November 5, 1942

At Shoreham Hotel with Quezon whom I had not seen for at least two months–he looked pale and weaker. Told me he had been in bed for a long time, that for a while he could not walk, and I saw a wheel chair in Canceran’s office. As the conversation developed, he showed his usual animation and the colour came back to his cheeks.

I asked him again about the killing of Manuel Roxas and Jose Abad Santos by the Japanese. He said Manuel Roxas had not been killed but was still fighting in the mountains (of Mindanao?). Jose Abad Santos who had (deliberately) missed the last plane from Cebu had been caught there by the Japanese and had been shot. I asked him why? He could not explain but remarked “He left Corregidor in my party.” Said he would have been a really great Chief Justice, but could never have been President because he had no executive ability.

He said he doubted whether the Japanese would ever have been inclined to attack the Philippines if it had not been for the presence of the United States there. Doubts now whether the Japanese would even allow moderate self-government to the Filipinos. Thinks however that the war is already as good as won, since the crushing defeat which Rommel suffered in Africa this week. As soon as Germany cracks, England and the United States can defeat the Japanese. Then he said to me: “We shall be back in the Philippines in 1944.”

Meanwhile, he said, it would make no difference if the Japanese won the battle of the Solomons, occupied Australia–or even India. Added they will have to be completely knocked out–will never give up. I pointed out how prudent the Japanese Government had been in giving up their spoils after three previously successful wars, when called on to do so by the Concert of Powers. He stated that this was because of their long-range planning, and that now they had attained their real objective, they would never back down. They must be smashed.

He then launched into a half-hour’s panegyric of the English. He had always been very anti-English before, and had denounced them savagely on his arrival in Washington for their collapse in Singapore. He now says that when it comes to their own real interests, such as the defense of England or of Egypt, nobody can fight more stubbornly than the English–he praised particularly their stand in front of Alexandria when they had already lost all their new material to Rommel. Previously he had always hated Churchill as an “arrogant imperialist” but now admits that he is a typical John Bull and is the man of the day. Continued with a vivid tribute to Queen Elizabeth in overthrowing the Spanish and French powers.

Was not much inclined to discuss last week’s overwhelming Republic gain in the elections in the United States. Remarked that his friend Justice Frankfurter had been “very silly–he is so ardently pro-English”–but did not explain what he meant.

Afternoon game of bridge during which he coughed frequently. Was due to entertain Justice Frank Murphy alone at dinner–explaining to me that there were certain subjects he wished Murphy to discuss with President Roosevelt. But just as Murphy arrived, Quezon was taken by a very severe fit of asthma, and doctors scurried in to attend him. He went to bed after an injection. Murphy was much worried, as indeed we all were.

Murphy and I talked together for 3/4 hour. Extremely interesting conversation about the election, and causes thereof.


July 15, 1942

Shoreham.

During the Spanish regime, the cabeza de barangay was the collector of the cedula personal tax; he was handed a list of all inhabitants over 18 and had to produce revenue called for by the list, whether he had been able to collect it or not; as a result he was usually ruined. See references in Rizal’s novels, which are, however poorly translated into English.

Rizal, said Quezon, had never been one of his heroes–he was persevering, but never a man of decision–he refused, when an exile in Dapitan, to join Bonifacio in the revolution; this fact was counted on by the defense at his trial–but his execution was foreordained. The uncertainty in the mind of the reader of Rizal’s famous books Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo as to whether it is Elias or Ibarra who is really the hero of his novels indicated either Rizal’s own habitual indecision, or a wish to cover up his belief against a subsequent inquisition by the Spanish authorities.

Mabini (the “divine paralytic”) is more nearly Quezon’s hero. His ms. was unknown until his death; is now in Philippine National Library–and has never been printed. It denounces Aguinaldo severely, on account of his narrowness and selfishness. Mabini was captured and held as a prisoner by the Americans, and never could be forced to recant. After the insurrection, he took the oath of allegiance to the United States. While on Corregidor, Quezon wanted to go back to Manila and, like Mabini before him, have nothing to do with the captors (Japanese) even if necessary to go to prison.

