January 23, 1942

HQ, Bataan

(Noon)

 

Cabcaben docks bombed while our courier boat was unloading. Nobody hurt. Japs are squint-eyed.

Everybody in C.P. asking me questions about Corregidor. “How does the Rock look?” or “What do they say about the convoy?” or “They have a better life out there, don’t you think so?”

To pep boys up I told them that Romulo whispered (it’s better to say ‘whispered’ than said) that he had inside dope the convoy would be around in a week’s time, more or less.

This cheered officers up. Fred looked skeptical, though. He asked: “How does he know?” I said: “Ask him that. I just said what he said.”

Leonie told me that in Manila Japs have formed a civil administration. Vargas is head of Executive Commission. Yulo is chief justice. Aquino, interior head; Laurel, justice; Paredes, public works; Alas, finance; Recto, education. Japs have also promised independence to P.I. “as long as she collaborates with co-prosperity sphere.” Aquino and Vargas have urged full collaboration in radio broadcasts.

In staff meeting general revealed that Japs are bringing long-range artillery guns in Ternate, Cavite.

This provoked interesting discussion. Some officers opined Japs might try to take Corregidor by attacking from Cavite side. And then once they have taken Corregidor, they can turn Corregidor guns on Bataan and pulverize every inch of ground. “In that way, USAFFE troops in Bataan will be sandwiched,” it was maintained.

Other officers pointed out difficulty of this move due to Fort Frank which can shell any Jap concentrations in Cavite coast.

Discussion regarding motive behind Jap emplacement of artillery in Ternate still going on now.

Personally I think Japs merely want to ‘surprise’ Corregidor, ‘soften them up’ and incidentally “feel their defenses on Cavite side.”

I do not believe they intend to launch any “landing parties” from Cavite otherwise operatives would have reported concentration of troops in that area.

Ate Romulo’s tuna fish. Shared it with Fred and Leonie. We were careful not to show it to the other officers as there was not enough to divide among everybody. Charity begins at home.

The doctor I think noticed we were eating something privately and he said “How about it, boys?” I am sorry we did not share it with him because I am sure he really saw us eating something and he might have been hurt.

 

(night)

 

A lot of mysterious things have occurred during my stay in Rock. When I opened my bag, I saw several cans of sardines. When I started asking, “Who owns these sardines?” Fred and Leonie jumped and told me to keep quiet.

It seems the two fellows raided the tent of Major Montserrat. Leonie acted as look-out whilst Fred slipped in tent “under cover of darkness” while the major was listening to the Voice of Freedom. Fred claims the major is in combination with some of the sergeants of the QM dump and he has extra supply.

When the major noticed that his private supply was lacking, they hid the cans in my bag. Right now, the major is still trying to remember where he placed his sardine cans.

At this very moment, Major Montserrat is questioning his tent-mate, Major Javallera, chief of Manila’s secret service. Leonie says he thinks Major Montserrat suspects Major Javallera.

Food is really getting short here. The stuff we get twice a day is not enough and if things continue as they are, we will all lose at least thirty pounds each. I am now 135; pre-war I was 150.

Fred and Leonie think we should let a couple of days pass. The three of us always stick together because we are the lowest ranking officers in this outfit.

Raid again. Must go to dug-out.


December 1, 1936

Glad November is over–somehow or other this is nearly always a worrisome month;–this year it was even worse than usual both because of Doria’s illness, and by reason of the lack of discretion, not to say greediness of some of ay associates in business.

At Malacañan at 9:30. Quezon was in the barber chair, just finishing an interview with Cuenco, former Assemblyman from Cebu whom he introduced to me as the new Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Three days ago, Cuenco had been announced as the new Mayor of Cebu, but it appears that Osmeña as the Boss of Cebu was obliged to offer some opposition, to the appointment of one of the opposing party. Vargas was present with Quezon and handed him Cuenco’s appointment as a Cabinet member, explaining that Osmeña had intimated his acquiescence in that rather than having to consent to Cuenco’s being Mayor of his city–never believing Quezon would agree. It looks as if Osmeña had been out-jockeyed!! The President told Vargas to get this appointment right into Cuenco’s hands, so that nothing could happen to interrupt it. When, a half hour later I reported this appointment to Claro Recto and Rafael Corpus, they both said: “This will break up the coalition!” but when I replied that Osmeña had already agreed, Corpus remarked “That’s the trouble–Osmeña is too easy.”

