October 10, 1972

scan0019 scan0020 scan0021 scan0022

1

9:50 PM

Oct. 10, 1972

Tuesday

Malacañan Palace

Manila

10 minute interview by BBC’s Derek Wilson (London based in Singapore).

15 minutes TV interview by ABC’s Jim Giggins based in Saigon. He is colored and I like him.

Then 15 minutes TV interview by CBS’ Don Webster for the Cronkite show.

And finally 20 minutes interview by correspondent Mr. Saito of the Asahi Shimbun.

Practically the same questions on martial law.

ABC and CBS will mean millions more of listeners and viewers. I was able to put in the points: the landing in Palawan, invisible government, front organizations, urban guerrillas and better yet –that we have been fighting since the war– and our children will not fight the same battles all over again.

I attach a sample of letters and messages we are getting about the interviews –a letter from Tony Raquiza.

2

Oct. 10th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Asked Ting Roxas who arrived only yesterday to work in the Think Tank and start on the Housing program.

Then met the generals for the command conference for lunch.

1. Explained the reform program

2. The rise of criminality in the Greater Manila area. There was a hold-up of Equitable Bank of more than ₱100,000 yesterday by three men in uniform. And Rudy Martell reports his paymaster was robbed ₱800 last Saturday night by men in uniform at the clover leaf at Epifanio de los Santos riding in a bantam car with number 32-45.

We agreed to pick up all police characters and concentrate them. Increase strength of Metrocom by 150 men provided with tactical vehicles for immediate reaction to reports of crime.

An agent Chua of Metrocom, a former or retired master sergeant, was held up last

3

Oct. 10th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

night with the collusion of the taxi driver of the taxi he was riding in at about the same place by two men whom he had to shoot with his .45. He suffered a head wound from the taxi driver.

A carnap by three men in uniform took place the other day.

We agreed to push the clean up of the local police faster.

3. The trial by the military tribunals of the AFP personnel in gun running and the manufacture of the bomb that was used in bombing Joe’s Dept. Store that killed one.

As well as the Chinese manufacturers and dealers in heroin.

4. Military operations — I suggested that we catch the leaders of the NPA in a commander’s conference which I am sure they will call any day now. And since Isabela is now harvesting mountain rice if we stop the operations there all the leaders

4

Oct. 10th (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

of the NPA will seek sanctuary there.

So all units will double operations (except those in Isabela). Then we dragnet Isabela.

I attach report on the assassination plot. The guns of Osmeña have been confiscated — his houses in Cebu and Manila have been raided; so has his apartment and hideout.


2nd February 1945

The government still cannot make up its mind whether or not to bother issuing clothing-ration coupons this year, reports the Asahi. For months now it has been impossible to buy anything with the coupons except neckties, hats, an occasional scarf, and ersatz curtains and table-runners. And not even the Japanese have been able to bring themselves to cut up this paper-stiff paper-thin composition into drawers and diapers.

The Italian charge d’affairs has a good story on the point. When he was in Germany, he says, everything was “verboten” (forbidden). Here in Japan everything is “arimasen(there isn’t any).


28th of January 1945

When we came up out of our basement yesterday afternoon everything looked the same as usual except that there were fewer people on the streets. But the raid was heavier than we thought. Considerable damage and many casualties (a thousand, they say, mostly office people) were caused in the very heart of the business district. It was lunch-time and there must have been long queues at the worker’s canteens. Today part of the Ginza has been roped off. Possibly because the electric power in that section of the city was cut off, the Times has not come out. But the Asahi, urging the people to take shelter, points out that six girl teachers were killed because they failed to get into one of the sidewalk ditches. At any rate a lot of the easy nonchalance most people in Tokyo had acquired, has now been shocked out of their systems.


22nd January 1945

The opening addresses of Koiso and his principal ministers at the 86th session of the diet yesterday “betrayed our expectations”, the Asahi states bluntly. And it adds: “A general survey of the discussions gives us the undeniable impression… that they are low-toned.” Indeed from the translations that have been published, Koiso “did not go beyond what has already been said” while the interpellations from the floor have fallen far short of what the press calls “patriotic relentless interpellations to be levelled against the government”.

