August 26, 1942

At lunch.

Quezon opened by declaring that he was the happiest man in the world today. He had received the best news since leaving the Philippines. Reported a telephone conversation with “Chick” Parsons, who had just arrived on the Gripsholm from the Far East. Parsons is an American whom the Filipinos receive as one of themselves. He is Panamanian Vice Consul at Manila and because of this is believed not to have been “confined to quarters” by the Japanese. He telephoned Quezon this morning that he had frequently seen Vargas and Alunan and the rest and they are still absolutely loyal to Quezon. Quezon had received on Corregidor a letter from Vargas written just as the Japanese were entering Manila, in which Vargas stated that wherever he might be, whether (as Quezon’s arrangement had been), in Malacañan–the Japanese permitting–or in his own house, “you will always have a loyal servant in me.” Parsons is coming down to Washington tomorrow to report, as Quezon didn’t wish to continue the conversation over the telephone.

Quezon then began to talk again about the history of the American regime in the Philippines. He said that there were three Governors General who left the Islands with the hatred of most of the Americans there. Taft “because of his brave fight against the Generals while the swords everywhere were still rattling in the scabbards”; Stimson “because he put the foreign (and American) banks under the control of the government for the first time”; and myself, “for giving self-government to the Filipinos.”

Governor General Wright was an easy-going man–a southerner Republican–adding “you know what that means.” He was Forbes’ ideal. Did not go over well with the Filipinos.

Quezon then told the story of the “Bank Control” incident. He said Stimson and I were the bravest of the American Governors General because neither of us really cared whether we held on to our “job” or not. Stimson hadn’t wanted to accept the post, and returned to the United States within eighteen months to become Secretary of State.

The bank incident arose as follows: I (the present writer) had tried to put the foreign banks under Philippine Government control in my time, but had been stopped by a cable from “that imperialist Secretary of War whom Mr. Wilson had to relieve later–Lindley M. Garrison.” In Stimson’s time, Lagdameo was still Insular Treasurer, and was also Inspector of banks; he was one of the most honest and hard working of the government officials, and was sadly underpaid. When hardup he once borrowed 200 pesos from an American, formerly Insular Treasurer and a good friend, who was by then an officer in the Banco de las Islas Filipinas, (Spanish bank). This man entered the loan on the bank’s books not as from himself, as Lagdameo supposed, but as from the bank. So Stimson called Quezon in and told him the story and said he would have to fire Lagdameo. Quezon said he was inclined to agree with him but would like to talk with Unson, the Secretary of Finance. Unson told Quezon that Lagdameo was a man of perfect honesty–“if it had been 20,000 pesos, instead of 200 pesos. I might not think so–the smallness of the sum, in my eyes, confirms his honesty. If he is dismissed from the service, I shall resign as Secretary of Finance.” Quezon reported this back to Stimson who at once saw the seriousness of the situation. Quezon said it would be disastrous to his administration, such was the complete confidence of the public in Unson. “But,” he said, “I can show you a way out of it–put the banks under government inspection, appoint an American as inspector and leave Lagdameo, who has too much work anyway as Insular Treasurer. Stimson agreed, but Quezon told him of the political danger of a move so violently opposed by the banks as was government control. Stimson was quite indifferent to that–hadn’t even known that these banks were not subject to government inspection, and insisted that they ought to be. So Quezon had the law passed after giving hearings to protests from the bank lawyers. Then Stimson agreed to hold hearings before signing the bill, whereupon Quezon rushed around to know whether this meant he was not going to sign the act. Stimson smiled and said: “These people have the right to be heard, and I have the right to disregard their advice.”

Stimson staged a big public meeting in Malacañan Palace with lots of chairs, and sat there on a sort of throne, listening very seriously. Jim Ross, Dewitt et al. as lawyers made arguments. Roxas (Speaker) made a serious statement on the subject which he had studied. Stimson allowed two or three days to pass, and then signed the bill.

