York. I asked, of course, if I might see him, and Dr. Trepp replied that Quezon had had a relapse at Miami, and that while, of course, he could not forbid me to go in to see him, nevertheless he earnestly wished that I should not enter Quezon’s bedroom. Of course I acquiesced in his decision. I spent an hour talking with Nieto and Trepp.

Those who saw Quezon put aboard the train in a stretcher the next morning told me he was exceedingly feeble. I never saw him again until on August 3rd I looked on his dead face as his body lay in its coffin in St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington.


September 6-9, 1943

Saranac Lake, N.Y.

This is the first entry in this diary for more than three months. Early in June, Quezon was attacked by bronchitis and soon developed a serious attack of tuberculosis. Dr. Trepp was frankly alarmed–he told me that Quezon was a worn-out man, and expressed himself as uncertain whether he could pull Quezon through this time. I suggested Saranac Lake, of which Trepp had never heard, but he understood at once when I mentioned the name of the famous Dr. Trudeau. So, after a couple of weeks in Washington and an equal period at Doctors’ Hospital in New York, Quezon was taken to Saranac.

Before leaving Washington, Quezon was not allowed to speak above a whisper, and the Cabinet met in his bedroom, where the President designated Osmeña to act for him, and in case the latter was incapacitated (as he then was!), Elizalde was to act as and for the President. This selection, inevitable as it was, created vast confusion among high officials–Quezon’s secretary, Dr. Rotor, and Bernstein, head of the Office of Special Services, were frankly uncertain whether they could (or would) get on with Elizalde!

Meanwhile, Osmeña, who, as already noted, has been suddenly operated on for appendicitis, came through safely, and then developed an infection and a high temperature. The first two occasions when I visited him in his bed in Doctors’ Hospital in Washington, he could not speak–only moved his eyelids. I then thought he might die in my presence. My third visit, a fortnight later found him sitting up in a wheel chair and conversing agreeably; I told him he would soon be dancing again, and to clinch the matter he stood up and did a couple of fox-trot steps. He has been more or less acting as President ever since, somewhat to the surprise of Elizalde, who had expected Osmeña to be out of business for a year.

Quezon’s 65th birthday was at Saranac on August 19, 1943; shortly after that I heard that he was going to send for me; a telegram on September 4, from Rotor asked me to go up to Saranac for a week.

On arrival, I found all the customary “court circle” at MacMartin camp–Mrs. Quezon, the three children and all their usual suite. Osmeña and Bernstein were there, and Valdes and young Madrigal soon arrived. They were all gayer and in better spirits than I have seen them since their arrival in the United States in May, 1942. Quezon was said to have gained five pounds, and was contemplating an early return to Washington to escape the cold weather at Saranac. Trepp seemed resigned to the move, although he was enjoying himself in surroundings which reminded him of his native Switzerland. Quezon had the steam heat on in the house all summer, and part of his “outdoor” porch enclosed!

I found Quezon still on his back in bed, he was obliged to talk in an unaccustomed low voice, and easily became tired. Osmeña, Bernstein and I were at once employed on several alternative forms for a joint resolution of Congress declaring that the Philippines were and of right ought to be free and independent, that independence was to be granted as soon as the invader was driven out of the Islands and was to be secured, and the United States was to make good the ravages of war.

Quezon had received at Saranac a visit from Secretary of War Stimson on the latter’s journey to the Quebec conference. Stinson had been deeply disturbed by the Japanese political maneuvers in the Philippines (as, indeed I have been myself). They feared that the Japanese grant of independence might rally a certain number of Filipinos to aid the Japanese army to resist the coming American attack on them in the Philippines. Stimson told Quezon that if this occurred, he (S.) would feel like committing suicide. Millard Tydings, the Senator from Maryland, Chairman of the Committee on Tertitories etc., had been staying nearby with his father-in-law, ex-Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, and the two of them had come over to visit Quezon. Tydings then told Quezon that he would “father” “any damn thing” to which the President would agree in order to meet this situation.

So, together with Osmeña and Bernstein, I worked for the first day on the various forms offered for the proposed joint resolution. We could see Quezon for only an hour in the morning and the same length of time in the afternoon. That night Osmeña and Bernstein returned south.