There were three of these interpellations yesterday. First to take the floor was Dr.Tsuneo Kanemitsu who asked whether or not the government had a war policy at all and whether or not it had the courage to carry it out. He also called for closer touch with the people and the reformation of the present complicated political structure which was entirely dominated by the government. Finally he attacked internal jealousies and excessive formalism in the bureaucracy.

He was followed by Mr. Yadanji Nakajima who blamed the war situation on “low-toned munitions production” and this in turn on “too many orders”. Going into details, he asked a question that might well puzzle the most acute grammarian; “What,” he wanted to know, “is the so-called provincially classified composite self-standing structure?” If it meant regional self-sufficiency for defense and production, he pointed out that “the natural resources for our country are not to be found everywhere but are rather limited to certain regions while not all regions have adequate labor, sources of power and transportation facilities.” Would not such a policy, he asked, lead to a lowering of production power?

He also took up the operation of the munitions company law. On this subject however the comments of the Tokyo Shimbun were sharper; nothing, the paper said, had been done to remedy the “discrepancy” between labor’s sacrifices and capital’s profits. “No ‘putting-the-whole-nation-to-work’ is truly possible unless, through a thorough-going enforcement of an ‘every-body-a-soldier’ system, the entire nation is truly militarized and turned into a military life end all private rights are returned to the throne for the duration of the war.”

No translation was made available of the third interpellation by Mr. Masayoshi Kimura on foodstuff distribution,

Yet even these scattered diffident voices, overheard from behind the closed doors of Japanese government, are enough to trouble our deepest prejudices. Interpellations in the diet are put by men carefully chosen from a national party imposed and maintained by the government. Comments in the press must survive the official censorship of the brush as well as the unofficial censorship of the sword. But somehow the secret thoughts of the people leap over all these barriers, seep through the complicated and cunning sieves, and break out into the open light of day.

It makes one doubt whether an old-fashioned tyranny is now possible at all. The most modern dictatorships must pay more than lip-service to the people; by guile, deceit, the bribe of security, the bait of glory, the cry of “Wolf, wolf!”, they must rally their willing allegiance. So also Japan’s medieval despots can no longer tame or chain the tiger; they can only ride it. Looked at in this fashion, any modern government is popular in the sense of being maintained by the people; not all the “younger officers” could keep Tozyo in power once the slow irresistible heave and surge of popular discontent got started; at this rate Koiso will not last much longer; it is a clumsy ponderous process, too often blind, belated, instinctive, bewildered, but something that all tyrants must fear and take into account. The advantage of democracy is that it provides a more advanced and scientific technique, a cleanly defined channel for the tide of power, but the power itself, the power of the people, is ubiquitous.


21st January 1945

In preparation for the opening of the imperial diet today the government has announced the distribution of one bale of charcoal per family, the release of fresh stocks of fish and vegetables for winter consumption, and a gift of sugar from Nanking to Tokyo which will come down to some 20 momme per head.

For the past few days the government has also started raising its voice on its plans and programs for the future. The first heavy raid on the key Osaka-Kobe district, carried out yesterday afternoon by 80 B-29s, underlined the “new” air-defense measures taken up by the cabinet the day before. As a matter of fact there seems to be nothing really new in the proposed program outside of the fact that while “hitherto the various air-defense measures have been left to private initiative… henceforth the government will take positive measures.” An appropriation of two billion yen has already been laid out for the purpose. Otherwise the government is still talking about evacuating oldsters, children and nursing mothers, while retaining war-essential personnel; tearing down inflammable houses to make room for safety belts and water tanks; increasing fire-fighting equipment (one-pump for every neighborhood association instead of one for every two); more preparations for monetary and medical relief to raid sufferers.

