March 15, 1936

Visit from Colin Hoskins–who said he was rather hurt that Quezon did not let him know before accepting his resignation as a director of the Philippine National Bank, but that he thought Quezon was right in Filipinizing it, and in excluding business men from the board, because “the more successful they had been, the more predatory the type.” I asked him about the sugar mill shares–he said all bank’s holdings were being bought up by Filipino interests–that the Jones-Costigan law was apt to continue, and under that, all the companies could liquidate their capital in five years, or even four. He thought very well of de las Alas, who is vigorous and yet prudent.

Luncheon at Malacañan in honor of Isauro Gabaldon who is sailing in Vittoria for six months in Spain and in Germany, where he is going to take the waters for diabetes. I was glad to see him and Quezon reconciled. Spoke of this and of Palma, to Quezon who said he was pleased to “recognize” them after giving them such a licking. Had a nice letter from Palma. He added that Gabaldon was one of the finest characters they have in the Philippines.

There were about thirty guests in the old dining room at Malacañan– the first time I had been there under the Filipino Government. I was the only American present. Former Residents Commissioner Gabaldon, Guevara, Delgado and Osias were there–also Alunan, Nieto, Gil, Montilla, Lacson etc. I sat between Mrs. Quezon and “Baby.” Mrs. Quezon told me that she had not been entertained by the Governor General in Java, and had refused to put herself forward as she was traveling incognito. It is evident that the Dutch are uneasy about the effects that Philippine independence will have on the Javanese.

Mrs. Quezon and I made many arrangements for our trips in April. Quezon and his wife showed great affection for one another.

The President said he wished to attend the coronation of Edward VIII in London, and I said I would like to go with him. Said he would have arrangements made through our State Department for his accommodation in London.

I asked him whether now that he had organized his government it would operate with vigour? He was positive it will.

Asked him when he was going to inaugurate his bridge and poker club for the members of the Assembly in the new basement at Malacañan. He replied that it was not quite finished. I told him the Assemblymen were in a mood when it would be a good gesture–he answered: “Not until I have given them a licking!” I laughed, so he had to join in.


February 25, 1936

Mrs. Quezon returned from a month’s absence in Java etc. Press photos of attentive loving couple, Quezon in yachting cap. The next day Quezon left with Nieto and his aides for an eight day trip through Balete pass and the Cagayan valley.

Talk with Colonel Vicente Lim, senior Filipino officer in the United States Army and a graduate of the American War College. He said: “Quezon is a very hard man to work with.” I commented on how the President’s calendar was congested, because gave too much time talking with each visitor. He replied, “He understands the psychology of his people.” He stated Quezon “is giving us the best Government we ever had, but God help us if he dies and we get a weak-kneed President.” Lim also said: “even Quezon is only human and can’t be 100% perfect–as evidenced by the appointment of Antonio Torres.” As Lim himself had wished to be Chief of Police of Manila, he may be prejudiced, but he seemed to be trying to be fair in the following estimate of Torres: “integrity unquestioned; has ideas, but is childish and can’t write English, and is a coward.” Lim said that his “thesis” at the Army War College in 1929 was that Japan within five years would take Manchuria; that they would wait until the United States got into great financial difficulties; that England is now also waiting, but to see if the United States will put itself together; otherwise England is prepared to fall back on Singapore. That Japan is planning a canal thru the neck of the Malay peninsula in Siam, and for this purpose is making friends with the Siamese rulers. That this canal would present no more difficulties than had the Panama Isthmus. Lim also said in his thesis (and still believes) that the Philippines is bound to fall under the economic domination of Japan, but the latter will not pay the cost of physical domination. Said the Americans could never defend the Philippines against Japan, but the Filipinos could make the invasion of their country too difficult to make it worthwhile. Lim is a brother-in-law of Vicente Villamin, and thinks highly of him, tho’ Quezon does not like Villamin. Lim told Quezon that he is ready to give up his rank in the United States Army to serve in the Philippines Army if really needed–otherwise not.

Dinner with Jollye–excellent food and civilized service–later to Carnival–poor show, and the loudspeaker has added new resources of horror to the barkers!


