Philippine wartime views on the future of Indonesia, China and Japan

"Published in Philadelphia in early 1942, this ‘Outline of (the) Post-War New World Map’, created by Maurice Gomberg, shows a proposal to re-arrange the world after an Allied victory against the Axis forces. Its title refers to a ‘New World Order’, a vague concept, its many definitions often contradicting each other."

 

This 1942 New World Order map attributed to Maurice Gomberg is interesting in that it gives a snapshot of emerging thought about the United States and its sphere of influence after World War II.

The map above also seems to include an expansion of the Philippines. See this detail:

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Which may have had some basis in a proposal made around this time in Allied circles in Washington, DC. As Ricardo Trota Jose summarized it (see Governments in exile),

One other aim of the Commonwealth government-in-exile – one which had been a dream of Quezon – was the establishment of a Malay confederation and the eventual decolonization of Southeast Asia. Quezon even felt that the Atlantic Charter – which guaranteed the basic rights of man – could be applied to Southeast Asia. The Philippine example – independence in 1946 – could serve as an example for the world, he believed. However, as time wore on, Quezon realized that while Roosevelt may personally have favored decolonization, Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Great Britain, and the other imperial powers, did not favor the idea of giving up their colonies…

This is borne out by entries in wartime portion of the Diary of Francis Burton Harrison, who was an adviser in the Commonwealth government-in-exile. His wartime diary commences in May, 1942 all the way to August, 1944.

June 7, 1942 the idea is first broached by the President of the Philippines to Harrison:

I asked him whether, in the peace settlement, the Dutch East Indies would be given back to the Netherlands? He replied: “That would be an outrage. The Malays should be allowed to unite. For years the Javanese have been looking to the Filipinos to lead them to freedom. The movement started when General Wood was Governor General; we smuggled their leaders into the Philippines with the connivance of the Collector of Customs (Aldanese); Ramon Fernandez helped them and gave them money. I must soon begin to work on this with the English, the Australians and the New Zealanders. At the Peace Conference, I intend to make a loud noise. If we were to be united politically, I would be willing to have the capital in Java. It is not mere numbers that count, but intelligence.”

November 29, 1942 a detail on the proceedings of the Pacific War Council:

I asked Quezon how he got on with his Dutch colleague on the Pacific War Council. He said he had nothing much to do with him. Asked whether he thought the Dutch would have their empire restored after the war, he said he didn’t know–but it it were, it would only be a matter of thirty years at most.

December 1, 1942 on putting forward the idea:

I was invited to attend the Cabinet meeting yesterday to hear Bernstein explain his plan and program for the new office of “Special Service” (propaganda) which he is organizing for Quezon. It was a one man show. Quezon made a long and rather astute statement to let Bernstein understand that he had changed his mind as to the scope of the undertaking. Bernstein was told to read his plan of organization and was stopped after the opening paragraphs. It was a scheme for a Malay Federation to include the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Siam and French Indo-China. Quezon explained that if such a scheme were ever proposed, it would have to come from the Javanese, or others of the countries concerned –otherwise it would look as if the Filipinos were reaching out after an empire. Quezon said he would not mind if Java were the seat of government, of such a federated state –but that it was no time to mix in such questions now! Such a move would only provoke ill feelings among allies. Elizalde says that Quezon watches the faces and studies the expressions of everybody in a group which he is addressing and added that Quezon must have noted the strained and worried countenances around him during this very interesting and, perhaps, momentous conversation.

December 3, 1942:

On my return to Washington, I made an especial (verbal) report to President Quezon on this situation. It is a subject in which he is most particularly interested. For some years, underground conferences between him and “leaders” of the Javanese (who are erroneously supposed to be completely docile–like the two hand-picked specimens the Dutch brought with them to Mont Tremblant). They seem to have some sort of a vague ambition to recreate the old Malay Empire of long ago–to include the Netherlands Indies and the Philippines and parts of British North Borneo.

Quezon did not seem much impressed by the determination of the Dutch to hold on to their rich empire. His comment was that the last time he talked to the Javanese leaders a few years ago, they were all pro-Japanese. He told them this was a very great mistake; for while they could get rid of the Dutch any time they tried, they would never of their own efforts, get rid of the Japanese, once the latter were established in the East Indies.

December 15, 1942:

On my own return from the two weeks session of the Institute of Pacific Relations at Mont Tremblant, Quebec, I reported to Quezon at the Shoreham. He was deeply interested. Said the terms of the proposed settlement by Holland of the Indonesian question didn’t really matter–the Indonesians could get rid of the Dutch any time they wanted.

