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.


August 3-9, 1936

On August 3rd the Bulletin carried an article stating that the High Commissioner’s office had turned “thumbs down” on the proposed new bond issue for public works pending in the Assembly. The Herald that afternoon published a very aggressive and powerful statement by Quezon that the High Commissioner’s office had absolutely no legal authority to interfere in the matter of the bond issue, and denouncing the Bulletin etc. I telephoned him that night to congratulate him on his statement. He was pleased, but said he was in bed with a temperature of 102° (probably the result of yesterday’s lechon at the picnic he gave in Laguna Province for the Assembly!); he added: “I was somewhat provoked by the Bulletin’s article.” Subsequently, he told me how the idea had been given to the Assembly thru Cuenco–that the policy of the Bulletin was to be always “throwing bricks” at the Administration; that it was also that paper’s fixed principle to try to make out that the High Commissioners governed the Philippines, (contrary to the provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act). His vigorous counter-attack threw the Bulletin office into confusion, and Taylor sent Ora Smith to Malacañan to apologize, but he couldn’t see the President because of his illness. Quezon told me “every pain I had in my stomach I laid on the Bulletin.” Weldon Jones came to see him the next day and said “This may cost me my job,” so Quezon sent a letter by Clipper to Murphy stating that Jones was not responsible for the “thumbs down” article; that he was very satisfactory here, and would be the best man for High Commissioner if Murphy did not come back.

On the same day (August 3rd) the Herald printed an article by MacArthur on the defense of the Philippines. It was an extremely able and brilliant analysis of the military problems of this country, and made very convincing reading. Quezon was so much pleased that he proposes to give a banquet in favour of General MacArthur.

Quezon was in Baguio August 5-8, 1936. Jim Ross had dinner with him recently, and the President said that Mrs. Quezon was going away for a year. Jim told him to be careful and to remember “the fierce light which beats upon the throne”!


July 24, 1936

Breakfast at Malacañan Palace with the President, Secretary Yulo, Carmona and architect Arellano.

Before the others arrived, I told Quezon how much I approved his appointment of Hermenegildo Cruz as Director of the Bureau of Labour, and the President replied that under the preceding administration Cruz had been “framed,” but that he (Quezon) had then advised him to resign because he had lost the confidence of Governor Murphy.

At the table, the President remarked that he was reading Professor Kirk’s new book on the Philippines, and enjoyed the first chapter so much because of the cynicism with which the author exposes the “cant” of McKinley’s government in pious profession of the “White Man’s Burden.” He added that Governor Forbes had really believed in that cliche. Quezon and I both admitted to one another that we had tried to read Governor Forbes’ book on the Philippines, and had been quite unable to do so.

After lunch, we all went down to Binondo to look at three sites for the proposed new building of the Philippine National Bank. In the business district, the crowds stared at Quezon as if he were royalty!

I enquired as to Quezon’s opinion of the present disorders in Spain. He replied that the Spanish people are not fit for self-government, and have lost the ability to carry on under a constitutional monarchy. “What they need,” he remarked “is five years of a dictatorship.”

To dinner with Colonel Hodsoll at the Manila Club; the first entertainment given by the English since the death of King George V.


July 8, 1936

Forty minutes with Quezon in his office in the Executive Building. I think he is bothered by the air-conditioning in the Palace. Had not seen him for 18 days, during part of which he had the flu–he looks rather worn and tired, and seemed under somewhat of a nervous strain. Showed me the eight enlarged photographs which he has hung on the walls of this office–Taft, Murphy and I are the three Americans. I then approached the subject of appointive governors; told him the Survey Board was anxious to recommend this to him, but did not wish to embarrass him;–that I thought there would be considerable support for it in the Assembly. Also, I advanced Miguel Unson’s project for a Provincial Council (of the administrative officials) and an elected provincial board of four. I asked whether it would not be better to combine both into one body? He replied that the whole Cabinet (except Osmeña) was in favour of appointive Governors; when the Americans wished to appear to be bringing self-government to the Filipinos, they gave them elective governors, but gave the latter no power, retaining all authority in the hands of the Governor General and that this move had been a sham. He said he would transmit the Survey Board’s recommendation to the Assembly with the frank comment that he did not need the power of appointment, since he has complete control now, and if the Assembly wanted to introduce more self-government they should take part of it away from him and give it to the governors. However, he stated that only the United States and Mexico and a few other countries had elected Governors (n.b. there are special historical reasons for this in the United States); that all the other countries had appointive governors–that it was much better administration, and would be no real infringement on democracy.

