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 17, 1939

Secretary Vargas has called me on the phone several times to ask about particular subjects and each time has told me he has been instructed by the President to have me re-detailed to Malacañan. (Contact duty requiring about 30 minutes per day.) I have told him time and again that I have no objection to doing the work, just as I have also told the President. But I’ve tried to make it clear to them that, for some reason, General MacA. planned otherwise, and my arbitrary detail by Presidential authority would make Gen. MacA furious. They, of course, want to keep on good terms with their Mil. Adv.; so the only way they can handle the matter is to get MacA approval. That, I doubt they can do –he thinks I’m likely to consider myself too important. I doubt that he even believes me when I say, the sooner I get out of here, the better I’ll like it!

Well, we’ll see what develops.

Made a trip to the Mountains Province Fri-Sat-Sunday.

Plane to Bagabag. Jitney through the rice terrace areas, plane from Naguilian.Johnny, Capt. Lewis & I on the trip.

Visited Banaue; Bontoc; Sagada (Mission) Sabantan; Mt. Data blocked there by landslide, back to Sabantan and over to Cervantes; then west to coast, down to Naguilian & home.

Rain made the narrow mountain trail treacherous, and caused many slides; all of us were jittery most of the time.

Terraces wonderful –worth the scares!


April 5, 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.


March 9, 1939

Last week the 1st Boeing clipper arrived in Manila, on the same day that the first unit of Mosquito fleet, a 55-foot Thornycroft motor torpedo boat, reached here. One 65 foot boat is due to arrive in a couple of months.

General MacArthur has apparently been quite disturbed lately concerning the President’s attitude toward the defense program. The General says that the President does not really believe in the plan, and is ready to sabotage it at the 1st opportunity. The two of them must have had a conversation within the past 2 or 3 weeks that did not sit so well with the General. One thing that upsets the General is the President’s continuous efforts to re-enforce and improve the constabulary, even at the expense of the army. The General was not successful in getting the government to return to us sums spent on import duties, although it was suggested that we could obtain reimbursement in our next budget. Moreover, under agreement with Malacañan there is none included in the 1939 budget (6 mos. period to July 1) and in 1945 budget a proviso to effect that if there is a shortage of funds in the general treasury, constabulary expenses may be charged to the army. If this should happen we could not function! In any event it is obvious that General MacA. is fearful of what Pres. Q. may or may not do and, in our office conferences, constantly expresses dissatisfaction with the Pres. and criticizes many of his actions, whether or not these actions have any connection with the army.

One thing that the General talked about a lot was the President’s action in getting P500,000 from the Assembly for “law enforcement”. The excuse was the very serious labor unrest, accompanied by some disorder & lawlessness, that has lately been experienced in Bulacan, Pangasinan, etc. What the need for this money is, I don’t know since the constabulary now has 350 officers and 4500 men and if rhese were properly employed, no additional help should be necessary. However, Gen. Francisco, head of Constabulary is not too bright, and has probably dispersed his force so widely as to have no adequate reserves left. My own opinion that the P500,000 incident is merely the President’s way of notifying the whole country that the whole govt. is back of him in keeping order etc. But the incident apparently stirred up the ire of the General who believes that the labor trouble was used only as an excuse by the Pres. in order to get in his hands a large sum of money that could be spent without supervision.??

More and more it becomes obvious that constructive action on this job has almost ceased. In the office itself the work is so uncoordinated that operation is difficult. I do not know, and I cannot find out, how much money is available for important training and selected projects and much of our confusion arises from absence of intimate, daily, contacts with Malacañan. Further, since there is no head of this office –except the General–who is here only an hour a day– everyone does as he pleases, and no real coordinated progress is possible. I’m ready, more than ready, from a professional viewpoint, to go home. Interest has gone. I work on academic subjects, because I have no longer power or opportunity to start execution of needed projects. I hate confining work that shows no results –so, as soon as I can decently go –I’ll simply Hooray!!


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 12, 1938

I’ve played bridge recently with Pres. Q: once for a weekend on the Casiana; once for an afternoon at Malacañan. He’s a peach of a player but somewhat unorthodox in bidding.

Today I’m scheduled to give a talk to 31st Infantry officers on Philippine Defense Plan. It will be fun to address a bunch of people of my own kind.

The results of my trip to the States are very well outlined in the notebook I carried with me. For that reason I don’t repeat them here.

How I wish poor old Jim were alive and here to go over things with me!