January 7-8, 1943:

Quezon had seen Panikkar, the Indian, whom I met at Mont Tremblant. Had been very deeply interested. Panikkar told him the Indians want independence–not Dominion Status; that the Moslems also want it, though they demand safeguards as a minority. Quezon suggested to him the federal system like the United States, with a lower house representation based on population, and the upper house giving equality to states. Panikkar replied that is what they propose to do. That they must retain all of Occidental influence they now have and not just lapse into their former Oriental luxury and magnificence. England is afraid to let go just now–the Indian army is chiefly one of professional soldiers, and could easily turn against England if things went badly.

But Quezon told me he had abandoned all idea of taking any hand in the freeing of India and of Indonesia and in the forming of an Indonesian Empire, made up of a union of the Philippines and the Netherlands Indies. He had decided to concentrate entirely on the problems of his own people, though he would be “the happiest man in the world” if the other projects became a reality. Said it would take fifty years for an Indonesian Empire to become strong enough to withstand China or Japan. He had told President Roosevelt of his decision to concentrate on the problems of his own country and not take part in the other schemes, and that this statement “made Roosevelt jump.” He added that the good will or support of Great Britain as well as of the United States would be needed in either eventuality. Thought Hong Kong should not be given back to China, but that the English should pay China the value of the barren island as it was when ceded to them, because of the disgraceful circumstances in which they got it.

Panikkar told Quezon that the Burmese were going to fight on the side of Japan!

Quezon is now going to try to get through Congress a joint resolution that the Philippines are and of right should be independent, etc.

January 9-10, 1943:

The next day I was with him to receive David Bernstein, his new “Special Services” (i.e., advertising) man. Bernstein is full of clever schemes for publicity over the radio and movies. Quezon conveyed to him his decision to drop the “free India” and “free Indonesia” issues for the present. Said he had been with Harry Hopkins this morning communicating to him the same decision. (Harry Hopkins probably let Lord Halifax know this at once–thus removing a cause of irritation if not worse!) Told Hopkins he must concentrate on the affairs of his own people, and was beginning to prepare his plans for the Joint Resolution for Independence. Bernstein commented that this would be a very powerful weapon of psychological warfare; also conveyed a request of Time for a reply to an article from Buenos Aires–German sponsored propaganda purporting to come via Japan from the Philippines, in which eulogistic descriptions were given of the present peace and contentment in the Philippines. Quezon dictated a brief response quoting General Tanaka’s recent report on his tour of the Philippines, in which the situation of public order was described as “not very satisfactory.” Quezon added that naturally it was not satisfactory to the Japanese since the Filipinos were still fighting vigorously. They had tasted freedom such as the Japanese themselves had never known at home and did not mean to give it up.

The idea of a Pan-Malayan Union predated World War II; it would resurface in the postwar era (in particular there is a book by the controversial Eduardo Martelino, see the opening chapter, Vision in Malaysia from 1959, which seems to be more familiar to Malaysian than Filipino commentators) whether as Maphilindo or, eventually, as an antecedent for ASEAN. For additional background, see Indonesian and Dutch Reactions to the Philippine Struggle for Independence by Adrian P. Lapian and Visions of Empire: Changing American Perspectives on Dutch Colonial Rule in Indonesia between 1920 and 1942 by Frances Gouda.

The reader will also notice mention of Indochina –today’s Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia– which brings up an interesting point of contending points of view between the Americans and the British and the French. At the time the map above was made, the American position seemed to be to deny France a return to Indochina. For a survey of the official view see Vietnam Footnote: The Pentagon Papers and Roosevelt’s Anti-Colonialism—by Mark Arnold. However, FDR seems to have reversed his trusteeship plan for Vietnam: see Roosevelt, Churchill, and Indochina: 1942-45 by Walter La Feber. See also Franklin Roosevelt and Indochina by Gary R. Hess.

There are also interesting views on China put forward by Filipino leaders –as well as by others, in a conference attended by representatives of the Allied nations–  as recounted by Harrison in his diary.

June 7, 1942:

Quezon thinks this is a business war, caused by slavish imitation by Japanese of the Western powers’ methods of monopoly. If the Japanese had not closed the open door in China, there would have been no war. It was totally needless, in any case, for the Japanese could have undersold all commercial rivals with all of her own products in China and she had already regained for China control over her own customs administration. If the “open door” had been maintained, the United States could then have held their Chinese market only on petroleum and tobacco.

In Japan in 1937, Quezon met members of the House of Peers and of the Diet who were opposed to the militarists —not so now. One of the Peers who was speaking of the recent Coronation said it was the last, as a religious ceremony with all the “Son of Heaven” cult. Quezon says he is never entirely at his ease in conversations with Japs —they have been until recently, for too many centuries isolated from the rest of the world.

Thinks it is a mistake to assume the Japanese are naturally an Empire and the Chinese not; on the contrary, the Chinese have always been imperialists when they were strong enough, and the Japanese only recently so. China in the past tried to conquer Japan. If the Chinese now argue that the aid promised by the United States to China has not been satisfactorily supplied, he would reply, if he was an American, that the Chinese got us into this war anyway.