At the Malolos Congress, Buencamino and Paterno urged Aguinaldo to quit the hopeless fight and negotiate with Schurman, President of McKinley’s Philippine Mission.

Quezon next turned to an account of the debates among his government associates on Corregidor upon the question of Surrender of the Philippine Army to the Japanese: They, none of them, believed in any permanence in the independence then offered by the Japanese. Osmeña and Roxas, as well as Quezon thought that if this offer was accepted by them, the Japanese Army could be persuaded to withdraw within a reasonable time, and that they might allow the American Army to be evacuated to the United States. Quezon and his advisers believed that the war would eventually be decided by an attack on Tokyo, and nowhere else in the Far East. Meanwhile, they felt it better to put up with Japanese interference in their affairs–thus sparing the Philippines all that it otherwise might go through. As for permanent independence granted them by the Japanese, it would mean very little for the Japanese Consul General would be the real Chief Executive of the Philippines. He would come to Malacañan with all “due courtesy” but the first time a serious one of his “requests” was refused, it would mean war.

Quezon called my attention to what I had told the Americans in Manila in my time namely that Quezon was the “best friend they had in the Philippines.” As a choice between the Americans and Japanese he would take the former every time; he could put up with even such absurdities as those of Governor General Wood, because he was an American–he could talk and drink with him. When he was Resident Commissioner in Washington he had lots of American friends who treated him exactly like one of themselves. With the Japanese, he could never be at ease–never could really understand them. The Japanese policy in Asiatic countries is utterly selfish; they had been so long isolated that they still thought only of themselves.

Ever since the fracas of the League of Nations, Quezon has believed that if America withdrew from the Philippines the Japanese would absorb the Islands. The Filipinos, he thinks, could not have “made terms” with them. “We would have been in the present position of the Siamese; they have the form but not the substance of self-government –that generally satisfies the Orientals but not the Filipinos.”

The following account by Quezon of the beginning of the political fight between himself and Osmeña was dictated by him to Canceran in my presence on June 7th, for use in his book The Good Fight but was omitted from the book when printed, so it is reproduced here.

“I was elected to the Assembly as Nacionalista in 1907. I was the floor leader and Osmeña the Speaker. In 1909 I was appointed Resident Commissioner and occupied the position until 1916. I secured from Congress the passage of the Jones Law and was elected Senator and then made the President of the Senate.

“The great fight between Osmeña and me started when General Wood was there. The remote cause of my fight with Osmeña was the jealousy of the Senate of its prerogatives and the Senators never admitted that. They thought that the recognition of the Speaker of the House as the number one man was a denial of the seniority of the Senate over the House. It was a mistake of Osmeña. I swear before God that I never intended to replace him as the leader of the party. I had so much love for this fellow. As a matter of fact I thought he was better prepared than me. I had no doubt that at that time he was better prepared. And this idea was so sincere with me that even when the fight on the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill came I decided that I was not going to fight it. I was only going to explain my opinion for I thought it was my duty to tell the people. I even told Governor General Murphy that Osmeña and Roxas were the men best prepared to run the government, and that even after my election as President. But with the acts of these two men they convinced me that I could do that better than they. I will tell you how I discovered this.

“After my election as President of the Philippines, I did not want to give Osmeña a portfolio in my Cabinet. I wanted him to be my senior adviser and have all papers of the different departments go to his office before they were acted upon. But he is so interested in the appearance of things that he insisted that I appoint him Secretary of Public Instruction and he thought that his men would believe that I had disregarded him if I did not give him that portfolio and that would make him lose prestige with the ‘Pros. ‘ He insisted and I appointed him. I told him ‘I am going to appoint you but you must understand that in these circumstances you will not be my adviser any longer. You will have a seat in the Cabinet; will have a voice and no more. And you will understand that I cannot offend the other members of the Cabinet by having their views submitted to another secretary of department.’ So I dealt with the secretaries of department without taking his views first.

