June 2, 1942

At noon to Capitol with General Valdes and Colonel Andres Soriano. Valdes says he is going back to service in Australia next week.

I felt much like a stray cat on the floor of the House of Representatives–had not entered the Chamber since in August 1913 I left after nine years of service there to go to the Philippines. I recognized only two of the old members who were there in my time. The representatives looked rather depressed. Elizalde tells me that they know they have their authority and power to the Executive; and feel very much the bitter and frequent attacks on them by the “smear” press.

When Quezon mounted the Speaker’s dais he made a striking figure outlined against the huge American flag–shoulders squared and head thrown back. His eyes sparkled and his person gave out a spirit of animation and vitality, quite in contrast to the rather weary, not to say depressed looking figures of the members of the House.

He received an ovation, and prolonged applause punctuated his address. He read the cablegram to him at Corregidor from President Roosevelt promising the re-occupation of the Philippines, the giving of independence and, most important, the protection of it. Gave the impression that it was these promises which inspired the Filipinos to their gallant stand at Bataan. Altogether an impressive and useful speech. The occasion was one of real drama. He lived up to it.

Afterwards, we spent an hour “revising” or correcting the official stenographic report of his speech, as is customary before an address in the House of Representatives goes to the government printing office for the Congressional Record.

“Baby” Quezon to whom, in an aside, I confided my fear at the time that Quezon’s voice would give out in the middle of his address, replied: “Oh, Father’s voice never gives out unless he finds it expedient.”

Driving back from the Capitol alone with Quezon, I found him too tired for conversation, until I mentioned by chance the subject of the Philippine Moros. I commented upon the sad end of former Governor Fort of Jolo, who had been an appointee of Governor General Wood. After resigning his post in 1937 he became a Protestant Episcopal missionary in Cotobato–another unruly Moro section. One morning on a path near there, his body was found on the path with the head severed by the blow of a bolo.

Quezon remarked that the Moros really like nobody whatever but themselves, except when they can get something out of it. “That,” he said, “was a fact which no Americans had discovered”; in Australia this Spring even General MacArthur had told him of the great use we were going to make against the Japanese of the enthusiasm of the Philippine Moros for the American cause. Quezon told him, however, that he hoped the American Army was not going to give arms to the Moros on Jolo, who are reported to have joined the Japanese, but added that the Japs will have plenty of trouble with them. “Jolo,” Quezon added, “is divided into two factions each claiming a Sultan.” (As I think this split was brought about by Quezon himself, in order to weaken the power of the Joloano Sultanate, I made no comment.) Quezon further remarked that when he reached Mindanao on his journey of escape from Corregidor, the American Army officers there were boasting of the great help the Moros were about to give them. Quezon laughed.

He then turned to the subject of the war against Japan: He said it could not be won without “the complete destruction of their army and navy–that with such a government and such a people, a negotiated peace would be utterly impossible.

In the Shoreham grill-room I met Harry T. Edwards, one of my former Bureau Chiefs as Director of Agriculture. He is now and for years has been fibre expert in the United States Department of Agriculture. He first came to the Philippines shortly after the Insurrection was over, but says many Filipinos in the provinces kept on fighting until about 1904. Even then, there was a raid by them on Cavite when he was visiting his brother there. He told me that General MacArthur, the father of our General, who was the last Military Governor of the Philippines was very “stuffy” about turning over the reins of power to the first Civil Governor, William Howard Taft, and kept the latter waiting at the door of his office in Fort Santiago for an hour before admitting him to take over. Taft never forgave MacArthur. So ended the “Days of the Empire,” except in Mindanao and Sulu where the army officers still refer to the Philippine administration in Manila as the “Civil Government.” The singing by Army Officers at their annual “Carabao Wallow” of the song “Damn, damn, damn the Filipinos” continued until 1913, when after my arrival in the Philippines, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that to cease.

Had a conversation with Resident Commissioner “Mike” Elizalde at his office this afternoon. He has great and sincere admiration for President Quezon. Thinks Osmeña would be of no use except to hand out the offices, and that he could not run a government himself. (This in my opinion is a gross underestimation of Osmeña’s abilities.) Elizalde says the Filipinos were all right under American Governors General, but queries how they will make out by themselves when solving such problems as government finance. He esteems Quezon highly because when he is not “up” on a subject himself he is willing to take advice; says he was called in with Yulo and others to give opinion as to whether Quezon should accept a second term as President of the Commonwealth. He was the only one consulted who answered “no,” because he is such a confirmed democrat and believes the other system leads to dictatorship. Thinks well of Manuel Roxas as an eventual successor to Quezon.