Quezon is absolutely opposed to the plan to let the Chinese remain armed after this war, and the Japanese entirely disarmed. “The Japanese could teach us civic virtues, but the Chinese only ‘trickery and corruption.’” Would prefer to have the Indians armed.

June 12, 1942

It later appeared that one of Luce’s publications–Fortune in its August number was to publish an excellent analysis of Far Eastern affairs by Buell. They sent Quezon a preview copy of this article which however carried an absurd suggestion that independence be postponed in the Philippines until 1960, the islands to be garrisoned meanwhile by the United Nations. “What” cried Quezon, “they propose to garrison us with Chinese and Russian soldiers? The moment that article comes out, the Japanese radio will use it. The people of my country will turn at once to the Japanese side, and I shall be completely discredited. You propose to return Formosa to China? How foolish. Better garrisonFormosa by the United Nations armies, and thereby protect the Philippines and insure peace in the Far East.”

Quezon says he finally converted Luce and Howard to this view, and Luce is going to advocate Philippine independence immediately after the war. Quezon is quite worn out by the strain of these arguments, conducted until 1:30 last night and for an hour this morning. He remains still greatly depressed by the views of Howard and Luce on the Philippines’ status after this war is over. He now sees that the final success of his life’s work really depends upon Roosevelt’s party remaining in power in Washington.

July 14, 1942

Spoke of his troubles caused by the corruption by the Chinese in the Philippines. When a delegation from Chiang Kai-shek visited him he told them he sympathized with their desire of independence and hoped they would throw the Japanese out, but he did wish they would help him to curb Chinese corruption in the Philippines. The last Consul General they had in Manila was one of the “new young men” and he helped Quezon to clean up the immigration mess; and to put in jail the violators of that act. Quezon reorganized the Bureau of Immigration. He added that if he lives to attend the Peace Conference, he will work to see that China and Russia do not remain armed while Japan is disarmed. Hopes to line up Canada, Australia and the Latin American countries to that end.

December 3, 1942

He was followed by Dr. Sao-ke Alfred , former Chinese Ambassador in Washington and London. He too, read from a prepared address. He is an amiable and popular man, and the method by which he has gained his popularity was apparent in his speech. He talked for some time and said nothing. He has some nervous disorder which caused his hands to shake so he could hardly follow the paper. The other fourteen Chinese present were gloomy and recalcitrant. They felt they were being neglected–they had moreover positive complaints, to wit: four lend-lease shipments of armaments which had been ear-marked for China had been diverted en route to others of their “allies.” (India?) They wanted all of their territory back–especially the three eastern provinces which make up Manchuria, and Formosa which they had ceded to Japan in 1895. They did not ask for Korea–they wanted to stick the United States with a mandate for that! Especially on the subject of emigration of Chinese they were insistent. This is a really live issue in all near-by parts of the eastern world, and causes the utmost and genuine concern to their neighbours. The spectre of Chinese penetration and economic imperialism haunted us all throughout the conference. Their ardent nationalism of the present day alarms all of their neighbours. They demanded the return of Formosa without any concession as to an international police post–said that could be discussed later. Their delegation showed little teamwork; they seemed to me to be afraid of the two or three delegates who had come by bomber plane from Chungking, and were alarmed at what they might report on their return there. One of them, at a plenary session made a fiery speech, demanding: “Is America fighting for China?”

The most attractive, refined-looking woman present was the lady pilot, Mrs. Hilda Yen, who had flown her plane from Chungking via India and Africa. She had been as a child to school in the United States and could speak English perfectly, free from those humming, explosive noises indulged in by most Chinese when they are said to be talking in English.

Taking it all in all, throughout the conference, the English got the roughest ride, but the Chinese caused the greatest uneasiness to others…

…The most serious issue of immediate post-war concern was, of course, Hong Kong. Did the Chinese insist upon its return after a century as a British colony? Was not the matter also of great importance to the trade of all the nations in the Western Pacific? Could we afford to lose this great free trade post? One of the English delegates put the matter very objectively and with much restraint. There was no answer from the Chinese. They sat silent, with poker faces. The foreign concessions at Shanghai present an almost equally thorny problem. A great imperial city has grown up on the mud flats so contemptuously given the European merchants long ago. In recent years, the Chinese have shown a decided intention to get them back, with all the fabulous riches which have been built up there.

Two of the fears in the back of the minds of many Asiatic delegates were Chinese imperialism and American imperialism! One delegate let slip the statement that the people of the United States were imperialists and didn’t know it themselves. Perhaps he referred to our “Good Neighbour” policy towards South America which is compounded of an equal mixture of self-defense and exploitation. However, there is no need at present to worry about that since everyone knows that people seldom stay bought. There were no delegates present from any of the South American States which front on the Pacific!