“Tiny” Williams of the National City Bank of New York had from the beginning, led the campaign against the bill and was organizing powerful interests in the United States by cable. Stimson sent for him and said: “I am leaving the Philippines in fifteen days and shall be Secretary of State when I land in the United States. If you do not withdraw your effort to coerce me, I shall as Secretary of State be disinclined to show any favours to the National City Banks abroad, and not much support.” Williams broke all records in getting to the cable office.

When Stimson left, Quezon in bidding him good-bye and congratulating him on a successful administration added that he had bad as well as good things to tell him–that the Americans in the Islands hated him worse than they did Harrison. Stimson replied: “My God, is it as bad as that?”

Quezon said that Stimson believed that I had tried to replace American officials too fast. Quezon added that, if I had not done so, my administration would have been a failure, for I would have lost the confidence of the Filipinos.

Stimson was a non-social man, who saw few people outside his official duties.

Taft’s speech to his opponents in the Philippines (sometimes credited to me–F.B.H.) was to the “Lions of the Press”; to them he said the waters on both sides of Corregidor are wide enough to allow then all to go home in one day.

Archbishop of Manila, Msgr. O’Doherty was formerly a close friend of Quezon, who had given up his friendship for the Archbishop after a series of cold-blooded abandonments by the latter of those who had served him loyally; beginning with General Thos. L. Hartigan who would have been penniless in his last years if Quezon had not helped him. Hartigan as lawyer for the Church had made 15,000,000 pesos for the archepiscopal see. Then came the Archbishop’s abandonment of Whitaker (son of an Oxford Don) who had made himself responsible for some of the Church’s debts (Visayan Refining Co.). Then the Archbishop went back upon O’Malley and Father Fletcher. Quezon sent for the Archbishop and told him he had lost faith in him; listened to O’Doherty’s explanations of each of the four cases and then replied that he was no longer his friend; that he would continue to show him every official and personal courtesy–but “he was through.”

High Commissioner Sayre, who got back from Corregidor to the United States before Quezon, wrote a report to the State Department thru Secretary Ickes, pointing out those whom he believed to be the “Fifth Columnists” in the Philippines, and suggesting that Quezon was one. Learning of this on his arrival, Quezon spoke at the Press Club (no publicity) referring to High Commissioner Sayre who was present, and to the latter’s suspicions. This led Sayre to go to Secretary Ickes, who had held up Sayre’s letter, and to demand that it be forwarded. Ickes still did not act, until Sayre sent a written request which Ickes could not ignore. So he forwarded Sayre’s letter with the endorsement: “President Quezon, a Filipino, does not yield in loyalty to F.B.S., an American–his value to this country is one thousand times greater.” In fifteen days Sayre was out of office.

December 23, 1938

Staying with the President alone at the Guest House across the Pasig River from Malacañan Palace.

At luncheon we had Don Alejandro Roces, proprietor of the T.V.T. newspapers and Paez, manager of the Manila Railroad Company. Paez told of the success of the new branch of the railroad in the Bicol Provinces –at last, they have through connection with Manila and it is no longer necessary to cross Ragay Gulf by steamer. Quezon mentioned that he had refused the request of residents of those provinces for a highway parallel with the railroad.

Roces came in excited by the press dispatches giving the exceedingly strong reply of Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Welles to the German Charge d’Affaires in which he refused to apologize for the very strong denunciations of Germany by Secretary Ickes. Parallel and even more aggressive statements had been made by Ickes himself, and by Key Pittman, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, which contained the language: “We do not like the government of Germany and we do not like the government of Japan.” Roces is expecting serious consequences –perhaps war. Quezon remarked: “The way to keep the peace nowadays is to use insults.”

Later Roces told me of his conversation about me with the late Governor General Leonard Wood, who had asked him what he thought of me. Roces replied enthusiastically about me, stating that before my coming here, the Filipinos had felt they were “nobodies.” Wood replied: “What wonderful friendship!” Roces answered him: “That is not merely friendship –it’s justice.”

