June 17, 1936

The message was excellent, and contained the following reference to agrarian reform:

In the meantime, I recommend the adoption of measures similar to those which were adopted in Ireland to solve agrarian problems there existing from time immemorial. I also recommend the immediate passage of a law authorizing the expropriation of those portions of the large haciendas which are urban in character and occupied by the houses of the tenants.

Saw the President on the balcony at Malacañan, and congratulated him on his message, though his somewhat impromptu speeches and papers are usually his best, because they give more of the ardor and passion of his personality. He called me over and kept Secretary Yulo and Justice Recto &c waiting in order to give me the following letter he had written (in long hand) in reply to mine of thanks for the trip on the Negros:

Malacañan Palace, June 17, 36.

Dear Governor:

Your note of the fifteenth is very much appreciated.

In asking you to join me in my trips I am only seeking my own pleasure and profit. Your company brings back to memory those happy days of our former association and offers me the opportunity–which I can seldom have in Manila–to get your views and encouragement on the plans I have which may be a little too advanced for some of my associates. It is a source of great satisfaction that you feel as much pleased with the trip as I am.

Yours

Manuel.

I expressed myself as very happy to have this letter. Then I took up with him his very frank and bold renouncing of the purchase of the remaining Friar Estates, and congratulated him on recanting his former views. (This is one thing I have been trying since last Autumn to spare his government.) I told him that his “Board of Arbitration” in my bill on Landlord and Tenant, as taken from the Irish Land Acts, was the Land Commission, and I had given them the power to purchase (with his approval and action by the Assembly) all or part of any of these estates; that it was better for him to have the power to use in an emergency, even if he didn’t exercise it. He agreed. I also told him that after his message a lot of the agitation and trouble would die down–he agreed. Hoped he could now induce the more turbulent tenants to move to Mindanao.

Talked with Colin Hoskins on phone about the landlord and tenant bill–he said “the failure to purchase the Friar Estates would disappoint some important churchmen.”

I took the bill down to Diokno’s office for remoulding.

N.B. on the Negros Quezon had remarked that before the arrival of the Americans in the Philippines, venereal diseases were almost unknown here. I told him with what reluctance in May 1917 I had closed the “Red Light” district of Manila, when the Commanding General of Fort McKinley brought me President Wilson’s Executive Order thereon, referring to eliminating such districts within a certain number of miles of an army post. This General was equally reluctant to act, saying: “I founded it myself in 1901 when I was Provost Marshal here”–Quezon said this closing had spread prostitution and venereal disease greatly here.

Talk with Secretary of Finance Alas on the standardization of salaries; he emphasized the view that this must be undertaken, and it was better to get it over with now, however disagreeable this may be. He admitted however that the higher salaries of the City of Manila and of Provincial Governors must also be readjusted.


May 29, 1936

A. D. Williams at my office. A few days ago, he was called before the Cabinet to advise on new taxation. Quezon wants a transportation tax on all forms of travel. Cabinet members wish to devote the cedula tax to school purposes only, thus making it more popular.

The President went today to Cabuyao, Nueva Ecija to see a new church dedicated. A. D. Williams is to take him on Monday to Silang to see the route of a new road to Tagaytay thus cutting thirteen kilometers off the run. Quezon stopped this road construction several years ago (not to favour the wishes of Aguinaldo?). Now he wants to see it go through, but says he apprehends a “kick-back” because he (Quezon) is interested in the land syndicate at Tagaytay!

Luncheon with William Shaw at Wak-Wak for Andres Soriano–about 150 men–terrific din of talking and later of noisy jazz music. One’s voice is strained trying to converse. Say with Clyde Dewitt, and had a very interesting talk over the Archbishop and his business interests here. His Grace appears to be losing all along the line.

Hoskins greeted Secretary Rodriguez as “Governor” (he was formerly so in Rizal) and remarked that a governor of a province had more power than a Secretary of Department. “Yes” said Rodriguez “especially nowadays”! He has just been replaced by Secretary Alas as President of the National Development Co.

