January 20, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon and Nieto back from an hour with J. Edgar Hoover, Chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ever since Coolidge’s day. He has a small office at the end of a long narrow room like a corridor–visitors are visible for a long while as they approach him–rather like Mussolini’s arrangements for those whom he receives. Hoover, he says, is a very fine man and intensely patriotic–is against all forms of “isms,” but more especially is opposed to communism, which he detests.

At luncheon, we met Mr. Sinclair, newspaper publisher from Oregon and on the staff of an office which apportions for the government the newsprint to the newspapers. Says this paper is useful also for explosives (nitrates) and for containers. Present shortage will increase. They do not advise the papers to cut down on advertising, but leave them to arrange their own space. Advertising however is bound soon to diminish, since motors, radios, etc., no longer are being made for the public.

At lunch Sinclair questioned President Quezon on two main subjects:

(a)  Were they always aware of their danger from Japan? Quezon said: “No! Only aware during a year or so before the Japanese struck.”

(b)  Could an independent Philippines survive economically? Quezon said: “Yes, the loss or partial loss of the American market would affect the Philippine Government only temporarily or until readjustments were made. The great mass of the people would not be much affected in any case. The United States would need 600,000 tons of sugar from the Philippines even after absorbing their own sugar production and that of Cuba and Hawaii; in other respects, Philippine trade might increase in new channels. Trade modifications under an American law of independence for the Philippines was to be expected.”

The Philippines are necessary to the United States as a foothold, or outpost, especially in aviation, etc.


Sunday, November 29, 1942

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon is looking in better health and spirits than I have observed this year. He told me that I am to go with Resident Commissioner Elizalde to represent the Philippines at the international meeting soon to be held in Canada, under the Institute of Pacific Relations.

He added that hereafter, he will really have some work for me to do, for he is setting up an office of “public relations,” i.e., propaganda, and wants someone there who really knows the Philippines, since he is dissatisfied with the present organization.

As to the coming gathering in Canada, I raised at once the question of the future of India, in order to know his own present attitude.

He then gave me at length an account of the most interesting debate he recently had with the British Ambassador, Lord Halifax, in the United Nations Pacific War Council on the subject of India. He began by telling me that after the first four or five meetings of the Council which he had so far attended, at which he had sat silent, he began to believe that the Council was largely a farce; but that it was at least desirable to have the Philippines represented on it to show the world that they had equality with other nations of the Pacific.

One day at the Council, Mr. Nash of New Zealand was holding forth, as he usually does, at great length “laying down the law” about strategy, and expressing dissatisfaction with the present situation. Then Quezon took up the debate and said: “I think there is nobody at this table who is more interested in the war in the Pacific than myself, since my country, is already under the heel of the Japanese. But, in view of the ‘global strategy’ of the day, I am constrained to be reconciled. I feel that there are some countries today which are of more importance than others in that aspect. I refer particularly to India.” He then asked President Roosevelt to tell them about India. Roosevelt said he knew little more than the British censors allowed him to learn, so he turned to Halifax who replied that the situation was all right–that the Indians had refused to accept responsibility; Hindus and Moslems could not agree.

Then Quezon resumed, stating: “I know nothing myself about India; I have been there twice only–as a tourist. I do not know the Viceroy, I do not know Gandhi, I do not know Nehru. I believe that if I were there now, I could find out. Let me tell you a story, and you shall draw your own conclusions, for I shall draw none. Prior to the year 1896, some young Filipinos who had been educated in Europe began to press the Spanish Government in Manila for liberal concessions to the Philippines. The leader of these was Dr. Jose Rizal. The Spanish in the Philippines said to themselves: ‘If we execute Dr Rizal, the ignorant, uneducated masses in the Philippines will cease to be interested in this movement.’ So, on December 30, 1896, they executed Rizal. Within three months, the whole of the Philippines was in a blaze of insurrection. The Spanish finally paid Aguinaldo and his leaders 400,000 pesos to remove to Hong Kong. Dewey, after his naval victory, brought Aguinaldo back to help him take Manila. But when McKinley decided to assert American sovereignty over the Islands, Aguinaldo led an insurrection against the Americans. The Americans said: ‘It is only the Tagalogs–if we suppress them, the rest of these ignorant, uneducated people will settle down.’ But it took them four years, an army of 180,000 men and more than $600,000,000 to accomplish this. And then what really reconciled the Filipinos was the school system set up by the American Army officers. Even when in 1916 the Jones Law was passed, they were not entirely convinced. It took the agreement between President Roosevelt and myself in 1934, and the setting up of the Commonwealth to do that. When President Coolidge had told the Filipino delegation to Washington that the matter had been settled for two or three generations, they paid no attention to that, and kept right on with their political campaign.