January 7-8, 1943

He added that the good will or support of Great Britain as well as of the United States would be needed in either eventuality. Thought Hong Kong should not be given back to China, but that the English should pay China the value of the barren island as it was when ceded to them, because of the disgraceful circumstances in which they got it.

January 18, 1943

Quezon began by looking very tired, speaking slowly and reaching for his words in English. As he warmed up, he showed at his very best. Described the lunch of the day before at which he had entertained Mr. and Mrs. Henry Luce. Mrs. Luce is not enjoying her first days in Congress–the new member is usually treated with little consideration by the House. She could not get on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, etc. Quezon was much relieved to find that Mrs. Luce, who had been so very active in the propaganda for China, was now not in favour of entirely overthrowing the balance of power in Asia and of leaving Japan (as well as the rest of her neighbours) at the mercy of China….

…In the Philippine Government circles I find general anxiety over probably future aggressions by Russia and China. Many stories of Russian plundering of the elite in the part of Poland which they annexed.

January 26-27, 1943

Quezon expressed himself as in favour of a balance of power in the Far East–that Japan should not be so crushed that China may arise in her place as the would-be dictator of the Orient.

These entries are an interesting insight into past views on what were, back then, emerging questions: the post-colonial world that would emerge after World War II; attitudes towards an ally, China, and a foe, Japan. It is equally interesting to consider how some concerns have gone away, and how many remain.

 


January 9-10, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon very friendly and gracious–perhaps making up for the incident of the week before, when, knowing that I was coming from Charlottesville on his request, he let me make the journey without sending me word that he was going to New York! Dr. Trepp says this is characteristic–that he often shows no consideration whatever, especially when he changes his own plans! Trepp does not know whether Quezon will really go to Arizona–his health would do equally well in Washington. Was under the weather in New York. His family spent the time in shopping, theatres and the opera; Quezon stayed only in his apartments in the Waldorf-Astoria. Had one visit each from Roy Howard and Morgan Shuster.

Quezon has on his desk a bound notebook containing the proof sheets of his (unfinished) book. Took it up for 15 minutes with me, and got me to write an additional page concerning his childhood at Baler, and then started our bridge game which lasted the rest of the afternoon and until one o’clock in the morning–“wild cat” bridge, in the Filipino fashion, with precious little of partnership in it.

The next day I was with him to receive David Bernstein, his new “Special Services” (i.e., advertising) man. Bernstein is full of clever schemes for publicity over the radio and movies. Quezon conveyed to him his decision to drop the “free India” and “free Indonesia” issues for the present. Said he had been with Harry Hopkins this morning communicating to him the same decision. (Harry Hopkins probably let Lord Halifax know this at once–thus removing a cause of irritation if not worse!) Told Hopkins he must concentrate on the affairs of his own people, and was beginning to prepare his plans for the Joint Resolution for Independence. Bernstein commented that this would be a very powerful weapon of psychological warfare; also conveyed a request of Time for a reply to an article from Buenos Aires–German sponsored propaganda purporting to come via Japan from the Philippines, in which eulogistic descriptions were given of the present peace and contentment in the Philippines. Quezon dictated a brief response quoting General Tanaka’s recent report on his tour of the Philippines, in which the situation of public order was described as “not very satisfactory.” Quezon added that naturally it was not satisfactory to the Japanese since the Filipinos were still fighting vigorously. They had tasted freedom such as the Japanese themselves had never known at home and did not mean to give it up.

Bernstein then presented the question of a movie drama in Hollywood, now in course of preparation, showing an American nurse and an American officer’s adventures on Bataan. A Filipino doctor had been proposed, and Romulo considered it, and insisted that he should appear as himself! Quezon said quietly that Romulo did not look sufficiently like a Filipino–was more like a Chinese. Proponed Dr Diño, his personal physician instead–said he was a real Malay type and also had had previous experience of acting.

Knowing as I did, from another source, of the terrific row Romulo and Quezon had recently had over Romulo’s book I saw the Fall of the Philippines, I was somewhat diverted by this calm discussion. Quezon had been so angry with Romulo that he had told him, “to get the hell out of here, and never come back” and had deprived him of his uniform as a Lieutenant Colonel of the Philippine Army when he was on the lecture platform.

Quezon takes an especial pleasure in spending money, due, no doubt, to his cramped childhood in Baler. He remarked that he had paid the Shoreham Hotel $20,000 (Trepp says it was $60,000–he had seen the bills) this year for redecorating the suite he and his family occupy! This sort of thing, in my opinion, constitutes a political danger of considerable menace. Then Bernstein took up with him the idea that Quezon’s own life should be the story of a Hollywood film. Some tentative discussion on this. If he had published his book, the film could be based on that. Personally, I dread the vulgarizing of this whole chapter of Philippine history by those fellows in Hollywood.