“However, I still thought of meeting his views on general policies and gave instructions to my aides and Secretary that the Vice President could see me any time without previous engagement, and I set aside a time for him every day. But instead of talking to me about public policies he brought petitions of men who stood by him, as well as gossip. I tolerated this for three weeks, but later on I revoked my instructions to my Secretary and aides about seeing the Vice President because I got sick about the things he brought to me. So he ceased to be what I wanted him to be–my adviser. The immediate effect was for me to go through all the departments of the government. That is why when you were there I was practically handling everything.

“Now, there is one department of the government in which I was convinced of my utter ignorance–the department of finance. I had an understanding with Osmeña and Roxas that I would make Roxas Secretary of Finance. I did not appoint him right away because I wanted his services in the House. He was a minority leader and I wanted him to work in conjunction with the majority leader so there would not be any trouble in the House. When the House was about to adjourn, I sent for him and told him about his appointment to the secretaryship, but he said that he wanted to go to Capiz and consult with his followers. He came back and said: ‘Mr President, I am ready.’

“I had talked with Quirino, the Secretary of Finance then, and had prepared him for the change a long time ago. I sent for Quirino and told him that I would appoint Roxas Secretary of Finance and him as Secretary of the Interior. I called Roxas over the phone and asked him: ‘Are you ready?’ He said ‘yes.’ Then I told him that I was going to write him a letter offering him the position. I wrote the letter, sent it to him; but I was so tired that day, I told my aides that I would not see anybody and went to bed. I fell asleep and did not wake up until five in the afternoon. During that time the reply of Roxas was delivered in which he said: ‘I have received your letter and I felt that I should remain in the House unless you think that my services are absolutely essential in the Executive Department.’ That made me so mad. I thought it was an act of treachery; that he wanted me to write another letter begging and tell him: ‘you are so essential that I cannot run the government without you.’ I was so angry that I called my children and took them for a ride with my launch in the Pasig River.

“At seven the following morning I sent for Antonio de las Alas. He came and I said: ‘Alas you are the Secretary of Finance.’ I almost killed him with the news and after telling him about his appointment I left the Palace and told the people in the Palace that I did not want to see anybody. I answered Roxas’ letter and simply told him: ‘I understand your position and I therefore shall not appoint you Secretary of Finance.’ That is all I told him, and he has been trying [sic] to see me, but I never saw him. After giving out to the press the appointment of Alas I sent word to Roxas that I would see him. He came and said: ‘Mr President, I have received your letter and I have come to tell you that I withdraw my letter.’ ‘Well, it is just a little too late’ I said. ‘And I want to tell you something so that there may be this clear understanding between us. Manoling, I have told you time and again that I could not run this government without you as Secretary of Finance and I never changed my mind about it, but when I wrote you the letter it was the President of the Philippines offering you that position. The President will not admit that he cannot run the government without you or anyone. I am going to run this government without the “Pros” and you can all go to hell.’

“The Vice President wanted to see me. I thought he was going to intervene and I was determined to tell him that I wanted his resignation as Secretary of Public Instruction. So I told my aides that I would see him right away. But to my disappointment, he did not say a word about the case. Later on I discovered why. That fellow Sabido went to see the Vice President and told him not to mention anything about the case of Roxas to me saying: ‘The President, I am afraid, will have us all out. ‘

“That is the reason why I say that these people forced me and gave me the chance to discover whether I could run this government or not. You know that in a banquet in the Palace I said that I have always thought that the Vice President was much better qualified than I was to run the government. But it was he himself who convinced me that I can run it better than anybody.

“Way back in 1916, upon the passage of the Jones Law, Osmeña telegraphed me asking what position he could occupy–what I thought should be done–where do you think I should go? I told him that I wanted him to continue being the leader of the party and that therefore he should go to the Senate and be its president. He telegraphed me again that in consultation with the leaders of the party he had decided that he should continue as Speaker and that they would elect me senator. I told them that I wanted to practice my law profession.

“So from the beginning I feared that there would be this conflict and he himself saw it.

“You know the report that the Wood-Forbes Mission made. That report made me mad like hell. I arrived in the Philippines sick with fever and before my arrival Wood had been appointed Governor General. I learned that the legislature had approved, upon the appointment and assumption of office on the part of General Wood, the same joint resolution which was approved when you were appointed Governor General. I sent for Senator Sison and told him: ‘How is it possible that you people have approved his resolution?’ He said: ‘Well, it was presented by Palma. You left Palma as your representative and we assumed that they have consulted with you.’