Talk with Colonel Manuel Nieto, Quezon’s loyal friend and chief a.d.c. He told me that they had recently seen a colonel (American) who had escaped from the Philippines in July last. He reported that the Filipinos still have 10,000 troops in Mindanao; that there the Japanese held only Davao, Zamboanga, Misamis and the country up as far as Lake Lanao. The Filipinos can operate elsewhere in Mindanao as they wish. Tomas Confesor has a sort of government in existence in parts of Panay and adjoining islands; Samar and Leyte are for the most part unoccupied by the Japanese. Parts of Cebu are still in the hands of Filipino commandos; Luzon is pretty thoroughly occupied by the enemy.

In conversation at lunch I condoled with Mrs. Marcos Roces over the death of her brother-in-law, my good friend Don Alejandro Roces. It seems that the news had been kept from her–I don’t know why! In talking over this with Quezon later he remarked “Roces was better dead than left alive to explain later his attitude in his newspapers (La Vanguardia, Taliba, etc.) which had been pro-Japanese from the moment the enemy occupied Manila.” Quezon added that he would not himself hang any of the pro-Japanese Filipinos upon his return, though he added that “some of them may be killed before we can take control.” The general impression is that the Filipino people can distinguish accurately between those who are really pro-Japanese and those who are merely co-operating formally to preserve what they can of their country. Quezon quoted again the cable he sent to Roosevelt before leaving for Corregidor, that “if a government cannot afford protection to its citizens it cannot claim their allegiance.” It seems that thereupon Roosevelt cabled MacArthur to release the Filipino Army if Quezon demanded it, but also cabled Quezon his famous message “promising to redeem and protect the Philippines and give them their independence.” Quezon added that he had changed the word “redeemed” when he issued to the Filipino people the proclamation publishing Roosevelt’s message, on the basis of which the Filipinos fought the battle of Bataan. Roosevelt did not know that MacArthur had showed Quezon the message allowing him to disband the Philippine Army if Quezon insisted. Quezon praised Roosevelt’s attitude very highly.

He told me that Stimson’s recent visit to London was to insist that a more vigorous war be waged at once. Hence the pronouncements to that effect at the subsequent Quebec Conference.

About the so-called “independence” offered by the Japanese to the Filipinos, Quezon said: “As soon as I heard that the voting was to be done only by members of the Kalibapi, all my anxieties were ended. If it had been a vote of the Filipino people I would never have gone against it–I would have resigned.” (As a matter of opinion, the Filipinos are said to have “adopted” the new constitution by the vote of 181 hand-picked members of the Kalibapi!) This attitude of Quezon toward his retention of the presidency is uncertain in my mind. When Osmeña and Bernstein left after handing him the various forms proposed for a joint resolution of Congress, Quezon in bidding good-bye to Osmeña said “If this resolution passes Congress before November 15th, I shall resign because I am ill.” Mrs. Quezon also told me that when they go back to Manila, it would not be to reside in Malacañan Palace, but in their own house! On the other hand, Trepp says that he knows Quezon is going to retain the presidency, since he has overheard the negotiations on that subject!

After Osmeña and Bernstein had left, I worked for two more days with Quezon on the joint resolution and the various alternative forms were whittled down to one, declaring the Philippines independent, etc., as soon as invader was ejected and reciting Roosevelt’s famous message of promises to “redeem, secure, etc., and to repair.”

Just as I was leaving to return home, well satisfied with the draft of the joint resolution and Quezon’s proposed letter to President Roosevelt, a telephone conversation between Mrs. Quezon and ex-Governor General Frank Murphy in Michigan introduced another uncertainty into Quezon’s mind! Murphy was then quoted as having said that “he did not want the Philippines to be treated like India, and the resolution must grant immediate independence and he was going to Washington to get it!”

Canceran, the President’s private secretary, who had been busy all day for three days typing and retyping forms of the resolution as Quezon thought of new improvements, sadly said to me: “That is the trouble with the President, he always changes his mind at the last moment, upon new advice.”

Well, we shall see, what we shall see.

Roosevelt and Stimson are already committed to the earlier proposition–i.e., independence as soon as the Japanese invader is thrown out. (The other form might look as if the United States were evading their obligations).

