December 23, 1938

Staying with the President alone at the Guest House across the Pasig River from Malacañan Palace.

At luncheon we had Don Alejandro Roces, proprietor of the T.V.T. newspapers and Paez, manager of the Manila Railroad Company. Paez told of the success of the new branch of the railroad in the Bicol Provinces –at last, they have through connection with Manila and it is no longer necessary to cross Ragay Gulf by steamer. Quezon mentioned that he had refused the request of residents of those provinces for a highway parallel with the railroad.

Roces came in excited by the press dispatches giving the exceedingly strong reply of Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Welles to the German Charge d’Affaires in which he refused to apologize for the very strong denunciations of Germany by Secretary Ickes. Parallel and even more aggressive statements had been made by Ickes himself, and by Key Pittman, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, which contained the language: “We do not like the government of Germany and we do not like the government of Japan.” Roces is expecting serious consequences –perhaps war. Quezon remarked: “The way to keep the peace nowadays is to use insults.”

Later Roces told me of his conversation about me with the late Governor General Leonard Wood, who had asked him what he thought of me. Roces replied enthusiastically about me, stating that before my coming here, the Filipinos had felt they were “nobodies.” Wood replied: “What wonderful friendship!” Roces answered him: “That is not merely friendship –it’s justice.”

Roces then went on to relate a conversation he had just after the defeat by the United States of the Philippine insurrection. He said tartly to a friar: “You gave us Heaven and Hell, but kept the earth for yourselves –now we want our earth, and you can take back your Heaven and Hell!”

This started the President talking about the present troubles on the Buenavista estate in Bulacan, belonging to the Church. These difficulties had come to a head this week. Quezon said: “The Archbishop is my friend, or used to be.” The Buenavista through its revenues supports the “San Juan de Dios” hospital in Manila. At the moment, the estate is in the hands of a receiver, who had ordered the new crop to be left untouched while the financial troubles were adjusted; the aperceros (or tenants) are to receive their share –there have been disorders, threats and danger of bloodshed. Secretary of Justice Santos recently called this serious situation to Quezon’s attention in a recent Cabinet meeting, and the President became indignant that he had not been earlier informed. He telephoned at once to Orense, the lawyer for the Church, to the Governor of the Province, to the Constabulary &c. to hold up everything for a week until he can get the situation straightened out. Quezon even threatened Orense with violent resistance from the Constabulary if his agents proceeded. States that he will not be like General Weyler who sent a company of Spanish artillery to the Calamba estate to shoot down the tenants there (vide Rizal). He then sent for the Archbishop and recalled to him the reason for the Filipino insurrection against Spain. The “Friar Estates.” He then offered to lease the estate for the government for an average rental equal to that which the Church had received from this estate for the past five years, plus ten per cent, which would make 115,000 pesos as an annual return for an estate assessed at four million pesos. Quezon said the government would buy the estate for three million pesos. The Archbishop withdrew to consider, and the matter is still pending.

I remarked that when Governor Taft had negotiated the famous Friar Lands purchase, it was a pity he did not buy all the Church estates for the government. Quezon explained that Taft bought only the Friar Estates because he thought that those belonging to the Archbishop would be protected by the Filipinos who are all Catholics.

Quezon then mentioned his last summer’s veto of the bill for religious instruction in the state schools –he said that over two thirds of the Assembly favored this bill.

Finally, he talked of the commencement exercises this year at San Juan Letran, the college he had attended as a boy. They had played during these exercises, not only the Filipino National Anthem, but that of Spain also –then everybody else present gave the Fascist salute but at that point, Quezon sat down. When he made his address, a little later, he slapped them severely for this incident, stressed the need for neutrality in the Spanish Civil War, and commended the attitude of High Commissioner McNutt in avoiding partisanship. Then in order to temper off the severity of his rebuke, he remarked to them: “I am glad to get even with the faculty, these padres did just what they wanted with me for eleven years!”