Quezon next said that when Weldon Jones had lunch with him recently, the latter suggested that the High Commissioner would be pleased to know that the President had recommended the abolition of the Belo fund–that Murphy had wanted this done. Quezon appears to have flared up at this and asked: “Why did Murphy use the Belo fund for two and one-half years as Governor General and then want it taken away from his successor?” Quezon then added: “Murphy is an Irishman.” He explained that the Belo fund had been first given to Governor General Stimson, who took over when Wood had completely disorganized this government with his “Cavalry Cabinet.” The Governor General’s office was then out of touch with the natural channels of administration. But the Belo fund had served its purpose long ago, and Quezon wished to regularize appropriation laws by abolishing the fund after he had completely organized his government structure. Weldon Jones answered that Murphy had told him he had taken up this matter with Quezon en route to Hong Kong, but the President replied that Murphy had never mentioned it. It appears that Murphy had suggested it to Secretary Yulo, but Yulo says nobody would dare to take it up with Quezon!

The President then told me that if Murphy does not come back he will advise the appointment of Jones as High Commissioner. He thinks Jones has plenty of brains and good judgment. (n.b. it appears from this involved story that Quezon is intensely resentful of anything being carried on behind his back which affects his powers or privileges).

As I was leaving, I asked the President whether he had struck a snag in the Landlord and Tenant act? He said: “yes, I had been intending to talk to you about that–it is a bad law.” I supposed I looked very blank for he went on to say there are no teeth in the law “and what we need in this country is teeth.” I asked him whether he had read my original bill which, upon his instructions, I took to Diokno for advice as counsel to the government corporations. He said “No”! I told him it was attached to Diokno’s version of the bill when I handed it to him, and that it contained all the teeth of Gladstone’s Irish Land Laws, and that Diokno had modified it by including some of the provisions of the existing Civil Code–which, instead, might well have been amended this was intended to meet the objections of both Diokno and Yulo that we could not “impair the obligation of contracts.” “That,” said the President, “is what spoiled the bill.” He then left me and, carrying the bill, went into the adjoining room, where the Cabinet was in session behind closed doors. After some ten minutes he came back, closing the door again, and stood before me with his shoulders thrown back in the characteristic stance of an Ilongot warrior (a nation in the Luzon mountains from which his own mother had sprung). Waving the bill again he said: “Governor, this is a bad bill.” I replied, “No! Mr. President, that is a good bill, but it has one all-important defect in the eyes of those to whom you may just now have shown it–there are too many representatives of the Caciques among them–nearly all those who have been called on to pass upon it, except you and myself, are members of, or representatives of the great landowning caste.” Quezon seemed somewhat impatient and high-strung, so I excused myself and left him.

So ended a chapter, so far as I was concerned, and the pity of it is that our ardent wish to cut out of the life of this country the cancer which is eating at the provinces has gone glimmering! There was not even a suggestion from the President of having the bill amended again, or reframed, as so many of the bills are before passage into law. I see that my hopes of evolving a yeoman stock of small landowners in place of the existing feudal system in the country districts is dished. When I reflect that Quezon himself, a few short months ago, had first suggested to me the Irish Land Laws as a model for the Philippines, and how ardently he himself had wished for that reform, I wish I knew what influences had meanwhile so powerfully turned him to the “right about”! Later that day, A. D. Williams, the American he constantly on all of his manifold building and construction enterprises, and who is probably more frequently at his side than any other of my fellow countrymen, told me that “a prominent Nueva Ecija landowner,” whom we all know well, probably killed the bill. If that is correct, Quezon’s attitude before me this morning was a simply superb display of his histrionic talents!

