August 16, 1945, Thursday

This morning, I modified my opinion as to when we will leave. I believe now that it will not be before the end of this month. It will be sometime in September or October. The reason for my change of view now is that I think Laurel, Aquino and Vargas, who are still in Japan, will be brought to the Philippines and I think their cases as well as the Ministers’ will be tried or investigated at the same time. Since the cases of those three or more serious, they may not be considered until after some time and, therefore, our cases will also be delayed.

It is reported by radio that Emperor Hirohito will fly to Manila, in a Japanese plane from Tokyo to Okinawa and in an American plane from Okinawa to Manila. MacArthur has been designated as Commander-in-Chief to receive the surrender of Japan. The representatives of the vanquished always come to the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander or to the place indicated by the latter. MacArthur’s headquarters is in Manila; therefore, the Japanese Representative should go there. But why Hirohito precisely. I can’t understand why it cannot be Premier Suzuki. I do not believe the United Nations will deal with the Premier, however; he will probably be one of those to be arrested and accused as a war criminal. But his cabinet can fall and a Pacifist Cabinet could be created under the Premiership of Konoye, Konoye can then sign the peace terms. But it seems it has to be Hirohito. What a humiliation! Before, he was a proud ruler, considered as god himself. His words were law and divine order at the same time. Now he is under the orders of MacArthur.

I suggested to Compadre Serging Osmeña that he write a letter to his father. I so suggested because it seems that they are already in good terms. I explained to him that his father is an experienced and shrewd politician. Serging ought to know that just now his father is at a disadvantage as regards the collaborationists inasmuch as Roxas has openly thrown himself on their side. I told Serging that he write his father that there is discontent here on account of his passive attitude. He should suggest to his father to do something; to make a “golpe” (sensational and radical act) which will boost his stock among the “collaborationists” and such “golpe” should be a general amnesty proclamation freeing everybody accused of collaboration. This may incline the collaborationists to his side or at least put him in a better position to approach them later. I found Serging rather reluctant for reasons which he explained. The reasons involved family relations among the father, mother-in-law and Serging.

* * * * *

Excerpts from a letter of Roy W. Howard, the principal owner of Scripps-Howard newspapers, dated at Manila, July 30, 1945 to Arsenio Luz:

My chief purpose in coming here, aside from a desire to confer with Gen. MacArthur and get a picture of the general situation, was to see if I could be of any help to you. I wish that it were possible for me to report success, but after pursuing every line that is open, and discussing your case with everyone I know who might be in a position to help, I am afraid that as far as your immediate release is concerned, my effort has been a failure.

It is my sincere belief, Arsenio, that in spite of any action that can be taken, including even legal action, the group held in Palawan now will be kept there until the conclusion of the war with Japan. I realize that this is going to be very tough, and I doubt whether were I in your place it would be possible for me to reconcile myself to the belief that remaining there is the best course. But in my efforts I have run into a few facts which, without in any sense justifying the action taken against you, throw a light on the situation which I want to pass along to you.

In my efforts I have talked to Gen. MacArthur, Gen. Thorpe, head of the C.I.C., Pres. Osmeña, Manuel Roxas, Phil Buencamino, Salvador Araneta, Manolo Elizalde, Chick Parsons, Paul McNutt, and others. They have all been very sympathetic and have helped me to the best of their ability. But we have all run into a stone wall in that Gen. MacArthur is embarked on a course which I am convinced he believes to be in the best interest of the Filipinos, and from which I do not believe it is going to be possible to dissuade him. As I see it, the situation boils down to about this:

MacArthur is fighting a war and doing a most magnificent job of it. However, the job is one calling for the most intense concentration, and despite what I am sure is his keen realization of a pot of political and purely domestic needs, he is having a straight line and giving no consideration to any proposition except killing Japs.

I have no doubt that he suspects there are men at Palawan who are entirely innocent, and many who have been guilty of nothing more serious than indiscretion or bad judgment. To attempt to sort those men out, however, would, if justice were to be done, be equivalent to bringing about trials at this time. I can see many reasons why this would be inadvisable, the chief one being that at the rate of which feeling is dying down, it is obvious that there will be much less emotionalism attaching to collaboration trials later on, than would be the case today.

If trials were to be held today, they would of necessity be trials before an American military tribunal. I suspect Gen. MacArthur feels that not only will Filipino courts be more competent to judge Filipino psychology, but that Filipinos, knowing the conditions existing in Manila and the pressure that put to bear on people like yourself, will be infinitely more lenient than would be the case with a hard-boiled, wholly impersonal military court. In any event, Arsenio, at the end of the week’s effort, in which I have thrown in everything I have without obtaining any redress in your case, I am forced to say that I think that is the way the thing stands, and while Gen. MacArthur has promised to have prepared for his own personal consideration a review of your case, I do not honestly advise you to count on much of anything happening in consequence.