“That was the most humiliating thing for the legislature to do. So from that time on I realized that Osmeña was not the man to lead the country under those circumstances. I did not immediately start the trouble, but I began to show him that I was not pleased. I criticized him for that and from that time on I started letting him know that there was trouble coming. So we did not have trouble until I was ready for it, and the fight for leadership started. The elections came and I defeated him.”


July 12, 1941

Today’s front page news says Germany and Italy announced plans to divide Yugoslavia and Croatia to be independent. FDR announced the appointment of  William Donovan to head the newly formed Civil Intelligence Agency (CIA).  Britain and  USSR  pledge  mutual aid for war effort.  And William Holden married today, in Las Vegas, Brenda Marshall.  I remember Brenda as a young student at Brent School across Leonard Wood Drive from our White Hall Barracks.  Lt Luis Villareal, then Jr. aide to Pres. Quezon introduced me to her during a social at Quezon’s home at Legarda Road summer of 1937.  She attended our Sunday evening parade twice at Teachers Camp same year.  Now she is a famous Hollywood star. Sayang!

My Mistah Rey Mendoza of CAC, Ft. Wint reported to me how busy they are with their training in Grande Island. CAC was built on solid foundation by its pioneer, US Army Maj Marquart who taught early PA officers like Lts. Silvino de Goma, Carlos Gatmaitan, Jose Fernandez, Jose Cardenas, Fidel Llamas and my seven classmates Caballero, Joe Mendoza, Job T. Mayo, Conrado Nano, Francisco Lumen and Ricardo Foronda.  I remember Maj. Marquart as the Ft Wint Comdr. during our first class trip when we fired the CAC guns with disappearing carriage.  CAC Training was also available at Ft Mills in Corregidor.


June 25, 1941

Front page news today says FDR pledges all possible support to USSR  under German attack on wide front since June 21.  Also, Wilhelm II, German ex-Kaiser died, age 82.  British RAF fighters shot down 26 Nazi planes showing German air superiority over England is waning with the help of their radar system.

I commented previously on the leadership and administration of our military establishment, the Commonwealth Phil Army.  Currently, I consider the leadership and administration under Gen Basilio J Valdes MC comparatively stable and normal with Gen. Vicente Lim as his G-3 and the different services manned by technically trained leaders.

To appreciate how we arrived at this stage, let me mention those early pioneers aside from Quezon’s military advisors (MacArthur, Eisenhower, Ord and Huff) who did the early work.  Maj Gen Paulino Santos was appointed as first Chief of Staff from 1936 to 1939 with Gen Vicente Lim as his G-1.  The PC with Hq at Oriente Bldg was made the nucleus of the PA.  PCA graduates like Maj Porfirio Zablan ’15 with flying aptitude was  recruited by Lim to pioneer the PAAC together with Maj Lee and Lt Jose Francisco USNA ’32.  Then came Lts Pelagio Cruz, P Q Molina, Jesus Villamor Grp and the 17 members of Class ’40 which made PAAC at present a solid organization in personnel.  I remember Miss Aurora Zablan, Maj Zablan’s daughter, a drag of my Mistah Romeo Lising during our summer socials.   I wonder where she is now?  Cav Lising  was a casualty of WWII. 


December 2, 1938

Went aboard the new government yacht Casiana at 6:30 p.m. with Don Alejandro Roces, Colonel Eisenhower, Colonel Hutter, Major Speth, Jake Rosenthal, Bob Rogers and A. D. Williams–all close friends of Quezon, who brought with him also his elder daughter Maria Aurora and his son Manuel Jr.

Very luxurious vessel and admired by all.

Bridge took up most of our waking hours on this brief trip. I had only one conversation with Quezon produced a story to record. He says that on his last visit to the United States in March, 1937, he told President Roosevelt that he was in favour of independence for the Philippines in 1938 or 1939, because the existing situation was impossible since: (a) the relations of the High Commissioner to the Philippine Government were not defined and (b) trade relations under the Tydings-McDuffie Act were so disadvantageous. So far as President Roosevelt was concerned, he was then willing to grant immediate independence.