Small dance in the new downstairs cabaret at Malacañan. The heavy rain from 5-8 p.m. had flooded parts of the Palace, which we entered on planks. Quezon appeared late. He asked me if I noticed the speed with which he signed the Executive Order proposed by Unson for transferring Engineer Island and the lighthouse service to the Bureau of Customs. This is the second time lately he has emphasized his rapid executive action–Why?


March 15, 1936

Visit from Colin Hoskins–who said he was rather hurt that Quezon did not let him know before accepting his resignation as a director of the Philippine National Bank, but that he thought Quezon was right in Filipinizing it, and in excluding business men from the board, because “the more successful they had been, the more predatory the type.” I asked him about the sugar mill shares–he said all bank’s holdings were being bought up by Filipino interests–that the Jones-Costigan law was apt to continue, and under that, all the companies could liquidate their capital in five years, or even four. He thought very well of de las Alas, who is vigorous and yet prudent.

Luncheon at Malacañan in honor of Isauro Gabaldon who is sailing in Vittoria for six months in Spain and in Germany, where he is going to take the waters for diabetes. I was glad to see him and Quezon reconciled. Spoke of this and of Palma, to Quezon who said he was pleased to “recognize” them after giving them such a licking. Had a nice letter from Palma. He added that Gabaldon was one of the finest characters they have in the Philippines.

There were about thirty guests in the old dining room at Malacañan– the first time I had been there under the Filipino Government. I was the only American present. Former Residents Commissioner Gabaldon, Guevara, Delgado and Osias were there–also Alunan, Nieto, Gil, Montilla, Lacson etc. I sat between Mrs. Quezon and “Baby.” Mrs. Quezon told me that she had not been entertained by the Governor General in Java, and had refused to put herself forward as she was traveling incognito. It is evident that the Dutch are uneasy about the effects that Philippine independence will have on the Javanese.

Mrs. Quezon and I made many arrangements for our trips in April. Quezon and his wife showed great affection for one another.

The President said he wished to attend the coronation of Edward VIII in London, and I said I would like to go with him. Said he would have arrangements made through our State Department for his accommodation in London.

I asked him whether now that he had organized his government it would operate with vigour? He was positive it will.

Asked him when he was going to inaugurate his bridge and poker club for the members of the Assembly in the new basement at Malacañan. He replied that it was not quite finished. I told him the Assemblymen were in a mood when it would be a good gesture–he answered: “Not until I have given them a licking!” I laughed, so he had to join in.


March 7, 1936

Photographed by Arellano for Malacañan. Quezon wishes to hang up photos of Taft, myself and Murphy as the three Americans most closely connected with significant chapters of the American occupation. Arellano told me that everywhere confidence in Quezon was growing–that he was a real leader.

Papers contain notices about two matters showing the results of slowness in the administration. 1st, the rice regulation by the Government. The dealers claim that Quezon had acted too slowly to benefit them as intended. 2d, Quezon has suspended the Governor of Albay because he would not come to Manila to answer as to why the Provincial Board had reduced the cedula tax from two pesos to one. But it seems that the resolution of the Board had been before Quezon for so long without action that it became effective without approval!

Long talk with Manuel Concepcion on the currency; we agree that Paredes had lost his fight in Washington against the repeal of the law authorizing the payment of $23,000,000 to the Philippines for the gold devaluation, because he argued on sentimental grounds instead of giving exchange and commodity prices, the best he can do now is to get action by Congress suspended until proper arguments can be presented later on.

American republicans of the Philippines had their political convention to select delegates to their National Convention. Selph and Marguerite Wolfson were the spokesmen. They have learned very little in 36 years of progressive defeat on the Philippine question. They still hope to turn back the hands of the clock. They did not come out against “independence after ten years” but denounced the economic provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act.

Doria describes the hopelessness of trying to shop in establishments where Filipinos serve. They are obstinate, disobliging and arrogant. Always answer to any enquiry that “we haven’t any of that”–will never compete successfully in the retail trade with Chinese, Spanish and Japanese.