May 31, 1942

Quezon came into my room at the Shoreham for a two hours’ talk. Yesterday he had offered me an official position to go around with him and help him with his English in preparing his speeches. I told him I thought his command of English was excellent, and that I had not come to him to get a job. “But that was the reason why I asked you to come,” he replied. So here I am back again as adviser to the President, as I had been in 1935 and 1936. I hope I may be of some use to him in his very trying situation as head of a government-in-exile.

I then asked him whether he had foreseen the coming of war between the United States and Japan. He replied that during those last few weeks before the Japanese struck he had been sure of it. I enquired what he had thought of the note handed by Secretary of State Hull on November 26, 1941 to the two Japanese Ambassadors. He replied: “What did you think of it?” “I thought it,” I said, “the equivalent of a declaration of war upon Japan.” “So did I,” he put in; “with such a people as the Japanese,–no government could possibly accept such a proposal as to get out of China and give up Manchuria; the government which did that could not survive. So immediately I asked Admiral Hart urgently to call on me, and told him: ‘Admiral, this is the same as a declaration of war by the United States upon Japan. What will happen if our communications with the Mainland (i.e., the U.S.) are cut?’ The Admiral replied: ‘Oh, it will only be a matter of three weeks.'” Quezon continued by saying that a few days before Pearl Harbor in his speech on “Heroes’ day” (on December 2nd, 1941) at the University of the Philippines in Manila, he told the students how heavy his heart was, because many of those magnificent young men who had just passed in parade before him were soon to lay down their lives for their country.

Quezon then went on to describe to me the meeting of the American-Japan Society in Tokyo which was attended by Ambassador Grew, on the occasion of the appointment of Nomura as Ambassador to the United States. At this meeting, Foreign Minister Matsuoka had told them of his efforts to get Nomura, a retired admiral, to go to United States as Ambassador, because Nomura was known to be a personal friend of President Roosevelt. At first Nomura had been unwilling to accept the post, but Matsuoka went to his house and persuaded him to take on the serious and difficult talk of reaching a working agreement with the United States Government. Matsuoka then emphasis his opinion that it was the duty of the United States and of Japan to avoid war–if not, it would be a terrible conflict, and would destroy civilization. Matsuoka then sent a letter to Quezon enclosing a copy of this speech and wrote at the bottom of the letter as follows: “To His Excellency President Quezon: Dear Mr President, I hope you will agree with my views.” The envelope was addressed in Matsuoka’s own handwriting, and was handed to Quezon by the Japanese Consul General at Manila–so every precaution had been taken to conceal the identity of the person to whom the letter was to be delivered–even the stenographer was not to know. Quezon said that at the time, he thought this was a very “suspicious circumstance,” and that Matsuoka was in deadly earnest. “But,” Quezon added, “I did not then know anything about the real strength of Japan, and I simply wondered how they dared even to consider a war against the United States, since he assumed that America would immediately send their whole fleet against Japan and completely destroy the Japanese navy.”

He did not believe that the second Japanese envoy Kurusu was sent to the United States to join with Nomura in order to “gain time.” Indeed, he thought that it was the United States that needed “time”–not Japan, and he added: “The seriousness of the situation was apaprent when the attack was made on Pearl Harbor, because the Japanese never go to war unless they are thoroughly prepared.”

On the question as to why the Japanese aviation had bombed President Quezon’s birth place, Baler, Quezon did not believe at any time that this was done in reprisal because he had called upon his people to support the American side; “If it was aimed at me,” he asked, “why did they respect my houses at Baguio, at Mariquina and Malacañan Palace itself? Those buildings have not been damaged nor looted.” (N.B. It transpired later that the bombing at Baler had been aimed at the small wireless station there.)

Quezon then reported a conversation he had had a few days ago with the Chinese Ambassador who had told him Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had recently gone to India not, as reported, to try to persuade the Indians to join the English in resistance against Japan, but to try to persuade the British Government to give independence to India!