I then reported to the President my recent conversation with Foulds, British Consul General, in which I gained the information that the heads of foreign states such as Kings and President were not invited to the Coronation. To this Quezon made no comment:–he had probably learned this himself from Foulds, but he was obviously disappointed. My last point for Quezon that morning was a report of a conversation with Tommy Wolff last Friday night in which he stated that by accepting Filipino citizenship I had “not a friend left”–“except you, Tommy” I interrupted, at which he began to stammer. Quezon told me “not to let these fellows get under my skin.” I went on to say that Wolff was getting in the frame of mind of the late Paul Reinsch, American Minister of China, who had come to believe that the inhabitants of the country wished him harm (and went mad). Quezon at once said that Wolff’s mind was weakening from too much conviviality. He then observed that he “could not stand seeing any of his friends under the influence of liquor.”

I told Quezon about the troubles caused to newly forming mining companies by the excessive zeal of the promoters–that I had joined the Central Exchange under the urging of Speaker Montilla believing he was back of it–that I never heard of Prats until then–that I had induced Don Ramon Fernandez to join with me and we had gone to work to secure a Produce Exchange as something of real value for the future, and thanks to Quezon’s assistance had obtained it. Shortly after this conversation Corpus reported to me that the President had vetoed the bill on exempting Produce Exchanges from more than one sales tax–thus making them impossible except when run by the government. (This I doubt).


June 17, 1936

The message was excellent, and contained the following reference to agrarian reform:

In the meantime, I recommend the adoption of measures similar to those which were adopted in Ireland to solve agrarian problems there existing from time immemorial. I also recommend the immediate passage of a law authorizing the expropriation of those portions of the large haciendas which are urban in character and occupied by the houses of the tenants.

Saw the President on the balcony at Malacañan, and congratulated him on his message, though his somewhat impromptu speeches and papers are usually his best, because they give more of the ardor and passion of his personality. He called me over and kept Secretary Yulo and Justice Recto &c waiting in order to give me the following letter he had written (in long hand) in reply to mine of thanks for the trip on the Negros:

Malacañan Palace, June 17, 36.

Dear Governor:

Your note of the fifteenth is very much appreciated.

In asking you to join me in my trips I am only seeking my own pleasure and profit. Your company brings back to memory those happy days of our former association and offers me the opportunity–which I can seldom have in Manila–to get your views and encouragement on the plans I have which may be a little too advanced for some of my associates. It is a source of great satisfaction that you feel as much pleased with the trip as I am.

Yours

Manuel.

I expressed myself as very happy to have this letter. Then I took up with him his very frank and bold renouncing of the purchase of the remaining Friar Estates, and congratulated him on recanting his former views. (This is one thing I have been trying since last Autumn to spare his government.) I told him that his “Board of Arbitration” in my bill on Landlord and Tenant, as taken from the Irish Land Acts, was the Land Commission, and I had given them the power to purchase (with his approval and action by the Assembly) all or part of any of these estates; that it was better for him to have the power to use in an emergency, even if he didn’t exercise it. He agreed. I also told him that after his message a lot of the agitation and trouble would die down–he agreed. Hoped he could now induce the more turbulent tenants to move to Mindanao.

Talked with Colin Hoskins on phone about the landlord and tenant bill–he said “the failure to purchase the Friar Estates would disappoint some important churchmen.”

I took the bill down to Diokno’s office for remoulding.

N.B. on the Negros Quezon had remarked that before the arrival of the Americans in the Philippines, venereal diseases were almost unknown here. I told him with what reluctance in May 1917 I had closed the “Red Light” district of Manila, when the Commanding General of Fort McKinley brought me President Wilson’s Executive Order thereon, referring to eliminating such districts within a certain number of miles of an army post. This General was equally reluctant to act, saying: “I founded it myself in 1901 when I was Provost Marshal here”–Quezon said this closing had spread prostitution and venereal disease greatly here.

