April 24-25, 1936

Long talks with Unson about the Philippine Government. He remarked that General Wood had a sense of humour and was a strong character–in some respects was a great man. Does not know why Wood vetoed the act to create a Budget Office.

Unson and I discussed the Bureau of Science. He thinks it is attempting too many diverse duties; that it is overlapping the work of other bureaus. Unson is in favour of turning it into an Industrial Research Bureau; when it has perfected an industrial method it should quit that and investigate another. Discussed also appointive provincial governors and a national police as authorized in the constitution, in order to stop political maneuvers, favouritism and improper use of the police. Various members of the Assembly seem to be receptive to these ideas.

We reviewed consideration of the Bureau of Posts and of a possible consolidation of the Bureau of Lands with the Land Registration Office. Unson says it has been a mistake always to have appointed a lawyer as Director of the Bureau of Lands. (Undoubtedly this is one of the most unsatisfactory Bureaus of the Government.) More discussions as to Aldanese and the Bureau of Customs. All agree that Aldanese is himself perfectly honest but has not enough firmness or “ferocity” (Unson).

Dinner with Mr. and Mrs Oleaga at Casino Español. Doria tells me that Marguerite Wolfson and Mrs Gaches tried to take care of Quezon at Topside, Baguio, two or three years ago when he was so ill he could not walk. They were trying to get him away from his host of followers, but Quezon stayed only thirty-six hours at Topside, and was so strenuous a personality that she and Mrs Gaches had to “go to bed for a week” after he left. She says he is as exhausting as a “vampire.”

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.

January 12, 1936

(Sunday) bridge at 10 a.m. in Mariquina in Lord’s house (as partner of Babbitt). Players: Rogers, Andy Anderson, Babbitt, Quezon & myself. At lunch, Quezon was in good form, though he had to get up and wander around as he can never stand sitting through a long banquet. Spoke about his campaign against Encallado and the other bandits, and of his method of handling a bandit campaign when he was Governor of Tayabas 30 years ago, which was to suspend the Presidente and Consejales of Casiguran (his kinfolk) and threaten to put them in prison for 20 years, if they did not turn over the bandit –who had been living quietly in Casiguran all the time. He told them to get him dead or alive, and shortly his body was delivered in two pieces with the head cut off.

Anderson asked the President if he could pay a bonus to the “boys” of the Manila Hotel who had so cheerfully accepted a reduction in their wages –Quezon said no! that a similar request had been referred to him by Corpus, President of the Philippine National Bank, for his employees, on the allegation that it would keep them honest (!!). Quezon remarked to Corpus that he would like to put some of them in prison, as he needed prisoner workmen for building the new prisons at Alabang. A lot of chaff about Anderson & Rogers, each of whom had put 6,000 pesos in the stock of the new oil companies. Quezon said he had discovered that the Standard Oil Company’s lease was illegal.

I spoke of Vamenta’s article on the Japanese leases in Davao. He said that the illegality had been committed by Filipinos who had sub-let to the Japanese; that these Filipinos were getting 15% of the profits and that he was going to seize that 15% for the government –even if he did not disturb the Japanese until their leases expired. That it really dated back to Governor Carpenter who had encouraged every development of Mindanao, “a thing which any one of us in his position would have had at heart.” (Vamenta was one of Carpenter’s young men). Mention was made of some American for years in the service of the Japanese (supposed, erroneously I believe, to have been Geo. Bronson Rea) who had announced that he was going to retire and live in Zamboanga. Quezon commented that he would hang him if he could.

Babbitt told me later that it always made him furious to have Americans denounce Quezon for his “hair-trigger” opinions, and that Quezon had told him recently how different it was being an Executive –that causes he had championed in the Senate now appeared impracticable to him (Such as Sec’y. Torres’ opinions on labour). Babbitt also said that he usually knew to a centavo how much money the President had –and that Quezon had said not long ago, that he had not saved up anything for his wife and children –he spends every cent he gets, in keeping up his position and the fight.

Quezon said Murphy was so very “good” it made him uncomfortable.

Doria said Mrs. Gaches had stated that all the Filipinos (Mestizos??) she had met, had expressed a great fear of the new army –that they expected to be unbearably taxed to support it. Babbitt told me the new army was the only thing which could keep down future civil disorders.

At lunch, during the discussion about the outlaws, I said that in former times there were some very good people among the remontados, hoping that Quezon would tell the story of his own youth in Baler, where he struck a guardia civil with a club and knocked him out (in a quarrel over some girl)and fled to the mountains with the wild men –but he did not rise to the bait.