At all events, I now feel that my usefulness to him has been impaired, and I shall await a suitable opportunity to resign my post.


July 3-7, 1936

Politically, a dull period; I did not see Quezon and talked with him only once on the telephone when I invited him to come to our dance at Parañaque. Doria and I have spent the time at bridge, golf, dancing, dining out and the cinema. The newspapers have been uninspiring, containing chiefly flaring headlines about Murphy in the United States,–asking whether he is to be a candidate for Governor of Michigan, or will come back here instead as High Commissioner. His attitude appears to be that of “Richard Yea and Nay.”


June 22, 1936

At office; visit from Becker from Aparri, who has always been a sort of confidential agent of the Government on affairs in the far north. Says he cannot persuade his two handsome mestizo sons to go to the Military Academy to become army officers. He came down to Manila to try to induce the President to visit the Northern Islands–as to which I talked later with Quezon and he agreed to go to see the Batanes, Camiguin etc “in between two typhoons,” tho he spoke rather ruefully of a typhoon getting him and me! Becker also asked to have one of Quezon’s confidential advisers sent up to Aparri for a while.

Becker says the Japanese are settling in isolated places on that coast, getting sea weed (for iodine)–they pay 5 centavos a kilo for the sea weed and sell it for 22. They also take camagon wood from the forests and load it in Japanese ships returning from the South. The island of Camiguin is heavily wooded with fine timber, and is people by those of Aguinaldo’s small force who escaped northwards when he was captured in Palanan by Funston. Becker says the Japanese fish these waters with ice-supplied boats which are periodically visited by a mother ship.

The country of the northern coast is a fine source of supply of rattan, and there are thousands of hectares lying idle in the interior. Ilocano emigrants are slowly trickling into Cagayan province. Many Negritos are in the cordillera east of Lake Cagayan, which, by the way, is not nearly so large as is shown on the maps. There was, he added, no danger of attack from the Negritos unless one goes armed. The Apayaos and Kalingas no longer disturb travelers from Ilocos immigrating via Abra across their country. The Aparri breakwater is not yet finished. Once a month a subsidized Tabacalera steamer calls at Batanes with supplies but gets practically no cargo there.

Later from 10:30 to 1:40 on the balcony at Malacañan Palace with Unson, Yulo and Marabut checking up on Quezon’s message on the budget–later we were joined by Quezon, Osmeña and Vargas–(Osmeña came on other business but took part in this discussion).

After having his office in Malacañan air-conditioned, Quezon turned the “conditioning” off and sits outside on the balcony to do his office work. (Those of whom I enquire here seem to be of two minds concerning the advantages of air-conditioning–a process new here, tho I first experienced it in Buenos Aires six or seven years ago!)

Visit from Ramon Diokno and Eulogio Benitez with the former’s draft of my landlord & tenant bill; he has amplified it by including amended portions of the Civil Code, rice tenancy law and sugar tenants law–a remarkable bit of legislative drafting. If this bill is adopted it will free the “serfs” on the land and provide in the Philippines an exit from the feudal system.

Talk with Unson concerning the plan to make the Governors of Provinces appointive instead of elective (qua France). It will have support in the Assembly since this measure would enhance the prestige of Assemblymen, who will then be the chief elective officials in the provinces. Even if he favours this centralization of power, Quezon will hardly come forward to advocate it, since it appears superficially to be a step back from democracy!

Unson reports that the disappearance of fish from their former haunts in the Philippine waters is due chiefly to dynamiting. He said further that agents from the Department of Labour foment “safe” strikes in order to have the credit for settling them. His last bit of official gossip was that the Philippine Army is to buy old type Enfield rifles, and .45 caliber revolvers–a size Unson thinks unsuitable for Filipinos.

