Quezon back from three weeks rest at Miami as guest of the military intelligence service. Originally he had planned to have me spend a fortnight with him to “finish his book” but on arrival there with his family he wired me there was no room available for me in the house which was provided for him. The real reason, however, as Trepp tells me, is that he was absolutely tired out, and spent the whole three weeks sleeping, resting and playing two-handed bridge. Dr. Trepp says that Quezon is in “good physical condition” but he, Trepp, does not know whether the President will live to get back to the Philippines if that is delayed four or five years longer. Quezon is already homesick, and much depressed by this “global strategy” which has postponed the prosecution of the Pacific War in favour of the European theatre. Trepp says Quezon is “wearing down.” He admits it is chiefly a question of spirit, and on this count, Quezon is getting gradually to realize how the cards are stacked against him and his country. Also he is deeply worried as to whether the Filipino leaders will continue to stand by him or whether they are provoked because Quezon and his family are safe in Washington while they are suffering under the Japanese occupation.
I had only two sizeable conversations with Quezon in these three days. A good deal of our talk was over the attempt he is about to make, after an hour’s conversation he had April 27th with Sumner Welles to get the Administration to pledge itself to two or three principles essential to the future security of the Philippines after the Japanese are expelled. The first of this is the acceptance by the United States after the Philippine Republic is set up, of naval and air bases in the Islands; the ground forces of the air bases to be supplied by the Filipinos. Second, an appropriation of $600,000,000 by the United States to rehabilitate the Philippines, which Quezon thinks would repair all essential damage done by the Japanese and also allow the Filipinos to industrialize the Islands. Third, support by the United States Government of quota laws on immigration into the Philippines in order “to maintain our occidental, Christian civilization.” (This last, of course, refers to Chinese immigration.)
Quezon expressed his present determination to retire at the end of the two years term of his second presidency which will expire November 15, 1943. He gave very sound reasons why he is determined to observe the constitutional provision under which he was elected for a second term of two years, but I told him I did not believe the “United States Government” would allow him to do this. Roosevelt has the power to suspend the Philippine constitution and after his message to Quezon on Corregidor of December 28, 1941, promising “to redeem and protect the independence of the Philippines” had done little since to carry out this promise.
Quezon says MacArthur states that, if, after Pearl Harbor, the United States had delivered an all-out attack on the Japanese with the two task forces in the Pacific, which survived the Pearl Harbor disaster, plus sufficient naval forces then on duty in the Atlantic, Japan could have been defeated at that time.
Roosevelt had agreed, however, to all the propositions of Churchill, when the latter came to Washington about New Year of 1942, to concentrate the first efforts of America and Great Britain on Hitler. Hence the present “global strategy.”
While I was present with him, Quezon received visits from Generals Stilwell and Chennault and also from the Foreign Minister of Australia, Dr. Herbert V. Evatt. They all had received an unsatisfactory answer from Roosevelt as to sufficient aid to MacArthur.
All of this weighs with increasing depression upon the bright hopes with which Quezon came to the United States in May of 1942. It is breaking his spirit.
He is intensely interested in the pro-MacArthur wave of sentiment now flooding the United States. Says MacArthur will never consider his own candidacy for the presidency if he is given the weapons and men with which to attack Japan. MacArthur has demanded 500 bombers and 450,000 men; he proposes to skip over the Netherlands Indies and get to Mindanao with air-troop transports. If refused sufficient support, he might become a candidate for the presidency–especially if he has been made to appear a martyr.
Quezon had dinner three nights ago with J. Edgar Hoover and Senator Chandler of Kentucky, the leader of the “pro-Pacific War” group in the Senate. Quezon says J. Edgar Hoover is much of the same opinion as Chandler. During this account of his dinner with them, Quezon cheered up as talked of the wonderful Kentucky ham they had eaten–far superior he thought to any so-called “Virginia ham”!
Quezon says that Roosevelt is absolutely “sold” on the Chinese, but adds that he (Q.) would rather live under Japanese rule than under the Chinese, but detests the thought of either.
The speech for which Quezon had been preparing on “Bataan Day” (April 9, 1943) was stopped by Roosevelt who thought it undesirable to commemorate an American defeat. The ceremony was to have been under the auspices of the Treasury Department as a rally to sell war bonds. So, instead of this, Quezon went a week later to Hartford, Connecticut, and spoke at the meeting in honour of General Wainwright, now a prisoner of the Japanese. Wainwright is a Connecticut man.
I tendered Quezon two invitations to come to Charlottesville to speak, but he merely shook his head. One bid was from General Wickersham to address the School of Military Government and the other was from Dabney Welford, President of the Raven Society–Welford had told me he thought that 800 students would attend for such an occasion.
It seems doubtful whether Quezon will finish his book; I turned back to him some fifty typed pages of his account of his experiences on Corregidor with my pencilled notes on it. He expressed no desire to see it. I asked Trepp why Quezon had not wanted to complete his book at Miami and Trepp replied: “He has no mental discipline.”
Quezon said that when he came to Washington in the early summer of 1937 and asked the President for independence in 1938 or 1939, he told Roosevelt how the Japanese had approached him on various occasions asking for “neutralization” of the Philippines, which would have meant withdrawal of the United States forces in case of independence. Roosevelt refused to entertain this idea though expressing himself as in general favour of “neutralization.”