Roces then went on to relate a conversation he had just after the defeat by the United States of the Philippine insurrection. He said tartly to a friar: “You gave us Heaven and Hell, but kept the earth for yourselves –now we want our earth, and you can take back your Heaven and Hell!”

This started the President talking about the present troubles on the Buenavista estate in Bulacan, belonging to the Church. These difficulties had come to a head this week. Quezon said: “The Archbishop is my friend, or used to be.” The Buenavista through its revenues supports the “San Juan de Dios” hospital in Manila. At the moment, the estate is in the hands of a receiver, who had ordered the new crop to be left untouched while the financial troubles were adjusted; the aperceros (or tenants) are to receive their share –there have been disorders, threats and danger of bloodshed. Secretary of Justice Santos recently called this serious situation to Quezon’s attention in a recent Cabinet meeting, and the President became indignant that he had not been earlier informed. He telephoned at once to Orense, the lawyer for the Church, to the Governor of the Province, to the Constabulary &c. to hold up everything for a week until he can get the situation straightened out. Quezon even threatened Orense with violent resistance from the Constabulary if his agents proceeded. States that he will not be like General Weyler who sent a company of Spanish artillery to the Calamba estate to shoot down the tenants there (vide Rizal). He then sent for the Archbishop and recalled to him the reason for the Filipino insurrection against Spain. The “Friar Estates.” He then offered to lease the estate for the government for an average rental equal to that which the Church had received from this estate for the past five years, plus ten per cent, which would make 115,000 pesos as an annual return for an estate assessed at four million pesos. Quezon said the government would buy the estate for three million pesos. The Archbishop withdrew to consider, and the matter is still pending.

I remarked that when Governor Taft had negotiated the famous Friar Lands purchase, it was a pity he did not buy all the Church estates for the government. Quezon explained that Taft bought only the Friar Estates because he thought that those belonging to the Archbishop would be protected by the Filipinos who are all Catholics.

Quezon then mentioned his last summer’s veto of the bill for religious instruction in the state schools –he said that over two thirds of the Assembly favored this bill.

Finally, he talked of the commencement exercises this year at San Juan Letran, the college he had attended as a boy. They had played during these exercises, not only the Filipino National Anthem, but that of Spain also –then everybody else present gave the Fascist salute but at that point, Quezon sat down. When he made his address, a little later, he slapped them severely for this incident, stressed the need for neutrality in the Spanish Civil War, and commended the attitude of High Commissioner McNutt in avoiding partisanship. Then in order to temper off the severity of his rebuke, he remarked to them: “I am glad to get even with the faculty, these padres did just what they wanted with me for eleven years!”

A little later, when he went to mass in some parish church, the friar organist started the old (Franco) Spanish anthem and immediately switched to the Philippine anthem, and he realized how directly the Filipinos had derived their anthem from the old Spanish one.

At dinner that night, the President developed a theory in favor of representative democracy instead of “mob democratic rule.” “The people care more for good government than they do for self-government,” he asserted, adding that “the fear is that the Head of State may either exceed his powers, or abuse them by improprieties. To keep order is his main purpose.”

As I felt there was more than a dash of unorthodoxy in his present philosophy, I then led him to a discussion of the qualities of those who are candidate to succeed him.

His present choice is Yulo, of whom he thinks so highly as a lawyer, and added that it was most important for an executive not to exceed his powers. He has consulted Yulo at every turn of his administration. Now he will make him speaker to “give him his chance.” At the same time he is bringing Manuel Roxas close to him as Secretary of Finance, to study him as well. I put several questions as to Yulo’s qualifications in handling other men, and in getting the best out of them. Quezon replied that if Yulo succeeded him he could sustain him and put him over. He admitted however that the frequent appearances of Yulo at the glittering social events of the sugar barons did not help him with “the people” adding the view that Joe’s (Yulo’s) only weakness is that his wife runs him: she is very extravagant. The President added that Yulo has no control whatever over Mrs. Yulo’s exhibitions of wealth; she used, moreover, to come to a banquet up to an hour late. He, Quezon, finally gave instructions to his staff at the Palace, that his dinners were to be kept waiting only ten minutes for Mrs. Yulo, and no longer. Shortly after this, she came to a dinner party half an hour late and was told at the door that the dinner was going on, and empty places at the table had been removed. This put a stop to her tardiness.

