December 10, 1935

Long talk with A.D. Williams at Malacañan about the reorganization of the government. He gave me a chart showing a reduction in the number of the provinces, based on topography and roads –which would save nearly half of the expenditures on provincial governments. We discussed many bureaus and buildings for the same. He said that the retirement of surplus officials as proposed by the law of two years ago was not carried out. I asked him if he would serve on a committee to work out a plan, if I could get Palma also? He consented.

Saw Quezon for one hour in Pasay –says he has had frightful pains in his stomach, and thinks that milk does not agree with him; therefore, he ate a dinner of oysters, fish, chicken, four vegetables, and a sweet! An awful diet for stomach ulcers! Then he became very natural and lively. Said his 1st pardon had been for adultery, and that he would not allow a man to remain in prison for an offense he had so often committed himself. I told him he must cast responsibility for administration on his cabinet –said he proposed to do so, and that is why he has just announced the rule of only two cabinet meetings a week, because they had fallen into the habit of not giving an increase of salary to an employee without cabinet consent. I told him there was much corruption in the government. He agreed and said that was why he had jumped so hard on the Director of Commerce, in connection with the importation of rice –as a warning to all minor employees. We arranged a program for a committee to reorganize the government. Then I asked him about nationalization of industries. He said they must do it; but should begin by an economic review, and then inform the public. If capital was not forthcoming to start the necessary industries, the government would undertake them, and later offer them at public auction to private business.

Quezon then said he had told Roy Howard that, except Taft, I had been the only Governor General who had done anything permanent for the islands. That his break with Osmeña had started with his objection to the latter’s “pussyfooting” and support of Wood. That Wood tried to sell the Philippine National Bank and the Manila Railroad; that if he had done so, it would have lost 100,000,000 pesos for the Philippines; that his fight with Wood killed Wood, and nearly killed him (Quezon). (Doria had had a conversation this same day with Roy Howard’s son, Jack, who on this trip south spoke of the extreme loyalty of Quezon to me –[adding that Ora Smith would weep copious tears and at the next instant knife a man in the back).]

President Quezon spoke well of Foley of the Philippine National Bank and of Yulo. Said he (Q) was informed of a lot which goes on, because he has three agents in Tom’s Dixie Kitchen; that he knows all the racketeers in his Government, and will outwit them. He added that he was going to direct only the policies of the government, but I wonder?


December 3, 1935

7 a.m. with Colin Hoskins to look at McDonough’s house in Parañaque –the best for us of all those we have seen. Later went to Rosario to see Wing’s house –it has a sense of peace and country life but Doria objects to the furniture and to the fact that there is only one bath-room.

Went to Malacañan, took the oath of office as the President’s Adviser before Secretary George Vargas –he then showed me my new office and said Mrs. Burfield would be assigned to me as stenographer. Called on the Vice-President, and on Secretary Yulo who are my neighbors. Discussed with Lara my legal residence and the transportation question, i.e., use of motor-cars. Actually, I never had a stenographer, and always used my own car.

4 p.m. speech at University convocation –not very satisfied with my effort, but urged them to be themselves– congratulated them on Folk Dances and other evidences of their appreciation of their native culture. I cited the newest nationalism in Germany and in Japan and the insistence in those two countries on their ancient traditions. Also boomed the work of Otley Beyer. Told Rizal’s story of King Bernardo. Urged they discard all inferiority complex as Filipinos.

Dinner at Stevensons in Pasay.


October 25, 1935, 9 p.m. — October 29, 8 a.m.

My wife and I are on a trip to the Bicol Provinces as guests of Sr. A. Roces. Sr. Paez, head of the Manila Railroad Co., accompanied us, also Ramon Roces and his wife (Manuelita Barretto), on a private train. Fishing in Ragay Gulf (Doria caught 2, I one); shooting snipe and duck at Pili –at the home of Prieto in Camarines Sur; trip to rest house in Albay on Mt. Mayon driving up through hemp plantations, on the new Paez road.We were given an attractive tea dance at the Mayon Pavilion by Governor Imperial of Albay. Spent a comfortable night there. Sensational scenery, views of the Pacific Ocean; future health resort at altitude of 2500 feet, with a temperature of about 70°. Numerous conversations with Roces, Paez, etc.