Quezon reports a scene at the reception then given him in Washington by the Secretary of War. Dr. Stanley Hornbeck, adviser on Far Eastern Affairs in the Department of State, whom he describes as “one of those imperialists” came up to him and sneered at the plight in which the Filipinos would find themselves if they got immediate independence. Quezon roared at him: “We Filipinos can live on rice and fish, and to hell with your sugar and oil.”

Quezon also commented that if Murphy really did not wish to return as High Commissioner when McNutt withdrew, he was in favour of Francis Sayre. He says Sayre is a fine fellow, and a son-in-law of the late President Wilson. He learned as Adviser to the King of Siam how to get on with Orientals. “But,” he added, “Sayre is opposed to commercial concessions by the United States to the Philippines.”

Manuel Roxas joined us for the last day of the trip, and I saw him win seven straight rubbers of bridge. He is singularly well up in American political history. He seems to me facile princeps after Quezon. He is shrewd enough, I think to steer his way through all the shoals around him as he enters the present Administration. Very agreeable and interesting man.


October 21, 1936

Dinner dance at Malacañan for the passengers of the first Pan American Clipper–including Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, the son of a father and mother who had been my childhood friends. The evening was excessively dull.

At his office with the President I told him that one very important feature of the Commonwealth had been the improvement in his health. Pointed to the picture of one year ago showing, Quezon and Murphy, with Secretary of War Dern and Speaker Byrnes–the two latter were now dead. Quezon replied that he was far too busy to die, or to think of death.

Asked him about his new yacht, which is due here at the end of this month. Advised him to anchor out in the bay in her, and he said he would have a 25 knot launch. He must get away; was restless and remarked that he was tired out. He was not going to Baguio, and wanted to take my son Kiko on a provincial trip.

He then called in Osmeña and some sixty members of the Assembly (who were waiting en masse for the appointments of justices of the peace), and the President then administered to me before them the oath as a Philippine citizen. Cordial and good feelings on all sides, and it was a very pleasant and dignified ceremony, befitting the significance of the act. Judge Agra is preparing for me a seat in the Assembly in the next elections!!


August 17, 1936

The August 15 edition of La Union reports an intelligent speech by Diputada Dolores Ibarruri in the Cortes in Spain, which makes clear the Civil War in Spain is largely based upon landlord and tenant disputes.

Visited the Survey Board; interesting conference with Don Miguel Unson, who was in one of his more confidential moods. We agreed in sympathizing with Quezon’s rather futile effort to escape from a life-long habit as a partisan politician. He is caught on flypaper, also, with his almost hopeless task of coping with the bureaucracy and with inter-departmental jealousies. His one big mistake was in taking over the Cabinet of his predecessor. If he had chosen as his Cabinet fresh men, infused with the new spirit of the Commonwealth, he might have been able to carry out his plans. “The people think he is strong!” said Unson. He then began on the subject of MacArthur and referred to Quezon’s unshakable confidence in the Marshal: “MacArthur has great prestige to maintain, and he would not do anything to lower it, but people are already laughing at his defense plans–what could we do to prevent Japan from taking Mindanao? A country is not supposed to be conquered until its capital is taken; but the Japanese could say “we don’t want Manila, we only want Mindanao”–as indeed they have done in Manchuria. What we really need here, thinks Unson, is a strong National Police force which could protect the rights of foreigners and avoid international incidents.” (N.B. It does appear that MacArthur’s defense plans refer principally to Luzon.) Unson then told the story of General Alejandrino’s resignation as adviser to the President. He had been studying defense plans since 1914, and was a member of the Council of National Defense when he became an adviser in January last. He prepared a plan for the National Police and had reached a certain point which needed a decision by the President, but his request for an interview was ignored. Se he resigned. Now Quezon has asked him to become once more a member of the Council of National Defense, and he told Unson he was reluctant to accept “because he wished to preserve his independence of thought.”