I then asked the President to elucidate the phrase he had used: “doubts as to my duty to the people of the Philippines” which beset him when he arrived at Corregidor and of which he at once had informed President Roosevelt by cable. Of course, I could understand his perplexity as to whether it would be best to insist upon further resistance when he was already convinced that the United States neither could nor would send reinforcements nor supplies to them while concentrating on the German War, but I asked him to explain further his state of mind then on that momentous question. Thereupon, he replied that he might have considered advising his countrymen to join an association of Asiatic nations which were to be partners in the real meaning of the word but that he had no confidence in the Japanese offer to them of self-government. He added: “Those fellows would not really leave us alone to govern ourselves—-it would take them three hundred years longer to learn how to do so.”

Asked about the internal situation in the Philippines just before the war, Quezon began his reply by stating that he himself was a sincere democrat and really believed in the rule of the people, but that in dealing with the application of this theory, especially in times of strain, there were too many people going around advocating democracy for everybody without any real sense of responsibility towards the people themselves or knowledge of the struggle and fight necessary to protect democracy. He believed it was especially necessary to know the background of a people, and to understand what their history meant. This, of course, recalled my effort in 1936 to prepare for him at his suggestion, and when first acting as his adviser, a bill to reform the system of landholding in the Philippines, so as to protect the millions of small farmers (taos) in their tenant holdings and really to begin the dividing up of the many great haciendas. The bill was modelled upon Gladstone’s “three F’s” land bill of the 1880’s for Ireland, as had been suggested to me by Quezon himself. But, as related in the first part of this “diary,” the members of his Cabinet all balked at it and the President had handed it back to me with the remark that it was “loaded with dynamite.” I replied that I had, at the time, been greatly distressed by the failure of this effort at reform, but that I know a little of the background in Philippine history: how, always until the Spanish liberals had begun in their own country for reforms, with repercussions upon the Filipinos, the state of society in the Philippines as in other Malay communities elsewhere had been entirely aristocratic. “Why,” I said, “Your own Cabinet then, and most of the members of the legislature–those gentlemen were almost all aristocrats.” “Except me” he interrupted, “I wasn’t one.”

Then I got him to tell part, at least, of the story of the constant friction existing between High Commissioner Sayre and himself during the year before this war. He started by saying that Sayre is, personally, a very nice fellow, but unlike his late father-in-law, Woodrow Wilson, he does not understand government. He is one of those lovers of liberty who goes around trying to apply liberty as a solution to problems which arise without much consideration of the results to follow; that he started all his arguments with him (Quezon) with the statement: “I am a Christian gentleman,” which is no doubt perfectly true, but in itself does not solve by its application all political problems. The serious disagreement between Quezon and Sayre which had some bearings on inadequate civilian preparedness in the Philippines just before this war broke out, arose through what the United States would call the “Office of Civilian Defense,” and had nothing to do, as I had previously presumed, with any attempt by President Quezon to spend part of the $50,000,000 then held in the United States for the Philippines. Nor did Quezon try to get the United States to pay for his Office of Civilian Defense.

The trouble between the President of the Philippines and the High Commissioner started in 1940 when the legislature passed an act delegating to Quezon powers to regulate the civilian defense corps and otherwise prepare for a supply of food and for making air-raid shelters for the protection of the civilian population of the Philippines. The Philippine constitution placed his power in the legislature only “in a national emergency,” with restrictions on the power to be exercised by the President. They had studied the history of difficulties which had arisen in the United States over the “delegated powers” which are forbidden by the American constitution.

In 1941, during the growing tension throughout the Far East, Quezon issued the necessary executive orders based upon this grant to him of limited delegated powers. At once, a group of young Filipinos called the “Civil Liberties Union” passed a resolution of protest. High Commissioner Sayre was aroused, and is believed to have notified President Roosevelt who cabled Quezon warning him that adverse sentiment was aroused in the United States since the American “Civil Liberties Union” had joined in the fray. Quezon at once cabled back to Roosevelt that he would not exercise any of the powers so delegated to him without a direct application to him from High Commissioner Sayre.

