September 29, 1936

At Malacañan, Kiko was introduced to the President in his office–which was formerly the bedroom where Kiko was born–Quezon was very cordial to him and had delightful manners with the boy; showed him about the Palace, and I myself was intrigued by all the recent improvements. The fill is completed on the riverside–to be made into lawn only, with no buildings; the water front opposite is to be a private golf course for Malacañan with a little ferry across the river.

At luncheon, Quezon talked of his recent stiff remarks to the Assembly on their proposal to abolish the salary of Ruiz, Director of Posts,–which, he believes, was really an invasion of the constitutional privileges of the Executive.

The President reported that he had just been talking on the radio-phone with Hausserman, in the United States, who predicted Roosevelt’s re-election, though the Digest polls were favourable to Landon. I asked him about the change of sentiment in America as to the Philippines. He replied that he was like a man in charge of a vessel during a typhoon:–he had nothing to do but to stick to the helm and be prepared for every emergency, and he didn’t want to be caught “snoring.” He agreed that the ten year term for the Commonwealth before independence was just as likely to be shortened as to be lengthened.

He told me he had arranged for Hartendorp’s paper a subsidy of 300 pesos a month, and was ready to go to 500 pesos; remarked that Hartendorp had behaved so much like a man when he was “fired” at Malacañan.

He then went back to the Wood administration, and said that General Frank McCoy was the only able man around Wood. He had been put there by the Forbes crowd to outwit him, (Quezon) but he had won most of the deals. McCoy wanted later to be commanding General of the Philippines, and he (Quezon) had blocked it. I laughed and remarked that he must have selected all the recent commanding generals here himself; –none of them were too bright. Quezon actually looked slightly confused for a moment, then broke out in a story of the selection of T. Roosevelt as Governor General. Hurley (the Secretary of War) told Quezon that Hoover wanted to placate the Progressive element in the Republican party, so wished to make “T.R. Jr.” Governor General here. Hurley asked Quezon to meet “T.R. Jr.”–which he did, then went to see Hurley who enquired what Quezon thought. “You told me, Mr. Secretary that the people of Puerto Rico all liked ‘T.R. Jr.'”–“yes”–“Well then they must be very far behind the people of the Philippines in modern thought.” Hurley laughed and Quezon told him to give him one month in the Philippines before “T.R.” came, and he would make it all right for him. But he warned Hurley that the members of the Cabinet would size up a Governor General in fifteen minutes. When he arrived at Manila, “T.R. Jr.” was only a Mabuhay man. How mistaken “T.R. Jr.” was in writing that letter of advice to his son, (remarked Quezon)–in which he cautioned him against accepting a commission in the army as that career was only suited to the less intelligent mind! Quezon said Governor General Davis had really made no impression out here; he had previously been Secretary of War and really didn’t want to come here–had wished instead to be Ambassador to France or to England.

Quezon told me he would revise the terms of the close season for snipe shooting whenever I wished,–adding: “I never pay much attention to what those Ph.D. men in the Bureau of Science say.”

I remarked that Kiko, having been born here, could, upon reaching the age of 21, choose whether he wished to be an American or a Philippine citizen–in which respect he had a wider choice than myself. Quezon at once said he would put a resolution thru the Assembly conferring citizenship on me; he had looked up the power in the constitution and found it there.

We had many laughs together and a really happy luncheon. He was pleased with Foster’s recent interview, especially his remark; “Up to this point President Quezon didn’t seem to think there was anything he couldn’t do.”

March 1-2, 1936

Traffic congestion during Carnival intolerable now over, thank God! Besides, cracks are reported in the north pier of the Ayala bridge, so heavy trucks arc banned from there–other people, possibly, are scared away–a great blessing.

The biggest external changes in Manila during my fifteen years of absence are: (1) the sanitation–both Americans and Filipinos are much more healthy–the water is safe to drink now, and food is safe almost everywhere. Only tropic anemia now threatens us; and (2) the lovely flowers now on sale at all the markets. I believed Governor General Davis turned Manila into the garden it now is.

