July 14, 1942

Shoreham Hotel. I found Quezon in high spirits; he had an overhaul yesterday at the Walter Reed Hospital, where they found his heart, arteries, kidneys, etc., quite sound, and ascribe his blood pressure only to nervousness.

He is now all enthusiasm for writing his book, and is at work six or eight hours a day in his room, dictating to Canceran, and writing his revisions of the manuscript. He has Morgan Shuster in New York on the telephone every day to talk over the batches of ms. he sends him. Shuster is encouraging him up to the limit.

I questioned him about the willingness of the Filipinos to agree to the retention of naval bases in their islands after independence and for which he had included a provision in the Tydings-McDuffie Act; the retention or establishment of which is to be subject to negotiation between the United States and the future Philippine Republic. He rejected the idea that the Navy should then continue to occupy the old base at Cavite, or, indeed, any place on Manila Bay, whereby the seat of government would be under naval guns –but would consent to their occupying such bases as Olongapo, Pollilo, etc., and he has already set up weather observatories at such stations. The idea of the Filipinos was that the American Navy would not interfere with the internal affairs of the Republic, but that its presence in the Philippines would deter other powers from aggressions.

With the Army, however, the situation was quite different –ever since the last military governor of the Philippines, General Arthur MacArthur, had shown such reluctance to turning over the government to Mr. William H. Taft, the first civilian governor; the Army and their different posts throughout the Philippine Islands had shown a very active interest in the working of the new government of the islands. Thus, they seemed to sense they represented the idea of the use of force against the Filipinos.

This opinion Quezon had expressed in November 1935 to Secretary of War Dern and to Senate floor leader Joe Robinson in Washington some months earlier, citing in a discussion of this question what he called the “betrayal” of a Governor General by the Army. He had reference, of course, to the ludicrous and abortive “uprising” of the Filipinos in the Botanical Garden in Manila at Christmas time of 1913 when I was the Governor. This affair had consisted of the gathering of some dozens of Filipinos, mostly of the cook or muchacho type, who tried to start a noisy demonstration, but were at once discouraged by a few of the city police. We later found that this abortive affair had been “staged” by agents provocateurs of the Philippine Scouts, a part of the American Army; and an American colonel of the Manila garrison had meanwhile paraded his regiment. The secret service agents of the army were at that time too much involved in local politics –possibly in order to justify their own continued employment.

Quezon on phone with Morgan Shuster over the first proofs of title page and foreword of his book. Insists on having the italics changed in Roosevelt’s pledge, taken from under “I pledge” and inserted instead: “the full resources and man power of U.S. are back of this pledge.”  “That” he added to me “was what influenced our people to resist.”

I told him of the campaign being conducted in the United States by Pearl Buck for what she calls “economic equality, etc.” for Negroes in our country. Her argument is based on the Japanese propaganda in Asia which, she maintains, weakens America with the Chinese. I asked him if such an argument had any effect on the Chinese and he just laughed. He never had heard of Pearl Buck. He said that American Negroes were well liked in the Philippines citing the example of Major Loving, leader of the Constabulary band.

Quezon gets every day here in Washington from the State Department a precis of Japanese propaganda over the radio in the Philippines. He says: “The Japs are doing too d – d well”; that they had released Gen. Vicente Lim; had rebuilt the damaged railways, and had restored inter-island passage to the central and southern islands. I asked him about the sugar plantations; he thought the Japanese would keep them going, take all the sugar and not pay for it, adding “it makes no difference to me.”

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.

Quezon thinks that when he asked Roosevelt for independence for the Philippines in 1938 or on 4th of July, 1939, Roosevelt was quite in conformity but was curbed by those “Experts” in the Department of State.

Quezon then remarked that he brought Rafael Palma’s new “history” for the government and then refused to have it printed, adding that Don Rafael seemed to favor Wood’s administration quite as much as mine. I told him that Palma had said to me in 1936 that I was much more “radical” than some of the Filipino leaders then were –meaning, of course, that my views on independence were more aggressive.