A few months later, Major General Grunert then in command of the Philippine Department of the American Army, asked Quezon to attend a meeting with him. High Commissioner Sayre and the American Admiral. The general wanted to know what plans there were for the protection of the civilian population in the event of war and complained that so far as he could see, nothing had been done; what was Quezon going to do about it? The President replied: “Ask High Commissioner Sayre”–who sat absolutely silent. Finally, at this conference, it was agreed that a committee should be appointed as an Office of Civilian Defense, consisting of General Douglas MacArthur, then a retired Lieutenant General of the American Army, but engaged as Quezon’s Adviser on Military Affairs and occupied in organizing the Philippine Army, and Quezon’s secretary George Vargas, and A. D. Williams, adviser to the President on public works. This committee was to cooperate with the American General and Admiral. At the meeting, General MacArthur asked Major General Grunert if he would state to him first of all, as Department Commander, whether the American Army was going to protect the Philippines and what plans he had for getting the equipment necessary for such protection? The Department Commander replied that he was only a soldier, and knew nothing of politics; that he intended to fight for the protection of the Philippines but could not state what equipment would come to him for that purpose. General MacArthur then expressed himself as dissatisfied with the latter part of the Department Commander’s reply, and refused to serve on this committee until he had a satisfactory answer. So MacArthur retired from this committee and A. D. Williams and Vargas went ahead with their plans for air-raid shelters, etc.

Shortly after this, A. D. Williams returned to the United States after forty years of service in the Philippines on public works and construction, and by this time General MacArthur had been put in command of all American and Philippine forces in the islands.

At the public meeting on “Heroes’ day,” December 2, 1941, to which reference has already been made in these pages. President Quezon said in his public address that he had not been able to discharge his full duty and prepare adequately for the civilian population a sufficient food supply nor adequate air-raid shelters because he had been prevented from doing so by the President of the United States, and this statement was reported in garbled and misleading form in some newspapers in the United States. Further, Quezon stated that the protest against due preparation in the Philippines had been started by the local Civil Liberties Union, and that if they were thus responsible for any evil results, they merited condign punishment.

At dinner that evening, Quezon told me had rented the house of General Hurley, “Belmont,” near Leesburg, Loudon County, Virginia from next Sunday for the summer, so he will be only two days at Hot Springs–another of those sudden and unexpected changes of his plans to which his entourage are thoroughly well accustomed. This means, however, that I am not to have him to myself to get on with the manuscript.

Bridge in my room at the Shoreham, nine p.m. to two a.m. Very lively bidding and the playing was animated. The other players were Quezon, Dr. Trepp, his devoted physician from Manila and the attractive and modest young a.d.c., Lieutenant-Colonel Velasquez from the Province of Bulacan, a West Pointer, who has been through the battle of Bataan. When the Governor General of Australia met Quezon a few months ago, Quezon told the Governor General that Velasquez was one of the Filipinos who had been doing the fighting. The Governor General talked with him for five minutes and turned and thanked Quezon for the delaying battle in the Philippines which had helped to save Australia. Quezon, however, agrees with me in doubting whether the Japanese plans included the conquest of Australia.


May 31, 1942

KGEI admitted the sinking of an Allied warship in the port of Sydney by the attack of a special Japanese submarine flotilla.

Rode in a calesa. Asked the cochero: “Who do you think will win the war?” I was curious to know the sentiments of the masses.

“The Americans!” he answered unequivocally.

“Why? “I asked to provoke him.

“Because MacArthur will get plenty of planes and then . . .”

“And then what?”

“Aba, señor, maybe you are from Fort Santiago and then you will report.”

“No, No. You can trust me. My son is in the Army. He is now in Capaz.”

“Ah, I wish I was also fighting in Bataan.”

“But why do you think the Americans will win?” I brought the subject back.

“How can these people win? Look at their trucks, cars, tanks, uniforms. Not so good. It looks breakable like Japanese toys.”

“Well, then, why did the USAFFE lose?”

He thought for a while. And then he said: “Because they were surprised. Even Jack Dempsey, I can knock out if I just hit him suddenly. But when MacArthur comes back with the flying fortress and the bombers and tanks, well, well…”

“What do you mean—well, well . . .”

“I mean it will be just very well, heh, heh, heh!”

“Well, stop out there at Tom’s, on that corner.”

I entered Tom’s. The place had a different atmosphere. The floors were wet and sticky. The people were not as well dressed as in the pre-war days. And the customers were different. There was a pianist playing “My Baby Don’t Care” and a fat lady was singing in a high falsetto.

“Coffee!” I told the waiter.

While waiting for the coffee, a hostess with gold teeth sat on my table. “Please,” she said in a state of semi-intoxication, “protect me from that brute.” She was pointing to a Japanese officer. I did not know what to say. “The Japanese…“ and she started giving a speech against Japan. “Don’t speak loudly,” I said. She spoke louder and louder. “Stop it!” I said. “This man here,” she said, “agrees with me!” “Stop it!” I said. “STOP IT! STOP!”

“Wake up, Vic,” said my wife.

