Glad November is over–somehow or other this is nearly always a worrisome month;–this year it was even worse than usual both because of Doria’s illness, and by reason of the lack of discretion, not to say greediness of some of ay associates in business.
At Malacañan at 9:30. Quezon was in the barber chair, just finishing an interview with Cuenco, former Assemblyman from Cebu whom he introduced to me as the new Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Three days ago, Cuenco had been announced as the new Mayor of Cebu, but it appears that Osmeña as the Boss of Cebu was obliged to offer some opposition, to the appointment of one of the opposing party. Vargas was present with Quezon and handed him Cuenco’s appointment as a Cabinet member, explaining that Osmeña had intimated his acquiescence in that rather than having to consent to Cuenco’s being Mayor of his city–never believing Quezon would agree. It looks as if Osmeña had been out-jockeyed!! The President told Vargas to get this appointment right into Cuenco’s hands, so that nothing could happen to interrupt it. When, a half hour later I reported this appointment to Claro Recto and Rafael Corpus, they both said: “This will break up the coalition!” but when I replied that Osmeña had already agreed, Corpus remarked “That’s the trouble–Osmeña is too easy.”
I then reported to the President my recent conversation with Foulds, British Consul General, in which I gained the information that the heads of foreign states such as Kings and President were not invited to the Coronation. To this Quezon made no comment:–he had probably learned this himself from Foulds, but he was obviously disappointed. My last point for Quezon that morning was a report of a conversation with Tommy Wolff last Friday night in which he stated that by accepting Filipino citizenship I had “not a friend left”–“except you, Tommy” I interrupted, at which he began to stammer. Quezon told me “not to let these fellows get under my skin.” I went on to say that Wolff was getting in the frame of mind of the late Paul Reinsch, American Minister of China, who had come to believe that the inhabitants of the country wished him harm (and went mad). Quezon at once said that Wolff’s mind was weakening from too much conviviality. He then observed that he “could not stand seeing any of his friends under the influence of liquor.”
I told Quezon about the troubles caused to newly forming mining companies by the excessive zeal of the promoters–that I had joined the Central Exchange under the urging of Speaker Montilla believing he was back of it–that I never heard of Prats until then–that I had induced Don Ramon Fernandez to join with me and we had gone to work to secure a Produce Exchange as something of real value for the future, and thanks to Quezon’s assistance had obtained it. Shortly after this conversation Corpus reported to me that the President had vetoed the bill on exempting Produce Exchanges from more than one sales tax–thus making them impossible except when run by the government. (This I doubt).
Speaker Montilla invites me to accompany the Assembly trip to Cebu, but I did not accept because of the recent return of Doria.
Sent Quezon memos. on (a) silver coinage and seignorage profits on silver by the Cuban Government; (b) regulations of sign-board advertising in England and Belgium; and (c) upon the Evangelista petition for pardon at San Ramon.
Visit from Colin Hoskins–who said he was rather hurt that Quezon did not let him know before accepting his resignation as a director of the Philippine National Bank, but that he thought Quezon was right in Filipinizing it, and in excluding business men from the board, because “the more successful they had been, the more predatory the type.” I asked him about the sugar mill shares–he said all bank’s holdings were being bought up by Filipino interests–that the Jones-Costigan law was apt to continue, and under that, all the companies could liquidate their capital in five years, or even four. He thought very well of de las Alas, who is vigorous and yet prudent.
Luncheon at Malacañan in honor of Isauro Gabaldon who is sailing in Vittoria for six months in Spain and in Germany, where he is going to take the waters for diabetes. I was glad to see him and Quezon reconciled. Spoke of this and of Palma, to Quezon who said he was pleased to “recognize” them after giving them such a licking. Had a nice letter from Palma. He added that Gabaldon was one of the finest characters they have in the Philippines.
There were about thirty guests in the old dining room at Malacañan– the first time I had been there under the Filipino Government. I was the only American present. Former Residents Commissioner Gabaldon, Guevara, Delgado and Osias were there–also Alunan, Nieto, Gil, Montilla, Lacson etc. I sat between Mrs. Quezon and “Baby.” Mrs. Quezon told me that she had not been entertained by the Governor General in Java, and had refused to put herself forward as she was traveling incognito. It is evident that the Dutch are uneasy about the effects that Philippine independence will have on the Javanese.
Mrs. Quezon and I made many arrangements for our trips in April. Quezon and his wife showed great affection for one another.
The President said he wished to attend the coronation of Edward VIII in London, and I said I would like to go with him. Said he would have arrangements made through our State Department for his accommodation in London.
I asked him whether now that he had organized his government it would operate with vigour? He was positive it will.
Asked him when he was going to inaugurate his bridge and poker club for the members of the Assembly in the new basement at Malacañan. He replied that it was not quite finished. I told him the Assemblymen were in a mood when it would be a good gesture–he answered: “Not until I have given them a licking!” I laughed, so he had to join in.
Reception at Japan Club. Saw Mrs Quezon who is just back from Java, and is much thinner. Talk with Speaker Montilla, a refined type of man. Asked him why his group was buying up rival sugar centrals in times like this? He said, first to get Spanish capital into Filipino hands, and also because they expected to make money out of the by-products of sugar, such as molasses, glass from bagasse ashes, fibres and paper, wine, alcohol etc. Also spoke of industries to be established from coir–or coconut husk fibre.
Congratulated the Japanese Consul General on the escape of my old acquaintance Viscount Makino in last week’s massacre of Cabinet officers in Japan.
Motored with Doria and Rafael Palma to Los Baños to inspect the College of Agriculture. Excellent plant, interesting animal industry of cattle and pigs. Also good Forestry School. Dean Gonzales and his staff of young professors, had each a Ph.D. degree from an American university. They came from all the different provinces. Palma and I addressed them. The Dean said that, at first, the graduates were all absorbed in the Government service, but that now an increasing number go back to their own lands to apply their scientific training. He added that ten percent of the students came from abroad –Siam, China, Java etc. He believes it is the best college of tropical agriculture to be found in the tropics. All animals, he said, which are brought in from cooler climates degenerate here from anemia. The school has a quinine grove now twenty years old, planted in Bukidnon, and they want machinery to make enough quinine to supply the whole Philippines. Rafael Palma thinks that with the irrigation systems now installed or on the way, the Philippines can eventually be self-supporting in rice.
Palma told me of his ten years service as President of the University. He visited one hundred universities in Europe and forty in America. Very interesting and very able man. He is now in favor of economic planning and opposed a standing army. Says the Filipinos have not yet recovered from their inferiority complex.
Saw ex-Speaker Roxas at the Manila Hotel –he asked me about the purchase of RR bonds. I said I thought better terms could be had, but that was a “penny wise pound foolish” policy. He assented.
Ball at Malacañan Palace for the Assembly. Had a talk with the new Speaker –Montilla– he has a refined face and a good social manner –met a group of of Japanese and talked with them. Quezon was in very good form. I left after the Rigodon. Met High Commissioner in the gardens; he was just putting Ambassador Grew in his motor.
Colin Hoskins tells me of a conversation between the editor of the Herald and “Mike” Elizalde, who is the head of the National Development Co.; Elizalde denounced my appointment as adviser and damned Quezon!!
Doria tells me that Ora Smith says he likes me personally so much that he will have “tears in his eyes” when his articles in the Bulletin “paste me on the wall.”