On Corregidor, Quezon said, he became so dissatisfied with Carlos Romulo’s broadcasts on Corregidor that he asked MacArthur (on whose “staff” Romulo served) to put him under the censorship of a committee composed of Osmeña, Roxas and Santos. Romulo came to him and said that would humiliate him, but “I had decided to fire him if he did not submit. I told him I never put out anything myself without submitting it to them.” I then read to Quezon Romulo’s interview in today’s New York papers stating that the Japanese had burned all the books in the library of the University of the Philippines dealing with “Democracy, the United States and England” etc… Quezon stated that he had heard this rumoured but did not know whether this was true or not. The part of Romulo’s interview dealing with the Bello incident was true. Bello had a school of his own at Vigan, and when the Japanese first got there they ordered him to haul down the American flag, but said he could leave the Philippine flag over his school flying. He replied that the law obliged him to have both flags, that they could haul down the flags themselves, but he refused to do so. They shot him down.

I then tried to read to Quezon from Collier’s recent article on atrocities by Japanese when entering Manila. He didn’t want to listen to it, said he never even read Marsman’s article on atrocities in Hong Kong; said he did not believe all this stuff, and would not take part in the abuse of the Japanese.

I subsequently asked three members of Quezon’s staff about atrocities in Manila; they seemed somewhat surprised by the question, calling attention to the fact that Manila had been declared an open city and was not defended. One of them said he had heard that the niece of Major Stevenot, a young American woman, had been abused by the Japanese because she would not tell them where Stevenot was. (He was on Corregidor). Stevenot was the head of the long distance telephone company, and of the radio company. Another indignity was offered to a Filipina girl who had no pass for crossing a bridge –or else did not understand the sentry’s questions. There were many atrocities of rape in the provinces.

Quezon said he had sent Colonel Andres Soriano to see Norman Davis to ask about treatment of prisoners by Japanese. Davis is head of the American Red Cross. Quezon is trying to have supplies forwarded to the Philippines. Davis stated that he was already in touch with ex-prisoners returning from Shanghai and they reported they had been well treated.

The British recognized the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, and can thus communicate with their nationals there through channels. The United States has not recognized Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

American School System in the Philippines. Quezon described his quarrel with Vice Governor and Secretary of Public Instruction Gilmore (under Wood). It was in a car going down to lunch with Gilmore at the Army and Navy Club. Quezon told him the American system was destroying the old civic virtues of the Filipinos –respect for the family, the church and authority– the discussion became so heated that Quezon refused to lunch with Gilmore.

The following story was told me recently by Frank L. Crone, former Director of Education in the Philippines and in Peru:

Quezon and Osmeña were sent for during Wood’s time to come to Malacañan Palace and were occasionally kept waiting for three quarters of an hour before being received by the Governor General. Wood’s a.d.c. told Crone that on one such occasion Quezon appeared clad in a camisa de chino, chinelas (slippers) and a salacot (big country hat). When surprise was expressed at his costume, he replied: “well, if I am to be treated like a tao when I come to Malacañan, I’m going to dress like one.”

Crone said also that the ancient local, democratic self-government still prevailed in every barrio in the Philippines. The cabeza de barangay was not a government position, but was the head of the local group named barangay after the original muster of the vinta, or long boat in which their ancestors had first landed in the Philippines.

Also, he added, family affairs, such as domestic matters like Marriage, are usually settled by a big family council.

December 24, 1938

Breakfast at seven o’clock. The President and I still alone together, and both rather sleepy. He woke up, however, when I began to talk of the great iron deposits in eastern Surigao, reserved since 1915 by Executive Order for the disposition of the government. Quezon said that Marsman would not press his Challenge as to the constitutionality of the Executive Order. Geologist Bain believes that the only way to work these iron fields is in conjunction with the South Manchuria Railway–he has just come back from there. I asked Quezon whether this would mean heavy industries in the Philippines, and that the Filipinos were going to make their own steel? He said “Yes.” This led to an exposition by him of the extreme awkwardness of the geographical position of the Philippine Islands, lying more or less between Japan and the United States. He had advised Mr. Bain that nothing could be done in this respect at this moment of great strain; he had also sent Bain’s report on this subject to High Commissioner McNutt, so that the American Government would not think that he was dealing directly with Japan, adding: “They already think in Washington that this was the purpose of my visit to Japan last summer. If we go on, however, opposing every single thing that the Japanese want, as the Chinese so foolishly did, we may meet the fate of China.”