 


Baguio, May 11, 1942

Since Manila is the only place enjoying the media of press and correspondence, our only source of information in this wide and mountainous habitat is the radio. There is a heated contest of broadcasts between the warring radio stations as to whether the defense of Bataan and Corregidor by the USAFFE forces had been heroic or cowardly. The Allied radio claimed that the resistance offered by these fortresses was as epic as it was desperate, and that it yielded only because of the heavy avalanche of men and armaments which Japan rained on them, as well as the lack of supplies and ammunition on the part of the defending forces.

Tokyo however retorted—and this was relayed to Berlin and Rome—that the American claim was an empty yarn. It further asserted that Bataan and Corregidor collapsed like cardboard castles without putting up any significant resistance.

One who listens to only one side of the contesting broadcasts would get incomplete—not to say incorrect—information. But by listening to both sides, neither could one tell which one to believe.

The same heated contest of broadcasts occurred over the battle of the Coral Seas. Radio San Francisco claimed that the Allied forces sunk fifteen enemy ships and that they themselves suffered light casualties. Radio Tokyo replied that the Japanese forces sunk twenty Anglo-American warships and challenged Washington to publish the Allied losses and the extent of their naval disasters. If we believe the broadcasts from Tokyo and Berlin, it would appear that the American naval forces in the Pacific have been annihilated. The broadcasts from San Francisco and London give the impression that the American naval victory in the Coral Seas had decisively smothered Japanese attempt to invade Australia.

Regarding the defense of the two fortresses, some combatants related many incidents attesting to the courage and bravery of the defense line. As far as I see it, the defense was characterized more by the prudence rather than the heroism of the defenders. The desire to prevent further suffering and save human lives prevailed over the desire to inflict the maximum damage on the enemy and write a brilliant military history.

Some of the soldiers claim that very few of their men died in combat and that they did not suffer from hunger although provisions were a little difficult. They were therefore surprised when their superiors ordered the surrender because they were convinced that they had enough power to continue fighting.

Of course, the one who spoke were the combatants on reserve who hardly saw battle. Those in the frontline and in fields of encounter were already exhausted. Sick with malaria and dysentery and debilitated by lack of food, many were hardly on their feet.

The High Command must have been fairly convinced that, without hope of an early reinforcement, prolonged resistance would have been suicidal.

But had the defenders utilized the natural and artificial defenses available, they could have caused considerably more damage to the enemy.

Witnesses whom I interviewed were unanimous on the Filipino soldiers’ manifestation of gallantry and courage during the whole period of fighting. In Bataan, the Philippine Constabulary and the Philippine Scouts fought on the frontline of defense, sometimes assisted by the American Thirty-First Regiment.

Most of them were new recruits, untrained in the art of battle. Their superiors, convinced of the futility of sacrifice, did not require them to fight with the utmost degree of heroism. This speaks highly of the humanitarian rather than military sense of the High Command.

A marked contrast is noticeable between the strategies of the Americans and the Japanese. It has never been a part of the Americans’ military program to fight to the last man. If they cannot fight with advantage or the hope of success, they would either abandon the battlefield or surrender. As soon as the Japanese had landed in the north and south of Luzon and destroyed the first line of defense in Pangasinan and Tayabas, the Americans abandoned all ideas of organizing a vigorous resistance against the invaders. Their strategy consisted in delaying the enemy’s advance by blowing up all bridges in order to give their troops ample time to retreat to Bataan. They declared Manila an open city and left all towns open without any official declaration.

They attempted, with such moves, to spare these places from destruction and save the lives of their soldiers so that they might fight instead in Bataan. However, they were not able to spare the cities and towns from destruction, for what was spared by war was not spared by vandals and looters.

Neither in Bataan nor in Corregidor did the defenders fight to the peak of heroism. They were neither cowards nor were they remiss in their military responsibilities. They fought until Bataan was technically taken but not until death. In Corregidor, they fought with bravery while they could keep the enemy at a distance, but they surrendered as soon as the enemy crashed the gates. Many if not all of the combatants wanted to fight to the finish. The North American war plan, however, was not a useless sacrifice of soldiers for the heroic defense of just one or two fortresses.

We do not know the Japanese mettle in resisting, since none of their towns or properties had ever been subjected to the test of a serious attack. But if we are to judge them by their aggressiveness in assault, then their tenacity and constancy cannot be gainsaid.