About the creation of a National Police force, Unson says my suggestion of a Guardia Civil is impracticable (I suppose because of opposition from the Army–plus the matter of cost). Quezon cannot consent to disentangle the Constabulary from the Army but expects to be able to retain direct control of the Constabulary branch of the army himself. His idea is now to put the Municipal police directly under the Constabulary with power to move them from one town to the other etc. This, Unson confesses is a direct invasion of municipal autonomy–“just when we are talking of giving greater autonomy to the municipalities”!–I told him that this, after all, is the English method of government–like “Alice through the Looking Glass”–he laughed and replied “well, we are doing some of it here already.” We then discussed the apparent impossibility of a solution of the problem of the government of the City of Manila. He says an elective Mayor would make it only worse. We agreed upon the hopelessness of the street and traffic problems–he cited what the Chinese have done in Canton and Amoy.

Unson then mentioned Guevara’s opinion that the United States had wanted the creation of an army here. He himself had referred this question to Governor General Murphy, who said “no,” then bit his lips and changed the subject.


August 13-17, 1936

August 15 at Rafferty’s dinner (Grawfus). I sat between Alfonso Sy Cip and Romulo, head of the Herald. Romulo told me of his dramatic defiance of General Wood, when the latter called him on the carpet for the attitude of his paper–(all of which was published in the Herald at the time); of the magnificent impromptu speech by Quezon in defense of my administration at a banker’s dinner in San Francisco. Romulo also said Manuel Roxas is “laying low”; that Quezon was mentioning my name to be first for inscription on the gold plate to be put up at Malacañan (on the first anniversary of the Commonwealth) to commemorate those Americans &c &c–Romulo also remarked: “it would be terrible if the Republicans won the election in the United States.”

Reception at Malacañan this night. As we had dined first at Colonel Garfinkel’s at Fort McKinley, we arrived after the reception line had dissolved and after the Rigodon had been danced. Quezon was in very good form and was pleased to show various improvements he had made in the Palace, which is now lighted by the great chandeliers from the old Ayuntamiento and was cheerfully bright for the first time since the Cimmerian darkness of the Murphy regime. The cabaret downstairs was dreadfully overcrowded. No whiskey was served at the bar. Dancers were streaming with sweat. Traffic, however, was better managed than I have ever seen it, for three different parking places were provided with a telephone to each. The refusal of Quezon to have whiskey and soda served surprised me more than anything I have ever known him to do. It can hardly have been the monastic influence of his predecessor! Anyway it made most of the guests leave early to dash for the Manila Hotel. However, Quezon himself, went to bed at 10:30 so he can’t have cared how early the guests left. Mrs. Quezon appeared, and was very agreeable.


August 11, 1936

Saw Quezon coming out at 9:30 with A.D. Williams, Arellano the architect and Assemblyman Magalona. He called out to me asking me to lunch with him, and a moment later sent a messenger to ask me to join his party. We went down to the Port Area to see the land which Magalona wants to lease for a hotel. Quezon told me it would not compete with the Manila Hotel, since it would be of a different class, and would not be a success anyway –the group of Negros sugar planters represented by Magalona “had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it”; they hoped to construct the hotel in four months to be ready for the coming Eucharistic Congress. Quezon approved the plan “because the government might as well get the income from the rental.” Somebody added that “the Government would probably get the hotel in the end –to use for offices.”

Quezon talked of getting rid of the San Miguel Brewery as a neighbour of Malacañan Palace, and making government offices there, so that he could house all the bureaus under the control of the President in one group around him: Civil Service, Auditor, Budget Office &c. Apparently, he contemplates exchanging the Government Ice Plant (now leased for 120,000 pesos a year to San Miguel Brewery and assessed as worth 1,200,000) for the brewery buildings next to Malacañan.

Quezon also told us that Cuenco had been to see him asking his aid in getting the Assembly to modify the new inheritance tax law so as to exempt bequests for religious and educational purposes. Maximo Kalaw, the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee had then come to ask him to oppose this change. Quezon is opposed anyway –says the Government is spending a very great deal of money anyway on educational and charitable programs. The papers carry an item of another decision backed by Quezon to insist on the payment of certain taxes by the Church. It is possible he feels restless now over his re-conversion to the Church made when he was so ill in California several years ago. He is, I think, irked both by that and the partial restriction of his mental liberty. If so, the Church had won a Pyrrhic victory in restoring him to its bosom! I remember how at the time of my appointment as Governor General, the question was “why not send a Catholic to a Catholic country?” and the reply was “The Church doesn’t want a Catholic as Governor General –they had one in Governor General Smith, and he was so impartial in his relation to the Church that he leaned over backward!”