Mrs. Gaches told me at our dinner that her butler had put his high wages into supporting his two brothers through college–signs of a topsy-turvy world–or perhaps rather of the Filipino determination to be ilustrado. As only a Small proportion of these “educated” men can be employed in the Government or in clerical positions elsewhere, this accumulation of young people who won’t work with their hands only increases dangerously the general discontent.

February 26, 1936

Talk with Rafferty who is being done in by his partners in the manganese mine. Rafferty told me of repeated lies and evasions which are characteristically the world’s 11th wonder!

Talk with Simmie about the arrastre plant and the Government’s attitude toward same. Simmie says he, Gaches and Hausserman would become Philippine citizens in a moment if they could get out of the United States income tax by so doing. Said he was selling out his California property as quickly as he could.

Jollye told me last night that he once crossed the Atlantic on the same ship with ex-Governor General Stimson and ex-Governor General Davis–they spoke to one another but were not friendly.

Sinclair mentioned that the Tabacalera had spent several hundred thousand pesos here trying to raise Sumatra tobacco wrappers–it would not grow–either due to the soil or the climate. At the Carnival, he and I had inspected his (Smith-Bell’s) hemp stripping machine–noisy, slow and almost as much physical exercise as if done by hand!

February 3, 1936

Dinner at Malacañan for Cabinet–Doria wore her new black dress which was a great success, and Quezon asked her chaffingly if she was in mourning for King George? Corpus, President of the Philippine National Bank, sat on one side of me, and spoke con amore of how I supported him as Director of the Bureau of Lands against American attacks. He said Secretary Denison only supported him when, as Governor General, I ordered it. I urged Corpus to write his memoirs–he said he had been a newspaper reporter for five years before I appointed him as Director of Lands, but that his own style was only anecdotal.

Talked with Under-Secretary Albert, who remembers not only the Philippine Revolution against Spain, but later on an interview he had with President Wilson; he came back here sharing a cabin with Quezon when I arrived in the Manchuria in Oct. 1913. He said that Quezon was much excited when he secured my appointment as Governor General through Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan in 1913–he then said: “now we are sure to get independence.” Albert gave Doria some complimentary accounts of me as a public speaker.

After dinner, I talked for a half hour with the President. He told me of his difficulties in appointing Judges, and said that Osmena had urged on him the nomination of Rafael Palma to the Supreme Court. That he (Quezon) had wanted to appoint him, and had consulted Chief Justice Avanceña and other Justices–that they had been rather non-committal, but when Quezon returned from Baguio, and asked them again about Palma, the Supreme Court Justices had meanwhile heard Don Rafael Palma argue a case before them and were now certain that he was not qualified to be a Justice. Quezon said that Osmeña had asked for an appointment with him every day for a week, and that he had given every excuse, especially that he was tired, until it was too late for Osmeña to interfere again. Osmeña then told Quezon that they were better able to select the judges than was the bench. I called his attention to how Osmeña had nearly wrecked by administration by his insistent recommendation of Venancio Concepcion as President of the Philippine National Bank. We agreed that Osmeña was a bad judge of men. I called his attention to the efforts I made for five years to induce him (Quezon) to break with Osmeña. He replied: “It took me twenty years.”

Osmeña had also persistently tried to get an appointment with Quezon to argue in favour of Aldanese. Quezon and I agreed that the Collector of Customs was personally straight, but Quezon said he had been put in an awkward position by Governor Wood. I complained that the Philippine Government was full of graft, and asked whether it was not because Governor Murphy has had his head in the clouds. Quezon said, “no, you must not think that of Murphy”–that the original fault was with Governor General Wood–that corruption was rife under him. That his successor, [sic] Governor General Davis had announced in a speech in Honolulu that he was going out to the Philippines to clean up graft in this country. That while Davis was here, he never knew anything at all about the country.

The announcement of the Government’s decision to cancel the lease of the arrastre to Simme & Gilke had subjected Quezon to a perfect bombardment of letters of protest from Americans. They state that the lease of the arrastre to the Manila Terminal Co. under Governor Wood had greatly improved the freight service at the Manila docks. Quezon said that perhaps it had not been done any too well before but that he was going to turn it over to the Manila Railroad Co. and have Paez manage it; that the Manila Terminal Co. had been making 500,000 pesos a year out of it. That they had offered Aldanese a large salary for extra service with the Manila Terminal Co.; that Governor Wood had permitted him to accept; [that it was “unethical” for the Collector of Customs to have another salary from a business firm.] This practice had been stopped November 15 under the new constitution.

