18th May 1945

After 100 B-29’s had pounded Nagoya yesterday, some 40 P-51’s machine-gunned airfields southwest of the capital this noon. This raids however have become so frequent that most people in Tokyo today are more concerned with the revisions made in the ration system and the dissolution of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, for which the date has finally been set.

The new rationing system for Tokyo went into effect on the 15th. Persons from 15 to 50 years of age will continue to receive the standard ration of 350 grams of rice but those working “in jobs designated by the authorities” will get 400. Children will receive less in proportion to their age; those between the ages of three and five, for instance, will be supplied with 170 grams. The principal changes have been made with regard to the rations distributed to workers at their place of employment. Henceforth these rations will be made proportional to attendance and to the amount of work performed. A system of points has been worked out based on “the kind of service (50), the degree of importance (30), and the manner of work (20)” making a total of 100. Army and navy workers will get the full 30 points for “degree of importance” while government factory workers will get 20. Shipyard workers will get the full 20 points for “manner of work” while others, including aircraft factory workers, will get 10. On the basis of these points, workers will be classified into three categories. Workers in the first class will be given an additional 1.6 go of rice; in the second class, 1.2; in the third class, .9.

However shortages cannot be revised and most people in Japan spend more time scrounging for food than working for points. A sweet potato in hand is worth two in the booklet. You can see them on the streets of Tokyo from mid-morning, patiently reading a newspaper in the lengthening queue before the shops that will sell a bowl of gray Japanese noodles at noon. On every train into Tokyo, their muddy sagging knapsacks, knobby with potatoes or bloody and stinking with fish, dig into your back. I met one of these scavengers once in Tokyo station. We were both waiting for our train and he borrowed a light. He asked politely where I was going. “Odawara,” I answered and added: “Have you been there?” He made a moue of distaste. “Odawara? Why should I go there. Is there any more food there?”

If he read his newspaper this morning he must have folded under the long stories on the I.R.A.A. Was it going to get him any more food? But to foreigner the epitaphs on this curious Japanese experiment in totalitarian politics were as revealing as the revisions in the ration system. “It was on August 29, 1940,” recalled the Asahi, “That the I.R.A.A. was brought into being.” The China Affair had become “most acute”, the war of Greater East Asia was impending, and under Premier Prince Fumimaro Konoye the Japanese eagerly rallied to a “new structure” of government. Perhaps there was a touch of Prussian barracks in the architecture and a gay flash of Italian baroque but the “structure” was fundamentally as Japanese as a torii. The various political parties were not outlawed and hunted down; they dissolved themselves gracefully. There was hard driving corps of elite; “all the people are members”. For was there a Japanese who did not wish to serve the Imperial Rule or who pretended to assist it with greater right than his humblest fellow-subject? But the “structure” was so new that nobody knew exactly what it was. It was not a political party or a coalition of the old political parties; soon enough the government pronounced it a “public body”, an official organization. It received a subsidy from the government; its president was also the premier and he was president because he was premier, not premier because he was president. The I.R.A.A. was everything and nothing. “There was little indication of where the core of the body lay. It was natural that under such a system few activities could be undertaken.” So, this “new structure” that the Japanese with their passion for perfection and unanimity had made all-embracing, began to break up. An I.R.A. Political Association was developed. Then in Januuary 1942 the I.R.A. “Manhood Corps” gathered “the cream of comrades faithful to the work of imperial rule assistance.” They worked in the fields and aircraft factories and “their achievement will shine gloriously on the pages of the political history of the Showa era”. “But quite often the body exceeds the limits of its powers and its activities were restricted by the bureaucracy. Soon it became an obstacle to parliamentary control and it was made a target for attack in the diet.” The corps was flexing its muscles too publicly, it was taking on too much of the aspect of a real power-party. Nevertheless the process of reproduction by division continued. The original cell divided itself further into a Great Japan Women’s Assocation, a Great Japan Young Men’s Assocation, Associations for Service to the State through Commerce, through Agriculture, through Industries.