Attended dinner of Yale graduates of Philippines in honor of Yale men promoted recently: Justice Jose Laurel, Judge Delgado, Secretary of Finance de las Alas, Assemblyman from Marinduque and Celeste, the Secretary of the National Economic Council. A lot of real fun and a very pleasant evening.

Bridge earlier with Colonel Lim, Tan and Nazario at the Philippine Columbian Club–good game.

Did not attend Tommy Wolff’s gigantic reunion of “Old Timers.”


February 27, 1936

All day drive with Doria and Professor H. Otley Beyer through Laguna, Batangas and Cavite provinces. At Ft. Mckinley we turned down to the river and took the new road thru Pateros and Taguig to Alabang. Pateros is, of course, the centre of the duck raising industry and Beyer says the people there spread the story of how their men hatched their ducks–the fact was they had a primitive (and perhaps very ancient) incubator of layers of sand on bamboo slats; the top is covered, and the men sit on that and talk and smoke, hence this lurid tale!

The new road to Alabang passes Alcalde Posada’s hacienda--hence the road, according to Beyer! The shores of Lake Laguna are occasionally almost uninhabitable because of the smell of decaying algae, which sometimes even invade Manila via the Pasig River. Beyer said the decaying masses are due to the blackade created by water lilies–that A. D. Williams had installed a fine wire mesh at the outlet into the Pasig River which seems to cure that; there are so few boats on the Pasig River nowadays that this is possible.

We discussed the possibility of help for the Philippines health service from the Rockefeller Institute now that Dr. Victor Heiser was separated from that institution. I told how Quezon had recently thought of bringing Heiser out as Adviser on Health, so that if any epidemic broke out here, the Filipinos would not get all the blame–i.e., to make Heiser the goat. Heiser, who is a shrewd intriguer, “ducked.”

Passed one of Beyer’s archaeological sites on a ridge beyond Taguig.

Beyer mentioned how busy he is nowadays with Dr Geo. Pinkley of the American Museum of Natural History and his companions. Mnbien of Peking, Chinese archaeologist. They had spent 4 months together in Peking, studying the “Peking man”–they had a theory that the “drift” of continents had separated the Philippines and Celebes from the mainland, and that these islands had been the original “rim” of the continent; so that, perhaps the skulls or teeth of the “original” man could be found in the Philippines which they believed to have been formerly the seashore. He had persuaded these two scientists to stay on here to examine with him the brokel lime-stone areas near to and north of Montalban gorge–to search for “filled caves.”

I asked Beyer why the Filipinos used the reverse gestures in beckoning to come, and in nodding (also in using the saw); he said these matters were much disputed, but he believed they came from very early times; said there was a Basque village near Santander where the people also gestured in the reverse way.

He went on Speaking of the mountain people of Luzon, stating that the solution of the problem was their absorption by the Cristianos; said this would improve the Filipino stock and quoted Rizal to sustain his theory. Cited Paredes and Villamor as examples. The former half Tinguian and half Indonesian; the latter pure Tinguian.

Entering the province of Batangas, he said the residents were the most sturdy and independent race of Luzon, and were great fighters. Their horses and cattle are also the best in the Philippines. Their food is maize, dry rice, and poi. All the slopes of Mount Makalut (chief volcano)–5000 feet high, near Lake Taal, were densely inhabited in the neolithic age–a large proportion of his archaeological finds came from there. But there is a gap in their history of nearly 1000 years–positively no iron age relics. He supposes that an eruption of the Taal volcanoes drove out or destroyed all those early settlements–perhaps the survivors migrated to the site of the present Rizal Province. In 1911, the year of the last explosion, Father Algue of the Weather Bureau three days before the eruption came, had begged the Philippine Government to remove all people on the island of Taal. Some 2600 people who were there, and in the surrounding neighborhood, were killed in that explosion. The name of the mountain: Makalut, means “curly-headed” since it was inhabited until within 200 years of now by Negritos. Taal Lake is the crater of the great volcano of former times. Now only four or five small craters are left above the water, and also Mount Makalut of which the whole gigantic cliff to the west is the remaining wall. Thu volcanic ash makes wonderful soil when decayed–hence the better specimens of man and beast. The lake was connected with the sea by a river navigable to former ships, until the 1911 explosion which blocked the former outlet and raised the level of the lake. The water of Lake Taal is still brackish, and the fish are of marine types. The soil cuttings hereabouts show various levels of volcanic ash, marking the periodic eruptions.

