November 15, 1939

The typewriter is too intricate for me.

The date of our going has been definitely fixed as Dec. 13, sailing on the SS Pres. Cleveland. Our freight will go on the S.S. “Capillo”, direct to Seattle. We should reach Ft. Lewis about Jan. 7.

I have been trying to turn over all work to others in the office, especially since the arrival of two new assistants from the States; Lt. Col. Richard Marshall, Q.M.C., and Maj. Tom Dunckel, F.A. Both seem to be very able, and I believe that Dunckel is outstanding! My efforts to free myself of official tasks, in order that I can take care of personal affairs, have been futile. The Gen. seems to find more and more things he wants me to do personally. While at Malacañan there have been a hundred odd jobs to complete. General MacA. has been particularly pleasant. I’ve written several statements for him, including a 13-minute speech that was recorded for possible future use, by the NBC, and he’s been lavish in his praise of them. Actually they are the same old platitudes on Phil. defense, dressed up in only slightly new language. But so long as any sentence puts a good face on his “plan,” or uses resounding language in support of his views, it is perfect, so far as he is concerned. His consuming desire for favorable publicity is going to give him a hard bump  some day–or I miss my guess.

The President, and his Malacañan assistants appear to be genuinely sorry that I am going. I hope they are sincere, but the Malay mind is still a sealed book to me. They may be secretly delighted. However, I’m tempted to believe them, if for no other reason than the number of times my advice has been sought lately–often on subjects that are not connected with the Army.

Recently a Department of National Defense was established. There were certain ridiculous aspects, or at least amusing,  to this incident. I’m not sure I’ve ever entered in these sketchy notes anything at all on this subject so I’ll outline the development.

A couple of years ago the President first expressed an intention of establishing such a department. Upon hearing of this the Gen. was greatly disturbed, because he feared that a Sec. of Nat. Defense would tend to supplant him as the Chief Military Official in the govt. and so lessen his prestige and endanger his job. In fact, when the rumor first made its appearance the General flatly stated to the office gang, “If a Sec. of Nat. Def. is appointed, I will immediately resign.” He sought an interview with the President and, at that time, succeeded in having the matter dropped.

However, in the summer sessions of the Assembly in 1938 (I was in the States) (or possibly the actual passing of the law was in the fall of 1938) the President authorized the enactment of a law establishing two Departments–Public Health and Defense. It was provided that both should be set up before the end of the President’s term, in 1941. The General felt temporarily safe, since he said he had the promise of Malacañan that no action would be taken on the Defense Dept. until the summer of 1941.

When I returned from the States I heard immediately that the President’s mind was made up and that he was soon going to select a Secretary and appoint him. I reported this to the General and advised him that if he still felt so strongly about the matter he should exert himself without delay before further publicity was given to the matter, and especially before any individual was notified as to his impending selection. He pooh-poohed the accuracy of my information saying he had the situation under full control.

When I resumed my former duties at Malacañan, about May 1, 1939, I constantly ran into evidence that something was going to be done along this line. I brought it again and again to the Gen.’s attention, but for the first time he refused to show fright in the face of unpleasant news. He just didn’t believe it.

Suddenly the Pres. made a public announcement of what he had in mind, and the Gen. raged to us in the office. He said he’d dissolve the mission and didn’t like it at all when I reminded him there was no mission; that he was a retired officer working for Manuel Quezon, and the rest of us were officers to the Dept. Commander’s staff, and loaned by the U.S. Govt. to the Pres. of the Commonwealth. He then pointedly requested me (and later Sutherland) to go with him to the Pres. to protest against the announced intention. I told him that, of course, I’d go with him, but that my comments (if called upon) would be confined to expressing a conviction as to the usefulness of the office,  but that personally, I had nothing otherwise against it. Certainly, I told him, it doesn’t affect the work that I do for the Commonwealth,  one way or another. I further advised him that since his objections were personal, based upon his prestige, face and desires,  that he should seek a personal, confidential conference with the Pres., to have the matter out. This he decided to do.