It seems that Quezon has had Dr. Cherin, an assistant of Bernstein, working on the re-writing of Quezon’s book this summer, though Quezon told me nothing of that. The real hitch in publication is that Quezon cannot yet tell the full story of the all-important interchange of cablegrams between himself and Roosevelt before the battle of Bataan.


May 26, 1943

Doria and I sat in a taxi today with Mrs. Paul McNutt who had not seen our small daughter Ursula since she was a baby of three weeks at Baguio, six years ago. Mrs. McNutt was looking lovely and very smartly dressed. She commented on the regal style in which the Quezons lived at the Shoreham; and said that sometimes shen she entered the hotel with her arms full of bundles, as one was obliged to do nowadays, she met Mrs. Quezon flanked by two a.d.c.’s! Said that she herself had once been a refugee (from Mexico), but that was not the way people expected refugees to look! It was good-natured but ironic.

The Japanese radio (Domei) states that Vargas announced that all Filipinos should celebrate Japanese Navy Day (May 17) since the freedom of East Asia had been assured by the shattering by the Japanese of the Anglo-American and Dutch navies!

Arnaldo in charge of the library in the Commonwealth Building (1617 Mass. Ave.) says that it is not believed that the Japanese have destroyed any libraries in the Philippines, except possibly a part of the University Library. That the Philippine National Library was untouched, except that probably they took the old documents for their own great collection of Filipiniana in Tokyo–as, also possibly all the priceless collections of Professor Otley Beyer.

Sitting in the lobby of the Shoreham that evening with Dr. Trepp, we saw Quezon and his daughter Baby going toward the front door for a drive. Quezon went up the three or four steps nimbly almost waving his rubber-tipped cane. Trepp observed that if he had seen us, he would have been leaning feebly on Baby’s arm. Trepp told me that the President was a “used-up” man, physically; that there was nothing organical serious about his condition, and that he should live for from 5 to 10 years more–but was gradually wearing down. Says he (Trepp) saved Quezon’s life in 1932 and at first Quezon was grateful to him and put him in charge of the Sanitorium later replacing him there by Dr. Cañizares and making Trepp the latter’s “adviser.” As soon as Trepp had taught the Filipino doctors his methods, they shoved him aside. Quezon has not been generous to him in later years, but Trepp had built up a fine private practice in Manila, and had put his savings into successful gold mines.

Trepp said he “simply adored” Quezon until they went to Corregidor–but thought his leaving Manila a terrible mistake (of course, Trepp did not know of the pressure and specious promises of help from Roosevelt).


May 16, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon busy writing a letter in his own hand to Osmeña in answer to a brief submitted to him by the latter. This is the opening gun in the contest between the two for the presidency of the Commonwealth after November 15, 1943. Quezon read me the salient points of Osmeña’s brief, all of which were citations as to the constitutionality of a government-in-exile. Quezon now points out that all of Osmeña’s authorities refer to formerly independent states now (or formerly) in enemy occupation; these examples are irrelevant, since the Philippine Commonwealth has never been an independent government and the issue now lies between the United States and Japan–so the whole subject is in the hands of President Roosevelt, and he alone can decide what part of the Commonwealth Government and of its constitution are in force today. This leaves little doubt that Quezon will remain as President of the Philippines even after his present term of two years, expiring December 31, 1943, has run out. This would bar Osmeña from enjoying the two years as President to which he was elected by the Philippine people, just before the invasion by the Japanese. Since Quezon is being privately advised by Justices Murphy and Frankfurter, there can be little doubt of the outcome. Opinion around headquarters is that Osmeña will not offer serious resistance.

The part of Osmeña’s offer to Quezon which aroused the latter’s indignation was the proposition that Quezon should continue to live in the magnificent suite in the Shoreham when Osmeña assumed the presidency, and that Quezon should become President of the Council of State, which as he points out was the same old suggestion made to me as Governor General in 1919, [sic] when Osmeña tried to persuade me to disassociate myself from the new Council of State under his own presidency–a proposal which I then rejected.