Passed thru a barrio which had voted against de las Alas four years ago, so to punish them, he would not complete the 1½ kilometers of road connecting their barrio with the main road for three years!

Visited the town of Taal on the sea–it was moved from the original site on Lake Taal 200 years ago, after being twice destroyed by the volcano. Nice old church, and another well-known church and stairway constructed by Christian Chinese after a massacre of their people by Filipinos. In answer to my question why the Filipinos periodically massacred the Chinese–he replied “various reasons”–the massacre of 1603 was permitted by the Spanish because they thought the Chinese were getting too rich; the attempted massacre of 1922 was due to the arrogance of the Chinese after their own revolution in China.

Mabini came from Batangas–his brother still lives there; so do Conrado and Francisco Benitez, Teodoro and Maximo Kalaw (note how shrewd they are in keeping out of high political office)–Galicano Apacible, de las Alas and the Tironas, and the Lopez family. The Zobel and Roxas families have large haciendas in the southwest of this province.

I asked Beyer why in his “ancestral chart” of Filipinos, he did not mention the Japanese; he replied that the Japanese had only lately begun to settle in the Philippines. The similarity of appearance of many Filipinos to the Japanese is due to Malay ancestry which is in nearly half the Filipinos and in most of the Japanese. Those Malays now here invaded from Java and Celebes, and partly from the mainland. Those Malays who went to Japan, entered partly from the mainland, and others, during the Stone Age, from islands east of Java, via Guam, Marianas, Marshall and Bonin Islands–not via Celebes and the Philippines. This is proved by the oval stone axes of a type found in Japan and in the Pacific Islands mentioned, but never found in Celebes, Borneo, nor the Philippines. (Note: the Japanese are just becoming aware of this kinsmanship and are modifying their former arrogant attitude towards the “Southern Barbarians.”)

Today’s newspapers give an account of a military revolt in Japan led by the army, and the murder of five leading statesmen by the soldiers. Beyer said this is in the Japanese tradition. The samurai were so arrogant and such bullies that the Japanese 80 years ago got rid of them and re-instated their Emperor. In his opinion, the domination of the military caste today in Japan is dangerous, but the Japanese will eventually throw them out as they did the samurai.

Other remarks of Beyer were:

Searchers are finding the teeth of elephant and rhinoceros in the Philippines, but none of the tiger, as yet. Plenty of tamarao teeth, all other Luzon. This central region has been agricultural for so long that the dangerous animals were killed off in prehistoric times.

He is not sure the carabao is not indigenous here; the appearance of the Ifugao cimarron is quite different from the domestic type. I could corroborate that statement.

Chinese carp had been introduced here by the Bureau of Science in the fine fish lake in Camarines. Result: the newcomers had devoured the superior type of fish already there, and the people would not eat the carp. So the Bureau of Science is now trying to eliminate the Chinese carp by some disease fungus.

Coming from Butangas through the western part of Cavite towards Tagaytay ridge, Beyer said this country was not settled as is the adjacent southern Batangas, because it was and always had been a paradise for gangsters, now operating as cattle thieves. Some of them were rich men who were playing cattle rustler where formerly they would have been pirates–for sport. They had “fixed” the municipal officers and the Constabulary. I commented on the great decline in morale of the Constabulary under the amiable General (Dr.) Valdes. He said part of it was due to the building of so many roads–the Constabulary had given up “hiking” patrols, and now seldom got out of their motors. He added that my execution of General Noriel–public enemy N° 1 in Cavite, had put a stop to the gangster business in that province for nearly 20 years. Now it was springing up again.