But in the inert accumulation of its featureless offsprings the I.R.A.A. was already dead. It only remained to throw the mess out of the window before it began to stink. With that fatal stubbornness, that suicidal pride, which will not admit error or defeat, the Japanese talked of a “new” association, one that would try to to be different by being the same, the only difference being that this one would succeed. The I.R.A.A. changed its name and became the Great Japan Political Association; it put a general at the head, instead of an admiral; still no politicians, no issue, no arguments; only an impressive and reassuring unanimity. Now the I.R.A.A. will change its name too; it will become the national volunteer corps; after the 10th June a new embalming fluid will be tried. Nobody expects it to succeed; nobody expects to understand it except for one significant ominous change. For the present it will continue to embrace “all the people”; it will continue to be vaguely everything and nothing; but when the time comes, the corps will become “a battle unit”. That is something that everyone can understand, and, terrible as it will be, it will come perhaps as a relief, the cold hard blow of a typhoon after the stifling silence of the night, a gush of blood from the inert corpse, an exciting immediate personal challenge, as personal as a bayonet at one’s throat.


June 3, 1942

Shoreham Hotel. Helping Quezon with the preparation of his address to be made before the United States Senate tomorrow. I suggested to him that if he used the phrase that “he did not come to ask that they send troops to drive the invader from his beloved land,” (in preference to their putting their American effort into another theater of war)–he might be called into account later by his own people. He replied: “I have an answer to that: I do not want the Philippines to be utterly wrecked by becoming again the theater of war–I hope the United States will strike directly at Japan. God forbid that our country should be treated like France today–that is simply awful.”

Osmeña came to see Quezon, but the latter was closeted with Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter, so Don Sergio came to my room for a talk. His purpose was to suggest the introduction in the speech tomorrow of a strong statement Quezon had made in October 1941 in Manila in which he stressed the absolute necessity for the Filipinos to join with the United States if they were drawn into the war. I think Quezon will use it.

I asked Osmeña about the early days of American government in the Philippines. He said that General Franklin Bell as Provost Marshal of Manila was considered by them as a liberal. Frank McIntyre was the first American he ever met. Osmeña was then editing a newspaper in Cebu and McIntyre was the Military Censor there. General MacArthur (the father) was Military Governor of the Philippines for only a short time–then he had a row with Mr. Taft over turning over the government to the latter.

Osmeña and Quezon were then governors of their respective provinces and together founded the Nacionalista party, but advocated co-operation with the Americans–which produced a storm of protest. The opposition to the Americans, however, came rather from the Spanish and Spanish mestizos than from the bulk of the Filipinos; Quezon was an exception. Dr. Pardo Tavera was active in opposition to America.

Don Sergio said that another time they would not fortify the region around Manila, which is indefensible; it is better for them to have their capital in the mountains of Pampanga or Tarlac–says at Fort Stotsenburg, which can be defended. He thinks that with the help of the United States the damage now done to the Philippines can be repaired in a comparatively short time.

Dinner with Quezon. He is very much disturbed by the evening news of the bombing by the Japanese of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. I told him that if they effected a foothold on the mainland of Alaska, they could bomb Chicago and Detroit. He said: “then somebody ought to be impeached.”

Our talk was then mostly about Japan. He said he had first met Matsuoka when the latter was head of the South Manchuria Railway; at that time, Matsuoka talked very frankly against the Chinese policy of his own government and ridiculed the idea that an indemnity should be exacted by them from China. “Why,” he asked “should we make them pay when we ourselves have invaded and devastated their country?” Quezon believes that he himself might have been asked to be a referee between China and Japan except for the complete control of Philippine foreign policy by the United States.