The real purpose in writing this letter is this: I do not need to tell you, I am sure, that my own faith in your innocence of any action prejudicial to the United States has never waned. That will not be either news or a surprise to you. What is more important, however, to you… something which I am not sure you fully appreciate is that no one from Gen, MacArthur down has expressed to me the slightest belief that any action which you took under the stress of occupation conditions was in any sense an action aimed against the interests of the United States, and no one to whom I have talked has expressed the slightest doubt of your loyalty to the United States and to your American friends. That goes straight, Arsenio, and without any discount.

To give you a complete picture, however, I must add that some of your friends, even though they are understanding and tolerant, feel that you may have on occasion been a bit indiscreet and not used your head as effectively as might have been the case. Everyone realizes, however, that hindsight is sometimes better than foresight, and I haven’t the slightest doubt that aside from the discomfit and inconvenience of being held in custody for the very few months during which this war is going to continue, you will ultimately be restored to complete standing in this community and given a complete bill of health.

If your old sense of humor is still working, and I have no doubt that you still possess it even though it may have been scuffed up a bit, you may smile at a line of reasoning which I have given Carmen, and which I put forward in all seriousness. I realize the ridiculousness of a man on the outside arguing to the man who is detained, on the virtues of being in jail, and yet I think in your case there is some virtue in the situation.

Let me explain: If it were possible to exercise any influence to get you sprung at the present time, and I had an opportunity to do so, I would advise you to turn your back on such an opportunity. My reasoning is this: if you were to come out under such circumstances and without a trial, there would always be hovering over you a suspicion that may be you were at liberty not because of innocence, but because of some pull you were able to exercise. Such a situation would be a handicap to you and your family for the rest of your life. On the basis of what I have been told, and I am not going to attempt to state here which man or men most influenced my judgment (although I assure you they were among your best friends and American well wishers), I believe that the hearing which you will certainly get immediately upon the conclusion of the war and the turning of this whole problem over to the Philippines, will give you a clean bill of health and completely establish your innocence of any action that would prejudice your standing either with Filipinos or Americans. For whatever my judgment is worth, the value of this bill of health and official establishment of your innocence will over the long haul more than compensate for the few additonal weeks or months that you may be denied your liberty.

As I said, this argument, sound though I am convinced it is, may be one easier for me to make on the outside than for you to accept on the inside. I know, however, that you will not doubt my honesty, even though you should doubt my judgment, when I tell you my opinion of the tremendous value which I believe will attach to your exoneration, as distinct from the situation which might result if you were released in consequence of political pressure, even though there was the possibility of exerting political pressure, a possibility which I am sure does not exist.

I would of course have come to Palawan to see you, had it been possible to do so. I even made some efforts in that direction, but became convinced that not only could I have been of no value to you down there, but to have made the trip might have in some degree prejudiced your case.

Now for one more point, and then I’ll wind up this interminably long letter. In April, before his death on August 1st, I visited President Quezon at Miami, Florida. At that time he was on his death bed and I think fully realized that his number was up. He talked with extreme difficulty and only in a whisper, because the tuberculosis had reached his throat. I won’t attempt to quote all of his conversation, but merely that which has a bearing on your situation, and on his unshakeable faith in you and confidence in your loyalty and integrity. There had at that time come back to the United States varied stories of collaborative action being taken by Filipinos. Cases discussed with a number of these people, some of whom I knew and others whose names had slipped me, but whom he insisted I had met and who knew me. Finally, he turned to me and said:

Roy, I do not know about all of these people. I am worried about Jorge Vargas. The reports on what Jorge is doing are not good, though I find it very difficult to believe that any one so long associated with me would turn out to be disloyal to me, to the Filipino people, and to the United States. I must admit that I am having to reserve judgment. About some of your friends, however, I would advise you to have faith, just as I have. There are some of them to whom disloyalty would be impossible and I include in this list Alunan, Joe Yulo, Arsenio Luz, Phil Buencamino…’

In addition he named those several others — people whom probably I would recognize if I saw them, but whose names at the time did not mean much to me.

Quezon told me at that time the instructions that he had left with his friends, and added that he was now in touch with those men by clandestine short wave radio. He also told me that within a week he had received a call from one of his men, a Filipino doctor, who had returned to the States from Manila within the preceding forthnight.

