May 24, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Osmeña was operated upon hurriedly on Saturday last for appendicitis. Quezon goes down to Doctors’ Hospital every day to call on him.

The President told me of a recent meeting of the Pacific War Council. Mr. Roosevelt had opened with a talk of Attu, of which he had a large map. Evidently, he intended this to be the end of the meeting, but Mr. Churchill took the floor. Quezon remarked that if he had not heard his statement, he would have had quite an erroneous idea of the situation in the Pacific merely from hearing Churchill’s previous recent address to the American Congress.

The Prime Minister now explained to the Council quite frankly that England could not undertake the prosecution of a campaign in Burma–they could, he said, use only a certain sized force there, and added: “The Japanese are better than we at jungle fighting.” Now, he could not supply the men to put the Burma road into proper condition and to maintain it. “This,” remarked Quezon to me “left me in some doubt as to whether the British Government really wanted to help China.” Thereupon, H. H. Kung made a “silly speech” and begged Churchill to open up the Burma road for them, adding that it was probably a choice of generals! Churchill interrupted to say, tartly: “I hope the time will never come when England cannot select its own generals.”

Churchill continued and stated that he heartily backed the present Australian demand, presented by Dr. Evatt, for more planes than the 400 he had requested. Roosevelt replied that both Australia and General Chennault were to get more planes than those for which they had originally asked.

In some unexplained way, Quezon seemed to think that the big attack on Japan was to come from Siberia! He also felt that the Philippines would be reclaimed from the enemy by direct attack which would be ruinous to his country.

Quezon added that from listening to these debates on the War Council he is inclined to believe that Churchill will not enter upon any more military or naval enterprises unless he is seventy per cent sure of success. For his own part, Quezon added while attending the meeting of the Pacific War Council, he was confining his part strictly to the interests of the Philippines. These seemed to fit in with the English plans. He recalled such Englishmen as he had liked personally in the Philippines, such as Horace Whittall and Pat Jollye–then he added reflectively: “Who could ever have expected the time to come when I should appear to be backing English imperialism?” He does indeed, at the present juncture, seem to be inclined towards English strategy. For years I have been cautioning Quezon not to neglect the importance for his country of the sympathetic backing of Great Britain.

Quezon next turned to political history as he had seen it unfold. He believed that Woodrow Wilson was the greatest American of this half century. Of Roosevelt, he commented: “He stands the criticism against him throughout the United States admirably,” adding: “I should be bursting out all the time.” He thinks Churchill is a greater man than Roosevelt.

Then Quezon turned to recollections of his service in the American Congress as Resident Commissioner from the Philippines, and dwelt on the failure to get the Clarke Amendment to the Jones Bill in 1916 through the House of Representatives. Senator Clarke introduced his bill for independence of the Philippines effective within two years. He was a solitary man who did his own thinking, and never went to the White House. So President Wilson went to Clarke’s apartment and asked him to change the period before full independence from two to four years because the first World War was then in full swing. Clarke was flattered and accepted the suggestion. The Philippine bill including this “Clarke Amendment” passed the Senate by the deciding vote of Vice President Marshall. In the House, however, Fitzgerald and his large bloc of Roman Catholic Democrats bolted the Democratic leadership and killed the Clarke Amendment. The only Catholics in the House to vote for the amendment were Ansberry of Ohio and Broussard of Louisiana. It appears that Osmeña had cabled Quezon from Manila not exactly expressing his own opposition to the Clarke Amendment but quoting adverse opinions of his followers–Rafael Palma, etc.

Independence for the Philippines in 1918 or 1920 would among other favourable results, have prevented the growth there of the “sugar barons” and might even, later on, have staved off the Japanese invasion. Their economy would have stood up to the test at that time better than in the subsequent period when sugar dominated the market.


May 24, 1943

Osmeña was operated upon hurriedly on Saturday last for appendicitis. Quezon goes down to Doctors’ Hospital every day to call on him.

The President told me of a recent meeting of the Pacific War Council. Mr. Roosevelt had opened with a talk of Attu, of which he had a large map. Evidently, he intended this to be the end of the meeting, but Mr. Churchill took the floor. Quezon remarked that if he had not heard his statement, he would have had quite an erroneous idea of the situation in the Pacific merely from hearing Churchill’s previous recent address to the American Congress.