Quezon next talked about the (Baguio) Constabulary Academy case, where he had just dismissed eight of the cadets, including his own nephew, for hazing and had transferred Colonel Johnson, the Commandant. The cadets whom he had examined personally concerning this case, had replied that they thought the regulation against hazing was a dead letter. I told him how President Thomas Jefferson in the last year of his life had ridden down from Monticello to the new University of Virginia and had dismissed his own two nephews (my great uncle Cary and his cousin Carr) for a student prank. He said he wished he had known of this, for he would have cited it as a precedent in this Constabulary case.

January 20, 1936

Asedillo, the old Tayabas bandit, has surrendered and been brought here in the presidential car, to see Quezon personally; was taken back and released in the hills on promising to return in three days with his sons and chief followers. All of this is quite picturesque — no promise of pardon has been given; he will have to stand trial. Entirely in line with the costumbre del pais. I submitted a memorandum on the Manila Railroad plans for the next few years; also Colin Hoskins’ proposed bill on the agrarian situation. Saw Justice of the Peace Abra from Pila, Laguna, and asked him a lot of questions about the Sakdalistas who are said to be disappointed that Ramos, their leader in Japan had not brought this country immediate independence by December 31. They were still sending him money, however, and continued to believe that Japan would get freedom for them. I asked him how large a percentage of his province were in favour of independence. He replied: nearly all of them, tho in 1931 he had told Governor General Davis that only 30% were in favor. He added: “if you bluff these people (i.e., advocate independence), they will believe you, but if you tell them the truth (i.e., the difficulties) they refuse to believe; they think they will get everything out of independence.”

January 13, 1936

Left with Quezon, Colonel Santos and Mayor Posadas for the new site of Bilibid Prison at Muntinlupa, near Alabang, Laguna. We travelled in a motor which never went over 30 miles an hour, with motorcycle cops in front and behind. When we got there, we shifted to Quezon’s Ford armored car which has bullet-proof (apparently glass) windows. He says that when goes incog. to the provinces he always travels in this Ford alone with Colonel Nieto who has a machine gun with him –Quezon carries a revolver on those trips. He says Encallado, the dead bandit, reported that he saw this car pass in the mountains and could have shot Quezon. Quezon comments he wished he had tried.

I asked him about the Ayuntamiento –he stated that the Marble Hall was to be given to the Supreme Court.

He began to talk about Rodriguez, Secretary of Agriculture. He said he had talked too much in the press –had quoted Quezon concerning the Japanese hemp leases in Davao, which caused the Japanese Ambassador in Washington to enquire of the Secretary of State if it was true that Quezon had consulted him about it. Hull truthfully replied “no.” But the worst was, Quezon had rebuked Rodriguez for talking to the press and had announced his own policy concerning the leases of hemp lands in Davao, Rodriguez had published in the press his own defense as Secretary of Agriculture, instead of giving the paper to the President. Quezon said he would have to remove him, unless he crawled –that he was particularly sorry to do so because Rodriguez was an energetic worthy man, and had done more for his (Quezon’s) election than any other individual. He is moreover a man who has made good in his own business life. He thought Rodriguez would be better as Secretary of Labor.

Quezon said he had talked so much while he was in the Senate –he was now going in for action.

He also said he had already adopted my suggestion and was abolishing all “law” divisions in the bureaus and obliging the Bureau Chiefs to consult the Attorney General or the Secretary of Justice.

The President stated further that the Japanese question resolved itself into a dilemma –either to avoid showing them that the Filipinos were antagonistic to the Japanese, or else to let them occupy the islands industrially; that one of the leading Japanese had passed en route from a ceremonious visit to Australia (a pretext) and that he (Q) had been ill (also a pretext) and postponed seeing him until the last minute. That this Japanese had dismissed the Japanese Consul General from the room during the interview. That Quezon had told him very frankly how the Filipinos felt about their lands, but had put off trade discussions. We talked of the purchase by the Government in my time of the Sabani ranch on the remote east coast of Luzon. [Quezon remarked that this was “blackmail” by an American who had acquired it when he was a Judge of the Philippine Land Court.] That the United States Senators who had raised a fuss about the possible purchase of it by Japanese had been inspired by that man.