A. Roces, Sr. is the proprietor of Vanguardia, Tribune and Tagalog Daily and of the Ideal Cinema. He is a very generous, warm-hearted man, full of ideals, and rather puritanic zeal for the welfare of the poor people; is really an ardent patriot– not a politician, and is thoroughly stubborn and fearless. He wishes well for Commonwealth and is willing to give Quezon full support if a decent honest government is set up –but is rather anti-capitalist. Has always been devoted friend of mine and a supporter of my work here. Would be glad to see me Economic Adviser –and favors low tariffs on the necessaries of life. He advocates also a 25 years period before full independence but accepts the new law. Roces believes it is a waste of time to work for the permanent continuance of the old free trade with the United States, but believes the American people are “sentimental” and can be appealed to for a modification of the present restrictions. I agreed. He advises me to consult with Manuel Roxas about the economic future –thinks him safe in judgment– and considers him sane and studious –believes him to be the coming man, and says that Quezon takes his advice.

Here are some of Alejandro Roces’ opinions on people.

Quezon is impetuous –changes quickly– is not personally concerned over money –has great opportunity now to give a decent government. Roces advised him to go in for a reputation as a good President and not to care about financial benefits; better leave a good name to your children rather than a fortune. He commented that Jim Ross and Jacob Rosenthal are Quezon’s best friends among Americans.

Osmeña, in the opinion of Roces, is too lacking in firmness of character –is always 50-50!

Aguinaldo is entirely ignorant –has no organization and is pitiful.

Wood was a tragedy –was dotty when he came out here; Wood said of Quezon that when surrounded by angels he was an angel –and vice versa.

Davis was nothing.

Governor Cailles is a “100% liar” –that he (Roces) did not believe Cailles’ story of the killing of seven Sakdalistas. He laughed over a photo of Cailles smoking a cigar and pointing a revolver at three dead men.

Don Isauro Gabaldon is an honest man.

Governor Murphy is lacking in firmness —vide the award of Government printing.

Yulo represents capitalists.

Does not advise Roxas to accept the post of Secretary of Finance, nor Paez to accept that of Secretary of Communications.

Sison is the best of the present cabinet –and is absolutely honest.

He then denounced by name several prominent Filipinos whom he believed to have accepted or demanded large sums of money for their influence in public life.

Roces says Quezon is afraid of assassination –that the President had told him that this eventuality was “inherent in his job.” I said that assassination was “not in the Filipino character”; he replied he used to believe that –but not now.

Says Barretto is too old; that Singson is not a reliable man; Sumulong is a good man, he believes, but he cannot understand him at times. Tirona is of no real account.

Agrees with me that there is too much higher education in the Philippines –it makes only for discontent.

Roces, Sr. advocates a National Transportation Corporation to take over all the motor bus lines –capital required now is about three million pesos but they would take shares or installment payments; they can be run as feeders for the Railroad. Paez agrees with him. Roces advocates moving Bilibid prison out of town and making the site a central market and the hub of motor buses –thus cutting out the middleman. This has been tried in Spain –and is a success.

Doria reports a conversation with Mrs. Roces, Jr. and the provincial officials of Albay in which she told them the Philippines was being exploited by American salesmen –with which they rather shamefacedly agreed. Mrs. Roces said to her, “I know why I like you so much because you are English –the Americans treat us like niggers.” Mrs. Roces said where possible she bought only Jap goods. Doria said the Wolfsons and the American hairdressers in the beauty shops talk of Filipinos as if they were imbeciles.

At Pili Prieto talked of his starch factory there –he employs about 100 men– their starch is 80% for the laundry because, it is “more viscose” –20% for food (tapioca). they failed at first because they used camotes –now they make $200,000 gross per annum using cassava plants which he smuggled out of Java in 1933 –they are nearly double the size of the native Philippine cassava.

Talked October 27 with Gov. Imperial of Albay about hemp central and hemp-stripping machines –the latter are made by Int. Harvester Co. and cost about six thousand dollars; too expensive for the small farmer with a plantation averaging about 40 hectares. It would take two to three generations to teach cultivators to cooperate on a central. Said Albay has a 6000-horsepower waterfall –which had been abandoned by Meralco.

At the tea dance in Mayon Pavilion there was a good orchestra from Tabajo –people danced like Americans. Mrs. Imperial said her chief ambition was to go to Hollywood.

Duck and snipe shooting at Pili –duck were teal and mallard– very novel method of screening bankas –men went into water like retrievers after a wounded duck.

Mayon Rest House “the beauty spot of the Philippines.” Volcano erupted last year for the first time in a century, as is still smoking –comfort and modern conveniences at the rest house.

Clouds of locusts in Camarines Sur.