A little later, when he went to mass in some parish church, the friar organist started the old (Franco) Spanish anthem and immediately switched to the Philippine anthem, and he realized how directly the Filipinos had derived their anthem from the old Spanish one.

At dinner that night, the President developed a theory in favor of representative democracy instead of “mob democratic rule.” “The people care more for good government than they do for self-government,” he asserted, adding that “the fear is that the Head of State may either exceed his powers, or abuse them by improprieties. To keep order is his main purpose.”

As I felt there was more than a dash of unorthodoxy in his present philosophy, I then led him to a discussion of the qualities of those who are candidate to succeed him.

His present choice is Yulo, of whom he thinks so highly as a lawyer, and added that it was most important for an executive not to exceed his powers. He has consulted Yulo at every turn of his administration. Now he will make him speaker to “give him his chance.” At the same time he is bringing Manuel Roxas close to him as Secretary of Finance, to study him as well. I put several questions as to Yulo’s qualifications in handling other men, and in getting the best out of them. Quezon replied that if Yulo succeeded him he could sustain him and put him over. He admitted however that the frequent appearances of Yulo at the glittering social events of the sugar barons did not help him with “the people” adding the view that Joe’s (Yulo’s) only weakness is that his wife runs him: she is very extravagant. The President added that Yulo has no control whatever over Mrs. Yulo’s exhibitions of wealth; she used, moreover, to come to a banquet up to an hour late. He, Quezon, finally gave instructions to his staff at the Palace, that his dinners were to be kept waiting only ten minutes for Mrs. Yulo, and no longer. Shortly after this, she came to a dinner party half an hour late and was told at the door that the dinner was going on, and empty places at the table had been removed. This put a stop to her tardiness.

Roxas, he says, will certainly be President of the Philippines some day –“nothing can stop it” though he does not know whether Roxas will actually succeed him. Roxas has built up a great reputation throughout the Philippines; has matured and improved tremendously in the last three years.

I asked him what would be the position of Roxas if his new tax measures were rejected by the Assembly? He replied: “I will put them over.” Roxas has planned his new taxes on the mines in consultation with the principal representatives of the mining companies, and they have already agreed that the proposed taxes are fair.

Paredes, he says, is a very strong man and is the leader of all the Ilocanos; he has Tinguian blood, but not as much as had the late Ignacio Villamor, whom I had nominated as the first Filipino President of the University.

Paredes, he continued, is a very able man, but violent. Quezon greatly appreciates his support of Yulo for the speakership, and he spoke very highly of the former –but he knows, of course, how warmly I am attached to Paredes. I told Don Quintin the next day that Quezon had spoken so well of him, and he expressed the utmost skepticism then added: “if he wants to extricate me from my difficulties here, why does he not ‘deport’ me on one of those missions to the United States or Europe?” He added that he had no career in the Assembly, and that unless he keeps quiet for the next three years, it will just bring on a row with the administration; that if he does not keep quiet, he will lose his political influence.

This conversation was so confidential that I did not report it to Quezon, and the President made only one further comment at this period upon Quintin Paredes, which was to the effect that Paredes had a big personal following in the Assembly of which he was Speaker –while Roxas, as Speaker had only a dozen personal followers there, and had to be helped by Quezon and Osmeña.

My conversations with the President that night at the “Guest House” concluded early because he was so tired, and as we said “good night” he dwelt for a few minutes upon the subject of the book he wishes to write in collaboration with me. He suggested that I work up my own notes first and he will supply a thread of narrative for the administrations that came between mine and his! It is difficult to see how this would work out –I have no talent as a Boswell and not even an ambition to fill so exacting a role!