Talk with Secretary of Finance Alas on the standardization of salaries; he emphasized the view that this must be undertaken, and it was better to get it over with now, however disagreeable this may be. He admitted however that the higher salaries of the City of Manila and of Provincial Governors must also be readjusted.


February 22, 1936

Holiday. An hour with Sam Gaches in his office where he told me at my request the whole story of the Mineral Resources Mining properties. Excellent and vivid 40 minutes talk by him on rediscovery of the ancient Chinese mines of 500-1,000 years ago in Camarines Norte. Gave all the difficulties of mining in that region (Labo) and said it might be a “flop” “but”–with a gesture–“it drives you crazy it looks so good.” Said all mines in the Philippines except those in actual operation, like Benguet Consolidated, were “hooey,” meaning, a speculation only as yet–but added he believed the Paracale–San Mauricio–Labo district was destined to become the great gold fields of the Islands.

Had a talk yesterday with Palting, who has made a survey of the executive offices at Malacañan since inauguration, and he reports four times the volume of business compared with the days of the Governors General–but, he added, this was mostly due to the different boards engaged in reorganizing the Government.

Saw also Colonel Antonio Torres, Municipal Councillor, candidate for appointment as first Filipino Chief of Police of the City of Manila. He seemed downcast and said to me “My career is ended”–I replied “No! it is just beginning”–that afternoon’s papers carried the announcement of his nomination to head the Police Department.

Saw also Dr. Calderon, Director of the Philippine General Hospital–he is old and failing–walks with a stick. He is the senior surviving appointee to office made by me as Governor General.

Long talk with Colin Hoskins on currency problems in the Philippines. He had two hours with Weldon Jones this morning on the silver purchase. We also went into constitutional questions; the United States under Roosevelt; and the administration. Colin asked why Jim Ross and I could not support Roosevelt.

Doria’s dinner here tonight. Colette Guest, Kuka Guest, Mr. & Mrs “Shiny” White, Andres Soriano, Jim Rockwell, Paco Oleaga, Evelyn Burkhart who is to marry Paco in a few days, Tony McLeod, Young Hoover, Florence Edwards and Commander MacDowell. Dinner not well cooked. Orchestra dismissed by Doria as no good, so we went on to the Polo Club dance and had a gay evening. Mr. & Mrs. Gaches had a large dinner party there on the lawn–with the Rectos and Buencaminos. Doria said the Army crowd mournfully regretted that the last stronghold of the Palefaces was now invaded. Mrs. Gaches told Doria how difficult her social-political work on the committees was, because the Filipinos with whom she served were so casual–not to say rude!


January 6, 1936

At the office in the morning Hoskins was discussing the landlord and tenant situation. He said that with rice (palay) selling at 3 pesos a ganta the peasant, who gets one-half share from his landlord can just manage to make both ends meet –but with palay at its present price of 1.50 pesos they cannot make a living; that often a man borrows at the rate of 80 centavos a ganta in the planting season and has to deliver the palay six months later to his creditor (Chino or Cacique) when it is worth 3 pesos. He explained the slow growth of the country banks and the country branches of the Philippine National Bank of which he is a director. Also discussed the currency situation and advocated the purchase of silver at the present price of 45 cents and the issue of silver certificates against the same.

In the afternoon at Malacañan from 4-7. Quezon was rather tired and appeared absorbed in refitting the Palace; he is making a new entrance on the street side and all quarters on that side, including the dining room are to be for the use of his wife and children; the old ball room is to be made into a banquet sala; the bedroom where Kiko (my son F.B.H. Jr.) was born in 1921 is now Quezon’s library and office; the downstairs floor-space by the river is to be made into a “club” with bridge tables, dance floor and bar; land on opposite side of the Pasig River is to be bought and made into a park; a new building is to be erected on the opposite bank of the river with guest rooms on the top floor, and the President’s office and that of the Council of State on the ground floor. Thus he hopes to make the (old) Palace “habitable for his family”! He received Ed. Harrison and Baroness Von Hagen who are to be married soon; she had just arrived in Manila preceded by a newspaper blast announcing her as a “criminologist.”

The President said he was quizzing Supreme Court Justices daily to find out whether they placed “human” rights on an equality with “property” rights; that he was going to have on that bench only justices who would interpret the Constitution in the spirit of the age in which it was written; that Recto thought as he (Quezon) did; that he might have to get ride of one or two of those old Justices.