When Quezon joined our group, his budget was gone through, and he was particularly concerned to change the last paragraph which as originally drafted, sternly admonished the Assembly not to touch the surplus of the government–(thirty-one million pesos nominally–nine millions real unencumbered surplus)–Quezon asked us what we thought of appropriating the government’s surplus. Unson spoke up at once, pointing out that the system had been different here than elsewhere. In England and France they budgeted only for expected actual expenditures. Quezon and he agreed that the real riches of a nation were to be found in the pockets of the people and not in the Government vaults. I told of the first United States surplus under President Andrew Jackson, which was divided up by the government among the states. Quezon then modified his budget message so as to leave a door open to use the nine million surplus later if needed; said he wanted to get his tax laws through first, then take five millions of the surplus as a revolving fund for the development of Mindanao. He went on to say that the trouble in using a surplus would not be with the Assembly, but with the United States Government which under the Tydings-McDuffie law has powers to intervene here in financial matters–that the High Commissioner was always at him to keep a surplus and to balance the budget–principles which, however, Murphy did not himself observe when Mayor of Detroit, and which are certainly not followed by his chief, President Roosevelt. “I could manage Weldon Jones” he said, “but it is hardly worth while for he will not be Deputy High Commissioner for long; from what I read in this morning’s paper, Murphy will be back in a few months; in reference to a proposed nomination for Governor of Michigan, he now states that his work in the Philippines is not yet finished.”

The President then invited me to lunch with him after all the others left, and told me how he had left Manila dead beat on Friday but as soon as he got to Atimonan and had a swim he wanted my company and thought of wiring for me to join him on an excursion to Alabat Island where the sea bathing is so wonderful. He had talked to the school teacher at Alabat and found that in the schools practically no Filipino patriotism is taught. Said he had gone in swimming again at Sunset Beach, Cavite, “but if I had not been enough of a man to go through with it, I would have refused on account of the jelly-fish.”

I handed him the Landlord & Tenant bill. He said Secretary Torres had come to him a day or two after his message to the Assembly last Tuesday, and had told him that his passages referring to the land system had killed all danger of disturbances; especially now that he has reversed his former position and has come out against purchase by the government of the great estates. I asked him if the church was not disappointed. He said “Yes, for they expected to sell their lands to the government at a terribly high price.”

He had been reading a Spanish work of the early conquest of the Philippines and expressed regret that the high reputation of the Filipinos for commercial honesty in their early dealings with the foreigners was no longer maintained today. He also said he was sorry that the Spanish expeditions of long ago against the Moluccas and Borneo had failed–for by now they would be the center of a great empire. I remarked that this would come to pass anyway in the future. Quezon agreed.

I enquired whether he wished the Survey Board to proceed with their attempt to consolidate scientific laboratories or to wait, since, against the wish of his own expert adviser, Dr. Manuel Roxas, he had wired to ask for some export from the Mellon Institute, to come out here to help us to reorganize. He said: “Yes, go ahead.” The President is determined, if possible, to prevent “overlapping” and we dealt with the extreme difficulty of getting at the real facts from the bureaus concerned here!

I asked him to request Washington to prolong the service of Consul General Hoover at Hong Kong for one year (to the time of Hoover’s retirement). He at once drew up a cable to the High Commissioner to that effect, which was very complimentary to Hoover.

Told him that Doria and I wanted to go to Bali for a couple of weeks:–he replied that he did not understand the interest in Bali, adding: “We have plenty of Balis here.”

Quezon then said he was celebrating a great event today telling me that a month ago, spots had been discovered again on his lungs. He had been dreadfully worried, and told nobody, not even his wife, but today another examination had been made and he is now absolutely clean of tuberculosis. Meanwhile, he had taken exercise and had avoided the sun. This dread of tuberculosis hangs over all the truly brilliant prospects of his remarkable career.