Long discussion between Quezon, Secretary of Finance Andres Soriano, Foley, head of New York branch of Philippine National Bank, and the Auditor General Jaime Hernandez. The National City Bank of New York asks payment of 200,000 pesos turned over December 27, 1941, while Manila was being bombed, to the Insular Treasurer for transmission by telegraphic transfer to New York. The National City Bank holds a microfilm of the Insular Treasurer’s receipt, but nobody knows what happened to the original since the destruction of part of the Intendencia building by Japanese bombs. Auditor Hernandez opposed the payment now, in view of the uncertainty as to the facts. Quezon upheld him and seemed justly proud of the character and independence of his Filipino auditor.

Quezon gave me several stories from the inside talk of the United States Supreme Court, which he gets from Justice Murphy and Justice Frankfurter; incidents illustrating the very high esteem in which the Filipinos are now held in America.


June 25, 1942

Quezon is very much exercised because he found that the Army Intelligence Service had discovered that Colonel Andres Soriano, his Secretary of Finance, had been one of Franco’s fascists. And now they were investigating the loyalty of Soriano and of Quezon himself. Quezon busy dictating a strong letter of protest to Secretary of War Stimson. The letter was sent by hand. Quezon called the Secretary of War personally on the telephone, and Stimson replied: “Don’t take them seriously.” Quezon: “But I do–very.” Stimson: “Well, then, let me tell you a story: when I entered the Army in 1917 they at once put me in the intelligence division. The first afternoon I was there, I read that every second man I knew was a ‘spy.’ I’ll call in General Strong and give him hell.” Quezon added that the Army Intelligence is also investigating a foreign ambassador in Washington.

Pacific War Council that day.

Roosevelt said that the reason the Atlantic Charter had omitted all reference to freedom of religion was because neither Churchill, (who was present at the meeting) nor he, had thought enough about religion to remember to put it in. (N.B. this was disingenuous in view of the photograph published at the time showing Churchill and Roosevelt sitting side-by-side on the deck of the Prince of Wales singing each from a hymn book.) Roosevelt added: “Churchill and I forgot it–that is the fact, but I couldn’t very well admit that.”

Roosevelt remarked that King Peter of Yugoslavia was interested only in the Hollywood girls. “I’ll have to send for a couple of them.”

Quezon says that at the Pacific War Council Churchill looked across the table in a puzzled way at him, but when he heard Roosevelt refer to him by name, he had a look of interest and after the meeting, came around the table and shook hands saying: “I’ve never had a chance to meet you before and I am very glad of the present opportunity to congratulate you on the gallant fight put up by your people. We consider it to have been a very great contribution to the war effort.”

Harry Hopkins said to Quezon: “I see you are the best dressed man on the Council.” The Minister from New Zealand expressed doubt. Quezon replied: “I heard a radio speech in English from a Japanese saying that the Filipinos had lost all their virtues as Oriental people due to the influence of Spain and the United States. All that they care about now is to be well-dressed, so that people will look at them.” Hopkins got quite red–he has no sense of humour, which Roosevelt, on the other hand, has in such abundance.

Roosevelt minimized the taking of the two outermost of the Aleutian Islands by the Japanese, but added: “I don’t know what my friend Mackenzie King thinks of it–he lives nearer than I do.” Mackenzie King did not seem to be so unconcerned over it as was Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was asked if he was sure of the victory of his party in the coming Congressional elections–he said “Well–no. But I was Governor of New York with a Republican Senate, a Republican House; and I think I can kid them along.”

National Defense Act of the Philippines. Quezon said: “As soon as I had agreed with the President and Congressional leaders on a new independence law (Tydings-Mc-Duffie Act) which eliminated the provision for keeping the United States Army in the Philippines after independence should be attained, I realized the responsibility we had assumed for the defense of the Philippines. During the last world war, we had organized a Philippine National Guard, but American Army leaders had never encouraged the maintenance of this. So, this time, I realized that my first task would be to prepare the Philippines when free to assume the responsibility for its own defense. I went at once to see General Douglas MacArthur in Washington; he was the best informed–the one man to advise me. The following conversation ensued:

“Q.: ‘General, I wish to ask you some questions and I hope you will answer them fully or not at all–be very frank. Do you think the Philippines if independent can be effectively defended against a first class power?’

“MacA.: ‘I not only think so, but I know so.’

“Q.: ‘Would you be willing to assume the responsibility of preparing the Philippines to defend itself?’

“MacA.: ‘Yes, if the President will allow me.’

“Q.: ‘How much do you think it would cost?’

“MacA.: ‘How much are you now spending on the Constabulary?’

“Q.: ‘About 6,000,000 pesos annually.’