Thereupon, I raised once more the thorny question as to whether the Filipinos were considering the raising of their tariff laws as to the importation of textiles, which would be possibly construed at being aimed at Japan. Quezon replied that he had taken up this question personally with President Roosevelt, telling him that on certain higher qualities of cotton goods it might be possible for them to favour the United States, but positively not on common cotton cloth, affecting every inhabitant of the Philippines. He could not stand for that, and Roosevelt remarked that he himself wondered why all the Filipinos should pay tribute to American textile companies; he added, however, that the Filipinos could start their own textile manufactures and protect them, and that, he said, would be “all right.” This was a thoroughly Satanic suggestion as it seems to me, for the American mills under free trade with the Philippines, will get all the protection ostensibly proposed for native industry in the Philippines, and the cost of clothing for every inhabitant in these islands will rise.

Quezon then turned again to the rather acute situation arising as regards Japanese holdings of hemp plantations in Davao. The province is so large that the fifteen thousand hectares held by the Japanese are, so the President explained, a mere “drop in the bucket” (?). A lot of their hemp land was obtained by them through dummy Filipino owners. Instead of cancelling leases and raising a direct issue with Japan, he proposes to wait for the expiration of these leases and then refuse to renew them.

One hundred and twenty guests assembled in the lower reception hall by the river, at Malacañan, for a luncheon given in my honor. The entertainment went off with a bang and real cordiality was shown me by both the Americans and the Filipinos present. In his address, Quezon was very effective in making the points of which a resume was later published in the press. All of the pleasant and very personal humour of the President’s remarks about me as well as my comments about him in return was omitted by the press.

At the little table with Quezon and myself, sat General MacArthur and High Commissioner McNutt. I concluded my own remarks on a serious note with the statement that I was sailing away from them tomorrow to the uncharted seas of a European war. As I sat down, MacArthur asked me what I meant by a European war? I replied to him that I had just recently come from France and was returning there, and that I was as certain as I could ever be of anything in the future that a war was coming very soon in Europe. General MacArthur replied: “They cannot afford a war, but if there were a war, Germany would go through Russia like a knife through cheese.”

5 p.m. Don Alejandro Roces, the proprietor of the influential chain of newspapers known as “T.V.T.” invited me by telephone to take a “cup of chocolate” with him at his residence this evening–“no butter,” he added. It turned out, of course, to be a four course banquet with Philippine delicacies. The guests were: President Quezon, Secretaries Manuel Roxas and Jose Abad Santos, Alberto Barretto, Miguel Unson, Paez and Jake Rosenthal. Quezon acted as Santa Claus in presenting me with a handsome gold wrist-watch as a joint Christmas gift from all those present.

After the sumptuous meal, they took me out doors a few yards to the corner of the park and the boulevard, both of which had been named in 1921. There they pointed out to me the site upon which they were going to erect a statue to me! Up to that moment, I had believed that our host, Alejandro Roces was making a broma but all of a sudden, I realized they were in earnest. I was really extremely embarrassed and could find nothing sensible to say. At first I pointed out that statues were not raised to living men, but they countered by referring to the statue of Lord Curzon in Calcutta. I refrained from answering with the statement: “Yes, and look at the pedestal of that statue, all covered with betel-nut saliva from the Indians.” I merely remarked feebly that the fashion in statues changed so rapidly and after a while, parents could hardly tell their children, “who that old guy was up there?” This made no impression, so I had to think rapidly, and came out with the reflection that in the passage of a few years, the only beings which made real use of statues in the parks were the pigeons and the sparrows. This brought a general laugh, and the situation was saved.

Miguel Unson then told me that the young people in the Philippines knew nothing about my administration of some twenty years earlier. I replied that this, perhaps, was the natural course of events, but he said “no”–that it was largely the result of the vigorous campaign made by my successor. Governor General Leonard Wood and his “Cavalry Cabinet” to discredit me. He added that they had even cut down the tree which I had planted, explaining that this was done so they might practice polo there, but Unson said it was intentional.

Young Roces then told me that his father often said that he made his successful start as a newspaper man by backing my administration throughout–and this was the only newspaper support I ever had either in the Philippines or in the United States.