Asked him for the pardon of Evangelista in San Ramon and he said he would attend to it.

He had asked Unson about amending the sales tax law so as to collect it at a higher percentage but with a single incidence, and thus to stop tax evasions. Unson said it was impossible to stop Chinese evasions, and that collection at the source would penalize manufacturers instead of falling on the merchants.

In the afternoon, tea dance at Bilibid for the birthday of General Santos. Quezon was there, but did not seem to enjoy himself much.


June 13, 1936

At sea–caucus between Quezon and members of the Legislature. Most convincing evidence of good will and cooperation of the executive and legislature upon a high level of intelligence. The President’s method of address to the Assembly was perfect:–extreme seriousness in presenting his plans, and terminating many a subject with a pretty wit which brought roars from his audience. I believe he will get his whole program through, and very progressive it is: increased income tax and inheritance tax; increased taxes upon the mining industry (where not still in the exploration stage); change of cedula into “school tax”; progressive land tax on large estates to solve agrarian problems without the necessity of government purchase of all the Church haciendas (my contribution); regulation of transport by omnibus so as not to lose government investment in the railroad; trebling of sales tax, but to be imposed only once–and at the source. He said that without these taxes there would be only one million pesos surplus in the budget–which left nothing extra for the “pork barrel,” i.e., public works. If passed, he would see that the Assembly had at least three millions more to spend on public works. He also recommended Boards of Arbitration for fixing minimum wages, etc.–said they had been going slow heretofore in labour legislation being recommendations from the Department of Labour are “too theoretical” and might possibly cause damage greater than their good. Time, he thinks, has now come to make a beginning “for we have done nothing as yet for the labourer and small farmer.” (To my surprise, when Quezon broached his “somewhat radical” plan for a progressive land tax, Roxas who sat next me turned and said “splendid”).

Quezon told the Assembly that he would recommend nothing bearing on the tariff laws, until after a trade conference with the United States; and nothing changing the currency laws as at present.

Then Osmeña spoke, gracefully and eloquently. It was a very passionate and convincing address. The first part was about the development of Mindanao, in which he made references to work in the past of Quezon, Carpenter and me. Then turned to leprosy problem (Culion)–Quezon is anxious to abandon Culion and have separate leprosia in different provinces, so as not to separate and isolate the lepers so horribly. Osmeña (and Dr. Cañizares) believe leprosy is contagious and especially so in childhood. Roxas says the annual increase of lepers in the Philippines is one thousand; all they can do is to take care of them. He adds that the Philippine Government has, so far, spent twenty million pesos on Culion–chiefly in subsistence and transportation.

Quezon finished by saying that hereafter, bills for legislation would not be transmitted to the Legislature by the Executive but even if prepared in the Executive branch would be handed to Chairmen of Committees. He concluded by saying that there is no reason for calling this a junketing trip, due to the serious and productive conferences aboard. At the same time, he did not deny that there had been recreation on the journey, adding: “For my own part, when I became a candidate for the Presidency, I did not become a candidate as Obispo.

Visit to the Culion Leper Colony: Quezon was very emotionne and quoted Dante’s inscription over Inferno--Osmeña once more did the honours, and made the speech. Cured lepers, who are discharged, are not wanted any longer at home especially if they bear traces of their former disease, and after 6 months or so they usually write asking permission to come back here and settle in the “Negative Barrio.” Private capital is doing good business in this town of 7000, with a cinema, electric light plant and Chinese tiendas. After a drive around by motor, in which many facts were discussed in relation to the disease, back to the Negros–and off on our last leg towards Manila.

At lunch there was an interesting discussion between Quezon, Roxas and Sabido over labour. Roxas says there are no labour problems in the Philippines except in two or three large towns. They all condemned the attitude of the Bureau of Labour (now a Department) in trying to stir up trouble. Murphy’s creations of Parole Courts and Public Defenders were attacked;–evidently Secretary Torres is going to have a rough ride in this National Assembly.