At all events, Quezon feels that Osmeña’s offer to him now is “insulting.” I have no idea of the contents of Quezon’s letter of reply and probably never shall know but I consider it now practically certain that Quezon will remain as President until at least the Philippines are reoccupied. I had previously told him I did not believe that Roosevelt would tolerate any other plan.

Whether this is politically wise for Quezon is another matter. As Trepp says he weakened his political future when he left Corregidor, and the present project that he shall hold the presidency of the Commonwealth for the two years for which Osmeña had been elected president by the Filipinos, while practically unavoidable, will weaken him still further with the people at home. Quien sabe?

Meanwhile the Japanese radio announcements of statements by leading Filipinos continue to unsettle Philippine headquarters in Washington–however, these are now considered either as downright Japanese lies, or else as statements made under duress. Collier ‘s, May 22, 1943, publishes a recent statement by George Vargas: “It becomes our pleasant duty to share the joy of liberated millions… victory for Japan is victory for the Philippines.” At the same time, the Japanese radio announced that Vargas’ son had been sent to Tokyo to the University–ostensibly for study, but we assume, as a hostage for his father’s “good behaviour.” Manuel Roxas is in his own home in Manila, under “protective custody.” Generals Lim and Capinpin have apparently issued statements that the Americans let them down in the Philippine war and they are in favour of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Both of these Generals are now at liberty.

There is evidently still a great deal of ill-feeling among those who surround Quezon (but not in his own mind) because of the failure of the United States to make any effort to relieve Corregidor, after all the abundant promises made to that end in the early stages of the invasion. Mrs. Bewley, who brought her daughter out just before the fall of Corregidor in an American Navy plane to Freemantle, Australia, is still bitter about the lack of effort made by the United States in the theatre of the Philippines. Her husband is a prisoner in Manila–or at Los Baños. Her plane was the only one of the three that got through. One was shot down over Corregidor and all on board lost; one fell in Lake Lanao and all were drowned. This was the end of what had frankly been considered a “suicide mission.”

Quezon took me out for a long drive. I tried to get his mind fixed on pleasant thoughts–got him to tell me of the making of Tagaytay ridge into a resort now by the new road only 40 minutes from Manila–the resort is at 2,500 feet altitude–plenty of water (and wind!).

At Malacañan he has cleaned out the slaughter house and dog pound across the Pasig River and all other “smelly things” on the swampy land opposite the Palace and has turned it all into a park–where I used to shoot snipe! He fears the Japanese will destroy Malacañan if they have to evacuate the Islands. So far they have done no damage there and have not even occupied the Palace.

Secretary Knox told him the Japanese could have taken Dutch Harbor if they had tried; now their occupation of Kiska and Attu really made no difference–we could get them out whenever we cared to try.

Quezon thinks Roosevelt tried to get us into the war immediately after the fall of France but that the American “isolationists” prevented this at that time; it was Pearl Harbor that was the immediate cause of our fighting.


May 15, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Dr. Trepp tells me that Quezon is in very much better condition; that his blood pressure is down to 160–about right for his age; that the past week has been largely given up to interviews with Supreme Court Justices Murphy and Frankfurter, and when I saw Quezon he told me the “legal” position as to the Philippine Government-in-Exile (probably worked out by the two justices) viz.: that only authority since the Japanese occupied the Islands is President Roosevelt, and he will decide about any change in the person to head the Philippine Government-in-Exile. This assures Quezon of continuance in office until the Islands are re-occupied by the United States and a new election is held. This, however, is not the sole cause of Quezon’s good spirits and improved health; the allied victory in Tunisia has sent the barometer up again.

Quezon says he has decided to give up his pressure of work as much as possible; no more evening work, and no more bridge. He is alone with his family in the evenings now; during the day he sees only those visitors absolutely necessary. Stays in bed as late as he can in the morning; has indefinitely postponed work on his book.

Called Bernstein and me into conference about the future of the “Office of Special Services” at 1617 Massachusetts Avenue. Will not ask for deferment of draft of the Americans now in that office, since he says he does not feel that he has the right to do so. Bernstein, himself, is not asking for deferment (tells me of the example of what happened to several of the new-style “planners” in the Federal Government); he has evidently been made nervous by the strength of feeling in Congress. Bernstein will be drafted July 1st, and his assistant, Dr. Cherin, will probably get a commission this Summer.