November 24, 1936

Saw Quezon on behalf of Agra, Justice of the Peace of Pila, at the instance of General Cailles. Ten a.m. and Quezon was still in his pyjamas, for which he apologized. He was apparently about to breakfast, after a golf game. He opened the question immediately, instead of the usual preliminary moves, by asking me what my mission was. Seemed very much perplexed by the problem of the Justice of the Peace of Pila, and said it was involved in that of San Pablo. After a pause and a search for the proper words, he indicated that Agra might be appointed after all. Sent for Yulo (who had just left) but couldn’t get him. Said his five days of concentration upon the complete slate for Justices of the Peace for the whole country had been about the most disagreeable and exhausting bit of work of his life. That for some days afterwards, he had forbidden anyone to mention the subject to him. That Agra had prejudiced his own cause by hanging around Malacañan all the time “as if he had no confidence in himself.”

Then told him I would like to see the gold plate dedicated on November 15, the first anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth, on which the names of those who had been most responsible for the creation of a Commonwealth, Americans and Filipinos were inscribed. I said I had not attended because my name (one of the three Governors General) was on the plaque, and I would have felt like a statue, loose from its pedestal. That, however, I had regretted the omission of the name of the man who was chiefly entitled to record on the plaque! He said he had opposed the inclusion of his own name because the committee had consulted him; “but,” he added “the surprising thing is that my wife and daughter advised me against having my name included.” Next I asked him why the name of Theodore Roosevelt was included with that of McKinley, Wilson & Franklin Roosevelt. He answered: “Because he signed the first organic act of the new Philippines.” “Nevertheless” I replied “he was more opposed to this sort of thing than any of them–remember when he advised the English in Egypt to ‘govern or get out’?” “Yes,” he answered “and how impertinent that was; and was characteristic also of his attitude towards the Philippines under the Jones Act.” He then went on to denounce the committee which had originally prepared the list of names to be inscribed even including that of Governor General Wood!–a name which he (Quezon) had indignantly struck off.

As I left, he started to say something about two beautiful girls, and I called from the door-way: “Glad to see, Mr. President that you do not neglect the artistic side of public life”–he replied “When I neglect art, I shall be taken to the cemetery.”


October 17, 1936

Went with Don Vicente Singson to Malacañan to see Quezon in order to urge a modification of the sales tax law in order to impose only one incidence if the goods are sold in the proposed new produce exchange;–this referred to agricultural products only. Singson did the talking–an excellent statement for about ten minutes. Quezon then called a meeting of the National Economic Council for the next day, at which, eventually, the proposition was adopted. So it passed the Assembly, but was followed by another law organizing a government produce exchange; which was, perhaps, either a trick or bad faith of some sort (Yulo?).

During our interview, Quezon had spoken of the devastations in Nueva Ecija which he had just visited:–he said the stench of decomposition was still in his nostrils. Due to his visit he had been able to stop the survivors from rebuilding in exactly the same exposed spots.


August 19, 1936

Quezon’s 58th birthday–great animation at Malacañan. The President was in very good form, and enthusiastic in his greeting. Had a talk with Yulo about Philippine citizenship, and he did not seem to have been instructed by Quezon to find a test case. He said Doria would become a Philippine citizen if I did, but would still retain her status as an English subject.


August 11, 1936

Saw Quezon coming out at 9:30 with A.D. Williams, Arellano the architect and Assemblyman Magalona. He called out to me asking me to lunch with him, and a moment later sent a messenger to ask me to join his party. We went down to the Port Area to see the land which Magalona wants to lease for a hotel. Quezon told me it would not compete with the Manila Hotel, since it would be of a different class, and would not be a success anyway –the group of Negros sugar planters represented by Magalona “had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it”; they hoped to construct the hotel in four months to be ready for the coming Eucharistic Congress. Quezon approved the plan “because the government might as well get the income from the rental.” Somebody added that “the Government would probably get the hotel in the end –to use for offices.”

Quezon talked of getting rid of the San Miguel Brewery as a neighbour of Malacañan Palace, and making government offices there, so that he could house all the bureaus under the control of the President in one group around him: Civil Service, Auditor, Budget Office &c. Apparently, he contemplates exchanging the Government Ice Plant (now leased for 120,000 pesos a year to San Miguel Brewery and assessed as worth 1,200,000) for the brewery buildings next to Malacañan.