We cannot say whether this indifference to death and this daring ferocity are due more to the soldiers’ bravery, valor, or to the strict requirements of the army. The Japanese are very patriotic and disciplined. Their patriotism is for them almost a religion. They are accustomed to deprivation, hardships, the most trying strifes, and the most rigorous military discipline.

It should be noted that the Imperial Army employs a good number of the suicide squads—exalted patriots who would offer their lives to inflict the greatest damage and destruction on the enemy. The Japanese themselves attributed the debacle caused on the American Contingent at Pearl Harbor, and the sinking of the Prince of Wales, to a certain number of volunteers who offered to guide the torpedoes which destroyed both targets, with the Japanese guiding the torpedoes.

If the Japanese would someday find themselves in a situation similar to Bataan, they would suffer more casualties than the USAFFE, and they would resist more violently before surrendering, if they would surrender at all.

The Japanese Army is more mechanized in the moral and spiritual rather than in the material sense. Its war machine is more tempered in discipline and organization than in its steel artifacts. To be defeated, they must be annihilated. And this can be done only by a force superior in quantity and quality in terms of planes, tanks and naval equipment. They will not run away in the face of more numerical superiority as did the British in Malaya and the Americans in the Philippines.

And before thinking of surrender, they would rather commit group or mass suicide.

A few days ago, a Japanese officer told me, “A Japanese soldier will not surrender. He will fight to the end, willing to die for his Emperor. If captured alive, he would rather cut his tongue with his teeth than tell the whereabouts of his troops”. In fact, there were instances when this was literally done.


May 10,1942

I learned today that even if Gen. Jonathan Wainwright attempted to surrender only Corregidor and the surrounding Fortresses at Caballo, Carabao and El Fraile Island, (Forts Mills, Frank, Drum & James) he was forced by victorious Gen. Masaharu Homma to surrender USFIP all over the Phil.  Accordingly, the hapless vanquished commander issued surrender orders to key USFIP Commanders with the following officers directed to serve said “Surrender Orders,” Lt. Col. Kalakuka USA to Lt. Col. Guillermo Nakar ’32, Comdr. 14th Inf, in Cagayan Valley; Col. Jesse T. Trayvick, Jr. USA to Maj. Gen. W. F. Sharp, CG Vis-Min Forces; and Brig. Gen. Guillermo B. Francisco ’08 to Southern Luzon & Bicol Regions.  These representatives of Gen. Wainwright are accompanied by ranking Japanese officers and provided adequate land and air transportation.

Wainwright’s surrender orders became a favorite topic of private discussions among officers at Malolos POW Camp.  To the question, if you were Col. Nakar, and you received the written order, will you surrender?  I am happy to note that after heated private discussions, all Philippine Military Academy graduates were unanimous in disobeying the order.  Two reserve officers have strong reservations that if they disobey the “lawful order of their superior” they can be liable for court martial later.  It will be interesting to find out how those concerned actually reacted later.

As a lasting tribute to the courageous gunners who manned those big guns at Corregidor and also to immortalize the names of the twenty batteries that fought valiantly against the enemy for 26 continuous days and nights since the Fall of Bataan, here they are in alphabetical order:  Batteries Chenny; Crockett; Cushing; Geary; Gruggs; Hamilton; Hanna; Hearn; James; Kysor; Monja; Maxwell; Morrison;  Ramsay; Rock Point; Smith; Stockade; Sunset; Way; and Wheeler.  My everlasting Salute to both Comrade Gunners and Batteries!


May 8, 1942

Heard Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright’s voice over KZRH. It was a lonely voice—the voice of defeat. He ordered all USAFFE forces to lay down their arms. He agreed to an unconditional surrender to save the lives of the soldiers in Corregidor. At times, the General’s voice faltered. He had to clear his throat and several times he seemed out of breath. This is America’s saddest hour. Several doughboys were reported killed in a final desperate effort to raise the Stars and Stripes in Top Hill.


May 3, 1942

Civilian evacuees from Bataan report that the Japanese are hastily building large bamboo stairs to scale the cliffs of Corregidor. Barges are also being constructed rapidly, probably for landing operations. Artillery has also been emplaced on strategic points of Mt. Mariveles overlooking the surrounded fortress.

No news as to when Filipino war prisoners will be released. Some say “they’ll be freed at the end of the war.” Others think it will be when Corregidor surrenders. Meanwhile deaths in camp are progressively mounting. “Almost a thousand a day,” according to a Red Cross doctor.