On our return to Malacañan, the President and I went to his office and I told him I wished to ask him about three points he had suggested to me as to my future relations out here!

(1) He had said I had better stay on out here for the rest of my life (giving complimentary reasons) –“not of course always in the Government –but as an investor” –I now was asked to become a director of a company about to be launched. He properly replied it would not be suitable “so long as I was at Malacañan”– of course he “had no objection to my making investments here.” (I passed up for the moment the plan I am forming to get out of the government service). Then Quezon asked me what was the second question?

(2) I raised again his suggestion that I should collaborate with him in a history of the Governors General since my time. His face lit up with this. I said we should not wait, but “strike while the iron’s hot.” He agreed, and advocated my seeing him three times a week, either while driving around or in Malacañan, adding “I like your company, and I think you like mine.” “The way not to write a biography is to sit down to it, because then one often misses the important points.” My third question.

(3) Was whether he had consulted Secretary Yulo as to Americans taking up Philippine citizenship. He jumped and said: “By Jove, I had forgotten that” and sent for Yulo immediately.

Then he went into the matter of his relations with  Murphy, saying “Murphy is a man who avoids facing a difficult situation –especially with a determined man like myself. If he ever comes back here he will not dare to try to run the government. I would rather have Weldon Jones here –he is clever, wise, and modest. I consulted him about that part of my message to the Assembly denouncing the withholding of the excise taxes in the United States –and he was very helpful.”

Quezon then gave me a copy of his letter of November 2, ’35 to Murphy opposing a “definition by the Secretary of War of the duties and privileges of the High Commissioner” and stating forcibly the constitutional rights of the new Commonwealth. Murphy never replied to this. The President went on to discuss the powers of inspection of the High Commissioner into the offices of the government, which are very broad. Said he had drawn up an authorization for all bureaus and offices to give information upon request by the High Commissioner, but on advice of Yulo he had withheld this. However, the only two matters on which information has not been furnished are: (a) the Philippine National Bank, which refused “in spite of my orders to furnish a copy of their minutes to the High Commissioner and I did not press them further” and (b) as to the Belo Fund. Murphy came to see him with a demand for the list of payments in the Belo Fund, and Quezon told him he could see it himself, but he would not turn it over to the High Commissioner’s office. He told Murphy: ” The powers of inspection of your office are based on the responsibility of the United States to make sure that Philippine finances are kept sound. How could the authorized expenditure of my 250,000 Belo Fund affect the general financial position? If this, however, is mere curiosity, or is an attempt to show that I have not administered the fund honestly and legally, –I resent it.” Murphy returned to the enquiry later, but got no further. Quezon went on the steamer as far as Hong Kong with Murphy who then never raised the question, but en route to Shanghai he gave Yulo a letter on the point, saying he need not put it on the record if it was thought unwise. Yulo never gave this letter to Quezon. Then, the President continued: “I would rather deal with a man who came out in the open like Stimson –who was a savage, but not one who fought from ambush– he was out on the open road always ready for a scrap. He was brutal –I never knew a man so well brought up who was so rough. Once during Stimson’s administration as Governor General, Don Miguel Unson came to me and said he would have to resign as acting Secretary of Finance. I persuaded him not to resign and then told Stimson, who replied: ‘I have tried to be careful with the Filipinos and especially with Unson –I didn’t know I was rough!'”