“Meanwhile, almost every American in the Islands had constantly maintained that the Christian and Mohammedan Filipinos could never get on together; that as soon as American rule ceased, the Moros would cut off the heads of all the Christian Filipinos–but since the inauguration of Filipino self-government there has been far less war between them and the Moros than under the Americans.

“I have said that personally I know nothing of India, but if, when I left the Philippines I had not been so ill, I would have liked to go there, even if President Roosevelt forbad it, and I think I could have found out what is the matter supposing the English had not seized me and executed me!”

When Quezon ended, Lord Halifax replied: “Nobody around this table can admire more than I do the character, the courage and the ability of the Philippine President. I believe, however, that if he had gone there, as he says, he would have found on closer inspection that the problem is far more complicated than he thinks–even if the authorities had not ‘executed him.'”

Quezon replied: “The Ambassador seems to misunderstand me. I said I knew nothing about India but that I believed that I could find out. And why? Because as a Filipino, the leaders of Indian life would have had faith in me, and told me frankly their ideas and purposes. The Indians, however, do not have faith in the English as the Filipinos had faith in the Americans and thus they cannot unite to solve their problems as we did. I refuse to believe that the Indians are so unpatriotic as simply to decline to share the responsibility. I believe that there must be very many patriotic men among them, and we should know what it is they mean. The situation has been misrepresented to us by the official reports of the Government of India–not intentionally, of course, but certainly so. And I venture to assert that I could have found out what the real trouble was if I had gone there.”

Then Roosevelt pacified the situation by telling a story of Al Smith’s ability to handle human relations–how he addressed a labour crowd which was expressing great discontent. Smith said that he was their friend and hoped they were his friend. That he really wanted to find out what the trouble was, and he believed that as men of good will, they could settle it all if the men would select a few representatives to join him around a table where they could smoke some really good cigars, have a drink, and talk it all over as friends.

And then Roosevelt adjourned the meeting of the Pacific War Council.

Next Quezon told me of a recent correspondence with Lord Halifax. When Quezon was last in New York, he read a telegram he proposed to send to Gandhi and Nehru over the telephone to the President’s lady secretary and asked her to enquire of Roosevelt whether he had any objection to Quezon’s sending it. Quezon did not disclose to me the contents of the telegram. Immediately Roosevelt telegraphed Quezon heartily approving of his sending the message. So it was sent. No answer.

Shortly afterwards, a letter came to Quezon from Halifax, saying that he had been instructed by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs to express the regret of the Government of India that they had been unable to deliver the message, since both Gandhi and Nehru were in jail, and communication with them was not permitted. All very courteous and correct in Halifax’s letter.

I asked Quezon how he got on with his Dutch colleague on the Pacific War Council. He said he had nothing much to do with him. Asked whether he thought the Dutch would have their empire restored after the war, he said he didn’t know–but it it were, it would only be a matter of thirty years at most.

He then added that what he believed the Indians wanted was a greater share in their government–that they did not wish for direction of India’s military effort. He added that the present situation was much more likely to turn India over to the Japanese.


July 3, 1942

Met Lt. Col. Carlos Romulo, editor of Quezon’s paper the Herald in Manila–noted orator–a.d.c. to MacArthur, i.e., “press agent”–still very shaky, said he was wounded once on Bataan (?). He corrected the newspaper interview ascribed to him on landing at San Francisco. He did not correct the statements to the effect that he was in the United States “on a mission for General MacArthur,” nor that he was the “last man to escape from Bataan”; but did give a correct rendering of the Domei agency announcement concerning the burning of Cebu–that it was to show the Filipinos that all further resistance should cease–not that it was punishment for sniping, in which even women were said to have taken part from upper windows of houses when the army of occupation entered Cebu.

“Further resistance” probably refers to the guerrilla bands, or remnants of the army still active in the high mountains of Cebu, and perhaps also in Luzon and Mindanao.