Bernstein had submitted to Quezon a memorandum on the future of the “Office of Special Services”–proposing that the head of it hereafter be given cabinet rank, proposing Dr. Rotor, the President’s Secretary, as head of this office. Quezon refused to consider this, said he could not give up any of Rotor’s time and duties as fixed at present. Quezon complimented Bernstein on his work and said that since he was leaving, he (Q.) had considered abolishing the rest of the office. But now he wished to put me in there to supervise this office–I spending half my time in Washington.

It looks to me if Elizalde had been right in the very beginning (when Q. first made this suggestion to me early in December last) that I was to be a banana peel for Bernstein! Since then Bernstein has made very good, and it looks as if the transfer of Bernstein and of his second in command to the army would leave me as the banana peel for the rest of the office!

Some talk in the antechamber of my going on Monday to the Hot Springs Conference with the Philippine delegation, but shortly afterwards they managed to get in touch with General Basilio Valdes, so he came East at once by plane to join the delegation–thus making it all-Filipino, as it ought to be.

Later: Valdes appeared, having come by plane from Fort Leavenworth, where he was studying at the Army Staff College. He was loth to give up his studies, but off he goes tomorrow with Elizalde, Rotor and Zafra to Hot Springs. The American press much vexed because it is not allowed to attend the sessions of the “Food Congress.” Newspapers are indulging in all sorts of bitterness and “smear stuff.”


April 29-May 1, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon back from three weeks rest at Miami as guest of the military intelligence service. Originally he had planned to have me spend a fortnight with him to “finish his book” but on arrival there with his family he wired me there was no room available for me in the house which was provided for him. The real reason, however, as Trepp tells me, is that he was absolutely tired out, and spent the whole three weeks sleeping, resting and playing two-handed bridge. Dr. Trepp says that Quezon is in “good physical condition” but he, Trepp, does not know whether the President will live to get back to the Philippines if that is delayed four or five years longer. Quezon is already homesick, and much depressed by this “global strategy” which has postponed the prosecution of the Pacific War in favour of the European theatre. Trepp says Quezon is “wearing down.” He admits it is chiefly a question of spirit, and on this count, Quezon is getting gradually to realize how the cards are stacked against him and his country. Also he is deeply worried as to whether the Filipino leaders will continue to stand by him or whether they are provoked because Quezon and his family are safe in Washington while they are suffering under the Japanese occupation.

I had only two sizeable conversations with Quezon in these three days. A good deal of our talk was over the attempt he is about to make, after an hour’s conversation he had April 27th with Sumner Welles to get the Administration to pledge itself to two or three principles essential to the future security of the Philippines after the Japanese are expelled. The first of this is the acceptance by the United States after the Philippine Republic is set up, of naval and air bases in the Islands; the ground forces of the air bases to be supplied by the Filipinos. Second, an appropriation of $600,000,000 by the United States to rehabilitate the Philippines, which Quezon thinks would repair all essential damage done by the Japanese and also allow the Filipinos to industrialize the Islands. Third, support by the United States Government of quota laws on immigration into the Philippines in order “to maintain our occidental, Christian civilization.” (This last, of course, refers to Chinese immigration.)

Quezon expressed his present determination to retire at the end of the two years term of his second presidency which will expire November 15, 1943. He gave very sound reasons why he is determined to observe the constitutional provision under which he was elected for a second term of two years, but I told him I did not believe the “United States Government” would allow him to do this. Roosevelt has the power to suspend the Philippine constitution and after his message to Quezon on Corregidor of December 28, 1941, promising “to redeem and protect the independence of the Philippines” had done little since to carry out this promise.

Quezon says MacArthur states that, if, after Pearl Harbor, the United States had delivered an all-out attack on the Japanese with the two task forces in the Pacific, which survived the Pearl Harbor disaster, plus sufficient naval forces then on duty in the Atlantic, Japan could have been defeated at that time.

Roosevelt had agreed, however, to all the propositions of Churchill, when the latter came to Washington about New Year of 1942, to concentrate the first efforts of America and Great Britain on Hitler. Hence the present “global strategy.”