The cabinet has also formed a wartime price council to fight inflation. The Asahi has damning praise for it in saying: “What is noteworthy is the fact that some 10 persons of knowledge and experience will be taken from among civilians to join the committee.” The paper also recalls that “at present the price administration in connection with munitions materials is in n the hands of the war, navy, and munitions ministries; that of civilian consumption materials, in the forestry and commerce ministry; that of transportation charges, in the transportation and communications ministry; and that of wages, in the munitions and welfare ministries In addition the finance ministry plays the principal part in measures affecting currency.” The Mainichi for its part comments; “The low price policy… has become a thing merely in name, not in reality.

Meantime the “31st investigation meeting for national mobilization” was held at the premiers residence yesterday. It adopted the draft of a labor mobilization law which will supersede and combine the five existing ordinances on the subject. From the provisions it is apparent that so far Japanese munitions industries have lacked the power to draft labor, hold it, lend and borrow it, replace it, register it, or even ask the government to aid it in getting it without going through a complicated routine of requests, certifications, and other formalities. This tight and rigid empire, which seemingly awes the world with its reputation for disciplined totalitarianism, is just learning about total war. It is, to anyone who can see it at close range, still fighting with the rudimentary techniques of the first world war. It has learned nothing from German post-war inflation. American wartime organization, or even Nazi totalitarian efficiency.

But a vague discontent and uneasy apprehension are growing; people do not know exactly what is wrong but they do know that things are out of control, breaking down, rotting; they do not know exactly what should be done — for they have been trained to feel that that is not their business, it is the business of their masters — but they are bewildered, frightened, slowly angering, while “waiting for orders from above”.

The members of the diet are only by courtesy and polite fiction the representatives of the people but they too have grown restive. Most of them are members of the single government party, the “Imperial Rule Assistance Political Association”, and now they are calling for its dissolution as well as that of its allied organizations, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association and the I.R.A. Manhood Corps. The Manhood Corps is the core of the opposition to dissolution but most people are indifferent to it. The reformers only want a “new” national party but it will still be national and, as one editorialist puts it, they are “still within the same old shell”.


16th January 1945

The press is still beating the tom-toms over the Ise bombing. A noted Japanese historian says that “the enemy are not men for men fight a man’s way”. An editorialist cries that “all the American devils should be slaughtered”. The Asahi openly accused the Americans of bombing Ise “according to pre-arranged plan”. The question is interesting. Was the bombing an accident or was deliberately executed to shake Japanese morale, to prove that the old gods are dead? Still, no Christian stops believing in God because his church can be burnt down.

Indeed if one is to believe the newspapers, the bombing has fortified home morale rather than weakened it. “We are convinced,” writes the Tokyo Shimbun, “that by this time there is not a single person in the entire nation who still entertains lukewarm ideas about this war…. There could be nothing to strike the people with greater awe and indignation.” The Americans, the paper goes on to point out, did not hesitate in the past to sink Japanese hospital ships, run tanks over Japanese wounded, desecrate the bones of the Japanese dead; now lse provides the “climax of American atrocities”. And the Mainichi for its part adds: “We cannot imagine anything from which the enemy will hereafter refrain.”

It is an interesting peek into national psychology. The Japanese atrocities that the Americans play up deal with man’s inhumanity to man. The Japanese like their atrocities in the theological stratum. The American wants to be a man; the Japanese wants to be a god, or at least the servant of a god.


12th January 1945

There is a limit even to Japanese patience, it seems. The Yomiuri, this morning, takes the Koiso cabinet slogan in its teeth and shakes it. “What is meant anyway by powerful politics?” And the Yomiuri snarls, as much as a Japanese newspaper can snarl these days, “It is regrettable that the evil habit of lukewarmness, characteristic of the Koiso cabinet, has not been entirely wiped off in the present serious stage…. It is to be hoped that the government… will not end with a mere array of words but will take concrete measures with boldness and daring.” It was the Yomiuri that, when the Koiso cabinet was first formed, called it after one of Tokyo’s wartime busses: “a charcoal-fed cabinet”.