Quezon also told us that Cuenco had been to see him asking his aid in getting the Assembly to modify the new inheritance tax law so as to exempt bequests for religious and educational purposes. Maximo Kalaw, the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee had then come to ask him to oppose this change. Quezon is opposed anyway –says the Government is spending a very great deal of money anyway on educational and charitable programs. The papers carry an item of another decision backed by Quezon to insist on the payment of certain taxes by the Church. It is possible he feels restless now over his re-conversion to the Church made when he was so ill in California several years ago. He is, I think, irked both by that and the partial restriction of his mental liberty. If so, the Church had won a Pyrrhic victory in restoring him to its bosom! I remember how at the time of my appointment as Governor General, the question was “why not send a Catholic to a Catholic country?” and the reply was “The Church doesn’t want a Catholic as Governor General –they had one in Governor General Smith, and he was so impartial in his relation to the Church that he leaned over backward!”

On our return to Malacañan, the President and I went to his office and I told him I wished to ask him about three points he had suggested to me as to my future relations out here!

(1) He had said I had better stay on out here for the rest of my life (giving complimentary reasons) –“not of course always in the Government –but as an investor” –I now was asked to become a director of a company about to be launched. He properly replied it would not be suitable “so long as I was at Malacañan”– of course he “had no objection to my making investments here.” (I passed up for the moment the plan I am forming to get out of the government service). Then Quezon asked me what was the second question?

(2) I raised again his suggestion that I should collaborate with him in a history of the Governors General since my time. His face lit up with this. I said we should not wait, but “strike while the iron’s hot.” He agreed, and advocated my seeing him three times a week, either while driving around or in Malacañan, adding “I like your company, and I think you like mine.” “The way not to write a biography is to sit down to it, because then one often misses the important points.” My third question.

(3) Was whether he had consulted Secretary Yulo as to Americans taking up Philippine citizenship. He jumped and said: “By Jove, I had forgotten that” and sent for Yulo immediately.

Then he went into the matter of his relations with  Murphy, saying “Murphy is a man who avoids facing a difficult situation –especially with a determined man like myself. If he ever comes back here he will not dare to try to run the government. I would rather have Weldon Jones here –he is clever, wise, and modest. I consulted him about that part of my message to the Assembly denouncing the withholding of the excise taxes in the United States –and he was very helpful.”

Quezon then gave me a copy of his letter of November 2, ’35 to Murphy opposing a “definition by the Secretary of War of the duties and privileges of the High Commissioner” and stating forcibly the constitutional rights of the new Commonwealth. Murphy never replied to this. The President went on to discuss the powers of inspection of the High Commissioner into the offices of the government, which are very broad. Said he had drawn up an authorization for all bureaus and offices to give information upon request by the High Commissioner, but on advice of Yulo he had withheld this. However, the only two matters on which information has not been furnished are: (a) the Philippine National Bank, which refused “in spite of my orders to furnish a copy of their minutes to the High Commissioner and I did not press them further” and (b) as to the Belo Fund. Murphy came to see him with a demand for the list of payments in the Belo Fund, and Quezon told him he could see it himself, but he would not turn it over to the High Commissioner’s office. He told Murphy: ” The powers of inspection of your office are based on the responsibility of the United States to make sure that Philippine finances are kept sound. How could the authorized expenditure of my 250,000 Belo Fund affect the general financial position? If this, however, is mere curiosity, or is an attempt to show that I have not administered the fund honestly and legally, –I resent it.” Murphy returned to the enquiry later, but got no further. Quezon went on the steamer as far as Hong Kong with Murphy who then never raised the question, but en route to Shanghai he gave Yulo a letter on the point, saying he need not put it on the record if it was thought unwise. Yulo never gave this letter to Quezon. Then, the President continued: “I would rather deal with a man who came out in the open like Stimson –who was a savage, but not one who fought from ambush– he was out on the open road always ready for a scrap. He was brutal –I never knew a man so well brought up who was so rough. Once during Stimson’s administration as Governor General, Don Miguel Unson came to me and said he would have to resign as acting Secretary of Finance. I persuaded him not to resign and then told Stimson, who replied: ‘I have tried to be careful with the Filipinos and especially with Unson –I didn’t know I was rough!'”