Quezon said “someone” (F.B.H.) had told him how agents of the Department of Labour went around asking labourers if “there were any complaints” and he had given Torres a severe dressing down. He added that the right man for Secretary of Labour is Varona, whose attitude is always reasonable–he has common sense and a great hold over labour audiences. Quezon also remarked that the labour leaders in the Philippines are generally “crooks.”

An interesting constitutional question arose between Quezon and Roxas as to impeachment–Quezon is opposed to the unicameral system; he says esprit de corps will cause the Assembly to impeach the Executive and so long as the Commonwealth endures, ultimate safety lies in the President of the United States having the last say. After complete independence the situation would be dangerous–he says a vigorous Executive would send General Santos with soldiers to close the Assembly! This may be prophetic.

At dinner with Quezon and Roxas alone, I commented on how little things change in the Philippines–here were the two of us together again twenty-three years later! Quezon answered: “Isn’t it beautiful.”

Long talk later with Floor Leader Romero of Dumaguete.


June 12, 1936

All day at sea. Worked in the morning on Landlord & Tenant bill. Bridge with Quezon, Roxas and Sabido. At Dumaguete from 4-5 p.m. to allow four Visayan Assemblymen to disembark. Quezon again put Osmeña forward to receive the honors. The President took Speth, Assemblyman Villanueva and me by motor out to see the hot springs. Many attractions in this neighbourhood. They have a “Baguio” at 3000 feet on the extinct volcano–very rich soil, and 70,000 people in or near the town; Quezon agreed that there is sufficient population here to make a chartered city with a decent hotel, this could be developed into a tourist resort. There is a crater lake, also limestone caves which are a great site for archaeology–evidences of iron, gold and sulphur exist hereabouts. They have a successful Methodist university, the Silliman. Quezon asked me many questions about Dr. Otley Beyer–evidently wants to be informed of the ancient history of the Philippines. Said he himself had Ilongot blood through his mother. There are many mestizas in Dumaguete–it appears that when the Spanish liberals were exiled to Mexico, some of them drifted out here and to Zamboanga. Quezon remarked that they did a good job!

Quezon talked of the Public Service Commission which as he recalled was one of the progressive acts of my Administration, intended to protect the public, but had turned out exactly the opposite; said the Supreme Court under Johnson had entirely rewritten our law; remarked that he ought to have been on the Supreme Court himself. Has now put Vera as Public Service Commissioner to try to get things more decently run. I told him there was general dissatisfaction with this commission.

At dinner, the President talked with me confidentially about Osmeña & Roxas. He had been very reluctant to oust Osmeña as the leader in the days when I was here (as I was then urging him to do) for it would have been said that he had gained the leadership thru the support of the American Governor General. He added that he had lost Roxas to Osmeña when those two were on the “Osrox” mission to Washington–that they then believed he, Quezon, was dying. That he was reluctant even then to go to issue with Osmeña, but his Senators were “sick of O” and forced him into it. He said Osmeña is now less powerful mentally, and was not at all the man I used to know–no brilliant ideas–always coming to him for appointments, in which he (Quezon) skillfully outmaneuvers him, taking a leaf from Osmeña’s own book. I asked him why Osmeña looked so triste; whether it was his troubled family affairs (his sons)? “No” he replied–indicating that it was Osmeña’s loss of power. Said he had been ready to break with the whole lot of them over Teacher’s Camp in Baguio, even to the point of accepting the resignation of Osmeña as a Cabinet member! He thinks Roxas is the one with brains, but that he would have to break him if he went on organizing “his fellows.” Quezon said he could not let down his own supporters, who had “made him President.”

I suggested a method of his writing as he wished his account of the administrations from Wood to Murphy in collaboration with me by having a stenographer present and letting me ask him questions. I told him this would be the way to get his vivid personality into print. He seemed pleased to agree. I made some mention of when I “left here” and he enquired anxiously whether I was going–told him that was only to spare him any embarrassment that I really wanted to stay here. Quezon said that is what I should do–get a home; invest here; that I had more friends here than anywhere else; that my life’s work had been done out here, and that Filipino historians would agree that they would still be Struggling for their independence if it had not been for me.