I expressed again to Quezon my regret that Professor Africa’s plea in 1936 for the training of young Filipinos in American consulates which I had at that time favorably recommended to him, had not been allowed by the United States. He replied that Secretary of State Hull had, at the time, agreed to the proposition and he supposes it had been blocked by some clerk in the State Department, or possibly a chief of bureau.

Quezon then turned to the subject of his luncheon with the Emperor of Japan. The presentation and wait before lunch were very formal. Then the Minister of the Household disappeared and they sat down at the table. Quezon was to the left of the Emperor, whose brother was on his right and on the other side of him sat American Ambassador Grew. Grew’s deaf ear was turned towards the rest of them, and the Emperor’s brother talked very loudly into it. This enabled the Emperor to have a quiet conversation with Quezon. His Majesty spoke English, but an interpreter stood behind his chair; he asked a good many questions of Quezon, and Quezon of him. Afterwards, Grew asked Quezon what they had talked about, especially when the Emperor and Quezon were alone in the “study.” Quezon refused to tell what the Emperor had said to him, and also what he, himself had said in reply, stating that it would be insulting if Grew suggested that he, Quezon, had said anything disloyal to the United States. This was in February, 1937.

He then turned again to a discussion of Francis Sayre, the High Commissioner to the Philippines. He touched on a discussion which had occurred between them as to the future trade relations between the United States and the Philippines which had taken place while Sayre was still in the Department of State. It was then suggested that this most important subject be referred to a Joint Committee, and Sayre proposed as Chairman former Vice Governor Hayden, recommending him because he was a professor. Quezon made a grimace. “Why,” said Sayre, “I have been a professor myself.” Later, when Sayre was appointed High Commissioner, and Quezon gave him a banquet, he introduced him as a “professor,” and everybody laughed. Quezon added that he entirely agrees with the opinion once expressed by Professor Becker, head of the Agricultural College at Los Baños, who stated before the Board of Visitors of the University of the Philippines (Governor General Wood, Quezon and Osmeña), that: “A Doctor of Philosophy cannot run anything.”

Turning to another subject, Quezon lamented that the United States Government had not backed up Morgan Shuster on his mission as treasurer of Persia, but had let him be run out of office by Sir Edward Grey, then the English Foreign Secretary. He added the remark to me that: “Shuster and you certainly started something thirty years ago–he in Persia, and you in the Philippines.”

Turning back to the subject of Japan once more, Quezon said he was sure Prince Konoye tried to prevent war between Japan and the United States. He sent Nomura over here as Ambassador to this country. When he saw he was going to fall. Prince Konoye resigned as Premier.

Finally, Quezon observed that Siam had made a mistake in joining even nominally with Japan; that France and England are no longer able to parcel off pieces of Siam for their own Empires, and would never be so again. Sic transit gloria mundi.


October 24, 1941

For the past few months, Gen. MacArthur, as CG, USAFFE had made repesentations with Pres. Quezon for additional lands in the perimeter of Clark Field to increase its capacity to accommodate the planes he anticipated coming from the USAAC. Purchase negotiations  were having difficulties due to agrarian demands by certain sectors in Pampanga led by Pedro Abad Santos.  To solve the problem, Pres. Quezon made the bold decision to expropriate the needed areas for Clark Field effective Oct. 21, due to the exigencies of the emergency situation.  The decision seems to meet public approval as no complaints were registered.

After a week-long leave, I resumed my duties as CO, Q-112. However, during my leave, Manila News reported the resignation of the entire cabinet of Prince Konoye of Japan on Oct 17.  Emperor Hirohito accepted the Konoye’s decision and designated Gen. Hideki Tojo, the War Minister, to head a new gov’t.  To the US, the transformation holds threatening possibilities as Konoye was more receptive to Washington than Tojo has ever been.

Manila News also reported the USS Kearney torpedo attack by German U-Boat near Iceland, survived the attack but 11 crew members were killed.  This stirred passion in Washington specially in Congress.  And today, Joe DiMaggio hit safely in a record 56 straight games.