Beyer said that as a geologist, he believed the gold reef in the Philippines extended straight along the Cordilleras. That the Benguet Igorrotes were “gold conscious” and knew all the surface gold places in their provinces; that he did not believe there would be any new gold “strikes” there except at deep levels; that the Bontocs were opposed to gold prospecting, and that the country to the east–Ifugao–was not geologically suitable. That Abra and Kalinga offered a good field for prospecting, especially since Abra, like Benguet, was not heavily wooded.

He expressed worry over the change of the governorship of the Mt. Province now that Colonel Dosser has resigned. Said Bontocs and Ifugaos were resistant to changes in their social and economic system. They were large, organized and proud nations. But, he added, the Filipino officials generally started with great enthusiasm for “reform” in the Mt. Province and then cautiously let the people alone and went in for personal petty graft. Said the Ifugaos were afraid of Cristianos getting all the public offices in their country and taxing, and changing their customs. Said during Governor General Murphy’s vacation in United States, Vice Governor Hayden had appointed some twenty of the Ifugaos as minor officials in their own country.

I asked him what had become of the lgorrote girls educated in Mrs Kelly’s school–he said some of they had married Americans–some lived with them without marriage–most of them had gone back to their filthy ancestral huts and had become lgorrote wives, forgetting their education.

He said the Kalingas, the handsomest and most warlike of the northern nations, had nevertheless proved less resistant to modern “progress” than any of the others.

When in the barrio of Makalut, town of Cuenca, we visited the home of the local cacique, Caves. I asked Beyer to explain his odd face; Beyer said it was mostly Moro–the Moro pirates governed here when the Spanish first came here 350 years ago.

Later that evening we gave a dinner to Consul General Blunt and Mrs. Blunt, Carr, Sinclair, Mrs. Swift and Miss Masters–the latter was half an hour late, for which there was no excuse, for she is hardly a “mere chit of a thing.” Manners in post-war times are certainly “shot to hell.”


February 12, 1936

At office, Hartendorp, who has been appointed Adviser to the President on press matters, came in to see me–he has the next room. He suggested that Roxas had tried to drive a sharp bargain with Quezon and had been repulsed.

He told also the story of Quezon’s visit of a few days ago to the Lian Friar estate. The President asked an old man there why the tenants had burned the residence of the manager for the Friars. The old man replied that this had not been done by the tenants, but by the estate managers in order to get up a case against the tenants. Quezon replied “I am not an American Governor General–don’t tell me such nonsense. As a matter of fact, I am a Filipino, and not from Manila–I was born and brought up in a small place just like this.”

Hartendorp also told me of last Friday’s Press Conference: how somebody asked whether Judge Paredes’ petition for a rehearing of his sentence of dismissal would be entertained by the President, and Quezon had replied that since he had read a whole column editorial in the Bulletin commending his act of dismissal, this being the first time in his life he (Quezon) had not been attacked by the Bulletin, he would not forfeit this new found favor by rehearing the sentence. Then Hartendorp later advised Quezon that Robert Aura Smith had been very much flattered, and the other newspapers were jealous. Would it not be well for Quezon to compliment the other editors? (Quezon told me later he had replied: “You ass! I was sarcastically running the knife into Robt. Aura Smith–not flattering him!!!)

Quezon came back and asked me to go for a ride with him–the usual ceremonies took place which he has established for leaving Malacañan–motorcycle cops etc. Quezon went to see the High Commissioner, who was very cordial to me. Do not know the purport of their half hour talk. I chatted with Franks, Ely, Teahan, the a.d.c.’s and others of the High Commissioner’s office until Quezon and I started back to Malacañan for lunch-alone together, and about as pleasant a time as I have ever had with him; we had at least twenty hearty laughs.

