Saw Arthur Fischer, Director of Forestry, who described his visit with Quezon yesterday to the Bureau of Science to inaugurate the new totaquina (quinine) factory for the Philippines. Said he had been obliged to fight like a demon to make Director Arguelles co-operate. He also said Quezon’s administration was “patch-work”–i.e., empirical–that the President seemed to be taking up enthusiastically chiefly those matters which came before him and had caught his fancy.
At Malacañan, Kiko was introduced to the President in his office–which was formerly the bedroom where Kiko was born–Quezon was very cordial to him and had delightful manners with the boy; showed him about the Palace, and I myself was intrigued by all the recent improvements. The fill is completed on the riverside–to be made into lawn only, with no buildings; the water front opposite is to be a private golf course for Malacañan with a little ferry across the river.
At luncheon, Quezon talked of his recent stiff remarks to the Assembly on their proposal to abolish the salary of Ruiz, Director of Posts,–which, he believes, was really an invasion of the constitutional privileges of the Executive.
The President reported that he had just been talking on the radio-phone with Hausserman, in the United States, who predicted Roosevelt’s re-election, though the Digest polls were favourable to Landon. I asked him about the change of sentiment in America as to the Philippines. He replied that he was like a man in charge of a vessel during a typhoon:–he had nothing to do but to stick to the helm and be prepared for every emergency, and he didn’t want to be caught “snoring.” He agreed that the ten year term for the Commonwealth before independence was just as likely to be shortened as to be lengthened.
He told me he had arranged for Hartendorp’s paper a subsidy of 300 pesos a month, and was ready to go to 500 pesos; remarked that Hartendorp had behaved so much like a man when he was “fired” at Malacañan.
He then went back to the Wood administration, and said that General Frank McCoy was the only able man around Wood. He had been put there by the Forbes crowd to outwit him, (Quezon) but he had won most of the deals. McCoy wanted later to be commanding General of the Philippines, and he (Quezon) had blocked it. I laughed and remarked that he must have selected all the recent commanding generals here himself; –none of them were too bright. Quezon actually looked slightly confused for a moment, then broke out in a story of the selection of T. Roosevelt as Governor General. Hurley (the Secretary of War) told Quezon that Hoover wanted to placate the Progressive element in the Republican party, so wished to make “T.R. Jr.” Governor General here. Hurley asked Quezon to meet “T.R. Jr.”–which he did, then went to see Hurley who enquired what Quezon thought. “You told me, Mr. Secretary that the people of Puerto Rico all liked ‘T.R. Jr.'”–“yes”–“Well then they must be very far behind the people of the Philippines in modern thought.” Hurley laughed and Quezon told him to give him one month in the Philippines before “T.R.” came, and he would make it all right for him. But he warned Hurley that the members of the Cabinet would size up a Governor General in fifteen minutes. When he arrived at Manila, “T.R. Jr.” was only a Mabuhay man. How mistaken “T.R. Jr.” was in writing that letter of advice to his son, (remarked Quezon)–in which he cautioned him against accepting a commission in the army as that career was only suited to the less intelligent mind! Quezon said Governor General Davis had really made no impression out here; he had previously been Secretary of War and really didn’t want to come here–had wished instead to be Ambassador to France or to England.
Quezon told me he would revise the terms of the close season for snipe shooting whenever I wished,–adding: “I never pay much attention to what those Ph.D. men in the Bureau of Science say.”
I remarked that Kiko, having been born here, could, upon reaching the age of 21, choose whether he wished to be an American or a Philippine citizen–in which respect he had a wider choice than myself. Quezon at once said he would put a resolution thru the Assembly conferring citizenship on me; he had looked up the power in the constitution and found it there.
We had many laughs together and a really happy luncheon. He was pleased with Foster’s recent interview, especially his remark; “Up to this point President Quezon didn’t seem to think there was anything he couldn’t do.”
At the very last moment before his authority to act under the reorganization act lapsed, and without further action by the Assembly, Quezon signed the recommendations of the Government Survey Board dealing with the transfer of Provincial and Municipal Treasurers from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Finance; also that transferring the collection of the radio fees from the Post Office to Treasurers; moreover, practically all of our recommendations removing routine functions from the Bureau of Science and transferring same to the School of Hygiene, Bureau of Health and Bureau of Plant Industry were approved. This leaves the Bureau of Science with little else than research work (which was our main objective) and the Division of Mines. The way is now open for organizing it as a Bureau of Industrial Science as we wished. There will be “wailing and gnashing of teeth” in the Bureau of Science. I wrote Quezon a note congratulating him on his decision in this matter, and advising him to make a layman–administrator as head of the Bureau of Science. It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to get this through the legislature–the scientists confuse them so, and have such a network of friendship and influence. No howl in the newspapers yet. I suppose the Bureau of Science people are stunned.