Later, at luncheon with Quezon and Aldanese, I opened the conversation by saying I had seen in the papers that he is interested in the Leyte Rock Asphalt dispute with the Bureau of Public Works. That this was not my business, but I had the papers on my desk and here they were –the latest statements from A.D. Williams and Claude Russell. He said at once “I am in favour of A.D.” –(so sounds the death knell of an infant Philippine industry!). He went on to say that Claude Russell had lost the government a lot of money as head of the defunct coal company (no doubt he did, but this valuable coal is now about to “come home to roost”). He added that General Wood came out here breathing fire and promising to “take the Government out of business,” but the only business they should properly have relinquished was that of coal, and: “Wood kept hold of this company for two years after we tried to close it up, because Russell kept flattering him.” He then went on about Wood. I told of the day in November 1920 when the news of Harding’s election as President had been received here. At the moment, I was driving up to Malacañan with Quezon and Osmeña and one of them said: “This means either Wood or Forbes.” “How did you come to prophecy Wood?” I asked. Quezon replied: “We didn’t select Wood; he was chosen because he was a defeated candidate for the Presidency and Harding didn’t want him around. I had first known Harding when he was a Senator, and asked him later in the White House why he had sent Wood to the Philippines. Harding replied: ‘Because the people of the Philippines asked for him.’ ‘Why, Mr. President, no reputable Filipino would ask for a man who had insulted them as the Wood-Forbes Report did.'” (Quezon found there a telegram prepared by Fairchild and Cotterman! I asked if any Filipino had signed it and he said “perhaps Aguinaldo.”) “But,” added President Harding, “Wood will stay there only a year, for the University of Pennsylvania has elected him Chancellor, and will hold it open for a year.” Quezon thereafter started back to Manila and meanwhile the Legislature had passed a resolution offering co-operation to Wood. Quezon was angry about this. He told Osmeña they ought to fight, but Osmeña was for compromise. During the first year, the Legislature passed every bill requested by Wood. At the end of the year, Harding wired Wood that he was unwilling to impose on his sacrifice any longer, but Wood replied that his work here was unfinished. “No gentleman,” remarked Quezon, “would reply in that way to the President’s suggestion.” The Chancellorship of the University of Pennsylvania was then given to another, and Wood remained as Governor General for some six more years until his death. Both men present at this lunch said that Wood had employed every effort to investigate them. Aldanese added that he was not aware that for two months, four army secret service men had been raking everywhere for his “graft” because he wore a diamond ring and was building a house. They examined all the banks in Manila for proof of his supposed wrong-doing. Then Wood congratulated him (Aldanese) “because there was nothing against him.” Quezon said they had made a search for his “five millions” which were, they concluded “probably in Spain”!! George Fairchild, who was a traitor to Quezon (and to me) in every other respect, said at that time in a conference with Wood, that Quezon never had been a grafter. Fairchild ought to know, because when my administration had helped him to start his sugar central at San Jose, Mindoro, George had offered him 600,000 pesos of the stock which Quezon refused. Fairchild then gave some of this stock to his lawyers: Jim Ross, who kept his (and lost) and his partner Ham Lawrence, who sold his (and gained).

Quezon then told of the special election for senator of Ramon Fernandez over Sumulong. He said that one day at lunch at Malacañan he told Wood that the contest was not between those two candidates, but it was Wood vs. Quezon and that he (Quezon) would beat him in every precinct. Wood (who had a sense of humour, as Quezon remarked) smiled and replied that he was afraid that was so. And so it was! Quezon and Aldanese agreed that Wood’s mind had begun to fail when he was here as Governor General.