January 16, 1936

Finished abstract of Irish Land Laws and gave it to Quezon with advice to secure at same time as the passage of these laws an act enabling him at his discretion to impose progressive rates of taxation on all estates over 1,024 hectares. I said I would like to help him in the drafting of the law, and he replied he wouldn’t dare to draft it himself –that he would send it to the Secretary of Justice for preparation. He absolutely assured me however that the powers needed in the act now existed in the constitution, in provisions expressly included by him at the time it was adopted.

Luncheon alone with Quezon. I told him how surprised I was at the lateness of some of his guests at the banquet on Tuesday—he said it was the a.d.c.’s fault—the system had been running down—I replied that there was a general lowering of American social manners in the last twenty years. He said he was going to raise the standard of manners and clothes at Malacañan—“you know” he remarked “how familiar I am with my own friends in private, but in official matters I am going to insist on form.” He was annoyed because Murphy had not brought a full dress coat down from Baguio, so he (Quezon) also had to wear white. Said that recently when guests were late at dinner he had threated to close the doors and not admit them. That in the future he would accept no excuses except illness and absence from Manila; that he had recently sent Nieto to “Mike” Elizalde who had pleaded a “previous engagement,” and Mr. and Mrs. Elizalde came to his dinner. He said Stimson and I were the two American Governors General who observed proper form at Malacañan. Said he was having prepared Malacañan enlarged photographs fo the three Governors General who had been identified with significant progress in Philippine history: Taft, myself and Murphy. We went over the old paintings which had just been brought back from the Museum to Malacañan—I advised him to get the Arellanos to hang and light them. His favourite is the picture of Dasmariñas (the Governor General in 1592) when being persuaded by the head of the Dominican Order to lead Filipoino troops to assist the King of Cambodia (an expedition in which Dasmariñas lost his life). This was painted by the Filipino artist Hidalgo (in Paris?) I advised him to change the position of the Pacto de Sangre which is wasted where it hangs. This led us to talk of Dr. Pardo de Tavera who had posed for Luna in Paris for the portrait of Legaspi singing the Pacto. We both wished he were still with us with his nice wit and culture. Quezon said Tavera was an inveterate enemy of Osmeña and always referred to him as “That Chinese.” Quezon added that Osmeña never forgave anyone and never forgot! I said how sorry I was to have angered Tavera by pardoning the Pajaro Verde.

At luncheon he was waited on by my Ah King and a new Chinese number two boy—I commented upon how wise it was to have foreign servants who did not understand his conversation any too well, and who would probably neither understand nor repeat what was said at his table—he said that was the point. I understand he just added five American policemen to the Malacañan staff—one of them recommended to him previously as the man who had arrested an armed murderer—“that’s just the kind of man I want” he replied.

I asked him whether he wanted me to talk public business at luncheon, and he replied that he enjoyed it with people he liked. Told him I had just been with Paez and had written for him (Quezon) an opinion on the Manila RR. I advised him to instruct the public utilities commission to stop for the present issuing any more “certificates” or licenses for the bus lines. Said he would do so. Told him it was fortunate he could put the railroad and the busses under one control –other countries could not now do so but he was catching the situation nearly as it began.

I also expressed the hope that he would be able to get the Legislature to agree to permit the Manila Railroad to abandon those branches which were (dead) unprofitable. He replied that if the Assembly would not grant such permission, he would just abandon those branches!

Then I raised the question of the five years plan for road building in Mindanao, of which he had sent me the papers this morning. I remarked how wise he was to push development of this great and almost uninhabited Empire –many schemes having been advanced in the past to separate that part of the Philippines from the rest on the pretext that it should be done because that territory was “Mohammedan.” He then said we would go down there together in the Spring; that he was determined to open up those regions; that he considered nationalism only a “means to an end” and that the rights of the human race to land and to existence were superior to the rights of nationalism. I cited the case of the Australians and said the equities were against them –that if he did not develop Mindanao, some other nation would take it and occupy it. Advised him to persuade some of the more turbulent of the dissatisfied people in the Tagalog Provinces to move down there. He said he was already planning that –they were exactly the sort of men needed in pioneering. I suggested that in the end he would probably emerge as the leader of the masses (in the provinces) after being double-crossed and betrayed by his “friends” in Manila. He said he already was the leader of the masses, and that his votes came from them. I observed that he was the only Chief Executive I had known except Woodrow Wilson who was a political philosopher –that most executives were interested only in force and guile –that is what Mussolini believed (Machiavelli)– who had no principles of any sort except opportunism.