“MacA.: ‘Add to that 10,000,000 pesos each year for ten years–it can be done.’

“Q.: ‘Yes. If I am elected president, that very day I will wire inviting you to come to the Philippines at once.’

“We next agreed that an American law then in force authorizing the President to send, on request, military missions to the South American countries should be amended to extend also to the Philippines.”

Quezon added to me: “I saw Roosevelt again and asked him to let me have MacArthur, and to have this law amended; that was done before I left Washington.

“I was then very much encouraged as to our national defense problem. I believed every word MacArthur said, and felt very confident. But I suspected that the War Department was not very enthusiastic over our plan; I felt this still more so when my friend General Harbord came to Manila a couple of years later; he said nothing about the Philippine Army–either for or against.

“Back in the Philippines, I went for everybody who criticized our National Defense Act. But when in 1939, I saw Czecho-Slovakia and Poland fall–saw Germany defeat them so easily though they had far more by way of defense than we could acquire even at the end of ten years, I began to weaken. I then told the Cabinet that I feared I was spending more money on the National Defense than was justified. If nations like Poland and Czecho-Slovakia can be overwhelmed so quickly, it is possible they would also do it to us. Better, perhaps for us not to waste so much money.

“So, I began to hesitate; I told MacArthur and Sayre. Upon one occasion I made a statement to newspaper men that I was not as confident as I had been before of the ability of an independent Philippines to defend itself against a first class power. MacArthur did not contradict my newspaper statement, but he never lost faith in his work. I called him before the Cabinet and told him my doubts as to the effectiveness of our plans. He replied that he had always taken it for granted that our own defense would be implemented by the United States Navy.

“Of course, my concern was not over the situation of the Philippines so long as we remained under the flag of the United States. I felt first, that no other nation would dare to attack the United States, and, second, that in case of attack, we would not have to rely upon ourselves alone, that the prime responsibility for the Philippines would rest on the United States. Whatever we might have would be just that much help.

“At the beginning of November 1940, I gave notice to all Americans in the service of the Commonwealth that I could not commit myself to them beyond my own term of Office–so they all had a year’s notice before the election of November 10, 1941. I added: ‘I am not a candidate for re-election.’ I had no disagreement whatever with MacArthur; I intended to keep him but would not commit myself or tell him so. He asked me ‘What will you do if you are re-elected?’ I refused to explain and said to him, ‘If you find something you find more satisfactory, take it.’

“The result of the election of November 1941 was much bigger than before. Only Sumulong ran against me. He died later when I was in Corregidor.”


June 12, 1942

At Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York. I saw Quezon and Osmeña at 9 a.m.

They both seemed depressed, and the latter was absent-minded. I learned the reason for this depression while Morgan Shuster and I were questioning Quezon about his war book. He said he had had one of the most discouraging interviews of his life last night with two owners of publishing businesses–not merely editors, (Henry Luce and Roy Howard). And he was not satisfied that the future relations between the United States and the Philippines were not even yet settled, in spite of President Roosevelt’s cable to him on Corregidor that the islands were to be “taken back, independence granted and secured and protected”–a promise upon which he had staked so very much. Now, he began to believe that all the United States would do for them would be to “put them back in the same place they were in the beginning.” When I asked him exactly what he meant, he did not clarify the situation, but Shuster and I afterwards presumed these words to mean a sort of “phony” independence was to be theirs, and without being “secured and protected,” and, even possibly under the hegemony of Japan.

Shuster then remarked that there was a large number of persons in the United States today who were at heart pacifists and would be ready for an arranged peace.

When we were alone together once more, I asked Quezon why, when he was on Corregidor and refused the Japanese offer of “independence with honor,” he had been so sure in staking the whole future on confidence in a positive victory over Japan. He replied: “It is the intelligence of the average American and the limitless resources of your country which decided me. The Americans are, of course, good soldiers, as they showed in Europe during the last war, but as for courage, all men are equally courageous if equally well led. Merely brave men certainly know how to die–but the world is not run by dead men.” He cited the case of the Spartans and the Athenians. “What became of the Spartans?” And then he added that in making on Corregidor that momentous decision, he “wasn’t sure.”

It later appeared that one of Luce’s publications–Fortune in its August number was to publish an excellent analysis of Far Eastern affairs by Buell. They sent Quezon a preview copy of this article which however carried an absurg suggestion that independence be postponed in the Philippines until 1960, the islands to be garrisoned meanwhile by the United Nations. “What” cried Quezon, “they propose to garrison us with Chinese and Russian soldiers? The moment that article comes out, the Japanese radio will use it. The people of my country will turn at once to the Japanese side, and I shall be completely discredited. You propose to return Formosa to China? How foolish. Better garrison Formosa by the United Nations armies, and thereby protect the Philippines and insure peace in the Far East.”