He’d be particularly astonished to find that, again, the 30 Division plan establishes the basis for all our work. No hint is ever given that it was once definitely and finally repudiated –that the Gen. shouted down in anger any suggestion that he had ever directed us to take 30 Divs. as an objective! He has completely forgotten that when, in a pinch, he momentarily had to look at facts, he hastily established 15 Divs. as the limit to which we’d aspire. Now the 30 Division plan is accepted, not only accepted, there’s no suggestion of any other thought. Luckily, I’ll be long gone before the Filipinos have the right to look about them and say, Well, the time is up, where are the 30 Divs?” There will be no answer to that one; not for 160,000,000 pesos aggregate!!

To save money we’ve curtailed training plans and original concepts in every direction.

The Constabulary figure was finally fixed at 350 officers, 4500 enl. men. This leaves us (even counting provincials) with about 270 officers and 3000 enl. men. This number, the Gen. says, except for a special case here and there, is sufficient. We’ll scuttle the Reg. Force, except in name. It will be just a number of training cadres!! This great reduction the Gen. justifies on the grounds that we no longer carry any responsibility to maintain a reserve force for maintenance of law & order!! If that was the only reason for a Reg. Force, it never was justified! We may as well establish the Constab. and let it alone!! The Gen. decided to recall reservists for training only every other year!!

We’re doing nothing about pre-military training except in the sketchiest way. Yet, in the beginning, when the Gen. still looked at some of these problems from a professional, no matter how warped, viewpoint, he justified the 5 1/2 months training period only on the plea that each of them would undergo 10 years continuous training in schools; and would, after completion of trainee instruction, be called every year for unit training. But to preserve outward evidence of progress, which he thinks will get by with laymen who know nothing of efficiency, the Gen., as always, is willing to scuttle anything and everything real.

Will I be glad when I get out of this!!


November 10, 1938

Arrived in Manila from the States on Nov. 5, and found a vastly different situation, so far as it affects me and my work, than from the one existing when I left on June 26.

First of all, the General has apparently been stricken with the same obsessions with respect to me that he suffered from in the case of Jimmy. He always bitterly resented J’s popularity with Filipinos in general, and his intimacy with Malacañan in particular. So, while I was gone, he reorganized the office, so as to remove me completely in official affairs from Malacañan. Not content with this he re-arranged the office force so that I’m no longer his C. of S., but only another staff officer –he is theoretically the coordinator of the whole group. My section is plans, training, mobilization, education, etc. –the purpose being to keep me absorbed in academic work at my desk, and to rob me of any influence in the Army or at Malacañan. The only thing he forgets is that all of us are attached to Department Headquarters and whether he likes it or not the Senior Office of the U.S. Army on duty with this groups is compelled to make efficiency reports on the others [. . . .] While I was representing the office at Malacañan I kept him informed of everything pertaining to us. Now he gets only those things that are sent to him in letter form. Secretary Vargas is resentful of the change –but I told him it was a matter of indifference to me. I would make no move to recommend a change. Why the man should so patently exhibit a jealousy of a subordinate is beyond me. I guess it’s because he is afraid a conviction will grow in the minds of local people that he personally is not so important to the Army and to the P.I. If this is his thought, he’s taken the worst possible course, because when a subordinate maintains such contacts he can with propriety glorify the position, prestige and value of the Boss. He (if he has any modesty whatsoever, which I doubt) is handicapped in this direction. Administratively the new scheme is so clumsy as to require no comment.

Of course, he has accomplished one thing he wanted to do, that is, make certain that I’d get out as soon as I decently can. On the surface all is lovely. I will not give him the satisfaction of showing any resentment. But my usefulness is so curtailed as to rob the job of much of its interest, so I’m going at the earliest possible moment. If the d—– fool had only sent his plan to me while I was in the States I would not have returned; but I guess he was afraid to do this for fear of the explanation he would have had to make at Malacañan. Sec. Vargas knows that I worked honestly, and wirh some effectiveness so it would have been embarrassing to the Gen. to show why I declined to come back. He did not have that much courage!

I regret the campaign I conducted everywhere in the States to make him appear a wise counsellor, an asset to the Philippines, and a splendid man in his present post.

The A.G. informed me I’d be expected to make up the 4 months & 10 days I was outside the Philippine Islands. This would bring my tour to a close in early March (1940) and I had originally intended asking to stay until end of June, that year, as John could finish school. Now, I’m going to try to beg off the extra four months and get out of here next October.