He cited the case of the Chinese in the northern provinces of China and Manchuria –they did not develop their own lands and, of necessity, another nation stepped in.

Said he too had heard that W.H. Anderson had given an option for the purchase of his big ranch at the border of Sabani ranch! Asked him if he knew that an iron mine had been discovered and was being developed in Samar –he did not know about that and I was unable to give him the names of the promoters except the engineer –Milton Sutherland. They are believed to have made a contract for the ore with the Japanese.

Quezon stated he had this morning cancelled some of the oil leases including that of the Asiatic Petroleum. I asked him who had been the lawyer who had secured illegal leases for Asiatic Petroleum –he replied “our friend Jimmie Ross.”

Showed me the magnificent cabinet of maroon and gold presented to him on Monday by the Tabacalera Company in which to keep the Constitution –he is to have it in his office in the Palace.

The President then said that after his banquet on Tuesday he wanted to ask me to join him and Murphy at a dance (which lasted until 3 a.m.) on the Arayat, but that he thought it would be embarrassing for me without Doria.

Doria says an army woman told her Quezon is a very “fast worker” with women, and that he does not confine himself to those of his own race –this rather surprises me– it was one thing when he was in the United States but is a quite different proposition in the Philippines!


January 13, 1936

Left with Quezon, Colonel Santos and Mayor Posadas for the new site of Bilibid Prison at Muntinlupa, near Alabang, Laguna. We travelled in a motor which never went over 30 miles an hour, with motorcycle cops in front and behind. When we got there, we shifted to Quezon’s Ford armored car which has bullet-proof (apparently glass) windows. He says that when goes incog. to the provinces he always travels in this Ford alone with Colonel Nieto who has a machine gun with him –Quezon carries a revolver on those trips. He says Encallado, the dead bandit, reported that he saw this car pass in the mountains and could have shot Quezon. Quezon comments he wished he had tried.

I asked him about the Ayuntamiento –he stated that the Marble Hall was to be given to the Supreme Court.

He began to talk about Rodriguez, Secretary of Agriculture. He said he had talked too much in the press –had quoted Quezon concerning the Japanese hemp leases in Davao, which caused the Japanese Ambassador in Washington to enquire of the Secretary of State if it was true that Quezon had consulted him about it. Hull truthfully replied “no.” But the worst was, Quezon had rebuked Rodriguez for talking to the press and had announced his own policy concerning the leases of hemp lands in Davao, Rodriguez had published in the press his own defense as Secretary of Agriculture, instead of giving the paper to the President. Quezon said he would have to remove him, unless he crawled –that he was particularly sorry to do so because Rodriguez was an energetic worthy man, and had done more for his (Quezon’s) election than any other individual. He is moreover a man who has made good in his own business life. He thought Rodriguez would be better as Secretary of Labor.

Quezon said he had talked so much while he was in the Senate –he was now going in for action.

He also said he had already adopted my suggestion and was abolishing all “law” divisions in the bureaus and obliging the Bureau Chiefs to consult the Attorney General or the Secretary of Justice.

The President stated further that the Japanese question resolved itself into a dilemma –either to avoid showing them that the Filipinos were antagonistic to the Japanese, or else to let them occupy the islands industrially; that one of the leading Japanese had passed en route from a ceremonious visit to Australia (a pretext) and that he (Q) had been ill (also a pretext) and postponed seeing him until the last minute. That this Japanese had dismissed the Japanese Consul General from the room during the interview. That Quezon had told him very frankly how the Filipinos felt about their lands, but had put off trade discussions. We talked of the purchase by the Government in my time of the Sabani ranch on the remote east coast of Luzon. [Quezon remarked that this was “blackmail” by an American who had acquired it when he was a Judge of the Philippine Land Court.] That the United States Senators who had raised a fuss about the possible purchase of it by Japanese had been inspired by that man.

Said also that the Filipinos had blocked the use of this man’s ranch to the north of Sabani (now W.H. Anderson’s), by closing the land access to this property.

Quezon said Harding had been very fond of him and liked his opposition to Governor General Wood –that if Harding had lived longer, Quezon would have gotten rid of Wood sooner.