The President had invited Collector of Customs Aldanese, to lunch in order to discuss measures for increasing the safety at sea on Philippine ships. He said that on a recent trip to Cebu with Osmeña, he had put “Baby” Quezon (his eldest daughter) with a party in one of the ship’s boats, which leaked, and it required two men to keep bailing it out; –then, one after the another two oars broke! Aldanese was told that a committee of naval officers would visit him at Quezon’s request to discuss plans for greater safety. Aldanese said regulations were not observed in ships because the owners pushed the captain to carry more passengers than the law allows to ports where there are no customs officers; he added that the law should be amended to provide for power of suspension of the right to navigate a vessel, so the owners would have to back up the ships’ officers in enforcing regulations. Quezon agreed. They also said that far too many officers are employed on these ships. The President remarked that he would furnish Aldanese with twelve secret service men to travel about and investigate the shipping situation.


July 24, 1936

Breakfast at Malacañan Palace with the President, Secretary Yulo, Carmona and architect Arellano.

Before the others arrived, I told Quezon how much I approved his appointment of Hermenegildo Cruz as Director of the Bureau of Labour, and the President replied that under the preceding administration Cruz had been “framed,” but that he (Quezon) had then advised him to resign because he had lost the confidence of Governor Murphy.

At the table, the President remarked that he was reading Professor Kirk’s new book on the Philippines, and enjoyed the first chapter so much because of the cynicism with which the author exposes the “cant” of McKinley’s government in pious profession of the “White Man’s Burden.” He added that Governor Forbes had really believed in that cliche. Quezon and I both admitted to one another that we had tried to read Governor Forbes’ book on the Philippines, and had been quite unable to do so.

After lunch, we all went down to Binondo to look at three sites for the proposed new building of the Philippine National Bank. In the business district, the crowds stared at Quezon as if he were royalty!

I enquired as to Quezon’s opinion of the present disorders in Spain. He replied that the Spanish people are not fit for self-government, and have lost the ability to carry on under a constitutional monarchy. “What they need,” he remarked “is five years of a dictatorship.”

To dinner with Colonel Hodsoll at the Manila Club; the first entertainment given by the English since the death of King George V.


July 9, 1936

One hour with Miguel Unson at the Survey Board, where we went over the ground of my recent conversation with the President concerning the policy of having appointive governors in the Provinces.

Unson next asked my advice as to how he should go about reporting to the President three resolutions of the Survey Board on matters in which Quezon has already acted or formed an intention of doing so, over the heads of Unson and of his other colleagues on the Board, and against Unson’s deepest convictions:

(a)  Salaries in the Bureau of Justice recently fixed by Quezon (a “hot one” just put over by Secretary of Justice Yulo), which deranges the other scales of salaries under the standardization plan;

(b)  Quezon’s reported plan to put the Bureau of Prisons under the Philippine Army (another “hot one”–this time by General Paulino Santos);

(c)  Creation of new machinery for the Moro Province. This is Guingona’s influence, and when Unson had him before the Survey Board, Guingona refused to answer our questions, alleging that he had already taken up the matter with the President and considered it confidential! Unson had then read to Guingona the law requiring all government officials to answer questions of the board, but the latter still refused to reply and stuck to his guns!

Inasmuch as both Quezon and Unson, separately, have previously expressed to me the same ideas as to how to deal with the Moros, viz.: to stop “babying” them and to block their drive for “separation” from the rest of the population of the Philippines, it appears to me that this breach is only one of form, or procedure and not of principle. However, the way of the reformer (Unson) is no path of roses, especially when an equally determined “reformer” (Quezon) is his superior officer, and has already decided things!

Rafferty came in to my office and said he had recently talked with Osmeña, who commented on how much my past and present services were appreciated here, and how well the Assemblymen thought of me. Celestino Rodriguez, (who has never been very pro-American) told Rafferty the same story. These comments came as rather an anti-climax to my scene with Quezon yesterday over the Landlord and Tenant bill.