Later, at luncheon with Quezon and Aldanese, I opened the conversation by saying I had seen in the papers that he is interested in the Leyte Rock Asphalt dispute with the Bureau of Public Works. That this was not my business, but I had the papers on my desk and here they were –the latest statements from A.D. Williams and Claude Russell. He said at once “I am in favour of A.D.” –(so sounds the death knell of an infant Philippine industry!). He went on to say that Claude Russell had lost the government a lot of money as head of the defunct coal company (no doubt he did, but this valuable coal is now about to “come home to roost”). He added that General Wood came out here breathing fire and promising to “take the Government out of business,” but the only business they should properly have relinquished was that of coal, and: “Wood kept hold of this company for two years after we tried to close it up, because Russell kept flattering him.” He then went on about Wood. I told of the day in November 1920 when the news of Harding’s election as President had been received here. At the moment, I was driving up to Malacañan with Quezon and Osmeña and one of them said: “This means either Wood or Forbes.” “How did you come to prophecy Wood?” I asked. Quezon replied: “We didn’t select Wood; he was chosen because he was a defeated candidate for the Presidency and Harding didn’t want him around. I had first known Harding when he was a Senator, and asked him later in the White House why he had sent Wood to the Philippines. Harding replied: ‘Because the people of the Philippines asked for him.’ ‘Why, Mr. President, no reputable Filipino would ask for a man who had insulted them as the Wood-Forbes Report did.'” (Quezon found there a telegram prepared by Fairchild and Cotterman! I asked if any Filipino had signed it and he said “perhaps Aguinaldo.”) “But,” added President Harding, “Wood will stay there only a year, for the University of Pennsylvania has elected him Chancellor, and will hold it open for a year.” Quezon thereafter started back to Manila and meanwhile the Legislature had passed a resolution offering co-operation to Wood. Quezon was angry about this. He told Osmeña they ought to fight, but Osmeña was for compromise. During the first year, the Legislature passed every bill requested by Wood. At the end of the year, Harding wired Wood that he was unwilling to impose on his sacrifice any longer, but Wood replied that his work here was unfinished. “No gentleman,” remarked Quezon, “would reply in that way to the President’s suggestion.” The Chancellorship of the University of Pennsylvania was then given to another, and Wood remained as Governor General for some six more years until his death. Both men present at this lunch said that Wood had employed every effort to investigate them. Aldanese added that he was not aware that for two months, four army secret service men had been raking everywhere for his “graft” because he wore a diamond ring and was building a house. They examined all the banks in Manila for proof of his supposed wrong-doing. Then Wood congratulated him (Aldanese) “because there was nothing against him.” Quezon said they had made a search for his “five millions” which were, they concluded “probably in Spain”!! George Fairchild, who was a traitor to Quezon (and to me) in every other respect, said at that time in a conference with Wood, that Quezon never had been a grafter. Fairchild ought to know, because when my administration had helped him to start his sugar central at San Jose, Mindoro, George had offered him 600,000 pesos of the stock which Quezon refused. Fairchild then gave some of this stock to his lawyers: Jim Ross, who kept his (and lost) and his partner Ham Lawrence, who sold his (and gained).

Quezon then told of the special election for senator of Ramon Fernandez over Sumulong. He said that one day at lunch at Malacañan he told Wood that the contest was not between those two candidates, but it was Wood vs. Quezon and that he (Quezon) would beat him in every precinct. Wood (who had a sense of humour, as Quezon remarked) smiled and replied that he was afraid that was so. And so it was! Quezon and Aldanese agreed that Wood’s mind had begun to fail when he was here as Governor General.

The President had invited Collector of Customs Aldanese, to lunch in order to discuss measures for increasing the safety at sea on Philippine ships. He said that on a recent trip to Cebu with Osmeña, he had put “Baby” Quezon (his eldest daughter) with a party in one of the ship’s boats, which leaked, and it required two men to keep bailing it out; –then, one after the another two oars broke! Aldanese was told that a committee of naval officers would visit him at Quezon’s request to discuss plans for greater safety. Aldanese said regulations were not observed in ships because the owners pushed the captain to carry more passengers than the law allows to ports where there are no customs officers; he added that the law should be amended to provide for power of suspension of the right to navigate a vessel, so the owners would have to back up the ships’ officers in enforcing regulations. Quezon agreed. They also said that far too many officers are employed on these ships. The President remarked that he would furnish Aldanese with twelve secret service men to travel about and investigate the shipping situation.