At home I have a diary memorandum which I wrote that night, in which I have Quezon’s exact words. The foregoing quotation, however, is to all intents and purposes correct and accurate.

…I am no seventh son of a seventh son, but I venture the prophecy that this war will be over before the end of the year and that your complete restoration to your family and to the position which you have so well earned in this community, will have been effected before the New Year is many days old.

Mr. Howard is one of the two or three great newspapermen in the United States now living. The news above is the most authoritative we have received inasmuch as it is the result of his personal conferences with MacArthur in whose hands our destiny lies. Therein it is clear that we will not be released while the war lasts. He believes that even if we can go now we should not accept it as there will always be the suspicion that we got out as a result of influence. Whereas if we are acquitted after due trial, we will be given a clean bill of health, and, therefore, be restored to our old position in the community. Such was my opinion from the beginning. We do not positively know what we are charged of. But under the circumstances, we presume that it must be treason to our country and disloyalty to the United States. As to the latter, I have never been disloyal to the United States but if they insist, I would not mind it because after all deep in my heart I do not recognize loyalty to any country other than my own. But the charge of treason to my country is very serious. From all indications at the present time, only prejudiced Filipinos believe that we have been traitors and they constitute a very small portion of our population. But how about future generations who do not know the facts personally? If our declaration of innocence now is not recorded, they may get the idea that we have done something against our country. So it is preferable that we be submitted to a trial in order that our formal vindication may be decreed if we are found not guilty.


August 15, 1945, Wednesday

9:20 a.m. News came that Hirohito signed the surrender document. War is ended.

But it is not in so far as we are concerned. We are still in prison. I predict that we will be out before the end of the month. No military security needing our further detention. Surely MacArthur will immediately turn us over to the Commonwealth. Osmeña is an experienced, shrewd politician. He understands or should understand that just now Roxas is in an enviable position in so far as the “collaborationists” are concerned. Therefore, Osmeña should and I think will do something to bolster up his stock to the collaborationists. May God make Osmeña see our case in this light.


August 13, 1945, Monday

Monday the 13th is considered by some as a bad day. It was for Luis, one of our two orderlies. He was taken by ambulance to the Military Hospital to be operated on for appendicitis.

This day we received official news that Japan had offered to surrender with only one one reservation — Emperor Hirohito be allowed to continue. We could understand this. To the Japanese, the Emperor is not only a political head, he is also a God, the head of the Japanese religion. Furthermore, without the Emperor, there would be revolution, chaos in Japan.

We also learned officially that the United States, Great Britain, Russia and China accepted the offer of Japan with the clarification that Emperor Hirohito would have to govern under the orders of the United Nations’ Commander-in-Chief in Japan who will be an American.


July 20, 1945 Friday

At about ten o’clock this morning, we were advised that Col. Gilfilan, the Superintendent, wanted to see Mr. Paredes, Gen. Francisco and me. We all became very excited. We thought that we will receive some good news relating to our release. But I doubted this. Why should others, like Yulo and Alunan, whose cases are also very meritorious, not be included? On the other hand, I feared that I would be investigated. A few days ago, an Army Chaplain came with letters from Manila. I got the idea that one of those letters was for me. They were handed by the Chaplain to the Colonel. As they were uncensored, I feared that the letter for me may have contained something that would require further inquiry. But it turned out later that I had no letter. Those who were not invited by Col. Gilfilan looked at us with envy. We walked to the office of the Colonel where we saw our dear friend who had shown deep sympathy towards us, Colonel Barros. We immediately concluded that Col. Barros wanted to visit us and, for some reason, we were allowed to talk him at the Superintendent’s Office. Colonel Gilfilan was extremely nice to us. He motioned to Col. Barros that he could talk to us in the farthest corner of the room. We were with Col. Barros for about 20 minutes. He brought us some gifts. He said that he had been wanting to see us to be able to personally express his sympathy. He said that we must not be ashamed because almost all our countrymen are convinced that we had done absolutely nothing against our country and people, nothing that was even censurable. We asked the Colonel whether there was news about us. He answered no, except he considered the speech of Gen. MacArthur favorable to us in the sense that he urges unity among the Filipinos. He said that his wife cried when she heard that we were here as prisoners. He said that the people at the beginning were somewhat prejudicial against us, but now they understand and they even admire us. He reiterated his ardent desire that we be freed so that our country may again count with our services.

When we were about to leave, Col. Gilfilan beckoned us to sit around his table. He said that he was doing all he could to make us more comfortable. We expressed our gratitude.

Upon our arrival at the stockade, we told our companions to prepare their letters as we were leaving the next day. No one swallowed it.

