May 26, 1943

Doria and I sat in a taxi today with Mrs. Paul McNutt who had not seen our small daughter Ursula since she was a baby of three weeks at Baguio, six years ago. Mrs. McNutt was looking lovely and very smartly dressed. She commented on the regal style in which the Quezons lived at the Shoreham; and said that sometimes shen she entered the hotel with her arms full of bundles, as one was obliged to do nowadays, she met Mrs. Quezon flanked by two a.d.c.’s! Said that she herself had once been a refugee (from Mexico), but that was not the way people expected refugees to look! It was good-natured but ironic.

The Japanese radio (Domei) states that Vargas announced that all Filipinos should celebrate Japanese Navy Day (May 17) since the freedom of East Asia had been assured by the shattering by the Japanese of the Anglo-American and Dutch navies!

Arnaldo in charge of the library in the Commonwealth Building (1617 Mass. Ave.) says that it is not believed that the Japanese have destroyed any libraries in the Philippines, except possibly a part of the University Library. That the Philippine National Library was untouched, except that probably they took the old documents for their own great collection of Filipiniana in Tokyo–as, also possibly all the priceless collections of Professor Otley Beyer.

Sitting in the lobby of the Shoreham that evening with Dr. Trepp, we saw Quezon and his daughter Baby going toward the front door for a drive. Quezon went up the three or four steps nimbly almost waving his rubber-tipped cane. Trepp observed that if he had seen us, he would have been leaning feebly on Baby’s arm. Trepp told me that the President was a “used-up” man, physically; that there was nothing organical serious about his condition, and that he should live for from 5 to 10 years more–but was gradually wearing down. Says he (Trepp) saved Quezon’s life in 1932 and at first Quezon was grateful to him and put him in charge of the Sanitorium later replacing him there by Dr. Cañizares and making Trepp the latter’s “adviser.” As soon as Trepp had taught the Filipino doctors his methods, they shoved him aside. Quezon has not been generous to him in later years, but Trepp had built up a fine private practice in Manila, and had put his savings into successful gold mines.

Trepp said he “simply adored” Quezon until they went to Corregidor–but thought his leaving Manila a terrible mistake (of course, Trepp did not know of the pressure and specious promises of help from Roosevelt).


May 25, 1943

This day stands out in my memory because it was the last time when the President looked like the robust Quezon of a much earlier day. He was exceedingly well dressed and once more entirely gracious as of yore. He welcomed me with one-time cordiality and opened by saying: “Guess where I have been,” then went on to state that he had just returned from the funeral of Mrs. William Howard Taft, the widow of the former President. He said there had been only about fifty persons in the church, few government officials–none of the Cabinet; only six motors went to the cemetery. Quezon said he had to be “almost carried” up the hill by Lt. Madrigal, his a.d.c. Senator Taft whom he had never before thanked him most earnestly for his presence. Quezon replied to the Senator that Mrs. Taft had been so much liked by the Filipinos–she visited the Filipina ladies in their homes and danced the rigodon with Filipinos. In reporting this incident to me Quezon added: “Not so Mrs. Wright. Governor General Wright was a much abler man than Taft, but his wife did him no good.” Taft as Secretary of War removed Wright. Quezon remarked that “after all the two most significant names in the history of American Government of the Filipinos were Taft and your own. It took just as much courage for Taft to stand up to the Army officers as it did for you to fight the bureau chiefs and imperialists a decade later.” That afternoon my wife and I enjoyed an excellent game of bridge with Quezon.


January 21, 1937

Called on Consul General Blunt, fresh from the English Foreign Office. He had just passed through the United States and was emphatic in the belief that anti-Filipino sentiment was strong there–but still he did not believe that independence would ever come here: “These people don’t want it.” I pointed out that the rich ilustrado class of Filipinos with whom he had come in contact might not desire it–but the United States did want it. This he admitted. I then told him that Quezon had always been adroit enough to leave himself in a position where he could again lead the independence movement–and any political leader in the Philippines who opposed independence would be “smeared on the wall.”

The remainder of the winter of 1936-37, Doria and I spent as tenants of the Stevenson house in Baguio. There we were when, on March 12, 1937 our little daughter Ursula Fairfax Harrison was born.

Some five weeks later, we sailed on the M.V. Vittoria for Genoa, and I did not return to the Philippines until October, 1938.


October 25, 1935, 9 p.m. — October 29, 8 a.m.

My wife and I are on a trip to the Bicol Provinces as guests of Sr. A. Roces. Sr. Paez, head of the Manila Railroad Co., accompanied us, also Ramon Roces and his wife (Manuelita Barretto), on a private train. Fishing in Ragay Gulf (Doria caught 2, I one); shooting snipe and duck at Pili –at the home of Prieto in Camarines Sur; trip to rest house in Albay on Mt. Mayon driving up through hemp plantations, on the new Paez road.We were given an attractive tea dance at the Mayon Pavilion by Governor Imperial of Albay. Spent a comfortable night there. Sensational scenery, views of the Pacific Ocean; future health resort at altitude of 2500 feet, with a temperature of about 70°. Numerous conversations with Roces, Paez, etc.

