Friday, June 2, 1939

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Meeting at MacArthur’s Office. Present. His staff and the general staff.

Macarthur talks at length on the history of scattered camps, trying to justify their establishment. He recognizes however the fact that in as much as the president relieves him of the political phase of the national defense, he (MacArthur) has no more alternative. He appointed a preparatory committee consisting of Eisenhower, Southerland and myself to present recommendation in a month. MacArthur insinuated that the subject of concentration was brought to the president’s attention not thru him. This was a wrong procedure, he says as when a subject is presented to the president, there should be combined agreements and opinion of all the military men concerned. Divided opinions of military men

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on military subject always destroys the effectiveness. At the end of the conference, Lim said that when the president calls for the information direct from us, we don’t have the alternative but give the information to him, insinuating thereby that the question of concentration was asked by the president himself. This insinuation of Lim is false as Lim himself used the concentration issue as one of the causes of his resignation by claiming that on this vital issue, he would not agree with the military advisers office. (On our way to Malacañan, Lim made a remark to me in which he implied that he was the author of the concentration. This is more of Lims habitual lies. I wrote the study originally

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without consultation with Lim. There are several other cases where Lim tried to steal credit for original ideas.


June 1, 1939 Thursday

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–Thursday–

Meeting at Malacañan. Present — President and Secretary Vargas, the full staff of the Military Adviser and the members of the general staff. Valdez, Lim Garcia and myself. The pres. addresses the council by saying that from time to time he will call this body together and discuss important matter in the manner of a war council. He talked on three subjects, namely concentration, cadres for training purposes (my general study) compulsory R.O.T.C. units for all universities and quartering R.O.T.C. cadets in government owned barracks. On the subject of concentration, he says that as a result of his inspection he is virtually convinced that concentration is the proper thing. MacArthur tried to present his side by saying that the scattered cadres were decided upon in order to develop nationalism in the various localities. The pres. stopped him short by saying that the development of nationalism

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among the people is a political phase of the national defense and not a military phase, and as the political head of the nation, he is charged with this mission and the MacArthur confine himself strictly to the military phase. He told MacArthur that in his national defense planning he should disregard political influences. The president himself will face the legislature and the people in such subject. After the discussion, MacArthur promised to present to him in a month a plan for concentration. (MacArthur argument in developing nationalism by the scattered cadres is falacious. A man develops nationalism irrespective of where he trains and the influence of such a soldier is the same whether he trains at home or in some other locality) On the subject of compulsory R.O.T.C. trainings for all universities, the president says that his secretary of justice has rendered his opinion that the

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president is empowered to compell all universities to establish R.O.T.C. units. MacArthur remarked that it was probably necessary to compell them as he was advised by the general staff of the willingness of the heads of the institution to establish on invitation such R.O.T.C. units; nevertheless the president says that he is going to issue an executive order compelling all institution to establish R.O.T.C. units. On the subject of quartering cadets in government owned barracks, MacArthur said that he will have that subject more closely studied, and a report will be rendered to the president.

Next Day. June 2.


Thursday, May 18, 1939

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The president calls for me to be at Camp Claudio early. I was there before he called. We inspected the horses and the stables. He saw the troops drilled. He asked me about the troop commander and I reported that the troop commander was about to be tried and probably he would be dismissed. He asked me of the offense and I said that it was immorality. My impression was that he is inclined to be lenient for offenders of this kind. I had his horse saddled up and the jump arranged. I gave him a demonstration on [illegible] and he was very much drilled.

At 9:30 he comes to headquarters to inspect.He looked over some offices downstairs and that came to Valdez office. We had a conference on the subject of concentration. P[illegible] wa present at this conference. He asked several questions. He asked

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to what extent we could reduce the number of trainees. I expressed the opinion that we should not reduce too much the number of trainees as the number figured is for local defense. On his suggestion that we have only a few thousand trainees near Manila, I said that policy would be disastrous. If we had only a few thousand concentrated near Manila, it would be necessary to give them plenty of mobility so that they could be moved to the threatened area quickly. This is contradictory to the MacArthur plan of local defense where the reservist of one locality defend that locality.