Quezon says he finally converted Luce and Howard to this view, and Luce is going to advocate Philippine independence immediately after the war. Quezon is quite worn out by the strain of these arguments, conducted until 1:30 last night and for an hour this morning. He remains still greatly depressed by the views of Howard and Luce on the Philippines’ status after this war is over. He now sees that the final success of his life’s work really depends upon Roosevelt’s party remaining in power in Washington.

While we were somewhat gloomily surveying this episode of the inside working of New York editorial minds, an American press agent came in and told Quezon that at two-thirty p.m. on Sunday, the Flag Day of the United Nations, President Roosevelt will announce the recognition of the Philippines as one of the United Nations. This is the prompt result of the negotiations conducted by Quezon through Hopkins, and is surely a swift remedy for the enervating doctrines of Luce and Howard.

Quezon, in the midst of serious distractions and worries about the future of his country, has been stirred up by Shuster to make another effort to concentrate on his book. He has just wired General MacArthur inviting him to write and cable a foreword to his proposed book. I reported to Quezon that Shuster expected to sell 25,000 copies of the book, if gotten out promptly, which figure at 15% royalty on a $3.00 book would net him (Quezon) $10,000. The President’s comment in reply was that he had an offer of that sum for ten lectures in the United States which would be much easier for him that writing a book. However he believes that with his experiences and observations of the Japanese attack on the Philippines, such a book by him would serve a useful purpose. He asked me to get from Colonel Andres Soriano and from General Valdes the facts for the period between the invasion of the Philippines and the entry, unopposed of the Japanese into Manila. This I am proceeding to do, since both officers are here in this hotel with us.

(Note by the writer. The following pages are now, seven years later, inserted in this diary upon its preparation for the press, because, although the information was obtained by President Quezon’s direction for his own use in his book, it was never so used by him, and it now seems worth while to preserve for future students testimony as to the effect of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines from two highly competent witnesses of the scenes described and especially as coming from key men in the situation.)

Having been in France myself during the German invasion of that country in 1940, I had in my mind a picture of the kind of observations by members of Quezon’s entourage which should, in my opinion be included in a description of the fall of the Philippines.

Beginning with a question to Don Sergio Osmeña, I asked him how the municipal officials of Luzon had stood up to the invasion, remarking that in France I had been told they all had run away except for one mayor in the north, who had stood his ground.

Osmeña replied that they all stood firm in the path of the Japanese invasion in Luzon, and mentioned one mayor in the Province of Albay, who, when the head of the Japanese column entered his town, climbed on the step of the leading automobile and emptied his revolver into it, then fell back dead. Further questions to Osmeña were not possible because he was off to Boston to speak there in substitution for Quezon, who had been invited to luncheon tomorrow in the White House by President Roosevelt.

Quezon himself contributed only the following brief statements: that one of the lessons they learned during the invasion was that the Philippines could be defended–with one thousand planes, one hundred submarines and one hundred mosquito boats. The mosquito boats which he himself had ordered in Great Britain for the defense of the Philippines had never been delivered to him; they had been diverted to help Finland in the first of her two recent wars with Russia. England promised to replace them but was prevented by the war from doing so. Anyway, he remarked, at the banquet given him today by the Chase National Bank, he had told them: “This is not our war.” He also added that General Aguinaldo had most certainly not been a Quisling during the invasion; indeed, he observed, in recent years the General had been in favour of immediate independence for the Philippines because he believed that his country was in deadly danger under the American flag. The next morning I secured from Basilio Valdes the following statements on the subject of the invasion. He had been Commanding General of the Philippine Army until it was mustered into the American service, then he became Quezon’s Chief of Staff for the Filipino units in the army, and Minister of National Defense in Quezon’s Cabinet.

The following are the statements from Valdes as I understood his account:

Valdes reports that Americans made up only 20% of the army of defense, but the American newspapers overstressed the American participation in the whole war; that it is very difficult indeed to make any exact figures for the casualties.

He said that in the organization of the Philippine Army, for the first two years, 1936 and 1937, they drafted the prescribed 40,000 men a year. For the succeeding years, having found the financial burden too great, they drafted but 25,000 men a year. (Get copy of Valdes’ last annual report as Chief of Staff to President Quezon; a copy must be in the War Dept.)

Valdes says that when the invasion occurred, there was some panic at first in Manila, but none in the provinces. They had studied the disaster in the downfall of France, and military maneuvers were not hampered by crowds on the roads; certain roads were immediately closed to the public. They held the enemy above San Fernando Pampanga until the troops which had been engaged on the Lucena front were moved around Manila to the Bataan lines–a brilliant military move.

Valdes states that Quezon was in a wheel chair all the time he was on Corregidor; that he discarded it on entering the submarine; 24 hours after reaching Panay, he was able to go up two flights of stairs.