Roxas, he says, will certainly be President of the Philippines some day –“nothing can stop it” though he does not know whether Roxas will actually succeed him. Roxas has built up a great reputation throughout the Philippines; has matured and improved tremendously in the last three years.

I asked him what would be the position of Roxas if his new tax measures were rejected by the Assembly? He replied: “I will put them over.” Roxas has planned his new taxes on the mines in consultation with the principal representatives of the mining companies, and they have already agreed that the proposed taxes are fair.

Paredes, he says, is a very strong man and is the leader of all the Ilocanos; he has Tinguian blood, but not as much as had the late Ignacio Villamor, whom I had nominated as the first Filipino President of the University.

Paredes, he continued, is a very able man, but violent. Quezon greatly appreciates his support of Yulo for the speakership, and he spoke very highly of the former –but he knows, of course, how warmly I am attached to Paredes. I told Don Quintin the next day that Quezon had spoken so well of him, and he expressed the utmost skepticism then added: “if he wants to extricate me from my difficulties here, why does he not ‘deport’ me on one of those missions to the United States or Europe?” He added that he had no career in the Assembly, and that unless he keeps quiet for the next three years, it will just bring on a row with the administration; that if he does not keep quiet, he will lose his political influence.

This conversation was so confidential that I did not report it to Quezon, and the President made only one further comment at this period upon Quintin Paredes, which was to the effect that Paredes had a big personal following in the Assembly of which he was Speaker –while Roxas, as Speaker had only a dozen personal followers there, and had to be helped by Quezon and Osmeña.

My conversations with the President that night at the “Guest House” concluded early because he was so tired, and as we said “good night” he dwelt for a few minutes upon the subject of the book he wishes to write in collaboration with me. He suggested that I work up my own notes first and he will supply a thread of narrative for the administrations that came between mine and his! It is difficult to see how this would work out –I have no talent as a Boswell and not even an ambition to fill so exacting a role!

May 29, 1936

A. D. Williams at my office. A few days ago, he was called before the Cabinet to advise on new taxation. Quezon wants a transportation tax on all forms of travel. Cabinet members wish to devote the cedula tax to school purposes only, thus making it more popular.

The President went today to Cabuyao, Nueva Ecija to see a new church dedicated. A. D. Williams is to take him on Monday to Silang to see the route of a new road to Tagaytay thus cutting thirteen kilometers off the run. Quezon stopped this road construction several years ago (not to favour the wishes of Aguinaldo?). Now he wants to see it go through, but says he apprehends a “kick-back” because he (Quezon) is interested in the land syndicate at Tagaytay!

Luncheon with William Shaw at Wak-Wak for Andres Soriano–about 150 men–terrific din of talking and later of noisy jazz music. One’s voice is strained trying to converse. Say with Clyde Dewitt, and had a very interesting talk over the Archbishop and his business interests here. His Grace appears to be losing all along the line.

Hoskins greeted Secretary Rodriguez as “Governor” (he was formerly so in Rizal) and remarked that a governor of a province had more power than a Secretary of Department. “Yes” said Rodriguez “especially nowadays”! He has just been replaced by Secretary Alas as President of the National Development Co.

Small dance in the new downstairs cabaret at Malacañan. The heavy rain from 5-8 p.m. had flooded parts of the Palace, which we entered on planks. Quezon appeared late. He asked me if I noticed the speed with which he signed the Executive Order proposed by Unson for transferring Engineer Island and the lighthouse service to the Bureau of Customs. This is the second time lately he has emphasized his rapid executive action–Why?