Quezon tells me that a “high official” of the Red Cross reported to him that the Japanese are treating their prisoners in the Philippines well.

Reports come from Australia that the danger from the Japanese has not lessened–only that their present interest is turned elsewhere. Some think the enemy could take Australia and New Zealand whenever they wished.

“Nonong” (Manuel Quezon, Jr.) celebrates his sixteenth birthday. He tells me that “Calle F. B. Harrison” in Pasay has had its name changed by the Japanese.

Chat with Osmeña. He says that there were 5,000 troops in Negros; 5,000 in Cebu; 5,000 in Panay and 30,000 in Mindanao–all units of the Philippine Army, with high officers who were all Americans. Believes General Sharp, tho unwilling to surrender, probably did so when Lieutenant General Wainwright expressed his desire that he should do so.

Osmeña has always been interested in pushing the settlement of Mindanao by Christian Filipinos, but believes that in all these years they have only persuaded some 50,000 of them to go down there.

Osmeña was the founder of the Nacionalista party and its first president. Since 1907 they were permitted by the American Governors General to agitate for independence.

At the convention of Governors of Provinces in 1906, Osmeña, from Cebu, Quezon from Tayabas, Veyra from Leyte, Luna from La Union, and Gabaldon from Nueva Ecija were the only Nacionalistas, but ran the convention in spite of the fact that all the rest were Progresistas. Governor General Smith was in charge during these years. The principales of Negros proposed establishing a “Republic of Negros,” and Smith did not object so long as they stayed under the American flag. Tells the story of Smith’s first attempt to speak Spanish. It was at this banquet in Negros, and after the customary large number of courses, a lady beside him asked: “Quiere Su Excelencia tomar una siesta ahora?” He replied: “Si Señora, con usted,” thinking the siesta was a name for ice cream.

Quezon on the subject of protocol: “I have never been much interested in it. I prefer the theory of Don Quixote, who when he appointed Sancho Panza Governor of Baratari, was given a dinner by the latter. Sancho invited him to sit at the head of the table, but Don Quixote replied: ‘Wherever I sit will be the head of the table. “‘

The subject, however, is of great importance to Osmeña. Taft has fixed Osmena’s status as Speaker of the Assembly when opening the first Philippine Assembly, by declaring that, after the Governor General, the Speaker of the Assembly was the second man in the Philippines.

Leonard Wood, when Department Commander in the Army had raised the question with Governor General Forbes–Wood was unwilling to allow precedence over the Department to a Filipino. Osmeña cabled Quezon then the Resident Commissioner in Washington and Quezon went to see the Secretary of War adding that “Tho I considered my mission a silly one, yet the duty was imposed on me by my leaders.” He reported to the Secretary of War that Osmeña believed Wood was trying to undo the fiat of Taft, and that he (Osmeña) would consider such action a humiliation to him and to his people. “Personally,” said Quezon, “I never consider it important where they place me.” The War Department ducked the issue, ruling that when the Speaker was invited, the Commanding General should not be present and vice versa. This was in 1910-11. Quezon added: “Wood could not stand the idea of a Filipino being put ahead of him. I never regard such matters as important unless done with the purpose of humiliating me or my race.”

Quezon continued: “When McNutt was first sent in 1936 [sic] as High Commissioner to the Philippines, I was in Europe. The Japanese Consul gave a fiesta at which he toasted the President of the Philippines before proposing a toast to the High Commissioner (McNutt).” This Quezon considered as of no importance, and it was certainly not an official attempt of the Japanese to play politics in the Philippines. “The Americans in Manila had been pushing McNutt to assert himself, and got him crazy.” So, he sent circulars to all the Consuls in the Philippines calling their attention to the correct order of precedence, and instructing them to route all official correspondence with the Commonwealth Government through his office.

“In Washington, they had a Cabinet meeting to discuss the press furore over this matter, for they feared it would give trouble. Vice President Garner said: ‘I’m afraid we’ve sent a trouble maker there.’ President Roosevelt replied: ‘I wouldn’t say that, but he seems to be indiscreet.’

“I was in Paris at this time, but refused to be quoted as being mixed up in this damned nonsense. When I arrived in New York all the newspaper men were on to me on this question. I told them: ‘Gentlemen, all I wish to tell you is this: if there is a toast, and I am given the opportunity of drinking it, all I care about is that there should be enough to drink.’