The Asahi too has taken a stronger line and has asked Lieutenant-General Teiichi Suzuki, chairman of the Association for Service to the State through Industries, why the Japanese forces have not been getting enough planes. The general blames insufficiency and uneven distribution of war materials as well as government red tape. “Here is an example,” he told the Asahi. “A certain aircraft factory used to spend 60 kilograms of metal for manufacturing a machine part weighing seven kilograms. But the factory later found that by adopting a new production formula 15 kilograms of material would do. To put this new formula into practice, the factory had to go through various formalities to obtain government permission. But anxious to begin work, the factory went ahead without permission and, as a result, scored excellent results.” The moral drawn from this parable on initiative bordering on insubordination is probably comprehensible only to a Japanese. “The people,” concluded the general, “are waiting for orders from above.”

Certainly no one would accuse my apartment neighbor, the factory owner, of waiting for orders from above. Chatting after dinner tonight, he was quite elated over the way he had got hold of some cobalt and vanadium that his factory needed badly. He had traced a black-market agent to his secret warehouse on the pretext that he would buy the metals at any price but would have to check the stock first. Then he called in the military police and had the whole lot confiscated. The agent, a German, took refuge of sanctuary in his embassy and did not emerge until he had an official clearance.

There is something pathetically infantile about Japanese wartime industry. My neighbor brings home machine oil to fry his rice-cakes; he has his hot baths in the office because the public baths are so crowded; he took 10 days off for the New Year; once he tried to smuggle some black-market purchase of his in a military truck assigned to his factory and failed only because the recruit driving it was naive enough to pile the goods on top of the factory equipment he was supposed to be transporting. Amid all this light-hearted grasping, fumbling, stumbling, cheating, hit-and-miss, does any work ever get done?


11th January 1945

As the Asahi puts it, with typical bombast, “the American troops have at last set their dirty shoes on the soil of Luzon.” the paper thereupon goes to great length to call for “powerful politics” enforced at any cost. But nowhere in the lengthy article does the paper get more definite than the following; “There may be questions pertaining to raw materials, labor, transportation, in addition to other bottlenecks and impediments which, with the progress of the war, are likely to become further accentuated.” The nearest one gets to actual facts is the rather pitiful story that even scouting and training planes in the Philippines have had bombs hooked onto them for suicide dives.


9th January 1945

Eddie Vargas called up today by long-distance from Taiwan; he is stranded there. All civilian air travel to the Philippines has been suspended. We are now definitely cut off from home; no more couriers, no more letters, even telegrams will be difficult unless they are official and urgent.

As the situation deteriorates, the press is allowed to say more and more, are they learning to let the people down slowly? Or are the authorities trying to frighten the people of Tokyo out of the threatened capital? Now the vernaculars are saying, that the Americans have more ships in the Philippines than the Japanese have planes. So much for the “one ship, one plane” strategy.

The Asahi also carries a “special today from Manila bemoaning the fact that the Japanese could have “annihilated” the American convoy off Mindoro on the 15th December if they had had enough planes. It was, the paper said, “a serious mortification”.

But the people of Tokyo are still looking at the war as something fantastic and far-away. They are now amusing themselves with the report that the Americans are having to fall back on “artificial earthquake” plans to destroy Japan’s main cities. And when there was a full-scale air alarm this noon, there was no one in the basement, which is supposed to be the apartment air-raid shelter.

Instead our French neighbor, Yvonne, who ran away from Paris to escape the war, came rushing in, wringing her hands. She had come back from her apartment to find the gas sealed. She looked terribly thin and anxious; she brought us a present of four eggs and asked for the loan of our gas stove. “Life is so complicated,” she wailed in the way she has of repeating her English lover’s clichés. “They only do it because I’m French.” But in some respect it is her own fault. She had been warned about the limitations on the consumption of gas but she had kept her stove burning practically the whole day for days on end “to heat the apartment” and “because I drink a lot of tea”.

Of course about 70 sen worth of gas (the official limit for one person for one month) is not much but they will probably cut off her gas for the time equivalent to her excess consumption.

Poor Yvonne, life will be so much more complicated without tea.