When the President and Mr. Vargas raised my allowance to 1000 per mo., and when they volunteered to give me air-conditioned rooms at the same price as the old ones, I see now that they convinced the Gen. he should get rid of me. It was in keeping with his hypocritive habits that these were the subjects concerning which he expressed so much personal satisfaction in the last interview I had with him just before I left for the U.S. But I must say it is almost incomprehensible that after 8 years of working for him, writing every word he publishes, keeping his secrets [ . . . ] he should suddenly turn on me, as he has all others who have ever been around him. He’d like to occupy a throne room surrounded by experts in flattery [. . . .]

So far as I’m personally concerned all this means nothing; as I have not and never have had any intention of remaining in the Philippine Islands beyond a definite, limited period. My fury is academic rather than practical and actual; [ . . . ] T.J. is no higher (apparently) in his estimation than I. His confidence in our integrity and gentlemanly instincts must be high, at that, because I cannot believe he’d deliberately make enemies of anyone that he’d fear might in the future reveal the true story of his black and tan affair, [ . . . ] his speculations on his chances to be Vice-President of the U.S.; [ . . . ] his extravagant condemnations of Pres. of U.S. et al when he was summarily relieved before he reached San Francisco; his chiselling to increase the emoluments he’s getting from the Phil. Govt; his abject fear that he’ll do anything that might jeopardize his job (rather his salary of 66,000 and all expenses). Oh hell –what’s the use! The point is he knows we won’t tell these things!

Now that I’ve jotted all this down I hope that it never again comes, even momentarily, to my mind!


October 8, 1937

At 12:15 today the General had a conference (called a conference by courtesy. It was nothing but a monologue –since even when given “2 minutes” to present our views, we’d lose the floor and have to subside) in his office. Present, Ord, T.J., Fellers and myself. Fellers was unquestionably present to act as “reporter” of the conference, especially to be the messenger to Malacañan. There was no other excuse since he has not been associated with the work of executing the defense plan; which was the subject of the conference.

The occasion for the conference was a conversation the General had with the Pres. last evening. The Pres. showed him an estimate (prepared by Ord for the Pres. at the specific request of the latter) as to the total cost, up to 1946, of the military program that the General has laid down as our objective. This plan, as dictated to us by the General time and time again involves:

Annual training of 40,000 conscripts for 5 1/2 mos. (3,000 to be trained for 11 mos.)

Organization of 30 reserve and 1 regular division.

Organization of an Air Force of approx. 50 fighting planes

Organization of an Off-Shore Patrol –to be as strong as possible with-in a 10 year cost of 10,000,000 pesos.

School, supply, control and administrative elements necessitated by above.

The cost of this plan, taking into account our best information on prices to be charged us by the U.S. for various classes of equipment, for the years 1938-45 inclusive is estimated by Jimmy and me to be 178 million pesos, or roughly 50,000,000 more than the 16 million annual average would provide. This was the information furnished by Jimmy to the Pres. (including 32 million for 1936-37).

The General states that this information, if true, makes him out to be either a fool or a knave, since his earliest promise to Mr. Q. was “that for 160,000,000 pesos, distributed over a 10 year period, he would make the P.I. so secure from attack, that no nation would deliberately undertake the enterprise”. He further says –now– that this 160 million program represents the only plan he has ever entertained for a moment. He says, now, that he has not deviated from that determination, and has not projected any plan that would contravene such a determination, for a single instant in the 2-year interval.

On June 15, 1936, I presented to the General what was intended to be a protest against the 30 Division program, a memorandum in which the certain minimum costs were estimated. A copy of this estimate is in the office files. It showed a certain deficit of 45,000,000 pesos and showed also that the estimates in it were generally far below what it was considered necessary to provide under the 30 Division plan. The General refused flatly to modify or restrict the objectives of his organizational plan as outlined at the beginning of today’s entry in this book. He made some prophecies that additional money would be forthcoming, either in the form of gifts in kind from the U.S., or lump sums from various Commonwealth Credits in the U.S. But finally he said that failing such windfalls, he was prepared to raise the yearly “ante” and demand more money by the appropriation route. When I inquired –which I did– as tohow he would make such action jibe with his 160 million peso promise, he replied that figure was just an approximation, and that it was understood by all that some changes would be necessary. He said also that we had plenty of reasons to advance for hiking the budget –World Conditions, possible early independence, etc., etc. (And this was long before the possibility of early independence was publicly mentioned by Pres. Q.)

So we proceeded on the 30th Division plan at the specific and unequivocal order of the Field Marshal. The occasion for bringing the estimate to his attention at that time was an effort on the part of Jim and myself to secure modification of the Marshal’s order to call 20,000 conscripts for training on Jan. 1, 1937. The original plan, (finally pared down by arbitrary action to the 160 million basis) called for training only 3000 men on January 1, 1937. The new order called for extraordinary and unforeseen expenditures as explained in a prior note in this book.