“The President was relieved when he learned of this reply. But I feared that with McNutt I might have another Wood-Quezon fight on my hands in Manila. Before arriving home, I carefully wrote out my speech. The banquet of welcome, attended by some 1,500-2,000 people was dramatic enough for we had an earthquake during it. I told them: ‘In order that there may be no misunderstanding among the people, I consider it important on this occasion to state what I consider to be the rights of the President of the Commonwealth in relation to those of the American High Commissioner. The latter, as the representative of the President, occupies the highest place. But all the power and responsibility of this government, except in the matter of foreign affairs, rests in the President of the Philippines. In these matters, I am the boss. I will welcome any suggestions from the High Commissioner and no doubt his suggestions will exercise great influence on our decisions.” (Wm. H. Anderson’s book contains 20-30 pp. on this.)

Quezon next described his first lesson as a young member of the first Philippine Assembly in 1908 on how to act when attacked by the press. A local newspaper in Manila had attacked him in its morning issue and a friend rushed into his bedroom and awakened him with the article. He leapt out of bed, rushed through his dressing and ran to the office of the paper, asking to see Salazar, the editor. He shoved the paper before him and asked him if he had written it. “Yes,” so he pushed it into Salazar’s mouth who went over backward with his chair. Alemany rushed in to protest, and Quezon raging, asked him if he had anything to do with it, so Alemany fled. Then Salazar challenged Quezon to a duel and Quezon replied: “To hell with you and your duel.” He then went into the composing and printing room and told the workmen in Tagalog that they ought to quit working for such scoundrels.

The next morning, all the press attacked Quezon. He began to be ashamed and to think that after all he was disgraced. He went down to attend the session of the Assembly in the marble hall of the Ayuntamiento, and at the door met Governor General Smith, who “was himself a fighting Irishman”–Smith said to him: “Well, young man, you had quite a good time yesterday. Let me offer you a piece of advice–there is nothing worse than being ignored by the press; if they won’t praise you, pay them to attack you.” Osmeña said nothing to Quezon about the incident.

Visit to President Coolidge. Former Governor General Forbes told Quezon that in due time, Coolidge would be recognized as the greatest President next to Lincoln. Quezon remarked to me that he thought he was the worst “not even except Harding.” He described a visit with Osmeña to Coolidge in the White House. It was Osmeña’s first President; he bought a suit for the occasion and bowed low when entering the presence. Quezon continued: “After 10 minutes I saw that Sergio was beginning to revise his estimate. This was not one of Coolidge’s best days. He drawled and gulped and nobody could make sense out of anything he said. When we left the White House, Sergio said ‘Chico! Caramba! so that’s a President of the United States.'”

Quezon’s revision of Hare-Hawes-Cutting Bill: The provision of the indefinite retention of the American Army in the Philippines after independence was granted seemed to Quezon to make “independence” (a) futile–for had not the Army “betrayed” an American Governor General? What would they do when a Filipino became the head of state? “Suppose Don Sergio for example were the first President of an independent Philippines, what would happen? Directly after his inauguration he would perhaps wish to rest after the ceremonies and take a drive. He would go to Fort McKinley, outside Manila, and perhaps be halted by a sentry and turned back.”

The provision was moreover (b) dangerous--and would be liable to create incidents between the United States and the Philippines. Moreover, though at the time they naturally did not make this statement, there was the challenge to Japan in the continued presence of the U.S. Army in the Philippines. He thinks this requirement was a product of American imperialism.

So, he wired Osmeña and Roxas in Washington to await his arrival there and added that if they could convince him that the bill was wise, he would support it. This they failed to do. Senator Harry Hawes, one of the joint authors of the act, gave a luncheon for the Philippine delegation at which Joe Robinson, the floor leader of the Senate was present. Having listened to the discussion at the table, Robinson finally said with some show of anger–and he was a man of sudden anger and violence: “I’ve had enough of all this–you can take the law as it is, or leave it.” Quezon rose and said: “Then I’m through, we won’t accept the law.” He left and returned at once to the Philippines. Before Robinson’s death, a little later, the senator paid a handsome tribute to Quezon.