Saturday; in a.m. at Survey Board. Unson says June 30 is the dead-line for presenting their recommendations to Quezon–after that the President must act in reorganization of the government only thru the Legislature. I dictated a hurried memorandum on separating the routine functions of the Bureau of Science from those of research, and transferring most of the Bureau of Science from those of research, and transferring most of the former to the School of Hygiene, Bureau of Plant Industry and Bureau of Health.
In the afternoon, long meeting of Survey Board in which they voted as to their conclusions on many vexatious points, especially as to Provincial and Municipal Governments. They are firm for appointive governors. (This will meet with support in the Assembly, but I fail to see how Quezon can recommend it to them as his own proposition!); election of provincial board of five members; transfer of Provincial Treasurers to the Department of Finance; designation of Cabinet members as “Ministers” with discussion of Presidential Governments and Parliamentary Governments elsewhere. Discussion of the phrase “by and with the advice and consent” of the Assembly and of the sound reasons for the recent rejection of the word “advice” by the Constitutional Convention in the Philippines; discussion of “National Police” and “Guardia Civil”; creation of a Department of National Defense (asked for by the President); creation of the Department of “Interior and Labour” by consolidation (also probably asked for Quezon!). I had to leave at 6:15 p.m. before the end of the session. Miguel Unson is easily the leader out here in the science of government and has mature, sound and kindly judgment, and a saving sense of humour. Paez is cautious, silent and extremely watchful–evidently is convinced that “shoemakers should stick to their lasts,” and that he should not get entangled in government snarls; Paez has a broad forehead and intelligent, sympathetic eyes. Trinidad (an Indonesian type) is solemn, cautious and conservative, with positive, thundery opinions–but it is often difficult to get an expression of his ideas out of him. Very sound men, all three. As secretary, Rustia, is efficient, respectful, silent:–the typical portfolio man; I suspect he is boiling with ideas.
At the Survey Board and office, discussing the Bureau of Science etc. Bridge in the p.m. at the Manila Club.
Quezon issues a statement that passage by the United States Senate of a bill repealing the authorization to pay the Philippines $23 millions for gold devaluation of Philippine Government deposits in the United States banks was a “great injustice to the Filipino people,” and that the “loss of the money to the Philippines was directly due to the refusal of an American Secretary of War to convert convert Philippine Government deposits in the United States into bullion, despite the urgent requests of Philippine representatives”; and that: “The said funds were in the keeping of the government of the United States and held in trust by its officials and America has profited by it as much as we have lost.”
General Santos said, quoting MacArthur, that judging from the registration for military enrollment, the present population of the Philippines is 18,000,000. This is 4 million more than is usually given, but seems probable. It is 18 years since we took a census.
Victor Buencamino told us there is a daughter of Governor Frank Carpenter employed in the Philippine Education Co. I asked him about mestizos. He said those part Spanish and American blood exhibited all the worst traits of both races–that the Chino-Filipino was the best–(n.b. he is one himself)–the real reason (in my opinion) is that the half-blood of one of the dominating races tries to “belong” to the social caste above him and is rebuffed and embittered by his partial failure. The Chinese, on the other hand, have never dominated politically nor socially here.
At the Survey Board, Unson who had proposed abolishing the “home economic division” of the Bureau of Science, had today been interviewed by Miss Olora, head of that division. He was all of a twitter, and couldn’t keep off the subject of what a great work she was doing.
Three nice letters from Doria at Peking. She is thrilled by sight-seeing, but bored by all the “Main Street” personalities she meets.
Papers carry a statement by Quezon that he has arranged with the High Commissioner for a preliminary trade conference after the election in Washington. Papers guess that (Speaker) Roxas and Alunan will be sent (??).
3-5 p.m. with Survey Board–officials of the Bureau of Science there. I questioned them as to the failure of administration of the fish and game law.
Dinner at Colin Hoskins for Weldon Jones and Major General Santos; Jim Ross, Carlos Romulo, Dr. Valdes, Victor Buencamino there–all in barong tagalog. Conversation after dinner chiefly about General MacArthur and later about Japanese relations with the Philippines. Jim Ross said MacArthur was a brilliant soldier but had Napoleonic ambitions. Hoskins added he was sorry to see him here, as something always happened when MacArthur was present, and that the general only wanted or organize the Philippines Army to help the United States. Santos thinks Japan’s expansion is to continue on the mainland, and that she doesn’t want political sovereignty here.