The Prime Minister now explained to the Council quite frankly that England could not undertake the prosecution of a campaign in Burma —they could, he said, use only a certain sized fore there, and dded: “The Japanese are better than we at jungle fighting.” Now, he could not supply the men to put the Burma road into proper condition and to maintain it. “This,” remarked Quezon to me “left me in some doubt as to whether the British Government really wanted to help China.” Thereupon, H.H. Kung made a “silly speech” and begged Churchill to open up the Burma road for them, adding that it was probably a choice of generals! Churchill interrupted to say, tartly: “I hope the time will never come when England cannot select its own generals.”

Churchill continued and stated that he heartily backed the present Australian demand, presented by Dr. Evatt, for more planes than the 400 he had requested. Roosevelt replied that both Australia and General Chennault were to get more planes than those for which they had originally asked.

In some unexplained way, Quezon seemed to think that the big attack on Japan was to come from Siberia! He also felt that the Philippines would be reclaimed from the enemy by direct attack which would be ruinous to his country.

Quezon added that from listening to these debates on the War Council he is inclined to believe that Churchill will not enter upon any more military or naval enterprises unless he is seventy per cent sure of success. For his own part, Quezon added while attending the meeting of the Pacific War Council, he was confining his part strictly to the interests of the Philippines. These seemed to fit in with the English plans. He recalled such Englishmen as he had liked personally in the Philippines, such as Horace Whittall Pat Jollye —then he added reflectively: “Who would ever have expected the time to come when I should appear to be backing English imperialism?” He does indeed, at the present juncture, seem to be inclined towards English strategy. For years I have been cautioning Quezon not to neglect the importance for his country of the sympathetic backing of Great Britain.

Quezon next turned to political history as he had seen it unfold. He believed that Woodrow Wilson was the greatest American of this half century. Of Roosevelt, he commented: “He stands the criticism against him throughout the United States admirably,” adding: “I should be bursting out all the time.” He thinks Churchill is a greater man than Roosevelt.

Then Quezon turned to recollections of his service in the American Congress as Resident Commissioner from the Philippines, and dwelt on the failure to get the Clarke Amendment to the Jones Bill in 1916 through the House of Representatives. Senator Clarke introduced his bill for independence of the Philippines effective within two years. He was a solitary man who did his own thinking, and never went to the White House. So President Wilson went to Clarke’s apartment and asked him to change the period before full independence from two to four years because the first World War was then in full swing. Clarke was flattered and accepted the suggestion. The Philippine bill including this “Clarke Amendment” passed the Senate by the deciding vote of Vice President Marshall. In the House, however, Fitzgerald and his large bloc Roman Catholic Democrats bolted the Democratic leadership and killed the Clarke Amendment. The only Catholics in the House to vote for the amendment were Ansberry of Ohio and Broussard of Louisiana. It appears that Osmeña had cabled Quezon from Manila not exactly expressing his own opposition to the Clarke Amendment but quoting adverse opinions of his followers —Rafael Palma, etc.

Independence for the Philippines in 1918 or 1920 would among other favorable results, have prevented the growth there of the “sugar barons” and might even, later on, have staved off the Japanese invasion. Their economy would have stood up to the test at that time better than in the subsequent period when sugar dominated the market.


March 27, 1936

Most of the party went off for the day to drive fifteen miles to IXL mine. There was a heavy rain and the weather is most unpromising, bridge on the ship.

Quezon went ashore in Masbate town to see the officials and to make a speech. The band greeted him on the pier with “Here comes the bride” and Quezon’s comment afterwards was that “he is a g-d fool”! This is the port where my brother Archy and I boarded the Sealandia in December 1918 bound for New York on my one and only vacation home.

Reception and dance in the afternoon; good dancing and lots of fun at the house of ex-Governor Bayot. Excellent dinner and then back to the steamer to start for Manila. At bridge, after dinner Quezon remarked on the frequent disasters which were overtaking everybody who played a hand “I don’t like these damned things which are happening here.” Loud laughter. This has been the most steady bad luck I have had in bridge for a year.