We discussed the missionaries out here, with whom I never had any trouble. He stated they caused him embarrassment only recently by complaining about the Philippine Army and by saying to President Roosevelt that its spirit was anti-Christian. The High Commissioner had brought him an enquiry on this matter and he remarked: “The answer was easy,–President Roosevelt signed our constitution, and we are only carrying out what is permitted in that.”

Talked of present population of the Philippines. He now agrees that there are probably 16,000,000 (I think 18) and may be 25 in ten years. Makes him jubilant over the possible size of the army.

Memo: In Zamboanga I commented to Colonel Stevens on the fact that there had been three killings in Jolo that week. His reply was “they are at least 3 behind schedule–they average one a day.” When asked why? he said: “Because they like it.”


June 10, 1936

All day at sea. Quezon talked of the newspaper press, and said they had always (except of the Herald–“which was founded by me (Quezon) with the money of my friends”) attacked him and supported Osmeña. He added: “Murphy had daily press conferences and one a week for foreign correspondents, while I agreed to one general press conference a week, and only kept three of those”!

Quezon said of Davao that he intended to persuade ten rich families from Negros, Bulacan and Pangasinan to take up a thousand hectares each, and establish modern hemp haciendas there to show the Filipinos that they can cultivate better than the Japanese. The advantages of the latter in hemp had been in organization and modern science–qualities quite lacking in the hemp culture of the Bicol regions of the Philippines. The last “individual” method surviving there “insured the least profit at the most cost,” as contrasted with organized, “planned” industry.

Bridge the whole afternoon. At supper with Quezon, Roxas, and Sabido, the last named called attention to Assemblyman Rafols of Cebu who had Nile green embroidered pyjamas (at the next table)–like a woman’s beach pyjamas. Lots of laughter and chaff and Rafols was called “Cleopatra.”

Sabido then told of Assembly roll having been called to: “Datu Umbra” (husband of Princess Dayang-Dayang), and Rafols had objected to the use of the title saying: “why shouldn’t my name be called as ‘lawyer Rafols.'” Umbra happened to be absent, but at the next session he appeared and said he understood he had been “attacked” (some mischief maker probably an “anti,” said Quezon), and was prepared to “meet” the gentleman from Cebu anywhere outside the Chamber in a closed room or in the open. Rafols at once apologized and asked to have his previous remarks expunged from the record. (He had “heard of these Moros” said Quezon.)

Quezon tells me he is going to establish a general pension system for all government employees.

The President is provoked by the ruling of the State Department of the United States as to Americans being unable to divest themselves of their citizenship on becoming Philippine citizens; said that the law firm of Ross Lawrence and Selph had acted like damned fools in presenting the question as they did; that the State Department had taken this chance of serving the United States Treasury (income tax); that these opinions of Ross, Lawrence &c and of Clyde Dewitt had shown their imperialist frame of mind. Roxas said this left the situation as really ridiculous. Sabido asked Quezon what would be the position of Americans who had meanwhile become Philippine citizens, when the ten year period expired–Quezon replied very positively: “They will be Filipino citizens.”

The President said he would station 1000 soldiers at Parang. He has evidently been depressed over the situation for he remarked to me confidentially: “I am beginning to believe I shall make a success of this government but you have no idea how deep petty jealousies are.” (It is unusual, to say the least, to find so buoyant a character at all discouraged.)

N.B. At my conference on the Aparceros bill with Magalona yesterday, I was embarrassed by his bringing with him as “interpreter” a reporter of the Bulletin, the very paper which had savagely attacked Perfecto’s bill recently, and had denounced its proposal to put a progressive income tax on large landed estates–the policy I had suggested to Quezon in January.