We are invited to luncheon at 1 oclock. We did not leave the palace until 4:30. He talked on various subject. The Montilla case the recall of the Scout officers, the case of Laconico and Villareal, the case of Torres. On the subject of Laconico and Villareal he said that

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Valdes brought my letter of protest to him accusing me of disloyalty in view of the fact that I tried to protest a decision which had already been rendered. The president said he could not understand how I could be accused of disloyalty for presenting my views. It was only after I had known the decision that I could express my opinion. He said he sent for MacArthur to find out the practice in the U.S. army whether a subordinate who express his opinion is considered disloyal. MacArthur told him “No,” provided such opinion were expressed thru proper channel. He told MacArthur he was glad of such advice as he was determined that such an expression by a subordinate did not constitute disloyalty and that he would have issued an order that it was not disloyal if in the U.S. Army, such act was considered disloyal. He looked at me said

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“Segundo that was a strong letter.” He quoted my statement avout personal circumstances and personal liason. He did not understand what I meant so he asked Sec. Vargas what I meant and Vargas said that Laconico is Santos aid and the son-in-law of Assemblyman Alano, then he understood. He ordered the name of Laconico removed from the list right away. Later we talked about Villareal and I said Villareal was not the best to go to school. The President said that it was only thru my letter that he knew such things were happening.

He spoke about the 6 hr. conference with MacArthur, the one published in the papers. He did not want the subject of this conference published or communicated to anyone. It was about the creation of the Department of National Defense.


April 5, 1939–April 17, 1939

Several days ago the President called me personally to the phone, about 6:30 P.M., asking me to come immediately to Malacañan. This was on the evening of March 28. We had a 3 hour talk; Secretary Vargas was present. Many things were troubling him, and after making it clear to him that I recognized his right to question me, since he is the only chief I have on this job, except as he delegates his functions to another, I told him I would give him my personal convictions and any information I might have –on any military subject. He warned me that the conversation was to be considered secret.

He opened the talk by asking me whether or not it was improper for the G.S. (through its chief) making to him any recommendation it might choose to make on a military subject. I, of course, said “No–that one of the functions of the G.S. was to develop policy, and where these required such action, to submit them to him for approval.” He then showed me a letter, written in the G.S. and apparently intended for his consideration. On this letter appeared an endorsement, signed by Sutherland, stating that the subject was one outside the purview of G.S. responsibility and would therefore be withdrawn from consideration by that body. I stalled a bit–and then told him, “Certain broad policies, it is assumed, have been permanently established by the highest general staff, namely the President himself in consultation with his Military Adviser. In such cases it was probably wise to prevent constant agitation of the question in the G.S. or elsewhere, as tending only to confuse, and, in any event, wasting time and effort.”

He acknowledged some force to this argument but said, “But why am I denied an opportunity even to see the arguments on another side of that question?” I replied that that was a matter between him and his Mil. Adv.

He then asked me whether the production of a good officer corps was one of our real problems. The answer to that was obvious. Then he asked, “If that is so, why did we plunge into the mass training of enlisted reservists before we had the officers, at a time when we knew we did not have them, to do the job with reasonable efficiency?” To this I shot back, “Because you directed it, in the spring of 1936. The original plan contemplated the calling of only 3000 trainees in Jan., 1937, and, so Col. Ord & I were informed, you decided to raise this to 20,000, after consultation with the Mil. Adv.” He replied that he had not made such a decision, and had been, from the start, opposed to the idea of rushing too rapidly into the training of enlisted reservists. I told him I could throw no more light on the subject,  and that if he’d examine the records of 1936 he could easily substantiate my statements. One piece of direct evidence, I told him, was that for 1936 we had asked for only 350,000 pesos for construction, a sum which could not begin to supply the shelter and so on needed for 20,000 men. I informed him, further, that the reasons given to Col. Ord and me for this change was that he, the President, believed the psychological reaction of the people would be bad if only a small number of trainees was inducted promptly after the first registration of military manpower. He just said, “I never heard of such a thing.”

Then he said, “If it is possible, I’m going to correct that mistake now! I’m going to call fewer trainees, and devote more money to officer development.”

It then came out that his distrust of our present corps of officers was based on the results of several courts-martial. He considers, properly, that these courts have condoned offenses for which dismissal, and even prison sentences, would have been appropriate. He cited several instances. I explained to the Pres,, in detail, that I no longer was concerned in any personnel or administrative matter. I explained General MacA’s famous “re-organization” order of Oct. 14, which relieved me as his C. of S., and placed in my hands planning, training, etc. The President expressed great astonishment–and wanted to know why! I replied I did not know but it developed that one of his reasons for sending for me was because he assumed that due to my experience here, and so on, I was General MacA’s chief assistant for all functions. I disabused his mind.

He speculated whether or not the decision to call 20,000 men in 1937 (total of 40,000 for the year) was based upon Gen’s desire to be Field Marshal, with the resultant idea that it would be a good thing to get some soldiers under arms so the appointment would have some basis in logic. He said he bitterly opposed the appointment, although he did not say he opposed it openly to General MacA. He did say that the incident made his government look ridiculous!! I was astounded, since General MacA’s account of the same affair was exactly the opposite already related, I think, in these notes. Somebody certainly has lied!!! The Gen. said he accepted the appointment with great reluctance, and only because refusal would have mortally offended the Pres.!! Wow!!