Amusing conversation with Whittall, Wolff and Selph on parrots and psittacosis (quite in the Macdonnel strain).

Before dinner, Marsman and Culbertson joined the party by plane from Manila.


March 25, 1936

Busy morning at office. Miguel Unson has seen Quezon and has received instructions that I shall work with the Government Survey Board. He came in and outlined their work. The office is at the Heacock Building, and he spends most of his time there. Is worried by the belief that insufficient revenue is obtained from the customs, and is trying to work out a scheme for improvement; he says that every time the customs bureau is investigated the revenue receipts leap up!

We talked over the issue of railway vs. roads in Mindanao: he says the plan is to take down there that useless railroad outfit in Cebu, and perhaps in Iloilo as well, and to build roads as feeders. I also saw Osmeña for a moment before the Cabinet meeting and he talked on the same subject: says the time has come to decide either for railroad or roads, and not to make the same mistake as in Luzon, where they run parallel.

Hartendorp came in, and reported that he had recently called on General MacArthur, who has an office in Santa Lucia barracks. The General told Hartendorp that he was the first editor who had called on him, and expressed surprise; he also voiced regret that Quezon’s address on National Defense at the University had not been better received, and that the press does not support the plan. He said that his plans are extremely well forward, and that the Philippine army is going to get munitions and equipment at one-quarter cost from the United States Army. In ten years, the Philippines, he believes, will have a force making it necessary for another country, if attacking, to lose a great number of men, and to spend perhaps a billion dollars, which will make them hesitate to attack. This would be very different from the picnic the Japanese had in walking into Manchuria. Hartendorp asked whether the Philippines were not rich enough to make this “worth while,” and whether these islands are not a prize because “strategically located”? The General replied that the strategic situation would bring in other allies–especially the United States. Seemed positive of that. He also remarked that Quezon was one of the five great statesmen of the world.

Hartendorp reported that Quezon had cut his Friday press audiences four times running–“doesn’t seem to care a damn about the press,” and, of course, is being criticized by the newspaper men.” Hartendorp observed that in the opinion of people with whom he talked, there were too many United States military reviews and parades going on (n.b. Quezon is reviewing troops at Fort McKinley this p.m.).

8 p.m.--Negros left Manila with a large party as guests of Don Andres Soriano headed for Masbate, to inspect his mines there: Masbate Consolidated and IXL. Quezon, Roxas, Sabido, Confesor, Babbitt, Belden, Correa, Dewitt, Spanish Consul, Fairchild, Fernandez (Ramon), Fox, Hodsoll, Ingersoll, Kerk, Le Jeune, Peters, Selph, Whittall, Wolf and many others. Fine ship of 1900 tons and everything aboard de luxe. Bridge with Quezon, Babbitt, Ingersoll, Peters, Wolff etc. at all hours. Conversations with many aboard on mines, sugar, etc. The general impression as to the latter is no basis for the buoyancy and optimism as to the present prices of sugar shares and their future prospects. No one can answer the question: why this optimism? Not only are Filipinos buying up sugar mills, but haciendas also in the sugar districts are changing hands at prices much higher than before. Ramon Fernandez says they have just found that they can produce sugar at four and a half pesos a picul, whereas five and a half has been the cheapest heretofore. But the real reason for the situation is probably that the Filipinos know the sugar game (some have already made fortunes out of it), and they would rather stick to something they do so well than venture into new fields. Many of the gold mines are in an experimental stage still, and the general public is waiting to see what happens.

Duggleby states that up to date, no proof exists that the Paracale district is as rich as the gold vinds in Baguio. However it was formerly the chief seat of Spanish mining. Says that under American rule no new mines have been discovered in the Philippines–yet every creek in the islands has traces of gold. He doubts whether sufficient gold will ever be produced to satisfy the world, since production is not increasing, in spite of very high present price of gold as a commodity.

The general opinion is that very little foreign capital has as yet come into Philippine gold shares.

Talked with Fairchild, Fernandez and Alunan on sugar: the latter sold his own sugar shares in Negros. Babbitt is bewildered by the high prices of sugar shares, including those of his own company.

