2nd January 1945

Koiso ate his words yesterday or perhaps took a bigger mouthful. In a New Year’s Day radiocast he proclaimed that Leyte was no longer decisive; “the entire Philippines…is the crucial battlefield.”

The Burmese military cadets are out on furlough over the holidays and the Burmese military attache has been hunting all over the city for a pig to give them one decent meal before they go back to their rations of rice and pickles. Today he called us up again to ask if our cook could help him locate a pig in the black market. At first it seemed hopeless. The cook knew where to get the pig but he claimed that his friend the meat-dealer had a son going into the army today and that nothing, not even a thousand yen, would persuade him to go out to the black-market pig-farm. My friend the colonel however was his usual persistent and resourceful self. He asked for the man’s address and in one hour he had the pig. One bottle of Japanese whiskey had worked it. Cost of the pig: 600 yen; of the whiskey: 300 yen.

In the evening there was a farewell dance for Eddie. It was the first ever held in the chancery. The cold hall looked different with the desks out of the way, a fire actually blazing in the shuffling dimness; a phonograph provided dance-music muted to a whisper to defer to Japanese prejudices. We all took a turn or two but most of the dancing was done by Nisei girls and all those young Filipino students who were going to be made over into grim and earnest Japanese.


May 24, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Osmeña was operated upon hurriedly on Saturday last for appendicitis. Quezon goes down to Doctors’ Hospital every day to call on him.

The President told me of a recent meeting of the Pacific War Council. Mr. Roosevelt had opened with a talk of Attu, of which he had a large map. Evidently, he intended this to be the end of the meeting, but Mr. Churchill took the floor. Quezon remarked that if he had not heard his statement, he would have had quite an erroneous idea of the situation in the Pacific merely from hearing Churchill’s previous recent address to the American Congress.

The Prime Minister now explained to the Council quite frankly that England could not undertake the prosecution of a campaign in Burma–they could, he said, use only a certain sized force there, and added: “The Japanese are better than we at jungle fighting.” Now, he could not supply the men to put the Burma road into proper condition and to maintain it. “This,” remarked Quezon to me “left me in some doubt as to whether the British Government really wanted to help China.” Thereupon, H. H. Kung made a “silly speech” and begged Churchill to open up the Burma road for them, adding that it was probably a choice of generals! Churchill interrupted to say, tartly: “I hope the time will never come when England cannot select its own generals.”

Churchill continued and stated that he heartily backed the present Australian demand, presented by Dr. Evatt, for more planes than the 400 he had requested. Roosevelt replied that both Australia and General Chennault were to get more planes than those for which they had originally asked.

In some unexplained way, Quezon seemed to think that the big attack on Japan was to come from Siberia! He also felt that the Philippines would be reclaimed from the enemy by direct attack which would be ruinous to his country.

Quezon added that from listening to these debates on the War Council he is inclined to believe that Churchill will not enter upon any more military or naval enterprises unless he is seventy per cent sure of success. For his own part, Quezon added while attending the meeting of the Pacific War Council, he was confining his part strictly to the interests of the Philippines. These seemed to fit in with the English plans. He recalled such Englishmen as he had liked personally in the Philippines, such as Horace Whittall and Pat Jollye–then he added reflectively: “Who could ever have expected the time to come when I should appear to be backing English imperialism?” He does indeed, at the present juncture, seem to be inclined towards English strategy. For years I have been cautioning Quezon not to neglect the importance for his country of the sympathetic backing of Great Britain.

Quezon next turned to political history as he had seen it unfold. He believed that Woodrow Wilson was the greatest American of this half century. Of Roosevelt, he commented: “He stands the criticism against him throughout the United States admirably,” adding: “I should be bursting out all the time.” He thinks Churchill is a greater man than Roosevelt.

Then Quezon turned to recollections of his service in the American Congress as Resident Commissioner from the Philippines, and dwelt on the failure to get the Clarke Amendment to the Jones Bill in 1916 through the House of Representatives. Senator Clarke introduced his bill for independence of the Philippines effective within two years. He was a solitary man who did his own thinking, and never went to the White House. So President Wilson went to Clarke’s apartment and asked him to change the period before full independence from two to four years because the first World War was then in full swing. Clarke was flattered and accepted the suggestion. The Philippine bill including this “Clarke Amendment” passed the Senate by the deciding vote of Vice President Marshall. In the House, however, Fitzgerald and his large bloc of Roman Catholic Democrats bolted the Democratic leadership and killed the Clarke Amendment. The only Catholics in the House to vote for the amendment were Ansberry of Ohio and Broussard of Louisiana. It appears that Osmeña had cabled Quezon from Manila not exactly expressing his own opposition to the Clarke Amendment but quoting adverse opinions of his followers–Rafael Palma, etc.

Independence for the Philippines in 1918 or 1920 would among other favourable results, have prevented the growth there of the “sugar barons” and might even, later on, have staved off the Japanese invasion. Their economy would have stood up to the test at that time better than in the subsequent period when sugar dominated the market.