While I was present with him, Quezon received visits from Generals Stilwell and Chennault and also from the Foreign Minister of Australia, Dr. Herbert V. Evatt. They all had received an unsatisfactory answer from Roosevelt as to sufficient aid to MacArthur.

All of this weighs with increasing depression upon the bright hopes with which Quezon came to the United States in May of 1942. It is breaking his spirit.

He is intensely interested in the pro-MacArthur wave of sentiment now flooding the United States. Says MacArthur will never consider his own candidacy for the presidency if he is given the weapons and men with which to attack Japan. MacArthur has demanded 500 bombers and 450,000 men; he proposes to skip over the Netherlands Indies and get to Mindanao with air-troop transports. If refused sufficient support, he might become a candidate for the presidency–especially if he has been made to appear a martyr.

Quezon had dinner three nights ago with J. Edgar Hoover and Senator Chandler of Kentucky, the leader of the “pro-Pacific War” group in the Senate. Quezon says J. Edgar Hoover is much of the same opinion as Chandler. During this account of his dinner with them, Quezon cheered up as talked of the wonderful Kentucky ham they had eaten–far superior he thought to any so-called “Virginia ham”!

Quezon says that Roosevelt is absolutely “sold” on the Chinese, but adds that he (Q.) would rather live under Japanese rule than under the Chinese, but detests the thought of either.

The speech for which Quezon had been preparing on “Bataan Day” (April 9, 1943) was stopped by Roosevelt who thought it undesirable to commemorate an American defeat. The ceremony was to have been under the auspices of the Treasury Department as a rally to sell war bonds. So, instead of this, Quezon went a week later to Hartford, Connecticut, and spoke at the meeting in honour of General Wainwright, now a prisoner of the Japanese. Wainwright is a Connecticut man.

I tendered Quezon two invitations to come to Charlottesville to speak, but he merely shook his head. One bid was from General Wickersham to address the School of Military Government and the other was from Dabney Welford, President of the Raven Society–Welford had told me he thought that 800 students would attend for such an occasion.

It seems doubtful whether Quezon will finish his book; I turned back to him some fifty typed pages of his account of his experiences on Corregidor with my pencilled notes on it. He expressed no desire to see it. I asked Trepp why Quezon had not wanted to complete his book at Miami and Trepp replied: “He has no mental discipline.”

Quezon said that when he came to Washington in the early summer of 1937 and asked the President for independence in 1938 or 1939, he told Roosevelt how the Japanese had approached him on various occasions asking for “neutralization” of the Philippines, which would have meant withdrawal of the United States forces in case of independence. Roosevelt refused to entertain this idea though expressing himself as in general favour of “neutralization.”

When Quezon first arrived with MacArthur on Christmas eve, 1941, at Corregidor, Quezon wired Roosevelt stating that it was already evident that the Philippines could not be successfully defended, and equally evident that no immediate relief from the United States was to be expected, therefore he requested Roosevelt to authorize him to approach both Roosevelt and the Japanese, asking that the armed forces of both be withdrawn from the Islands. It was in connection with that request that Roosevelt wired authorizing MacArthur to disband the Filipino Army if Quezon requested it, and at the same time wired Quezon that he pledged the entire resources in men and materials of the United States, so that the freedom of the Filipinos should be redeemed and their independence established and protected. This was the first time that the United States had ever agreed (tho only by presidential announcement) to protect their independence. It was on this basis that the battle of Bataan was fought–at least, so far as the important participation of the Philippine Army was concerned.

During all these years of political struggle for the independence of the Philippines neither Quezon nor I had ever considered a protectorate possible–nor that the United States would consent to it. Quezon says: “Nobody fought the American imperialists more constantly and vigorously than I did–but now I would prefer to have them there–so long as they let us have back what we had already gained, and allow us to make our own laws. They will never send another Governor General nor High Commissioner to the Philippines.”

Quezon said that in his visit to him the day before, Dr. Evatt, the Foreign Minister of Australia, was in a cold rage against the English. Evatt reacted to the coining of the tricky phrase “global strategy” just as I (F.B.H.) had done. Evatt said that when Australia was threatened with invasion by the Japanese, the English would not send back the Australian troops until after the battle of El Alamein, and then returned them with only the clothing in which they stood–not one item of equipment. Evatt was going directly to England to tell Churchill exactly how the Australian troops felt about it. From my own acquaintance with Evatt I have no doubt that he did just that.