All the newspapers report heavy bombardment of Japan by air and sea. One thousand five hundred super-fortresses and fighters from aircraft carriers had attacked different places in Japan. Air attack is almost continuous. The biggest task force ever assembled with several dreadnaughts are bombarding Japan from places about a rifle’s shot from the shores. We who trembled with just a few small planes bombarding, have a pretty good idea of the effects of such bombardment. We are now confident that the war will end soon. Although America has always insisted on unconditional surrender, there were statements from responsible persons in America that Emperor Hirohito will be spared and that the Japanese people will not be enslaved. Somebody jokingly remarked that Hirohito will go to the shrine, commune with his God-ancestors, and afterwards, say that he was requested by them to surrender. Recto remarked that the ancestors will mark, “Estamos cayados”.

I had expressed the belief before that the collaborationist issue may divide our people and confuse the political situation. Already in Manila there is a serious division on this account. But the injustice committed against us and the indifference toward our situation shown by even our most intimate friends in Manila, will compel us to organize a party of our own. This will be composed of the supposed collaborationists and their sympathizers. We will organize everyone here and found a newspaper. We will put up candidates for representatives and senators. We ourselves will run. We shall seek not only our vindication, but the carrying out of policies and programs which shall make our country truly independent and prosperous. With the elements this proposed party can count on, it will be a formidable one. If Osmeña and Roxas do not reconcile, the new party may even put up a candidate for president.

McNutt, ex-American High Commissioner of the Philippines and the father of the re-examinationist movement under which the Philippines will have more or less permanent political connection with America, is coming. Avowedly he comes to investigate economic conditions, but if that is the purpose, he is not exactly qualified. I am more inclined to believe that he comes to ascertain the chances his theory may have, and begin laying the groundwork to push his ideas through. We must be on guard. In the movement, he will be supported by American capitalists who see in the Philippines a good field for investment or a strategic place for commercial operations in the Orient, and the imperialists who dream world domination by America. We must assure the free rights of every people. We must combat imperialism at all cost.

What are we? Nobody seems to know. We came as war prisoners, but such status is inconsistent with the theory of those who wish to detain us. If the Republic had never existed and the Commonwealth continued, then we cannot be enemies and we cannot be war prisoners. If the existence of the Republic is recognized, we will then be enemies. At the beginning, the Superintendent here always mentioned the Geneva Convention as the source of all their authority. Later, we were told that we were merely under protective custody. We should appreciate their good intention, but is there real danger for us? Still later, we were told that we were modified or assimilated war prisoners. None of us understand this. Finally, two days ago, the Superintendent objected to our calling ourselves prisoners. “You are not prisoners. You are internees,” he said. It soothes us not to be branded as prisoners, but what matters is not the name but the situation.

Once in a while we crave for real Filipino food. We cannot help but get tired of canned American food which we are not accustomed to eat. Minister Sison and I decided to stay at our quarters to be able to eat such food. It was one of the best meals we have ever enjoyed. We ate good fish, mechado, and rice, with mango and banana dessert. It was a perfect meal. It made us homesick, especially since the mechado was from my wife sent to me from Manila.

We were given a suit of khaki, a two-piece American soldier’s uniform. It is made of good cloth. The coat fits me, but the pants have to be remade by tailor Hernandez from Ibaan Batangas. He is a good tailor.


April 29, 1945 Sunday

It was 3 o’clock in the morning; the boat started to move. We could not see anything; it was pitch black. Destination unknown.

In the dark, the events of the past days came back to me.

We left Irisan, a town about six kilometers from Baguio on April 12, 1945 headed towards Agoo, an American-captured territory in the Province of La Union. After walking four days and four nights across mountains, we arrived at Pitugan, La Union. Across the river which bordered the U.S.-liberated province, we saw our first sight of our American liberators, a group of soldiers led by a Capt. Linguist. Our happiness at seeing the Americans was such that tears streamed down our faces. “Here are our liberators!” we exclaimed.

The Captain was tall. He might not have been a handsome man but to us he was the embodiment of perfection. He shook hands with Manuel Roxas first, with Jose Yulo next, and then with me. I had shaken hands with presidents (including Roosevelt), emperors (Hirohito and Pu Yi), and princes (Prince of Wales), but I had never taken a hand with more gusto than when I shook the hand of the Captain.

Capt. Linguist was very kind and nice to us. He gave orders left and right, doing everything he could for us. The Americans helped us across the river and, although we were already in the safety zone, the Captain took all the necessary precautions; soldiers with sub-machine-guns were posted around us throughout the night while we slept before proceeding towards the town of Tubao.