January 29, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

The newspapers this morning gave Premier Hideki Tojo’s speech of yesterday to the Diet in Tokyo in which he promised independence to Burma. He also said: “The people of the Philippines deserve independence, because they understand Japan’s real aims and are ready to collaborate. . . . It is encouraging to observe an ever increasing movement among Filipinos for collaboration with Nippon.

I called this to Quezon’s attention and he was much disturbed. His own letter to President Roosevelt on the subject of “independence now” was dated January 25, but has not yet been sent; it is understood that the Executive branch of the government, except the Department of State, is in favour of a joint resolution by Congress stating that the “Philippines are and of right ought to be independent.” The Secretary of State (Hull) is also in favour of this, but he has little or no influence in his Department. The “permanent officials” headed by Dr Stanley K. Hornbeck are disposed to have no step taken in that direction until after the war and after it can be seen what the situation really is in the Far East.

After reading Tojo’s statement to the Diet, and a subsequent declaration by George Vargas expressing his readiness to accept “independence with honour” as already twice promised by the Japanese, Quezon was galvanized into immediate activity. I told him he should see Roosevelt at once and press the matter for all he is worth. Vargas’ statement as interpreted by Quezon shows that Tojo’s “independence” will not become a reality “for three months yet” and he, Quezon, must go into action in order to get the United States grant of independence first.

He said that the masses of the Filipino people would accept Tojo’s independence eagerly; that the leaders would know that this sort of “independence” would not be worth having, but would fall in line all the same. “This would be a very serious matter to my people–and to myself” he honestly added. After a pause Quezon continued: “When the United States gets back to the Philippines they will then have to fight not only the Japanese, but the Filipinos, as well, and I would be more likely to fall to a Filipino bullet than I was likely to be shot by the Japanese during the battle of Bataan.”

He had told us yesterday at Commissioner Elizalde’s luncheon, at which we gave him our official Mont Tremblant report, that the Japanese in the Philippines had already given to the small farmers of the Philippines land on which they lived and worked “a measure we will have to allow to stand when we regain our country, even if we have to recompense the landed proprietors.”

Altogether it looks to me as if the Japanese were “outsmarting” us in political warfare. It reminds me of what I told Professor Robert Gooch, in Charlottesville, 13 months ago when Churchill came to Washington and the “global” war was decided on, which meant simply “go for Hitler and abandon the Pacific until later.” I then said to him that if they are completely abandoned now, you may later have the Filipinos as well as the Japanese against you in the end.

Quezon’s draft of a letter to Roosevelt stresses three points:

(1)  the proclamation of Philippine independence and the recognition of the Philippine Republic by the Japanese.

(2)  the rehabilitation and development of the Philippine economy.

(3)  the guarantee of the future military security, political integrity and economic progress of the Philippines.

“It would be both wise and proper to proclaim Philippine independence now, rather than wait until 1946.”

He recommends the passage of a joint resolution by Congress advancing the date for independence to April 9th (the anniversary of the fall of Bataan) or the 4th of July, 1943.

This would be a “shot heard round the world” he urges–the most telling psychological blow that could now be delivered in opening the “Battle for the Far East.”

“A further and very important consideration is the possibility that Japan may, at any time, proclaim Philippine independence and establish a puppet state there. If this should happen” he urged, “before America recognizes Philippine independence, Japan will have gone far toward making the United States a laughing stock or a mere opportunist in the Far East.” (He should modify this language… in the recent abrogation of the extraterritoriality treaties. Axis propaganda hammered at the theme that this was “a plagiarism of the magnificent gesture of the Japanese”).

…In exchange for a guarantee of military security the Philippines will offer to the United States:

“The use under a generous lease of strategic air and naval bases which will act as the center of America’s power for peace in the Far East” and… “all the trained and proven Filipino man power needed to man these bases.”

…The assistance of the Filipino armed forces, etc.


May 10, 1942

Listened to Radio Tokyo. Heard that the Japanese forces operating in Burma have occupied Myitkina, northeastern terminus of the Burma railway. I wonder if the Burmese are wholeheartedly cooperating with the Japanese.

The Coral Sea naval battle seems to have taken quite a heavy toll of ships from the U.S. Navy. The Japanese claim the following U.S. warships were sunk:

“a. U.S. aircraft carrier Saratoga type; b. U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown type; c. U.S. battleship California type; d. Destroyer.”

No announcements were given by the Japanese regarding their own losses. I tried to tune in on KGEI to verify but there was too much static.

Asked three or four people I met downtown what they think of the announcements from Radio Tokyo. They shook their heads and said: “Baloney!”

Dreamt of Pagulayan. He was pale and all in white and he had a black tie. What is the meaning of my dream? The night before Lincoln’s assassination, he had a strange premonition he would be killed because of a dream. According to Carl Sandburg’s biography, Lincoln believed in dreams. How much truth is there in dreams?