Quezon did not believe the English will make much of an effort in the Far East after Hitler is beaten; he quoted Churchill’s recent address in which he stated that after victory over the Germans, England would partially demobilize. But, all the same, even if the English leave the job in the Pacific chiefly to the Americans, Quezon is, for the first time in his life, friendly to the English and would be willing to co-operate with them and with the United States in the projects for future security in the Pacific. This is something very new for Quezon, who has always detested the English imperialists. He has heard from me many times how the United States originally took over the Philippines at the instigation of England, and against President McKinley’s wishes, but as part of the balance of power, and to avoid a war in 1899 with Germany. Also how the English have always exerted secret pressure on the United States to hold the Philippines as a means of maintaining the balance of power.

Quezon told me at great length of his conversation on April 27, 1943, with Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, which took a full hour, and in which they apparently reached complete agreement. Quezon began by reading to Welles a quotation from a recent address in which Welles had said: “It can never be made too clear nor reiterated too often, that the foreign policy of the people of the United States exactly like their domestic policies, should only be determined from the standpoint of what the American people believe is their real, their practical, self-interest. Our foreign policy must not be based upon emotional altruism or sentimental aspirations.”

Quezon then proceeded to show Welles what the practical self-interest of the United States in the Far East would be, Pearl Harbor has proven to be ineffective to protect United States strategy. The United States, he advises, should take all the mandated islands and make the Philippines their outpost in any plan of defense in the Pacific. Of course he (Q.) knew that he spoke only as a layman, and the General Staffs would have to decide all these plans. Welles interrupted to say that the United States could not take the mandated islands, since that would be contrary to their public professions. That the mandated islands would have to be under international ownership, but the Americans should administer them. With this Quezon agreed, remarking that from the point of view of what he had come to say, it would amount to the same thing.

Quezon then went on to develop his ideas to Welles, stating that a condition precedent to all further agreements should be that the Philippine Republic be recognized by the United States as soon as the Japanese were expelled from the Islands.

He then quoted Roosevelt’s cablegram to him in Corregidor that freedom would be regained and protected, etc.

Quezon finally stated that this was his own last year of office as President, that he had yielded last time to the demand for re-election, but only on the basis of two years more, when Osmeña could succeed him. He would not stultify the position he had then so publicly assumed, that Osmeña had been included on the ticket on his (Quezon’s) own insistence, for Osmeña was only leader of a minority of the Nacionalista party. He was determined to retire on December 31, 1943. He now asked that the United States come to an agreement on future plans for the Philippines and now wait for the end of the war, so that Quezon could retire in the knowledge that he had completed his program for the Philippines.

What he asked was:

(1)  That the United States accept airfields and naval bases in his country (Welles stated that the Army and Navy were in favour of that); that the Filipinos furnish the ground forces for the airfields, and pay their men insofar as they were able.

(2)  That the United States contribute $600,000,000 for the rehabilitation of the Philippines.

(3)  That the Philippine Republic be supported by the United States in maintaining the quota systems established for immigration by the Philippine Commonwealth, so that they could sustain and preserve their own form of civilization.

Welles said he was in agreement with all of these propositions, and if Quezon would write him a letter to that effect, he would present the matter to the President within a week.

Quezon commented to me that the sum he asked for rehabilitation would be sufficient, and would also allow them to industrialize, and that fifty years hence there would be 50,000,000 Filipinos, able to defend themselves.


March 12, 1943

Shoreham Hotel. Lunch with Mr. Canceran, private secretary to Quezon. Canceran much bothered by the President’s frequent changes of plan for his trip to Florida causing the utmost possible inconvenience to everybody around him. This is the usual performance, but none of them get really used to it, and all grumble as much as they dare. I asked Canceran how the President got that way? He replied: “It was his life in Malacañan–absolute authority; all opposition crushed–complete selfishness–thinks about nobody but himself.”