A dozen other related subjects were brought up and the Pres.  discussed all in a manner that I thought showed a fine, thoughtful mind,  and a much keener insight into some things of questionable validity than one would suppose if he listened only to talk in this office.

I told the Pres. I wanted to go home. The matter was not discussed in detail, but he expressed the hope I’d stay until next year.


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.


December 1, 1936

Glad November is over–somehow or other this is nearly always a worrisome month;–this year it was even worse than usual both because of Doria’s illness, and by reason of the lack of discretion, not to say greediness of some of ay associates in business.

At Malacañan at 9:30. Quezon was in the barber chair, just finishing an interview with Cuenco, former Assemblyman from Cebu whom he introduced to me as the new Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Three days ago, Cuenco had been announced as the new Mayor of Cebu, but it appears that Osmeña as the Boss of Cebu was obliged to offer some opposition, to the appointment of one of the opposing party. Vargas was present with Quezon and handed him Cuenco’s appointment as a Cabinet member, explaining that Osmeña had intimated his acquiescence in that rather than having to consent to Cuenco’s being Mayor of his city–never believing Quezon would agree. It looks as if Osmeña had been out-jockeyed!! The President told Vargas to get this appointment right into Cuenco’s hands, so that nothing could happen to interrupt it. When, a half hour later I reported this appointment to Claro Recto and Rafael Corpus, they both said: “This will break up the coalition!” but when I replied that Osmeña had already agreed, Corpus remarked “That’s the trouble–Osmeña is too easy.”

I then reported to the President my recent conversation with Foulds, British Consul General, in which I gained the information that the heads of foreign states such as Kings and President were not invited to the Coronation. To this Quezon made no comment:–he had probably learned this himself from Foulds, but he was obviously disappointed. My last point for Quezon that morning was a report of a conversation with Tommy Wolff last Friday night in which he stated that by accepting Filipino citizenship I had “not a friend left”–“except you, Tommy” I interrupted, at which he began to stammer. Quezon told me “not to let these fellows get under my skin.” I went on to say that Wolff was getting in the frame of mind of the late Paul Reinsch, American Minister of China, who had come to believe that the inhabitants of the country wished him harm (and went mad). Quezon at once said that Wolff’s mind was weakening from too much conviviality. He then observed that he “could not stand seeing any of his friends under the influence of liquor.”

I told Quezon about the troubles caused to newly forming mining companies by the excessive zeal of the promoters–that I had joined the Central Exchange under the urging of Speaker Montilla believing he was back of it–that I never heard of Prats until then–that I had induced Don Ramon Fernandez to join with me and we had gone to work to secure a Produce Exchange as something of real value for the future, and thanks to Quezon’s assistance had obtained it. Shortly after this conversation Corpus reported to me that the President had vetoed the bill on exempting Produce Exchanges from more than one sales tax–thus making them impossible except when run by the government. (This I doubt).


October 21, 1936

Dinner dance at Malacañan for the passengers of the first Pan American Clipper–including Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, the son of a father and mother who had been my childhood friends. The evening was excessively dull.

At his office with the President I told him that one very important feature of the Commonwealth had been the improvement in his health. Pointed to the picture of one year ago showing, Quezon and Murphy, with Secretary of War Dern and Speaker Byrnes–the two latter were now dead. Quezon replied that he was far too busy to die, or to think of death.

Asked him about his new yacht, which is due here at the end of this month. Advised him to anchor out in the bay in her, and he said he would have a 25 knot launch. He must get away; was restless and remarked that he was tired out. He was not going to Baguio, and wanted to take my son Kiko on a provincial trip.

He then called in Osmeña and some sixty members of the Assembly (who were waiting en masse for the appointments of justices of the peace), and the President then administered to me before them the oath as a Philippine citizen. Cordial and good feelings on all sides, and it was a very pleasant and dignified ceremony, befitting the significance of the act. Judge Agra is preparing for me a seat in the Assembly in the next elections!!


October 19, 1936

State banquet at Malacañan for Lord Rothermere–I doubt whether Quezon understands how to appraise correctly Lord Rothermere’s position in England. The old man made a good show and a witty speech. In his address of welcome, the President made me nervous. He was skating on thin ice, but with his usual skill managed to avoid making a break. The British Consul General Foulds, who sat next to General MacArthur, and hence next but one to Rothermere, told me later that MacArthur had not been taken in for a moment by the guest of honor. Quezon was ill at ease with a “Lord,” and had not been properly coached as to the proper mode of address &c &c. He came up to me when we were all on the balcony after dinner, and whispered: “For God’s sake go and talk to him.” Rothermere was cordial to me because of my long residence at Alness which is near his shoot at Dornoch in Scotland.


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.