Rafael Palma next came to see me, happy over an interview held just previously with Quezon, concerning an attempt to introduce religious instruction in the government schools. To Palma’s great delight, the President had told him that, as a leading Mason, he should keep in the background, and must leave to him, Quezon, the duty of putting a stop to the Church’s attempted intrusion into the schools. Palma looks younger, more serene and happier than he has appeared since my return here last Autumn. This man is through and through an ardent patriot and always an upright public servant. He has entirely recovered his former serenity now that he is doing really useful public service, as head of the National Council of Education.

I commented to Palma that I could barely understand the English spoken by the young Filipinos of today. He admitted that their accent is getting worse and worse, and hopes that this may be corrected by the use of gramophones in the schools. He added that it was superhumanly difficult to get a new idea through what he called “The Junta.”

My last caller was “Deacon” Prautch, who wished to talk “Credit Unions.” He has a peculiarity I have never observed in another man:–he not only evades an answer to any direct question, but doesn’t even trouble to reply.


July 8, 1936

Forty minutes with Quezon in his office in the Executive Building. I think he is bothered by the air-conditioning in the Palace. Had not seen him for 18 days, during part of which he had the flu–he looks rather worn and tired, and seemed under somewhat of a nervous strain. Showed me the eight enlarged photographs which he has hung on the walls of this office–Taft, Murphy and I are the three Americans. I then approached the subject of appointive governors; told him the Survey Board was anxious to recommend this to him, but did not wish to embarrass him;–that I thought there would be considerable support for it in the Assembly. Also, I advanced Miguel Unson’s project for a Provincial Council (of the administrative officials) and an elected provincial board of four. I asked whether it would not be better to combine both into one body? He replied that the whole Cabinet (except Osmeña) was in favour of appointive Governors; when the Americans wished to appear to be bringing self-government to the Filipinos, they gave them elective governors, but gave the latter no power, retaining all authority in the hands of the Governor General and that this move had been a sham. He said he would transmit the Survey Board’s recommendation to the Assembly with the frank comment that he did not need the power of appointment, since he has complete control now, and if the Assembly wanted to introduce more self-government they should take part of it away from him and give it to the governors. However, he stated that only the United States and Mexico and a few other countries had elected Governors (n.b. there are special historical reasons for this in the United States); that all the other countries had appointive governors–that it was much better administration, and would be no real infringement on democracy.

Quezon next said that when Weldon Jones had lunch with him recently, the latter suggested that the High Commissioner would be pleased to know that the President had recommended the abolition of the Belo fund–that Murphy had wanted this done. Quezon appears to have flared up at this and asked: “Why did Murphy use the Belo fund for two and one-half years as Governor General and then want it taken away from his successor?” Quezon then added: “Murphy is an Irishman.” He explained that the Belo fund had been first given to Governor General Stimson, who took over when Wood had completely disorganized this government with his “Cavalry Cabinet.” The Governor General’s office was then out of touch with the natural channels of administration. But the Belo fund had served its purpose long ago, and Quezon wished to regularize appropriation laws by abolishing the fund after he had completely organized his government structure. Weldon Jones answered that Murphy had told him he had taken up this matter with Quezon en route to Hong Kong, but the President replied that Murphy had never mentioned it. It appears that Murphy had suggested it to Secretary Yulo, but Yulo says nobody would dare to take it up with Quezon!

The President then told me that if Murphy does not come back he will advise the appointment of Jones as High Commissioner. He thinks Jones has plenty of brains and good judgment. (n.b. it appears from this involved story that Quezon is intensely resentful of anything being carried on behind his back which affects his powers or privileges).