Canceran is a young man, son of a farmer in the Cagayan valley. He is tall, lithe and graceful. His chin is up, his shoulders thrown back. He would look equally as well in a G-string and necklace of cowrie shells, and with a spear in his hand instead of a pen. As it is, he contents himself with a suit of “Kollege-Kut Klassy Klothes,” and flirts with all the waitresses. As this is the only possible way to get served in an American restaurant, it must be admitted that he shows a good deal of practical sense. He possesses a measure of native dignity and good taste in his pride of country. He is not impressed by American movies.

I told Quezon about the School of Military Government at Charlottesville. He replied: “Not one of those–fellows will get to the Philippines. The President has assured me that the first man to land there will be President Quezon, arriving in an American battleship.”

Discussion of the Moro problem: Quezon pointed out the mistake of Americans in not letting the Sultan govern Jolo–that they would thereby have avoided all those disorders and little wars. The Americans whom he left last Spring in Mindanao made another mistake: the American Army officers have always believed that the Moros loved them and hated and despised the Filipinos. General Sharp (in command there) and his staff were making plans for the great aid the Moros would render in repelling the Japanese in Mindanao. Quezon said to Sharp: “That’s all very well, but for God’s sake don’t give them any guns.” The other day he was laughing over a report from MacArthur of questions put by one of his staff to an officer who had escaped from Mindanao–the staff officer was trying to bring forth an answer showing how the Moros loved the American Army, and asked what kind of people the Moros were killing now? “Oh! every kind–Americans, Filipinos and Japanese” was the answer. As a matter of fact they had recently assassinated three American Army officers.

I suspect that Quezon’s own policy toward the Moros is that of the American of past days in our own country. “The best indian is a dead indian.”

When Quezon, before the war, granted permission to 10,000 Jews to settle in the Philippines at the rate of 1,000 a year, the Jewish Committee picked out, as the best farming land–Lanao! Quezon says he refused this, since they wouldn’t be alive at the end of a year. Quezon tells me that Lanao has as many rich and wonderful Moro farms as has Jolo nowadays.

Quezon settled the question of the recent succession to the Sultanate of Jolo, by refusing to make the choice. The Government of North Borneo, a territory most of which is part of the Jolo Sultanate, wrote to him to enquire whom he now recognized as Sultan. He replied: “The Sultan is, for us, only the head of his Church–he will not meddle in the choice.” So the North Borneo Administration sent for the two candidates to come to Sandakan and present their claims–which they did. Datu Umbra, himself of the late Sultan, the royal blood, the husband of Princess Dayang-Dayang, niece of the late Sultan, was elected over the other claimant–a brother of the late Sultan.

This decision aroused two factions in Jolo, and greatly weakened their subsequent claim to the North Borneo lands. Some years later, the Chartered Company of North Borneo transferred “their” land, to Great Britain–but they had waited for this momentous action until six days after the inauguration of the Philippine Republic! Thus the Jolo Moros were dispossessed of their great inheritance in North Borneo!

The question of Quezon’s health is always to the fore, every day of his life. Even his American friends in the Philippines used to say that he used his illness as a means of avoiding unnecessary engagements or contingencies. Dr. Trepp tells me that so far as Quezon’s TB is concerned, that is perfectly in hand, and there is no reason why he should not live for years. As for his blood pressure, Trepp himself, who, not long ago had a heart attack, has a much higher blood pressure! Recently the President was urged to cut down on his food, and especially to avoid heavy meats. That regime lasted a few days, and then he claimed to be fading away so rapidly, and had become so feeble, he could hardly speak. At once, the family set up a terrible clamor that the doctors were killing him, and the regime was relaxed. It must have been a superb piece of acting. As it is now, he and his family, at least once a day, eat a Filipino dish reeking with fat, and with great lumps of pork, ham and sausage.

Every now and then, Trepp persuades Quezon to go out for a walk, which consists of creeping along the hotel corridors, doctor on one side and a.d.c. on the other, to his luxurious motor. They drive out to the suburbs and Quezon walks slowly for three or four hundred yards. Back home again, Quezon goes to work, or to receiving visitors to whom he talks for hours and hours–rounding off with four or five hours of concentration on bridge, until well after midnight.

Truly a remarkable “invalid”–he wears out all of his associates!