June 9, 1936

Chat with ex-Speaker Roxas: he said that there is a copper mine in Capiz which has contracted to sell the whole of its output for one year to the Japanese; he further stated that the vast iron fields which I set aside by Executive Order in 1915 as a government reservation had aroused the interest of Marsman who was now contesting the validity of this action; in Roxas’ opinion, Marsman will not put up a real struggle against the government. I suggested to him that it might be better for the government to lease this iron field to Marsman on a royalty basis. Roxas says he asked the High Commissioner before he left to get the consent of the President of the United States for the Philippine Government to (a) give Quezon flexible tariff rights to raise or lower 100% on any item of the custom’s tariff; and (b) to negotiate commercial treaties (under supervision of the American State Department) with foreign powers.

Quezon made an excellent talk to the Assemblymen just before our arrival at Davao: he spoke in Spanish and first called attention to their visit to Cotobato, and said that the former army post at Parang should be the capital not only of Cotobato but of all Mindanao. That it was equidistant from Zamboanga, Lanao and Davao. He then turned to the Davao question giving a very carefully worded exposition of the burning question of the day: he said “there is no Davao question,” and that the press had been guilty of irritating public opinion both in Japan and the Philippines. “It shows how the newspapers can embroil nations, even to the point of war,” he said, “but there is nothing in Davao which threatens Filipino rights nor the economic position of the country. If there is no Davao question there is a Davao situation, which is not to be sneezed at. By their handling of this matter, the Filipinos will be judged as to their ability and sense of justice in dealing with foreign nationals.” He went on to say that: “The Executive branch of this Philippine Government has examined the situation very carefully, with a determination to solve this matter with the Assembly. It is not desirable, nor is it necessary for the legislators to examine into this matter today.”

When the Negros docked, Quezon again put Osmeña to the fore, and the latter received the plaudits of the crowd and the Constabulary honors. Osmeña was to be in the front all day. (Very wise!) Quezon knows Osmeña would like it very much.

Wolff, Major Speth and I went with the procession to the end of the (plank) motor road, but there was not sufficient railway transportation for all the party, so we slipped back to lunch and to shop at Davao.

Swim with Quezon and Speth–water muddy and warm, but Quezon enjoyed himself with great zest. He went over his reasons for taking Assemblymen into his confidence:–to make them more nationally conscious and give them “a sense of responsibility to their country.” “These young men will be the statesmen of the future–but I am making it very hard for my successor.”

I asked Quezon whether the absence of Japanese on the streets etc., today in Davao was not on their part an act of policy (so this would not look like a Japanese colony), and he whispered that this had been staged by the Japanese Consul General.

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.

February 12, 1936

At office, Hartendorp, who has been appointed Adviser to the President on press matters, came in to see me–he has the next room. He suggested that Roxas had tried to drive a sharp bargain with Quezon and had been repulsed.

He told also the story of Quezon’s visit of a few days ago to the Lian Friar estate. The President asked an old man there why the tenants had burned the residence of the manager for the Friars. The old man replied that this had not been done by the tenants, but by the estate managers in order to get up a case against the tenants. Quezon replied “I am not an American Governor General–don’t tell me such nonsense. As a matter of fact, I am a Filipino, and not from Manila–I was born and brought up in a small place just like this.”

Hartendorp also told me of last Friday’s Press Conference: how somebody asked whether Judge Paredes’ petition for a rehearing of his sentence of dismissal would be entertained by the President, and Quezon had replied that since he had read a whole column editorial in the Bulletin commending his act of dismissal, this being the first time in his life he (Quezon) had not been attacked by the Bulletin, he would not forfeit this new found favor by rehearing the sentence. Then Hartendorp later advised Quezon that Robert Aura Smith had been very much flattered, and the other newspapers were jealous. Would it not be well for Quezon to compliment the other editors? (Quezon told me later he had replied: “You ass! I was sarcastically running the knife into Robt. Aura Smith–not flattering him!!!)

Quezon came back and asked me to go for a ride with him–the usual ceremonies took place which he has established for leaving Malacañan–motorcycle cops etc. Quezon went to see the High Commissioner, who was very cordial to me. Do not know the purport of their half hour talk. I chatted with Franks, Ely, Teahan, the a.d.c.’s and others of the High Commissioner’s office until Quezon and I started back to Malacañan for lunch-alone together, and about as pleasant a time as I have ever had with him; we had at least twenty hearty laughs.