As I was leaving, I asked the President whether he had struck a snag in the Landlord and Tenant act? He said: “yes, I had been intending to talk to you about that–it is a bad law.” I supposed I looked very blank for he went on to say there are no teeth in the law “and what we need in this country is teeth.” I asked him whether he had read my original bill which, upon his instructions, I took to Diokno for advice as counsel to the government corporations. He said “No”! I told him it was attached to Diokno’s version of the bill when I handed it to him, and that it contained all the teeth of Gladstone’s Irish Land Laws, and that Diokno had modified it by including some of the provisions of the existing Civil Code–which, instead, might well have been amended this was intended to meet the objections of both Diokno and Yulo that we could not “impair the obligation of contracts.” “That,” said the President, “is what spoiled the bill.” He then left me and, carrying the bill, went into the adjoining room, where the Cabinet was in session behind closed doors. After some ten minutes he came back, closing the door again, and stood before me with his shoulders thrown back in the characteristic stance of an Ilongot warrior (a nation in the Luzon mountains from which his own mother had sprung). Waving the bill again he said: “Governor, this is a bad bill.” I replied, “No! Mr. President, that is a good bill, but it has one all-important defect in the eyes of those to whom you may just now have shown it–there are too many representatives of the Caciques among them–nearly all those who have been called on to pass upon it, except you and myself, are members of, or representatives of the great landowning caste.” Quezon seemed somewhat impatient and high-strung, so I excused myself and left him.

So ended a chapter, so far as I was concerned, and the pity of it is that our ardent wish to cut out of the life of this country the cancer which is eating at the provinces has gone glimmering! There was not even a suggestion from the President of having the bill amended again, or reframed, as so many of the bills are before passage into law. I see that my hopes of evolving a yeoman stock of small landowners in place of the existing feudal system in the country districts is dished. When I reflect that Quezon himself, a few short months ago, had first suggested to me the Irish Land Laws as a model for the Philippines, and how ardently he himself had wished for that reform, I wish I knew what influences had meanwhile so powerfully turned him to the “right about”! Later that day, A. D. Williams, the American he constantly on all of his manifold building and construction enterprises, and who is probably more frequently at his side than any other of my fellow countrymen, told me that “a prominent Nueva Ecija landowner,” whom we all know well, probably killed the bill. If that is correct, Quezon’s attitude before me this morning was a simply superb display of his histrionic talents!

At all events, I now feel that my usefulness to him has been impaired, and I shall await a suitable opportunity to resign my post.


June 30, 1936

A. D. Williams, back from a trip to Cebu with the President, says that Quezon never left the Mayon on which he had a severe attack of “flu,” and the doctors were afraid of pneumonia. He is now back at work, weak but much better. The rumours as to his illness which were published Saturday last in the Bulletin were utterly unfounded and mischievous. Williams states that the campaign against “graft” by Vicente Sotto, as published in La Union concerning the location of the proposed Cebu Capitol is entirely untrue; this land belongs to Osmeña but he has always “offered to donate it to the government.” For many years the plan has been approved by all concerned.

A. D. Williams is exercised over Quezon’s sending to the United States for architect William Parsons (Yale ’95) for town planning here without consulting him (Williams); thinks Parsons should not come during the rainy season. Quezon says Arellano’s municipal buildings etc. are too much like churches or theaters–(Arellano says ecclesiastical architecture suits and Philippines, and I rather agree with him).

The Government Survey Board is being mildly criticized in the Press: “the net result, thus far, has been an increase, rather than a decrease in the already top heavy government personnel” (editorial in Bulletin). If the Board is to be credited with an increase in the Bureau of Justice and in the Civil Service, there would be some appearance of reason in this criticism. So far as I know the Board had nothing to do with either! Yulo “put one over” in the Bureau of Justice matter (thinks Unson)! I personally do not disapprove of either increase, but it makes things more difficult when the Board comes to recommend reductions elsewhere!

Issue of Vicente Sotto’s paper La Union of July 1, 1936 contains the following alleged interview with Quezon: “Confio en que la independencia vendra dentro de quatro anos y debemos estar preparados: ?quien debe sustituirme?”–dijo Manuel L. Quezon en el curso de una entrevista con un representante de Union.” (Is this the same idea expressed publicly by Quezon some weeks ago: that he would rather have early independence than the economic sanctions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act?)