Fifth Columnists and Trickery: Valdes: “After the battle of Morong (in Bataan), General Segundo said, we had to withdraw and with us were cavalry from Stotsenburg who had lost their horses in the battle. The next day we retook Morong; so we searched the forest for those horses. We met a man in Filipino uniform who spoke perfect English; he said he knew where the horses were and led us up a trail. But he led our two officers, a major and a lieutenant up to a machine gun nest–thereupon the guide (Jap) threw himself on the ground. Our lieut. was killed, the officer in command of the machine gun, and the others fled. Then the major killed the false guide. The Japanese were always after Filipino uniforms.”

When asked who the fifth columnists were, Valdes said: “First of all, those opposed to Quezon’s administration such as the Sakdalistas in Laguna and Bulacan and Tayabas, tho their leader Ramos, in prison for sedition, had been moved from the Philippines to an American prison. (For Ramos and Sakdalistas see Hayden’s book). The new name for Sakdalista is Ganap, which also means “I protest.” The Japanese had made much of Ramos and sent him back to the Philippines.

Second: The Japanese-Filipino mestizos, of whom there were not many in the Philippines.

Third: General Artemio Ricarte, el Vibora (Viper) of the old Filipino insurrectionary army. He is now riding around Manila with an a.d.c. and Japanese soldiers beside him. (He caused me a great deal of trouble when I was Governor General and I sent Clyde Dewitt to Shanghai on a small coast guard cutter to arrest him with a warrant from the American Judge there–Dewitt was sea sick for the eleven day trip by sea–Ricarte escaped with the aid of an English clergyman.) Shuster, who was with us in this New York hotel while General Valdes was talking, related an experience of his own with Ricarte about 1903, when Shuster was Collector of Customs in Manila: Ricarte came over from Hong Kong to Manila, and Shuster went out to meet the steamer personally, to hand the oath of allegiance to the United States for Ricarte to sign. Ricarte replied that he was insulted by being asked to take such an oath and that he had breathed enough of the air of his native land, now that it was so polluted. So back he went to Hong Kong, crying out that he would live to see the day when every American was driven out of the Islands. Now he comes back with Japanese to see his curse fulfilled!

Fourth: In Angeles, Pampanga, 8 kilometers from Fort Stotsenburg, a Filipino furniture maker named [Timio kept a shop, at the back of which he had a speakeasy.] When the officers from Stotsenburg used the W.C. by his speakeasy, they would sometimes talk together, and Timio had a stenographer in the adjoining room, and furnished news to the Japs. This man was awarded a contract for making dummy airplanes of bamboo and cloth for the army camouflage, and when the bombardment of Camp Clark air field took place, not a single dummy plane was hit.

Fifth: In the second week of the war, telephone messages went all over Manila saying the watersupply had been poisoned. Three sakdalistas in a car were caught driving around Manila and shouting this news. Valdes had them arrested; lots of people came to his office to know if the rumours were true and in order to convince them he had to draw a glass of water and drink it in their presence.

Sixth: Story of Claro M. Recto, former Justice of the Supreme Court. After the bombing of Baguio, there was a stream of cars which started south for Manila; when they arrived at the “Forks” in Pampanga, “a man in uniform” directed them off to the right in the direction of Stotsenburg, so the line of automobiles served as a “pointer” to aircraft above, and the bombing at Stotsenburg began just before the motors got there.

Seventh: Cutting of wires to detectors on Clark Field (see below).


June 6, 1942

a.m. Having himself dictated a letter to President Roosevelt requesting that he be given a seat on the Pacific War Council, which was sitting in Washington, Quezon gave me his proposed draft to read and advise him as to its form. I read it with dismay. He had been watching my face and asked me: “What’s wrong with it?” I told him that his strong reference to the contrast of the gallant resistance of the Filipinos to the aggression of Japan with the “supine surrender” of the English at Singapore, and the “inefficient battle” put up by the Dutch in the Netherlands East Indies somewhat jolted me. I asked him to consider that he was asking for the honour of a seat on the United Nations Pacific War Council, although his own country was already represented there by President Roosevelt. I suggested to him to omit all such criticisms of allied nations the representatives of which already sat on this Council; that those phrases might actually block his own admission, especially since Harry Hopkins was “one thousand per cent pro-English.” I urged him to send no letter to President Roosevelt on this subject, but merely to call up Harry Hopkins on the telephone and make his request, and I believed it would be accepted. His was a perfectly reasonable request and was similar to proposals understood to have been already made by Australia and India to the British Government–both of which propositions were backed by American public opinion. I also said that if his request was granted, this would be considered by the outside world as another step towards independence of the Philippines.

In a few days, he was invited to become a member of the Council and subsequently played an active and useful part in discussions there over the whole Pacific scene.