I asked him about the vast iron fields in Surigao which I had reserved by Executive Order for the Government. He said he had already had nibbles from the Japanese and one of them was coming here soon about that, but ostensibly on another errand.

P.M. Becker from Aparri appeared with his two sons asking to have them put in the Philippine Army. Saw General Reyes and think it is fixed.

At my request, former Speaker Manuel Roxas came to see me. Said he was going to his province tomorrow to consult his people as to whether he should accept the post of Secretary of Finance. I told him I had been requested by Quezon to ask his opinion of the plan to use part of the Government currency reserve and exchange standard funds (which are 4 times larger, together, than required by law) to purchase silver at the present low rate, and by issuing silver certificates at a “pegged” rate to make a vast sum for the Treasury –he objected first because the price of silver might go lower on account of the very artificial market for silver in United States, and secondly because they might lose (part of) the 2 million pesos of interest at 2% now obtained in the United States.

He next asked me what I was doing in relation to the Friars haciendas –I told him and he seemed satisfied except as to the constitutionality of my proposed Land Commissioner’s decisions fixing tenure and rents. He observed that the English constitution was not written as was that in the Philippines. I replied that the Philippine constitution gave to the Government the right to expropriate Friar Lands –“yes” he said “and the right to adjudicate relations between landlord and tenant.” Well, he said, “we might do it by establishing a Landlord & Tenant Court.”

Roxas then speculated on the result of the next presidential elections in the United States. Said that if a conservative Republican were elected, he might listen to Stimson,  Davis & Hurley on Philippine policies, but not if a man like Borah were elected. I said, yes, the West is for getting rid of the Philippines, but I thought F.D. Roosevelt was going to buy his reelection by the expenditure of public money and that my grand-children were going to be burdened 50 years hence in repaying the debts incurred by F.D. Roosevelt’s joy ride.

Talk with Reyes, new Chief of Staff of the Philippine army –tired and old, and unaggressive, hardly able to cope with new problems.

I asked Quezon whether there was any plan afoot to recreate the Government of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu –he said that he was not sure, but feared it would be considered as a “step backward” –he intends to accomplish the same object by designating some one member of the Government to act for him– that nobody realized how great under the constitution was the power in the hands of the President of the Philippines.

I wonder why Osmeña is laying so low nowadays?


January 7, 1936

Played golf in a.m. at Fort McKinley with Doria; afterwards, we swam in the bay in front of our house. Colin Hoskins to lunch and we talked over landlord & tenant situation, and land taxes; and planned trips to see the big haciendas.

Left at 3 p.m. with Babbitt & Anderson for Cabuyao. Babbitt said his sugar companies were going to make all they could in the next five years, hoping to repay the capital in that time, and thereafter what assets were left were in the nature of a dividend. Said sugar machinery was of no use for anything else. After independence, a differential even as good as that given Cuba would not save the Philippine mills because the cost of production and haulage are so much lower in Cuba. Andy Anderson (manager of the Manila Hotel) said that tourist traffic here could never be much because the Filipinos had suppressed everything which might really interest American visitors –such as the Igorrotes and their naked women– hence these Americans made a bee line for Bali where there were plenty of naked women; otherwise Bali was nothing but the Philippines all over again.

Anderson predicted more trouble in the future for the Philippines from internal disturbances, especially when they had their own army with ambitious generals. Said he was not particularly apprehensive about Japan. Trouble here was that there is only “one Quezon” –Roxas, he thinks, is the next coming man.

When we arrived in Cabuyao, Phil Buencamino and his wife greeted us. Quezon was there with Nieto –they had been inspecting his farm just the other side of the river where Quezon is going to build a nipa house and to go there every Friday. He complained of being very tired. We were just sitting down to the bridge table when I had a long distance call from Geo. Vargas to say that Doria had been thrown from a horse in Manila and was in St. Paul’s Hospital. I left at once. Poor Doria was suffering great pain. Fool polo pony of Angel Elizalde bolted with her and ran her into the stable where she was smashed off. Very brave and already feeling better. Narrow escape from death!!

Anderson said Quezon’s troubles will come from his own followers, because he will not give them all they want and they will “double-cross” him later. He also commented on the fact that many wealthy white men here kept Filipina women; that it was more expensive than a white woman because the whole family has to be kept!