Landings by Japanese forces in Cagayan, Mindanao. Manuel Roxas is there. I understand he is now a general.

Japanese cigarettes make me dizzy. But I’ve got to get used to it. Chesterfields are too costly.

This is my impression of the Japanese in my office after five months with them. They are hard-working, slow, patriotic, serious, without humor, arrogant at times if you don’t stop them, excessively courteous sometimes, speak too long over the phone, not concerned with the way they dress, slaves to plans, follow orders strictly, automatically, but not so very well versed with the rice industry. I believe they will learn more from the Filipinos regarding the rice industry than we will from them. I’ve told this to our Supervisor-de-Facto in one of our conversations. I told him: “We want men that will teach us; not men that we have to teach.”

In the final analysis, this war has been a great lesson for the Filipino people. Our nation will come out the better for it. The blood of our youths has not been shed in vain.

 


April 21, 1942

Capas, Tarlac

F.C. Camp

Joined the grave-detail. We buried those that died this morning. Some of the graves yesterday were not dug deep enough. The bodies buried yesterday have been unearthed. The sand here is clayish because the cemetery is too near the river.

One of the boys we buried had a little piece of paper in his pocket. We opened it. It was the copy of a citation awarding him for exceptional bravery in an attack in Bataan.

(later)

Most of the boys in the camp are very depressed. They feel that “it will be a long time before we are released.”

Many are disappointed with our leaders in Manila. “All they know is to give speeches and make promises!” “Why don’t they resign from their posts if the Japs do not want to release us?”

Personally, I don’t think we will be released until all resistance in the islands has ceased. The Japs are afraid that when we are strong enough, we might start trouble again. Besides, they want to make up for the thousands of Japs who died in Bataan. The more among us that die here, the better for them.

(later)

Collecting impressions of everyone here about Bataan. It will make a book someday. Am also listening to everybody’s experience during the long walk from Bataan to this prison camp.

Apparently, the Japs gave every barch more or less the same kind of treatment, although some groups got very much worse treatment.

Consensus is that at least 15,000 died during that bloody march. Japs bayoneted men who could not keep up with the pace. Very little rest was given. Some were shot for trying to escape.

For example, there was an old soldier who took off his shoes because of blisters. Suddenly, one of the Japs clubbed him on the head. A relative of the clubbed man charged at the Jap. Both fellows were tied to a tree and slowly tortured. Their shouts could be heard by all those around, but no one was allowed to look.

Someone said that in Orani, everybody was searched. One fellow was found with Jap money in his pocket. The Jap soldier said in broken English: “Why you have Jap money? So maybe you take that from dead Jap soldier! O.K… Now you die!” And he was bayoneted in the lungs. According to the one telling the story, the Jap money was given by a Japanese officer who bought the boy’s watch.

After such exchange of stories, everybody ends the conversation with the remark: “Someday we will get even, someday.”

Very few boys in camp think that Corregidor will be able to stand. Quite a number are disappointed at America. They ask: “Where is the convoy she promised?” The great majority believe, however, “in due time, when American factories get going, Japan will be beaten.”

Must stop writing. It’s getting dark. We have no lights here.

Two boys are humming a duet. Kundiman again. I like kundimans. They are soft, plaintive, full of feeling, lonely, very lonely.

They have stopped singing. Somebody in the group is weeping. I wonder why.

(later)

Just ate another camote. Superb.

[diary does not resume until September 21, 1944]


April 19, 1942

Four-page pictorial on this Sunday’s Tribune regarding the historic defeat of the Fil-American defenders of Bataan.

In the front page is a candid shot of Lieut. Gen. Masaharu Homma, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Forces. Ironically, the background of the picture is Jose Rizal’s monument.

On the lower portion of the page is a picture of Major General Edward King, Jr., Commander of Bataan, with members of his staff. They are seated on wooden chairs. General King has his arms crossed and he looks aloof. The aide beside him looks thin, haggard, lonely.

The next page shows several shots of Japanese tanks breaking through jungle vines and dusty, winding roads. Also pictures of USAFFE troops marching towards Orani, some carrying white flags. In the center of the page is a heart-rending picture of troops closely hemmed in a small area with pieces of cloth tied on their heads to protect themselves from the sun. You can that see they all look gaunt, skeletal, weary, sick.

There is also a picture of two American doughboys, helmets tilted at an angle, with cigarettes dangling on their mouths and a smile on their faces.