He explained the whole Roxas business: he had arranged with Don Manuel to accept the post of Secretary of Finance and on February 8 wrote him a former offer of this plus power to vote Quezon’s powers of control in the Manila Railroad and the National Development Co. To his intense surprise, on his return from taking his children out for a drive at 5 p.m. (which drive he didn’t want to take) he received an answer from Roxas, which he read to me, in which Roxas thanked him but stated that in as much as he had been elected, in accordance with his own wish, a member of the Assembly from Capiz, he could not leave his constituency unless called on to do so by “unavoidable duty of the Government.” This was a shock and surprise to Quezon who at once sent him a letter saying that he (Quezon) had believed that Roxas could be more useful as Secretary of Finance than as a member of the National Assembly; that Roxas was entitled to his own opinion on the matter, and since he (Roxas) had decided against it, Quezon would accept his decision not to be a member of the Cabinet, but with regret. Thereupon Roxas hurried around and tried to chip in–said he would withdraw his letter and would serve as Secretary of Finance, but Quezon replied it was “too late” as he had already appointed de las Alas. Then Osmeña came to see Quezon and Quezon says that if he (Osmeña) had then offered to resign as Secretary of Public Instruction, he (Quezon) would have interrupted the opening of his first sentence with “I accept”; but Osmeña had no idea of resigning. Quezon says Osmeña is an “old snake, but a non-poisonous snake.” He said “I licked those fellows only a year and a half ago, but they won’t stay licked.” I told him he had enough loyal men around him to run any government, and it was unwise to count upon loyalty from his opponents. He said that the night after he got rid of Roxas he was so happy he could not sleep–he wanted to call up an old friend (me) to come and talk to him; that after staying awake until 3 a.m. he got up and worked at his desk until 6.

Next I asked him about his acceptance of “Mike” Elizalde’s resignation of the presidency of the National Development Co. He replied that “Mike” had been the largest contributor to Quezon’s campaign fund in the election for the Presidency; that “like the Republicans in the United States, he had expected in return to run my administration, and so I dropped him.”

Next Quezon described his recent interview with Hausserman, Marsman and Andres Soriano, the three leaders in gold mining here. He told them he was in favour of developing the natural resources of the Islands; that he was also in favour of a fair return to investors. That all three of them had contributed to his campaign fund but if they believed that gave them a right to do as they pleased under his administration they were in for a rude awakening. That if they found existing laws unfair or unworkable, they should come to him and they would find a “sympathetic” listener when they were proposing amendments, but that if they or their clever lawyers tried to evade the law, they would go to jail. He said from the aftereffects of this conversation, they seemed to be very well pleased with the outlook.

Next, I took up with him the question of his attitude to the newspapers–a point on which he and I seem to be entirely congenial. He said he had agreed to the Friday interviews, and enjoyed them. That when he had been questioned and had answered, and another question was put he had “refused to be cross-examined” which produced a sympathetic laugh. I urged him to bend a little to avoid the nibbling of squirrels which might impair the confidence he was gradually inspiring in his own people. But he continues to scorn the press. I said I was just like him and had never crooked the knee to the newspapers.

Then we reverted to Hartendorp, and Quezon said he had received news from him a day or two ago that Scandal was going to publish an article about him and Miss. “That sweet girl” Quezon added. He told Hartendorp to let it be published, and I recalled the Duke of Wellington’s answer: “Publish and be damned.” Quezon replied that he never objected to this sort of scandal “because they always get the wrong woman or the wrong place.”

Then Quezon told me that the law permitting him to reorganize the Government had been drafted by Roxas who was to have undertaken the job. That he regretted he had allowed this to happen, because Singson told him it had taken six months of the hardest work of his life to reorganize only the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources–and even then his doorstep was always crowded with weeping wives and children. So, Quezon asks me to draft a “superficial reorganization,” so as to have something to show to the Assembly when it convenes in June; he will give me the appropriation and personnel. “We” he added, “will really reorganize the government two or three years hence.”

His mind is set on our vacation trip in April to Moroland when he “will be through establishing his Government firmly and can relax.”

Golf at McKinley later with Doria and call on Felicia Howell.