I asked Quezon if he couldn’t do something to ease off the dismissal of Hartendorp. He replied “we are going to make him a Professor of English.” Quezon was tired out when he came aboard, and the next morning he was as fresh as a daisy, and very gay. I heard him dictating in his cabin–next to mine, at 6:30 a.m.


January 6, 1936

At the office in the morning Hoskins was discussing the landlord and tenant situation. He said that with rice (palay) selling at 3 pesos a ganta the peasant, who gets one-half share from his landlord can just manage to make both ends meet –but with palay at its present price of 1.50 pesos they cannot make a living; that often a man borrows at the rate of 80 centavos a ganta in the planting season and has to deliver the palay six months later to his creditor (Chino or Cacique) when it is worth 3 pesos. He explained the slow growth of the country banks and the country branches of the Philippine National Bank of which he is a director. Also discussed the currency situation and advocated the purchase of silver at the present price of 45 cents and the issue of silver certificates against the same.

In the afternoon at Malacañan from 4-7. Quezon was rather tired and appeared absorbed in refitting the Palace; he is making a new entrance on the street side and all quarters on that side, including the dining room are to be for the use of his wife and children; the old ball room is to be made into a banquet sala; the bedroom where Kiko (my son F.B.H. Jr.) was born in 1921 is now Quezon’s library and office; the downstairs floor-space by the river is to be made into a “club” with bridge tables, dance floor and bar; land on opposite side of the Pasig River is to be bought and made into a park; a new building is to be erected on the opposite bank of the river with guest rooms on the top floor, and the President’s office and that of the Council of State on the ground floor. Thus he hopes to make the (old) Palace “habitable for his family”! He received Ed. Harrison and Baroness Von Hagen who are to be married soon; she had just arrived in Manila preceded by a newspaper blast announcing her as a “criminologist.”

The President said he was quizzing Supreme Court Justices daily to find out whether they placed “human” rights on an equality with “property” rights; that he was going to have on that bench only justices who would interpret the Constitution in the spirit of the age in which it was written; that Recto thought as he (Quezon) did; that he might have to get ride of one or two of those old Justices.

Quezon also said he was about to “explode a bomb” tomorrow or the day after, because he was going to suspend the leases obtained over 1,300,000 acres of land in the Philippine oil fields by a syndicate composed (incidentally!) of four or five of his best friends (Buencamino, Luz, &c) that the son of Osmeña was one of them and had been selling some worthless stock in his company; that he would force them to go to the courts over their leases –that he would fight the monopoly. I told him that the heads of both the Asiatic Petroleum and Socony had told me in recent months that they did not believe there was any paying oil in the district.

He also told me he had changed his plans for the reorganization of the government –that he was going to make Manuel Roxas Secretary of Finance and turn the reorganization over to him. (This lets me out of this complicated task.)

The President asked me to make a thorough study of the Landlord & Tenant situation. To go about the provinces and examine. That he wanted me to do it because any Filipino whom he might delegate would belong to one class or the other (i.e., landlord or tenant) or be influenced by it. That I could have what assistance I needed, and could choose either to be associated openly with Secretary of Labor Torres (the nominal head) or go at it without being known to be employed on that research. When I asked him whether he would be willing to tax the large estates (Friar &c) out of existence, he said he positively intended to –I advised him that he must get a law first fixing rents and the tenure of holdings for the tenants.

He asked me to go up to Cabuyao tomorrow with him to see the farm there which he owns, and on which he intends to build a nipa house, and to farm.

Also said that if his health lasted, he would in three years have a “model government” here.

Quezon was interested in Whittall’s suggestion (via me) to have a visitors book in Malacañan similar to those in English “Government Houses.”

He talked of moving Bilibid prison immediately; stating that the law authorized him to sell it but that to buy the new site he would have to use the funds of the National Development Co. and then face the Legislature on this. Is going to make a park out of Bilibid grounds, for he felt it was a crime not to have more parks in a tropical city like Manila; and if the municipal board would not agree to this, he would “get rid” of them. He not only wants several more parks in Manila but said also he was going to transform Harrison Park.

Afterwards played bridge with Quezon, Guevara, Zamora and Karadag.

Quezon left for twenty minutes treatment by his doctor; he is always worried by a draft or by any cool air, and wears more clothes than anyone else in the tropics.