January 9-10, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon very friendly and gracious–perhaps making up for the incident of the week before, when, knowing that I was coming from Charlottesville on his request, he let me make the journey without sending me word that he was going to New York! Dr. Trepp says this is characteristic–that he often shows no consideration whatever, especially when he changes his own plans! Trepp does not know whether Quezon will really go to Arizona–his health would do equally well in Washington. Was under the weather in New York. His family spent the time in shopping, theatres and the opera; Quezon stayed only in his apartments in the Waldorf-Astoria. Had one visit each from Roy Howard and Morgan Shuster.

Quezon has on his desk a bound notebook containing the proof sheets of his (unfinished) book. Took it up for 15 minutes with me, and got me to write an additional page concerning his childhood at Baler, and then started our bridge game which lasted the rest of the afternoon and until one o’clock in the morning–“wild cat” bridge, in the Filipino fashion, with precious little of partnership in it.

The next day I was with him to receive David Bernstein, his new “Special Services” (i.e., advertising) man. Bernstein is full of clever schemes for publicity over the radio and movies. Quezon conveyed to him his decision to drop the “free India” and “free Indonesia” issues for the present. Said he had been with Harry Hopkins this morning communicating to him the same decision. (Harry Hopkins probably let Lord Halifax know this at once–thus removing a cause of irritation if not worse!) Told Hopkins he must concentrate on the affairs of his own people, and was beginning to prepare his plans for the Joint Resolution for Independence. Bernstein commented that this would be a very powerful weapon of psychological warfare; also conveyed a request of Time for a reply to an article from Buenos Aires–German sponsored propaganda purporting to come via Japan from the Philippines, in which eulogistic descriptions were given of the present peace and contentment in the Philippines. Quezon dictated a brief response quoting General Tanaka’s recent report on his tour of the Philippines, in which the situation of public order was described as “not very satisfactory.” Quezon added that naturally it was not satisfactory to the Japanese since the Filipinos were still fighting vigorously. They had tasted freedom such as the Japanese themselves had never known at home and did not mean to give it up.

Bernstein then presented the question of a movie drama in Hollywood, now in course of preparation, showing an American nurse and an American officer’s adventures on Bataan. A Filipino doctor had been proposed, and Romulo considered it, and insisted that he should appear as himself! Quezon said quietly that Romulo did not look sufficiently like a Filipino–was more like a Chinese. Proponed Dr Diño, his personal physician instead–said he was a real Malay type and also had had previous experience of acting.

Knowing as I did, from another source, of the terrific row Romulo and Quezon had recently had over Romulo’s book I saw the Fall of the Philippines, I was somewhat diverted by this calm discussion. Quezon had been so angry with Romulo that he had told him, “to get the hell out of here, and never come back” and had deprived him of his uniform as a Lieutenant Colonel of the Philippine Army when he was on the lecture platform.

Quezon takes an especial pleasure in spending money, due, no doubt, to his cramped childhood in Baler. He remarked that he had paid the Shoreham Hotel $20,000 (Trepp says it was $60,000–he had seen the bills) this year for redecorating the suite he and his family occupy! This sort of thing, in my opinion, constitutes a political danger of considerable menace. Then Bernstein took up with him the idea that Quezon’s own life should be the story of a Hollywood film. Some tentative discussion on this. If he had published his book, the film could be based on that. Personally, I dread the vulgarizing of this whole chapter of Philippine history by those fellows in Hollywood.

Long discussion between Quezon, Secretary of Finance Andres Soriano, Foley, head of New York branch of Philippine National Bank, and the Auditor General Jaime Hernandez. The National City Bank of New York asks payment of 200,000 pesos turned over December 27, 1941, while Manila was being bombed, to the Insular Treasurer for transmission by telegraphic transfer to New York. The National City Bank holds a microfilm of the Insular Treasurer’s receipt, but nobody knows what happened to the original since the destruction of part of the Intendencia building by Japanese bombs. Auditor Hernandez opposed the payment now, in view of the uncertainty as to the facts. Quezon upheld him and seemed justly proud of the character and independence of his Filipino auditor.

Quezon gave me several stories from the inside talk of the United States Supreme Court, which he gets from Justice Murphy and Justice Frankfurter; incidents illustrating the very high esteem in which the Filipinos are now held in America.


December 22, 1935

Talk at the lunch table with Foley of Philippine National Bank; said he had seen the President the afternoon before; Quezon was much preoccupied with the Friar Land crisis. I asked Foley whether the Philippines could raise money on a bond issue to purchase these lands; he said it would be very difficult and that the Philippine National Bank would have to stand ready to take up the issue –he added that the rich men like A. Soriano and the Elizaldes would have to take part of the issue “and they won’t like it.”

 


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 2, 1935

An hour and a half with Foley (New York manager of the Philippine National Bank) over the Manila RR. bond purchase –his ideas and mine are very similar but he looks on it chiefly from the point of view of a banker, while I can, perhaps, see better the government policies involved. He predicts a change in the management of Philippine National Bank here and says Miguel Cuaderno, and perhaps Corpus, must go.

Foley advocates the issue of 5 million pesos of Philippine Commonwealth 5% bonds, to establish the government’s credit; says the whole issue can be supported by the Philippine National Bank in New York. Would like to go home via Europe and feel out the situation in Switzerland, France and England on this bond issue, and says also that while in London he can drop a few hints to Scott and Priestley that they should make a better offer on Manila RR. bonds.

One hour with A. Roces, Sr. in Vanguardia offices; he seemed glad to have me act as intermediary between him and Quezon. Appeared surprised when I showed him the two offending articles; said he had not seen them, and would correct the misstatement; he is about to become “dictator” of all his editorial policies –re-news his intention “without reservation” to support Quezon. Dis-approved of Quezon’s visit to the bandit country but had not commented on it. He was very cordial and friendly, and expressed pleasure at my appointment as adviser –but said it should not have been confined to communications, but have been general. Said he would make an appointment for me to talk with Manuel Roxas tomorrow.