Deep in our hearts we felt an unbounded feeling of gratitude. Not for a moment did it enter our minds that our liberators, for whose return we prayed fervently everyday, were going to be our incarcerators.

At 7 a.m., we started for Tubao. When we reached the town of Rizal, we were met by a military truck driven by an American. We boarded the truck and reached Tubao about 10 a.m. Here in Tubao, we saw the place where the shelling of Baguio came from. That same morning, we were taken to Aringay, to the U.S. Army Headquarters. The Americans served us lunch. For the first time since the war, we had a real American dinner with bread and butter, ham, coffee, iced tea, etc. Here we were introduced to the head of the Army operating around Baguio, Major General Carlson.

We were photographed with the General and his staff. The Filipino group was composed of Gen. Manuel Roxas, Chief Justice Jose Yulo, Minister Rafael Alunan, Minister Teofilo Sison, Minister Quintin Paredes, and myself. We were also introduced to Lt. Col. Arcing Arvey. We were asked many questions, one of which was what we thought about the postponement of Philippine independence. As the senior in our party, Mr. Yulo answered for the group—that we were opposed to the proposition. Col. Arvey asked whether we did not need time for economic readjustment. He answered, “There is no incompatibility between the two. We can have independence and economic readjustment with the help of America.”

I was elated at his response as this represented my own thoughts and sentiments. We have heard rumors that the Imperialists had sent men here—Army officers, and men in the C.I.C.—to work for the withdrawal of the independence plan. It was their plan to work through the Filipinos: they want the Filipinos themselves to petition for the postponement of independence. They cannot do it directly in America as the majority of the Americans are against imperialism. As a matter of fact, I was present in the U.S. Congress when they voted down a large appropriation for the fortification of Guam. They argued that America should pull out of the Orient. But the Imperialists want to be able to show that the Filipinos themselves do not want independence. They are absolutely wrong if they think the Filipinos will give up their lifelong desire for independence.

We stayed three days in Tubao. We were given plenty of K-rations to eat. On the morning of April 19, a car driven by an American came for us. We thought we were going to be taken to San Fabian as we were made to understand. But before we started the trip, a Capt. Donahue explained to us that we would be brought to San Fernando where he hoped we would not stay long. He was very nice and apologetic.

We were shown the April 18, 1945 issue of the Free Philippines which stated that Gen. MacArthur had announced that American liberation forces “captured four members of the collaborationists cabinet”. The article continues: “The puppet officials who fell into American hands were Jose Yulo, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonio de las Alas, Minister of Finance, Teofilo Sison, Minister of the Interior, and Quintin Paredes, Minister of Justice, in the quisling Laurel Cabinet.” It also quoted from the American General, “They will be confined for the duration of the war as a matter of military security and then turned over to the government of the Philippines for trial and judgment.”

We were all dumbfounded. We never expected it.

On the way to San Fernando, we passed through San Fabian, a very busy port. All roads were improved, even widened and asphalted. The roads were jammed with military vehicles, including amphibian trucks. We arrived in San Fernando and proceeded directly to the U.S. Army Headquarters. At about 3 p.m., we were told to proceed to Manila. We were not able to say goodbye to our families.

We arrived in Manila at sundown. We drove around to different places, including offices in the Government Insurance Building and the Singian house just below the Ayala Bridge. It seemed like they didn’t know where to take us. Finally, we were taken to a house in Quezon City, arriving there about 7 p.m. Since may daughter Lily, Mrs. Ambrosio Padilla, lived nearby in the San Miguel district, I asked permission to be allowed to visit her. I was rather surprised when my request was denied.

When we arrived in Quezon City, we were joined by Pedro Sabido, F. Baybay, Jose Sanvictores, Francisco Zulueta, Sergio Bayan and Proceso Sebastian. Zulueta sympathized with me; he too could not understand why I was not allowed to see Lily, especially since we spent several days in Quezon City. On April 21, Zulueta was taken ill and had to be brought to a hospital.

We expected to see Gen. Manuel Roxas who was not brought with us to Manila, but he was not among those who arrived. It is said that he was also detained but given a certain degree of freedom.

In the morning of the 24th, Ministers Claro M. Recto, Rafael Alunan and Emilio Abello, and Gen. Guillermo Francisco arrived from Baguio. Recto and Gen. Francisco were very indignant. Recto said that if he had known what was in store for him, he would have preferred to have stayed in Baguio.

Next day, Wednesday, April 25th, we were all photographed and fingerprinted. I felt humiliated. We were all bitter, and we broke into tears. Generally, however, we thought that even this forced detention was better than our situation in Baguio where we were virtual prisoners subject to the dangers of bombing, shelling, and above all massacre by the Japanese Armed Forces.