March 28, 1936

At sea, bound for Manila. Quezon is trying to persuade Roxas and Alunan to go to Washington on the trade commission–they are holding back, probably for two reasons:

(a)  apprehension of failure

(b)  danger of appearing to interfere with Don Quintin Paredes, the Resident Commissioner.

I asked Secretary Quirino jokingly whether he had suspended any more provincial officials. He said “no”–I said why not suspend me? He replied “I should lose my job if I did.”

Back in Manila at 2:30 p.m. Very successful trip–excellent selection of guests, and comfortable steamer.

5:30-8:30 p.m. “Commencement” at Santo Tomas University in front of their new building on North Side. Founded in 1612, (?) this school has graduated almost all the leading Filipino patriots of the past. The 450 graduates of this year wore gowns with hoods of different vivid colours, thus making an extremely picturesque scene. Diplomas were given by the High Commissioner and by the Archbishop. Father Rector Tamayo had been Quezon’s professor in 1898. Only five Americans were there.

Quezon’s address was of academic merit and on a high level of civic service. He set forth the care necessary in appointing judges, and described how the success of a democracy must depend on the character of the judiciary. Quezon received the degree of LL.D. Mrs. Quezon putting on his hood–much applause.

October 13, 1935

Dined informally at Malacañan. Governor General Murphy and his sister very cordial and kind. The Palace much the same as when I left it but is largely refurnished. It is indeed a very romantic old house. Murphy was particularly enthusiastic about the Executive Building which was finished in my time (1920). We talked of Aguinaldo’s feud against Quezon and he told me he rebuked Aguinaldo for giving him so many stories against Quezon; he said he did not believe it all—that anyway Quezon would make no concealment of anything in his past—mentioned the trip of Quezon to Russia in 1911(?). He added that Don Manuel always spoke worse of himself than did any of his critics. Murphy offered us his car, and we used No. 1 with Ambrosio (my old driver) for several days.

Tea party at Tiro al Blanco  on October 16. All old friends and very delightful. Doria was enchanted with the Filipina ladies and with the dancing. Dinner at Quezon’s fine house in Pasay on October 17 —about thirty guests, all old cabinet, etc. Mrs. Quezon was very sweet and cordial. Saw young Aurora (Baby) Quezon; they call me her “honorary god-father” because at her christening in the Cathedral in 1920 the Archbishop refused to accept me as god-father because I was a Mason. Quezon was rather tired of dinners and was nervous at having to sit still so long, but was very cordial; told me had fought in turn all of the Philippine political leaders. I replied that he dearly loved a fight, like an Irishman, and that Congressman Tim Ansberry had not nicknamed him “Casey” for nothing. Pleased to find Osmeña also friendly; but Phil Buencamino warns me that “the old gang” headed by Osmeña would turn on Quezon again at the first opportunity.

On October 19 played bridge with Quezon, Palma and Guevara at the latter’s house —a good game. Quezon held no cards but was amiable about it. Several young men and ladies were sitting or standing around in the old Filipino fashion, ready to serve. Guevera has been thirteen years as Resident Commissioner in Washington and wants to go back there. Will Quezon reappoint him? He has been advocating to Congress an American Protectorate here as a permanency. I was told of Guevara’s dramatic defense of me before the Committee on Insular Affairs when Ben Wright the then Insular Auditor, attacked me. Guevara fell senseless at the end of his speech.

The Archbishop of Manila, Msgr. O’Doherty called on me October 17; friendly as ever; he has cooperated with the government during his 19 (?) years here, and says he is ready to leave if the Filipinos want their own Archbishop —possibly Bishop Reyes of Iloilo aged 42 and a nephew of Mrs. Sophie de Veyra; that the Islandsare now divided by the Church into a northern and southern section. Quezon told me later that Msgr. O’Doherty had been very satisfactory and that they would probably wish to keep him for a couple of years. I understand that most of the Bishops under him are now Filipinos.