Long talk with Unson about the reorganization of the government. Query: how to get funds from the Legislature for research scientific work? We finally decided the only way by which we could avoid alarming the legislature is to strengthen the Bureau of Science, instead of turning over its researchers to the University, or trying to secure a large appropriation for the Council of National Research (Dr. Roxas); Unson says Governor General Murphy considered Dr. Roxas something of a spendthrift. We talked of the American attitude of growing indifference and severity towards the Philippines. He commented that it was American psychology for a father to cut loose entirely from a grown-up son! Unson expressed doubt of the Philippine Army.
Quezon returned from Hong Kong and after a day at Malacañan left for Baguio. His office work is greatly in arrears and is in confusion. Vargas handed me a memorandum prepared by Quezon dated April 14 in Iloilo, addressed to me, (and unsigned) asking me to prepare papers to carry out the recommendations of the annual report of the Manila Railroad Co. This I received May 18!! Vargas says he found it “on the boat” (Arayat?). I hardly think it was meant for me, anyway, but probably for Paez who is away inspecting the line for the proposed railroad in Mindanao. Quezon cannot stand the racket at Malacañan Palace–when he finally does receive his visitors he gives three times the time necessary for each interview. He is too restless for office work anyway, and while there feels like a bird in a cage. He gives himself so thoroughly to each visitor that this kind of work wears him out. He cannot, however, let his underlings run their offices, so all of them are simply terrified of him, and the administration becomes paralyzed.
I asked Unson why the United States Army officers thrust themselves to the fore continually in the press, giving “full military honors” and exchanging so many visits of ceremony, so that the public must have an engorged idea of militarism in the Philippines. He said this was not so from Taft to me, but dated from General Wood as Governor General.
Unson is anxious to have the Bureau of Printing print all textbooks for Philippine schools; but is opposed by the Bureau of Education. I advised him to include this recommendation in the Survey Board’s report on the Bureau of Printing, thus advocating giving more employment to Filipino printers.
Golf alone at McKinley at 5 p.m.
Earthquake lasting fifteen seconds at 5:13 a.m., which did not even wake me.
The morning papers published Rafael Palma’s report on a proposed reorganization of the educational system here. This is the promptest and most intelligent report of any board so far appointed under the Commonwealth Government. Emphasis is laid on five years of elementary education which should be free and compulsory; secondary education to be confined to agriculture and industry, and people are to pay for the usual high school education, which would better be left to the non-government schools. I wrote to congratulate him. If accepted, I wonder whether this report can be put through the legislature? (The Bureau of Education is the strongest political organization in the Philippines.)
Went to the British Consulate at the request of Foulds, acting British Consul General, who wanted some information from Quezon but did not desire to make it “official” by asking questions himself, as follows:
- Did the Japanese threaten Quezon with “grave consequences” over the Davao land question, and did Quezon reply: “you can’t bluff me”? Foulds himself expressed skepticism over the accuracy of this newspaper report.
- Could High Commissioner Murphy when going to the States, appoint an “Acting” or merely “delegate” his powers? These involve questions of official calls if a British warship comes here to visit.
- Would the High Commissioner return here?
Then Foulds and I had a general, and on the whole, very congenial conversation on Great Britain, the Japanese, and the question of complete independence here.
Went to the Survey Board and made my report on the Bureau of Science. This is the first time in 15 years I have tried dictating to a Filipino stenographer and I found it more work than to write in long hand. I seem to have a larger vocabulary in English than that to which they are accustomed out here. I told Miguel Unson that Geo. Vargas had expressed himself as impatient to get the Government Survey Board’s report–Unson replied: “I am a slow worker, I know, and Vargas is a fast one, but I do not trust those quick decisions of Vargas.”
Talk with ex-deputy Varona. I asked him what the National Economic Council, of which he is a member, was doing? He replied: “nothing much until the question of “national self-sufficiency” was decided. (The Filipinos are getting ready to trade the Philippine markets for continued free trade with the United States.) In that case, they will do nothing at all in the Economic Council, and it will be a regular gas chamber, instead of actually going to work, as the public expects, to prepare the economic life of the Philippines for complete independence. The attitude of Roces’ papers here on Senator Walsh’s ridiculous objection to competition in the United States market by Filipino made rubber shoes is a good example of the paralysis here! Varona said that in Negros there was a new patriotism–viz: “Buy American”–“Entirely disinterested!” I commented. He said the “N.E.P.A.” was anathema in Negros (sugar).
Quezon is due back today from his family trip to Baler, the birthplace of himself and of his wife as well. He is to stay here until he goes on May 13th as far as Shanghai with High Commissioner Murphy.