He immediately called up for a date with the Pres. but received a very evasive reply from the aide. That afternoon he couldn’t stand it longer so he took poor old Hutter and went to Malacañan. He went at an hour when he could find no one on the job, but he sent Hutter, who is an habitué of the Palace, on a detailed search. Hutter found the Pres. asleep and when this invasion of his privacy was later reported to Q. by underlings he got furious.

However, the Gen. hung around until finally he got an appointment and, according to him, had a most satisfactory talk.

We heard no more about the matter for some little time, but suddenly, another definite, and public, announcement was made by Q. in which he even named the man he was going to make Sec. of Nat. Defense (Sison).

Seeing he was licked the General now executed another of his amazing “about faces.” He simply sat down and wrote a memo to the Pres., a long memo, urging the setting up of the Dept. of Nat. Defense. Soon the appointment was made, and on the surface, all was lovely. The moral is–they can’t make him give up that job, no matter what they do!!

Dozens of entertainments in the nature of despedidas have been arranged for Mamie and me. It’s all very gratifying but is likely to be hard on Mamie, who cannot stand much running around.

More gratifying is a message from Mr. Vargas, to the effect that, with the authority of the President, he is arranging a bonus for me upon departure, equal to two months pay (not including my hotel allowances). That is most pleasing, not only to the pocketbook, but as evidence that the govt. really regrets my departure. In this connection the Gen., in spite of our many dirty fights, has expressed the same views. But when I remember his parting conversation just before I went to the States in ’38, and what he tried to do to me while I was gone, I simply cannot believe him.

I’m leaving in a day or two for a last inspection trip to the south. And and I are going in the Beechcraft.

Thursday, May 18, 1939

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The president calls for me to be at Camp Claudio early. I was there before he called. We inspected the horses and the stables. He saw the troops drilled. He asked me about the troop commander and I reported that the troop commander was about to be tried and probably he would be dismissed. He asked me of the offense and I said that it was immorality. My impression was that he is inclined to be lenient for offenders of this kind. I had his horse saddled up and the jump arranged. I gave him a demonstration on [illegible] and he was very much drilled.

At 9:30 he comes to headquarters to inspect.He looked over some offices downstairs and that came to Valdez office. We had a conference on the subject of concentration. P[illegible] wa present at this conference. He asked several questions. He asked

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to what extent we could reduce the number of trainees. I expressed the opinion that we should not reduce too much the number of trainees as the number figured is for local defense. On his suggestion that we have only a few thousand trainees near Manila, I said that policy would be disastrous. If we had only a few thousand concentrated near Manila, it would be necessary to give them plenty of mobility so that they could be moved to the threatened area quickly. This is contradictory to the MacArthur plan of local defense where the reservist of one locality defend that locality.

We are invited to luncheon at 1 oclock. We did not leave the palace until 4:30. He talked on various subject. The Montilla case the recall of the Scout officers, the case of Laconico and Villareal, the case of Torres. On the subject of Laconico and Villareal he said that

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Valdes brought my letter of protest to him accusing me of disloyalty in view of the fact that I tried to protest a decision which had already been rendered. The president said he could not understand how I could be accused of disloyalty for presenting my views. It was only after I had known the decision that I could express my opinion. He said he sent for MacArthur to find out the practice in the U.S. army whether a subordinate who express his opinion is considered disloyal. MacArthur told him “No,” provided such opinion were expressed thru proper channel. He told MacArthur he was glad of such advice as he was determined that such an expression by a subordinate did not constitute disloyalty and that he would have issued an order that it was not disloyal if in the U.S. Army, such act was considered disloyal. He looked at me said

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“Segundo that was a strong letter.” He quoted my statement avout personal circumstances and personal liason. He did not understand what I meant so he asked Sec. Vargas what I meant and Vargas said that Laconico is Santos aid and the son-in-law of Assemblyman Alano, then he understood. He ordered the name of Laconico removed from the list right away. Later we talked about Villareal and I said Villareal was not the best to go to school. The President said that it was only thru my letter that he knew such things were happening.

He spoke about the 6 hr. conference with MacArthur, the one published in the papers. He did not want the subject of this conference published or communicated to anyone. It was about the creation of the Department of National Defense.

June 27, 1936

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.