When Quezon first arrived with MacArthur on Christmas eve, 1941, at Corregidor, Quezon wired Roosevelt stating that it was already evident that the Philippines could not be successfully defended, and equally evident that no immediate relief from the United States was to be expected, therefore he requested Roosevelt to authorize him to approach both Roosevelt and the Japanese, asking that the armed forces of both be withdrawn from the Islands. It was in connection with that request that Roosevelt wired authorizing MacArthur to disband the Filipino Army if Quezon requested it, and at the same time wired Quezon that he pledged the entire resources in men and materials of the United States, so that the freedom of the Filipinos should be redeemed and their independence established and protected. This was the first time that the United States had ever agreed (tho only by presidential announcement) to protect their independence. It was on this basis that the battle of Bataan was fought–at least, so far as the important participation of the Philippine Army was concerned.
During all these years of political struggle for the independence of the Philippines neither Quezon nor I had ever considered a protectorate possible–nor that the United States would consent to it. Quezon says: “Nobody fought the American imperialists more constantly and vigorously than I did–but now I would prefer to have them there–so long as they let us have back what we had already gained, and allow us to make our own laws. They will never send another Governor General nor High Commissioner to the Philippines.”
Quezon said that in his visit to him the day before, Dr. Evatt, the Foreign Minister of Australia, was in a cold rage against the English. Evatt reacted to the coining of the tricky phrase “global strategy” just as I (F.B.H.) had done. Evatt said that when Australia was threatened with invasion by the Japanese, the English would not send back the Australian troops until after the battle of El Alamein, and then returned them with only the clothing in which they stood–not one item of equipment. Evatt was going directly to England to tell Churchill exactly how the Australian troops felt about it. From my own acquaintance with Evatt I have no doubt that he did just that.
Quezon did not believe the English will make much of an effort in the Far East after Hitler is beaten; he quoted Churchill’s recent address in which he stated that after victory over the Germans, England would partially demobilize. But, all the same, even if the English leave the job in the Pacific chiefly to the Americans, Quezon is, for the first time in his life, friendly to the English and would be willing to co-operate with them and with the United States in the projects for future security in the Pacific. This is something very new for Quezon, who has always detested the English imperialists. He has heard from me many times how the United States originally took over the Philippines at the instigation of England, and against President McKinley’s wishes, but as part of the balance of power, and to avoid a war in 1899 with Germany. Also how the English have always exerted secret pressure on the United States to hold the Philippines as a means of maintaining the balance of power.
Quezon told me at great length of his conversation on April 27, 1943, with Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, which took a full hour, and in which they apparently reached complete agreement. Quezon began by reading to Welles a quotation from a recent address in which Welles had said: “It can never be made too clear nor reiterated too often, that the foreign policy of the people of the United States exactly like their domestic policies, should only be determined from the standpoint of what the American people believe is their real, their practical, self-interest. Our foreign policy must not be based upon emotional altruism or sentimental aspirations.”
Quezon then proceeded to show Welles what the practical self-interest of the United States in the Far East would be, Pearl Harbor has proven to be ineffective to protect United States strategy. The United States, he advises, should take all the mandated islands and make the Philippines their outpost in any plan of defense in the Pacific. Of course he (Q.) knew that he spoke only as a layman, and the General Staffs would have to decide all these plans. Welles interrupted to say that the United States could not take the mandated islands, since that would be contrary to their public professions. That the mandated islands would have to be under international ownership, but the Americans should administer them. With this Quezon agreed, remarking that from the point of view of what he had come to say, it would amount to the same thing.
Quezon then went on to develop his ideas to Welles, stating that a condition precedent to all further agreements should be that the Philippine Republic be recognized by the United States as soon as the Japanese were expelled from the Islands.
He then quoted Roosevelt’s cablegram to him in Corregidor that freedom would be regained and protected, etc.
Quezon finally stated that this was his own last year of office as President, that he had yielded last time to the demand for re-election, but only on the basis of two years more, when Osmeña could succeed him. He would not stultify the position he had then so publicly assumed, that Osmeña had been included on the ticket on his (Quezon’s) own insistence, for Osmeña was only leader of a minority of the Nacionalista party. He was determined to retire on December 31, 1943. He now asked that the United States come to an agreement on future plans for the Philippines and now wait for the end of the war, so that Quezon could retire in the knowledge that he had completed his program for the Philippines.
What he asked was:
(1) That the United States accept airfields and naval bases in his country (Welles stated that the Army and Navy were in favour of that); that the Filipinos furnish the ground forces for the airfields, and pay their men insofar as they were able.
(2) That the United States contribute $600,000,000 for the rehabilitation of the Philippines.
(3) That the Philippine Republic be supported by the United States in maintaining the quota systems established for immigration by the Philippine Commonwealth, so that they could sustain and preserve their own form of civilization.
Welles said he was in agreement with all of these propositions, and if Quezon would write him a letter to that effect, he would present the matter to the President within a week.
Quezon commented to me that the sum he asked for rehabilitation would be sufficient, and would also allow them to industrialize, and that fifty years hence there would be 50,000,000 Filipinos, able to defend themselves.