He explained the whole Roxas business: he had arranged with Don Manuel to accept the post of Secretary of Finance and on February 8 wrote him a former offer of this plus power to vote Quezon’s powers of control in the Manila Railroad and the National Development Co. To his intense surprise, on his return from taking his children out for a drive at 5 p.m. (which drive he didn’t want to take) he received an answer from Roxas, which he read to me, in which Roxas thanked him but stated that in as much as he had been elected, in accordance with his own wish, a member of the Assembly from Capiz, he could not leave his constituency unless called on to do so by “unavoidable duty of the Government.” This was a shock and surprise to Quezon who at once sent him a letter saying that he (Quezon) had believed that Roxas could be more useful as Secretary of Finance than as a member of the National Assembly; that Roxas was entitled to his own opinion on the matter, and since he (Roxas) had decided against it, Quezon would accept his decision not to be a member of the Cabinet, but with regret. Thereupon Roxas hurried around and tried to chip in–said he would withdraw his letter and would serve as Secretary of Finance, but Quezon replied it was “too late” as he had already appointed de las Alas. Then Osmeña came to see Quezon and Quezon says that if he (Osmeña) had then offered to resign as Secretary of Public Instruction, he (Quezon) would have interrupted the opening of his first sentence with “I accept”; but Osmeña had no idea of resigning. Quezon says Osmeña is an “old snake, but a non-poisonous snake.” He said “I licked those fellows only a year and a half ago, but they won’t stay licked.” I told him he had enough loyal men around him to run any government, and it was unwise to count upon loyalty from his opponents. He said that the night after he got rid of Roxas he was so happy he could not sleep–he wanted to call up an old friend (me) to come and talk to him; that after staying awake until 3 a.m. he got up and worked at his desk until 6.

Next I asked him about his acceptance of “Mike” Elizalde’s resignation of the presidency of the National Development Co. He replied that “Mike” had been the largest contributor to Quezon’s campaign fund in the election for the Presidency; that “like the Republicans in the United States, he had expected in return to run my administration, and so I dropped him.”

Next Quezon described his recent interview with Hausserman, Marsman and Andres Soriano, the three leaders in gold mining here. He told them he was in favour of developing the natural resources of the Islands; that he was also in favour of a fair return to investors. That all three of them had contributed to his campaign fund but if they believed that gave them a right to do as they pleased under his administration they were in for a rude awakening. That if they found existing laws unfair or unworkable, they should come to him and they would find a “sympathetic” listener when they were proposing amendments, but that if they or their clever lawyers tried to evade the law, they would go to jail. He said from the aftereffects of this conversation, they seemed to be very well pleased with the outlook.

Next, I took up with him the question of his attitude to the newspapers–a point on which he and I seem to be entirely congenial. He said he had agreed to the Friday interviews, and enjoyed them. That when he had been questioned and had answered, and another question was put he had “refused to be cross-examined” which produced a sympathetic laugh. I urged him to bend a little to avoid the nibbling of squirrels which might impair the confidence he was gradually inspiring in his own people. But he continues to scorn the press. I said I was just like him and had never crooked the knee to the newspapers.

Then we reverted to Hartendorp, and Quezon said he had received news from him a day or two ago that Scandal was going to publish an article about him and Miss. “That sweet girl” Quezon added. He told Hartendorp to let it be published, and I recalled the Duke of Wellington’s answer: “Publish and be damned.” Quezon replied that he never objected to this sort of scandal “because they always get the wrong woman or the wrong place.”

Then Quezon told me that the law permitting him to reorganize the Government had been drafted by Roxas who was to have undertaken the job. That he regretted he had allowed this to happen, because Singson told him it had taken six months of the hardest work of his life to reorganize only the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources–and even then his doorstep was always crowded with weeping wives and children. So, Quezon asks me to draft a “superficial reorganization,” so as to have something to show to the Assembly when it convenes in June; he will give me the appropriation and personnel. “We” he added, “will really reorganize the government two or three years hence.”

His mind is set on our vacation trip in April to Moroland when he “will be through establishing his Government firmly and can relax.”

Golf at McKinley later with Doria and call on Felicia Howell.