The General was adamant. He gave Jim and me a long lecture on “adequacy of security” as represented by numbers of “divisions” trained and ready. We urged a budgetary basis for all planning, and he grew furious, accusing us of “arguing technicalities” to defeat the conceptions of the high command!

Now –suddenly– when confronted definitely with the loss of the Pres.’s confidence because of the increased costs, he not only abandons this expanded plan, he deliberately states he never approved it, formulated it, or even suggested it except as an expression of of his hopes and ambitions. He told the Pres. (he says) that all portions of the plan that exceeded the 160 million limit are nothing but the products of Jimmy and myself –produced without approval from him.

Every scrap of auxiliary evidence, letters, partial plans presented to the Gen., requisitions, and the direct testimony of Jimmy, General Santos and myself furnish ample proof that he is again executing one of his amazing “about faces”.

We (J. and I) thoroughly approve of modifying the plan. We’ve fought for and urged such downward revision as is necessary to get within reasonable range of the 110,000,000 for 2 years. But it is amazing, mystifying and completely irritating to see him take the position that he had never directed anything else. In the “conference” I challenged him to show that I’d done anything not calculated to further his plans. Also, I informed him that never had he asked me whether or not I considered his plans a good one in its possibilities for defense of these islands. It’s not important what I think of his plan, but from any subordinate’s standpoint it is important when a senior charges “substitution of policy” –and virtual sabotage. He repeated over and over again his “personal” confidence in us, and, in words, accepted much of the blame for the misunderstanding. He simply “shouted down” any real explanation of my attitude.

But it was not a misunderstanding!

It is a deliberate scuttling of one plan (and blaming Jimmy and me as the sole originators, advocates and apostles of that plan, which we actually opposed bitterly) while he adopts another one, which in its concrete expression, at least, I’ve never even heard of before.

He invited us to apply for relief if we wouldn’t go along with the new plan.

I’m not so concerned in that part of it since it’s his responsibility to decide upon the main features of our defense system. But I’ve got to decide soon whether I can go much further with a person who, either consciously or unconsciously, deceives his boss, his subordinates and himself (probably) so incessantly as he does. I wonder whether he believes there is one atom of truth in his statements of this morning. I wonder whether egotism, exclusive devotion to one’s own interests, (in this case a 66,000 peso salary, plus penthouse and expenses) can finally completely eliminate a person’s perception of honesty, straightforwardness, and responsibility to the people for whom he’s working.

When irritated at the Pres. I’ve heard him curse that worthy as a “conceited little monkey,” and I’ve heard him, in turn, use even worse language with respect to every prominent officer in the U.S. Army, and officials in Washington. But sometimes I think that, in his mind, there is nothing ridiculous, absurd or even unusual in his attitude. He was raised in the conception of Douglas MacArthur superiority. Actually he has become only pathetic. The barest mention of his name in the gossip column of the poorest of our universally poor daily periodicals sends him into hysterical delight or deepest despair, depending upon its note of praise or condemnation. He gets frantic in the face of difficulty, even if the difficulty is only an imaginary one and displays an exaggeration of glee when he believes things are shaping up to glorify his name, or increase his income.

I shall never forget the time in Washington when receipt of instructions to report to the President, led him to conclude, in the greatest seriousness, that he was to be invited to be the President’s running mate in the succeeding election. It is this trait that seems to have destroyed his judgment and led him to surround himself with people [. . . ] who simply bow down and worship.

For some months, I’ve remained on this job, not because of the Gen. –but in spite of him. I’ve got interested in this riddle of whether or not we can develop a W.D. and an army capable of running itself, and I prefer to dig away at it to being on a “mark time” basis somewhere else. But now I’m at a cross road. If the Marshal is to persist in his arbitrary methods, and is going to make things as unpleasant, if not impossible, as his today’s homily indicated, then I’m for home. We should be able to get a better line on the situation with a few days! Right now I’m disgusted and in something of a temper, a bad state of mind in which to make any decisions.

There was some justification for his anger over the presentation of the 50,000,000 “deficit” estimate to Mr. Q. But in our defense it is to be said that we’ve literally begged him to arrange a weekly conference between the Pres. and himself. But in the past he’s been to high ranking to do so. Now he thinks his job (and emoluments) are at stake –and maybe he’ll do it. Thank God I scarcely know the little devil (Q.) so neither now nor in the future do I have to discuss anything with him.

In the meantime, “Quien soba”.


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).