Upon his return to Manila, Quezon got the legislature to reject the law by more than a two-thirds’ vote. He told the caucus that they would have to “get rid” of Osmeña (the Vice President) as head of the senate (sic) and of Roxas as Speaker. There was much hesitation among them since the people were so anxious for independence that there was general support for the law. So Quezon told them: “You leave it to me–the popular support here for Osmeña and Roxas will not last thirty days.” Then Quezon offered his own resignation as President of Senate, which was refused by a large majority. Roxas, that evening, did not wait for the vote; he resigned as Speaker of the House of his own accord. He was “chaired” by the students at the University and said later that “he had fallen from the speakership into the arms of the people.” Quezon commented publicly that when Roxas had fallen into the arms of the students, he had picked out those of a pretty girl in the crowd–Quezon added that he wouldn’t mind that kind of a fall, himself. During the controversy, Quezon made no personal attacks nor reflections on either Osmeña or Roxas. The Hare-Hawes-Cutting law was overwhelmingly rejected by the legislature.

Religious Instruction in the Public Schools: Taft as the first Civil Governor had passed a law permitting this, but it was very ambiguous in its terms, and never put into effect. (N.B. this, and Taft’s visit to the Vatican, plus the “Friar Land Purchases” had a great deal to do with the re-election of Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. I was campaigning on the state ticket in New York in that election and knew of the immense activity–undercover–of the Catholic priests against our ticket headed by Alton B. Parker. F.B.H.)

Quezon says that when Laurel, Roxas and Recto were framing the constitution of the Philippine Commonwealth, Taft’s “religious instruction” proposition was inserted in the articles. The first session of the National Assembly, in the early winter of 1935-6, passed by 90 votes a law to this effect. Quezon vetoed the act on the ground that it was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Avanceña, whose advice he took privately, backed him up, but the act was never re-passed over Quezon’s veto, so never came before the courts. Avanceña went down to his home province of Iloilo to explain this matter to his sisters, who had brought him up and educated him. They had kept a school there since Spanish days, and were intensely religious. Avanceña did not broach the subject to his sisters but went to the priests who were those who “confessed” them, and explained to them the constitutional point. Then, after satisfying them, he arranged with them to come to dinner and to have one of them raise the question quite casually at the table.

Quezon was dictating to Canceran the chapter of his book on his birth and childhood. Great was my surprise at the primitive conditions at Baler 60 years ago: no market–everybody raised, or shot or caught their own food or exchanged their crops for venison and pork. Few shotguns; most of the people were armed only with spears or bow and arrows, etc. He replied: “Inferiority complex of the Filipinos never has permitted them to tell the truth about their primitive conditions in Spanish days. I shall be the first.” (Vivid contrast here with the profusion, extravagance and disregard of expenditure in which he has lived during the Commonwealth; instead of resenting this, the Filipino are probably proud of all this reckless display–I’ve never heard him express the view that anything he wanted was too expensive. F.B.H.)


April 8, 1936

At sea, playing bridge en route to Zamboanga, where on arrival went that evening to dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Joe Cooley. Very pleasant. Quezon had a little dinner dance on board the Arayat for the Karagdags and Alanos. At 1:30 that night I was driven out of bed by mosquitoes and met Quezon walking restlessly around the deck. We talked for an hour or so; and discussed his advantages as Chief Executive over all of his predecessors, because he is the only one of us who has really known his own people. He laughed and said he always prefaced his interviews with Filipinos by saying “Now, I’m not an American Governor General–I’m a Filipino so tell me the truth!” He said he was not indispensible as many told him; that he knew at least four Filipinos who were capable of carrying on.

He then gave his impressions of American Presidents he had known in the past; T. Roosevelt impressed him by his vigour and likeableness; Taft by his sympathy and amiability; Coolidge was a small and dull man, and even his questions about the Philippines were foolish. As soon as Quezon read of the Lincolnian scene of Coolidge taking the oath of office before his father in the simple home under the lamp, he saw the beginning of a great and probably successful press campaign by “the interests”; Governor Forbes told him then that Coolidge would be a second Lincoln; “but (said Quezon) I never did think much of Forbes’ brains.” Told me more of Stimson and remarked how rough he was, but honest; they quarreled nearly every day, but never let the public know of it. Quezon felt respect and affection for him.