Said also that the Filipinos had blocked the use of this man’s ranch to the north of Sabani (now W.H. Anderson’s), by closing the land access to this property.

Quezon said Harding had been very fond of him and liked his opposition to Governor General Wood –that if Harding had lived longer, Quezon would have gotten rid of Wood sooner.

I asked him about the vast iron fields in Surigao which I had reserved by Executive Order for the Government. He said he had already had nibbles from the Japanese and one of them was coming here soon about that, but ostensibly on another errand.

P.M. Becker from Aparri appeared with his two sons asking to have them put in the Philippine Army. Saw General Reyes and think it is fixed.

At my request, former Speaker Manuel Roxas came to see me. Said he was going to his province tomorrow to consult his people as to whether he should accept the post of Secretary of Finance. I told him I had been requested by Quezon to ask his opinion of the plan to use part of the Government currency reserve and exchange standard funds (which are 4 times larger, together, than required by law) to purchase silver at the present low rate, and by issuing silver certificates at a “pegged” rate to make a vast sum for the Treasury –he objected first because the price of silver might go lower on account of the very artificial market for silver in United States, and secondly because they might lose (part of) the 2 million pesos of interest at 2% now obtained in the United States.

He next asked me what I was doing in relation to the Friars haciendas –I told him and he seemed satisfied except as to the constitutionality of my proposed Land Commissioner’s decisions fixing tenure and rents. He observed that the English constitution was not written as was that in the Philippines. I replied that the Philippine constitution gave to the Government the right to expropriate Friar Lands –“yes” he said “and the right to adjudicate relations between landlord and tenant.” Well, he said, “we might do it by establishing a Landlord & Tenant Court.”

Roxas then speculated on the result of the next presidential elections in the United States. Said that if a conservative Republican were elected, he might listen to Stimson,  Davis & Hurley on Philippine policies, but not if a man like Borah were elected. I said, yes, the West is for getting rid of the Philippines, but I thought F.D. Roosevelt was going to buy his reelection by the expenditure of public money and that my grand-children were going to be burdened 50 years hence in repaying the debts incurred by F.D. Roosevelt’s joy ride.

Talk with Reyes, new Chief of Staff of the Philippine army –tired and old, and unaggressive, hardly able to cope with new problems.

I asked Quezon whether there was any plan afoot to recreate the Government of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu –he said that he was not sure, but feared it would be considered as a “step backward” –he intends to accomplish the same object by designating some one member of the Government to act for him– that nobody realized how great under the constitution was the power in the hands of the President of the Philippines.

I wonder why Osmeña is laying so low nowadays?

December 27, 1935

Golf in a.m. with Doria. Bridge in p.m. with Ed. Harrison, Houghton & Thompson at the Pines Hotel. Called on the Quezons who were out and left my memorandum of the digest of Gladstone’s Irish Land Laws. Called at the Mansion House which is double the size it was in my days. Instead of a wooden second story with sawali walls between the bedrooms as formerly, it is now a really modern mansion reconstructed by Governor General Davis. Grounds and gardens are greatly extended and really well done. Saw the High Commissioner in his bedroom apparently at work in his dressing gown. He asked Doria to ride tomorrow. After dinner in Pines Hotel, an evening talk with Rafferty –my loyal friend.

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.

Jan. 12, 1932, Tuesday

Montinola is much better and will be out, I think by Friday.

Went to Mrs. Alicia Longworth[1] for tea to meet Roosevelt. It was a small affair but the Sec. of War and Gov. Davis were there.

Dined with Osmeña and Roxas in a Chinese restaurant, then a movie.

[1] Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth  (Feb 12, 1884-Feb 20, 1980) oldest child of President Theodore Roosevelt. She was an American writer and socialite. Her husband,  Nicholas Longworth III was Republican representative from Ohio and was, Speaker of the House from 1925-1931.