Quezon also said he was about to “explode a bomb” tomorrow or the day after, because he was going to suspend the leases obtained over 1,300,000 acres of land in the Philippine oil fields by a syndicate composed (incidentally!) of four or five of his best friends (Buencamino, Luz, &c) that the son of Osmeña was one of them and had been selling some worthless stock in his company; that he would force them to go to the courts over their leases –that he would fight the monopoly. I told him that the heads of both the Asiatic Petroleum and Socony had told me in recent months that they did not believe there was any paying oil in the district.

He also told me he had changed his plans for the reorganization of the government –that he was going to make Manuel Roxas Secretary of Finance and turn the reorganization over to him. (This lets me out of this complicated task.)

The President asked me to make a thorough study of the Landlord & Tenant situation. To go about the provinces and examine. That he wanted me to do it because any Filipino whom he might delegate would belong to one class or the other (i.e., landlord or tenant) or be influenced by it. That I could have what assistance I needed, and could choose either to be associated openly with Secretary of Labor Torres (the nominal head) or go at it without being known to be employed on that research. When I asked him whether he would be willing to tax the large estates (Friar &c) out of existence, he said he positively intended to –I advised him that he must get a law first fixing rents and the tenure of holdings for the tenants.

He asked me to go up to Cabuyao tomorrow with him to see the farm there which he owns, and on which he intends to build a nipa house, and to farm.

Also said that if his health lasted, he would in three years have a “model government” here.

Quezon was interested in Whittall’s suggestion (via me) to have a visitors book in Malacañan similar to those in English “Government Houses.”

He talked of moving Bilibid prison immediately; stating that the law authorized him to sell it but that to buy the new site he would have to use the funds of the National Development Co. and then face the Legislature on this. Is going to make a park out of Bilibid grounds, for he felt it was a crime not to have more parks in a tropical city like Manila; and if the municipal board would not agree to this, he would “get rid” of them. He not only wants several more parks in Manila but said also he was going to transform Harrison Park.

Afterwards played bridge with Quezon, Guevara, Zamora and Karadag.

Quezon left for twenty minutes treatment by his doctor; he is always worried by a draft or by any cool air, and wears more clothes than anyone else in the tropics.


December 15, 1935

Speech at 9 o’clock at the Columbian Institute before the Professional’s League. Intelligent addresses before mine by two young Filipinos –Ernesto D. Bohol, the organizer was one of them; he is very sincere and straightforward.

Polo match in p.m. –fast  & first rate. A.D. Williams told me of Quezon’s discharge some years ago of Ernest Westerhouse as head of the Manila Railroad. Said it was a rough deal. Williams thinks permanent retention of the Philippines by the United States is probable –otherwise there would be disaster! He will retire in three years, and wishes to farm on his place in Virginia.

“At home” at Justice Vickers in Santa Ana –he showed me his “first edition” of La Gironiere –which turns out to be a 2d. edition (1857). Talk with Justice Recto, who expressed pleasure in the discharge of Cotterman from the Bank Board. Said Cotterman owned the building in which the Philippine National Bank is situated, and used his influence against the construction of a new building for the bank –[unethical!]

A.D. Williams said the High Commissioner was very much upset because the first China Clipper did not show him the first deference, for the pilot went straight to Malacañan Palace to report to the President. Murphy said his entourage are evidently feeling like flat tires since he ceased to be Governor General and gave up the great executive powers of that office.

A.D. Williams further says that the Elizaldes are possibly opposed to me because they think I might be an impediment in their transportation business –i.e., shipping. He added that the Elizaldes have just resigned, from the directorate of the Polo Club because they fear pressure there from Quezon. He reported that it is now rumoured that I came out here this time to advance the interests of the English in the Manila RR. bond redemption. (Exactly contrary to facts –as usual). Says Paez insisted on resigning if the bonds are not redeemed. I feel certain we could have made a better bargain with the English; that I could have done it; and that it is legally possible to avoid paying them receipts from the “gold clause” in the bonds, and that the English know it. (N.B. Quezon asked me to prepare “advise” on this subject and then never asked for my opinion.)