A. Roces, Sr. is the proprietor of Vanguardia, Tribune and Tagalog Daily and of the Ideal Cinema. He is a very generous, warm-hearted man, full of ideals, and rather puritanic zeal for the welfare of the poor people; is really an ardent patriot– not a politician, and is thoroughly stubborn and fearless. He wishes well for Commonwealth and is willing to give Quezon full support if a decent honest government is set up –but is rather anti-capitalist. Has always been devoted friend of mine and a supporter of my work here. Would be glad to see me Economic Adviser –and favors low tariffs on the necessaries of life. He advocates also a 25 years period before full independence but accepts the new law. Roces believes it is a waste of time to work for the permanent continuance of the old free trade with the United States, but believes the American people are “sentimental” and can be appealed to for a modification of the present restrictions. I agreed. He advises me to consult with Manuel Roxas about the economic future –thinks him safe in judgment– and considers him sane and studious –believes him to be the coming man, and says that Quezon takes his advice.

Here are some of Alejandro Roces’ opinions on people.

Quezon is impetuous –changes quickly– is not personally concerned over money –has great opportunity now to give a decent government. Roces advised him to go in for a reputation as a good President and not to care about financial benefits; better leave a good name to your children rather than a fortune. He commented that Jim Ross and Jacob Rosenthal are Quezon’s best friends among Americans.

Osmeña, in the opinion of Roces, is too lacking in firmness of character –is always 50-50!

Aguinaldo is entirely ignorant –has no organization and is pitiful.

Wood was a tragedy –was dotty when he came out here; Wood said of Quezon that when surrounded by angels he was an angel –and vice versa.

Davis was nothing.

Governor Cailles is a “100% liar” –that he (Roces) did not believe Cailles’ story of the killing of seven Sakdalistas. He laughed over a photo of Cailles smoking a cigar and pointing a revolver at three dead men.

Don Isauro Gabaldon is an honest man.

Governor Murphy is lacking in firmness —vide the award of Government printing.

Yulo represents capitalists.

Does not advise Roxas to accept the post of Secretary of Finance, nor Paez to accept that of Secretary of Communications.

Sison is the best of the present cabinet –and is absolutely honest.

He then denounced by name several prominent Filipinos whom he believed to have accepted or demanded large sums of money for their influence in public life.

Roces says Quezon is afraid of assassination –that the President had told him that this eventuality was “inherent in his job.” I said that assassination was “not in the Filipino character”; he replied he used to believe that –but not now.

Says Barretto is too old; that Singson is not a reliable man; Sumulong is a good man, he believes, but he cannot understand him at times. Tirona is of no real account.

Agrees with me that there is too much higher education in the Philippines –it makes only for discontent.

Roces, Sr. advocates a National Transportation Corporation to take over all the motor bus lines –capital required now is about three million pesos but they would take shares or installment payments; they can be run as feeders for the Railroad. Paez agrees with him. Roces advocates moving Bilibid prison out of town and making the site a central market and the hub of motor buses –thus cutting out the middleman. This has been tried in Spain –and is a success.

Doria reports a conversation with Mrs. Roces, Jr. and the provincial officials of Albay in which she told them the Philippines was being exploited by American salesmen –with which they rather shamefacedly agreed. Mrs. Roces said to her, “I know why I like you so much because you are English –the Americans treat us like niggers.” Mrs. Roces said where possible she bought only Jap goods. Doria said the Wolfsons and the American hairdressers in the beauty shops talk of Filipinos as if they were imbeciles.

At Pili Prieto talked of his starch factory there –he employs about 100 men– their starch is 80% for the laundry because, it is “more viscose” –20% for food (tapioca). they failed at first because they used camotes –now they make $200,000 gross per annum using cassava plants which he smuggled out of Java in 1933 –they are nearly double the size of the native Philippine cassava.

Talked October 27 with Gov. Imperial of Albay about hemp central and hemp-stripping machines –the latter are made by Int. Harvester Co. and cost about six thousand dollars; too expensive for the small farmer with a plantation averaging about 40 hectares. It would take two to three generations to teach cultivators to cooperate on a central. Said Albay has a 6000-horsepower waterfall –which had been abandoned by Meralco.

At the tea dance in Mayon Pavilion there was a good orchestra from Tabajo –people danced like Americans. Mrs. Imperial said her chief ambition was to go to Hollywood.

Duck and snipe shooting at Pili –duck were teal and mallard– very novel method of screening bankas –men went into water like retrievers after a wounded duck.

Mayon Rest House “the beauty spot of the Philippines.” Volcano erupted last year for the first time in a century, as is still smoking –comfort and modern conveniences at the rest house.

Clouds of locusts in Camarines Sur.