In the afternoon, we were fingerprinted and photographed again, Gen. Francisco included. The morning photographed and fingerprinting session was for the Military Policy Command; the afternoon session, for the Counter Intelligence Corps.

When we arrived in the house in Quezon City, I was interrogated by two gentlemen, a Mr. Stanford and a Mr. Hendricks. I was questioned not only about myself, but also about others in the party, and other persons. I was asked about Secretary Kalaw, Mayor Guinto, Vice Mayor Figueroa, Vicente Madrigal, Leopoldo Aguinaldo, Sergio and Nicasio Osmeña, Fiscal Mabanag and Camino Moncado. I tried to make a correct and just appraisal of them.

In the following days, from April 25 to the 27th, I was questioned repeatedly. I was asked by Mr. Hendricks and Mr. Stanford about the Philippine currency taken from banks. I prepared a statement in reply to all their questions. In my report I also mentioned about the seizure by the Japanese authorities of the Philippine National Bank funds in Baguio.

After a week of separation, I received for the first time letters from my wife and other members of my family. They arrived in Manila last Sunday, April 22. My son-in-law, Ambrosio Padilla (Paddy), and my brother-in-law, Jose Lontoc, drove all the way from Manila to Tubao to get them. My family is now staying in an “entresuelo” in the grand old house owned by Paddy’s mother located in Rodriguez Arias St. In the letter, my wife wrote that on the way to Manila, they passed by Paniqui, Tarlac, to the house of my other son-in-law, Ramon Cojuangco. Ramon confirmed the death of my daughter, Natividad (Neny). I became almost desperate. When we were taken to the U.S. Headquarters in La Union we met some friends from Manila who were officers of the USAFFE. One of them was Major Nakpil who told me of Neny’s death. Before this, I refused to believe it.

My eldest daughter, Lily, and her family were all in good health. I have a new grandson, born during the battle for liberation of Manila. I have two grandchildren now, the other being Josie.

I also learned about the burning of all our houses. But we would have preferred to lose all if only Neny could have been saved.

Mr. Stanford is a very friendly and understanding gentleman. He promised to do all he could for us. He is a Republican and freely expressed his opinion. Naturally, he opposed many of Roosevelt’s policies. Among other things, he said that all allied nations must be made to defray the expenses of the war.

The next morning, we were all happy, having heard from our families and knowing that they were back safely in Manila. At about 11 a.m., an American Lieutenant came to advise that we were leaving at 12:30 p.m. All of us became very sad. We did not know our destination. I tried to get permission to be allowed to go to the house of the Padillas because it was just nearby. My request was denied. At 1 o’clock, a harsh looking Captain came in a big truck. We were ordered to board the truck. The Captain followed us in a jeep. We were escorted by American guards with rifles. We were told not to talk to anybody.

The truck headed for Quezon Boulevard, and when it turned right on Azcarraga St., we all thought we were being taken to the Bilibid Prison. But we drove by the Bilibid Prison and went straight along Azcarraga St. to the North Port. We heard the Captain asking for directions to Pier 8. We were lost for a while; we even went beyond Tondo Church. Finally, we got to Pier 8.

We were left in the open truck for two hours with the sun blazing down on us. We could have been allowed to leave the truck to be in a shady place since the whole place was under the control of the Army. Here we got an inkling of what kind of treatment was in store for us. The Filipinos around who apparently recognized us, looked at us with sympathetic eyes. Apparently, the delay was due to the fact that we waited for the four trucks loaded with prisoners from Bilibid Prison. Among the prisoners we recognized Gov. S. Aquino of the 3rd District, Gov. Urquico of Tarlac, Hilario Camino Moncado and Francisco C. de la Rama. Later, we found out that the two leaders of the Hukbalahap, Luis Taruc and Casto Alejandrino, were also with them.

At about 3 o’clock, we were ordered to board a landing barge. Gov. P. Sebastian had a heavy load, so I helped him. The barge took us to a boat of 7,000 tons capacity named Lewis Morris. We were ordered to go down to the hold of the ship. It was here where we found out that there were many other detainees, about a hundred of us. We were herded in a place too small for us—crammed in the boat’s hold, about 20 by 20 meters. It was hot. We howled in protest. Overhead, someone removed the wooden trapdoor. It became a little cooler. We were all very thirsty. Moncado saved the situation by managing to go up on deck. How he did it is still a mystery to us. I surmised that he used a human pyramid to reach the opening. He was away for a very long time and we feared that he had been caught. To our surprise and jubilation, he appeared and handed down buckets of water to us.

All expressed indignation. We did not deserve such a treatment. Recto said if he was assured that his family would be taken care of, he would rather die. Gen. Francisco said that after having served the Philippines and America, he could not understand why he was being thus treated. Yulo, the coolest headed among us, said, “I will never allow an American to cross the threshold of my house.”

Later, we learned unofficially that we were going to the Iwahig Penal Colony.

We were served breakfast at 9 a.m. At about 11 a.m., the boat stopped. We were allowed to go up on deck. The air was very refreshing. We saw a convoy of over 50 ships.

We were only allowed on deck for one hour after breakfast. Lunchtime came; we were very hungry. No lunch. After 2 o’clock we were told that we were to be given only two meals a day. Then at 4 o’clock, we were told we could go up on deck again for one hour. Finally, at 5 o’clock, they served us our supper of canned salmon. It was abundant.


6th April 1945

Admiral Baron Kantaro Suzuki is the new premier. The Mainichi, in reporting how he “received the imperial command” to form a new cabinet, gave an interesting peek into Japanese government. “When Premier Koiso submitted the resignation of the cabinet to the throne yesterday, His Majesty the Emperor summoned to the imperial palace Marquis Koichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, and commanded him to recommend the successor. In view of the seriousness of the situation both at home and abroad, Marquis Kido desired the opinions of the senior statesmen and asked them to assemble at the imperial palace. Accordingly, Baron Reijiro Wakatsuki, Admiral Keisuke Okada, Koki Hirota, Prince Fuminaro Konoye, Baron Kiichiro Hiranuma, and General Hideki Tozyo, all former prime ministers, and Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, president of the privy council, presented themselves at the imperial palace. They sat in conference at 6 p.m. and deliberated in earnest on the selection of the head of the succeeding cabinet until 8:40 p.m. Marquis Kido reported to the throne on the results of the deliberation. Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, who remained at the palace after the conference, was received in audience by His Majesty the Emperor (at 10 p.m.) and was commanded to organize the succeeding cabinet.” According to the Asahi, Admiral Suzuki, overawed by the imperial favor, asked for time and retired. The premier designate will now establish his “cabinet-formation headquarters”. Pressmen and politicians will watch who calls and is called and will make up their dope-lists of probable cabinet members. When the cabinet is completed, Suzuki will present the list to the throne and an imperial investiture will quickly follow.

There are several points about Suzuki that have immediately been brought up. He is known as an “emperor’s man” because he was grand chamberlain for many years. He is of course a navy men and his chief aide in lining up a cabinet seems to be another navy man and elder statesman, Admiral Okada. He is considered a “liberal” as liberals go in Japan; both he and Okada were on the “wanted” list of the young officers’ revolt in 1936; he was wounded while Okada was saved when the conspirators killed his brother-in-law by mistake. Most significant of all, Suzuki is old, only one year short of 80, old enough to be a hero of the first Chinese and Russian wars, old enough to commit political or actual harakiri by making peace. Long before this everyone agreed that an old premier meant defeat and peace. Certainly if the goal were still the active and unrelenting prosecution of the war, a younger man would have been chosen, possibly a prince of the blood royal as was expected after Tozyo. The Filipinos in Tokyo have a word for it; the new premier is not Suzuki but Susuku (which is Tagalog for “will surrender”).

There is of course no open talk of peace. In resigning, the Koiso cabinet expressed the hope for a stronger government, presumably stronger for and in the war. For their part the vernaculars all call for one grim united effort to avert invasion and conquest. They assign many causes for the downfall of Koiso. Koiso’s policies were not “coordinated”. He failed to rally the people. He lost their confidence. He was purely a transition premier from one “strong man” to another. Most of the vernaculars hint at the insoluble problem of “coordinating” the administration and the high command”. But no one has mentioned Yiojima or Okinawa or the great Tokyo raids or the fact that Soviet Russia has given notice of its desire to abrogate the neutrality or non-aggression pact. These causes, and peace, were just as decisive. The people were tired of the army and they have turned to the navy; they were tired of the younger officers and they have turned to the elder statesmen; they were tired of defeat, ruin, hunger, homeless insecurity, and they have turned to — what? They do not say because they do not know. They shuffle in their long weary queues, bundle up their frayed and scorched belongings, and hide their faces. Koiso has been jerked out of the stage as suddenly, noiselessly, and simply as Tozyo. It is not hard to see that it makes little difference to the puppet show. But the profound weariness and melancholy of the people cannot be healed by a change in the cast. It is convenient to give them someone to blame and hiss and boo and throw out. It may assure them for a time. But their mood is too deep to be lifted by anything short of glorious victory or at least the surcease of peace. Now if they cannot take it out on the cabinet, they take it out on what they can lay their hands on.

Going to the chancery we sniffed something of this reckless desperate spirit. A volunteer wrecking squad was tearing down the houses in our neighborhood to clear a fire-break. They seemed possessed by a lust for destruction. A laughing student hurled down a window to the street and it crashed amid a shower of broken glass. Another student was furiously at work with a heavy hammer, smashing down, the plaster partitions. A heavy rope was coiled along the street. Later the squad would noisily pull down the light framework, splitting and rending irreplaceable timber in a roar of dust, splintered tile, shattered glass, and that strange satisfying exaltation of blind destruction. And then they would sit on their haunches, their mirthless laughter slowly dying; they would stare at the ruins, breathing heavily, and their faces would grow sad and empty. We had seen many of these squads at work and passing them today we felt once more a twinge of uneasy apprehension.


19th March 1945

The emperor visited the bombed areas of Tokyo yesterday. The newspapers were reverentially brief and circumspect in announcing the event. No one asked him how he felt and he did not say. Well, how did he feel, looking at the flattened ruins and the rusting debris? Was he angry, frightened, solicitous, sorry? Was he remorseful-sorry, afraid-sorry, pitying-sorry? Or was he just bored? More important perhaps, how did the people feel? Were they resentful, grateful, cynical, overwhelmed by the imperial benevolence, envious, sympathetic? Or were they too indifferent? There were no riots, no cheers, no demonstrations either way.

Yet it may be another of these Japanese paradoxes that it was not the emperor who pitied the people but the people who pitied the emperor. “He has such bad luck,” our maid told me once. She did not blame him for what had happened to Japan. She did not think of him as the Germans might have thought of the last Kaiser, a ruler who had bungled his job, a warlord to whom defeat was unforgivable. Nor did she think of him as the English might think of the king, a slightly more privileged fellow-citizen, stolidly doing his duty and as much in the dark as anyone else. Nor did she think of him as a primitive African tribe might think of their idol, a god to be blamed and cast into the fire. As far as I could understand she thought of him as fellow-Japanese, ruler, god, and also father, and she no more blamed or hated him than anyone would blame or hate a well-beloved parent who was doing the best he could to raise the family right on a job that just did not pay enough. In this way she, the lowest of his subjects, pitied God the Father whose heart, she was sure, was torn and bleeding at the sight of his children, weary and wretched beyond his aid or blame.


20th February 1945

The following story sounds a little fantastic but anyway it seems that when a Tokyo streetcar passed in front of the imperial palace and the conductor called for the customary reverence, one of the passengers clasped his hands and cried out:

“O Tenno, save your people, have mercy on your people!” Half of the passengers in the crowded tram snickered or laughed out loud. The others didn’t dare.

Our apartment, neighbor brought our bread and cigarette rations himself today. The apartment employees in charge of our rations have threatened to quit if they have to continue delivering the stuff to every individual apartment. From now on a representative of every floor will call at the downstairs office and distribute the rations to his neighbors. Still it will be more convenient than lining up for every item at the neighborhood distribution centers. On behalf of his German friends, our neighbor was also trying to work up an organized protest against the present light controls in the apartment house. Every time even a precautionary alarm is sounded the apartment management pulls the main switch and plunges everyone into total darkness. Apart from the fact that it makes both work and entertainment impossible, sometimes for hours on end, it is exasperating because it seems so unnecessary. No other building in Tokyo does it; the usual shaded lights and leak-proof black curtains are sufficient for the purposes of the law. But the neighborhood association officials in the apartment house have proved obdurate against all reason; no amount of promises that the most rigid, precautions against leakage would be taken have been able to move them. And so we will continue to grope in total darkness or go to bed everytime even one plane approaches Tokyo. Behind it all is panic; the apartment house is a landmark on Kudan hill and the military offices nearby feel extremely uneasy. Also, a certain amount of class prejudice has entered the picture: the neighbors have a grudge against the “aristocrats” in the luxury apartments that tower above their houses.

Before he left our neighbor told some entertaining stories about his boys. Both tend to disappear during air-raids. One day he found them on the exposed roof, calmly drawing a bead on a B-29 with their toy machinegun.


23rd January 1945

Today’s vernaculars published the annual New Year poems of the emperor, the imperial family, and other Japanese leaders. It would be futile to give a direct translation but the emperor speaks of standing in the white mists of morning underneath the plum trees before the shrine while there ris-es a chill and melancholy wind. The Japanese in the chancery were quite depressed over it. “It makes me shiver,” one of them said in a sad hushed voice.