October 21, 1972

 

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1.

12:35 PM

Oct. 21, 1972

Saturday

Malacañan Palace

Manila

Just arrived from the informal dinner given by Pres. and Mrs. Watanabe of the Asian Development Bank. Only Sec. & Mrs. Alex Melchor, Sec and Mrs. Cesar Virata and ADB Vice Pres. Krisna Moortli were present. Pres. Watanabe is retiring Dec. 25th.

It was a pleasant dinner with much story telling punctuated by laughter.

Proclaimed the emancipation of the tenant-farmer this morning. I attach a copy of my proclamation or decree. This should cause the actual start of the Reformation.

And gave a 1st month report of martial law.

Then met the labor leaders, the rural bankers, the governor, Liberal leaders and mayors of Masbate.

A Japanese straggler was killed and his companion wounded in Lubang yesterday by

2.

Oct. 21st (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

the PC patrol they ambushed.

Camp Keithley in Marawi City is under attack by a band of outlaws who have taken over the MSU radio, raised the red flag and surrounded the PC Prov. Hq. of Maj. Marolomsar, Prov. Commander. Eight of our men have been killed (six outright at Pantar Bridge that leads to the city from Iligan) and one wounded while nine have been killed on the enemy side and one captured who is being interrogated.

Reinforcements being rushed to the besieged forces.

The enemy may number anywhere from 100 to 400. But PC Prov. Hq. under attack holding out.

Other Mindanao units alerted in case this attack is a signal of an uprising in all of Mindanao and Sulu.

3.

Oct. 21st (Con’t)

Malacañan Palace

Manila

I believe the attackers may be a combination of student radicals (KM and SDK) supported by outlaws. The red flag may show they are communist infiltrated or controlled.

And again this may be a diversion from the Luzon front where the communists are hard pressed.

Or a demonstration that the leaders I talked to and placated like the Alontos and Pendatun do not run things anymore.

Or again this may be a Pendatun and Alonto play to gain a stronger bargaining position.

But we are not going to bargain. We will hit them hard.


September 6-9, 1943

Saranac Lake, N.Y.

This is the first entry in this diary for more than three months. Early in June, Quezon was attacked by bronchitis and soon developed a serious attack of tuberculosis. Dr. Trepp was frankly alarmed–he told me that Quezon was a worn-out man, and expressed himself as uncertain whether he could pull Quezon through this time. I suggested Saranac Lake, of which Trepp had never heard, but he understood at once when I mentioned the name of the famous Dr. Trudeau. So, after a couple of weeks in Washington and an equal period at Doctors’ Hospital in New York, Quezon was taken to Saranac.

Before leaving Washington, Quezon was not allowed to speak above a whisper, and the Cabinet met in his bedroom, where the President designated Osmeña to act for him, and in case the latter was incapacitated (as he then was!), Elizalde was to act as and for the President. This selection, inevitable as it was, created vast confusion among high officials–Quezon’s secretary, Dr. Rotor, and Bernstein, head of the Office of Special Services, were frankly uncertain whether they could (or would) get on with Elizalde!

Meanwhile, Osmeña, who, as already noted, has been suddenly operated on for appendicitis, came through safely, and then developed an infection and a high temperature. The first two occasions when I visited him in his bed in Doctors’ Hospital in Washington, he could not speak–only moved his eyelids. I then thought he might die in my presence. My third visit, a fortnight later found him sitting up in a wheel chair and conversing agreeably; I told him he would soon be dancing again, and to clinch the matter he stood up and did a couple of fox-trot steps. He has been more or less acting as President ever since, somewhat to the surprise of Elizalde, who had expected Osmeña to be out of business for a year.

Quezon’s 65th birthday was at Saranac on August 19, 1943; shortly after that I heard that he was going to send for me; a telegram on September 4, from Rotor asked me to go up to Saranac for a week.

On arrival, I found all the customary “court circle” at MacMartin camp–Mrs. Quezon, the three children and all their usual suite. Osmeña and Bernstein were there, and Valdes and young Madrigal soon arrived. They were all gayer and in better spirits than I have seen them since their arrival in the United States in May, 1942. Quezon was said to have gained five pounds, and was contemplating an early return to Washington to escape the cold weather at Saranac. Trepp seemed resigned to the move, although he was enjoying himself in surroundings which reminded him of his native Switzerland. Quezon had the steam heat on in the house all summer, and part of his “outdoor” porch enclosed!

I found Quezon still on his back in bed, he was obliged to talk in an unaccustomed low voice, and easily became tired. Osmeña, Bernstein and I were at once employed on several alternative forms for a joint resolution of Congress declaring that the Philippines were and of right ought to be free and independent, that independence was to be granted as soon as the invader was driven out of the Islands and was to be secured, and the United States was to make good the ravages of war.

Quezon had received at Saranac a visit from Secretary of War Stimson on the latter’s journey to the Quebec conference. Stinson had been deeply disturbed by the Japanese political maneuvers in the Philippines (as, indeed I have been myself). They feared that the Japanese grant of independence might rally a certain number of Filipinos to aid the Japanese army to resist the coming American attack on them in the Philippines. Stimson told Quezon that if this occurred, he (S.) would feel like committing suicide. Millard Tydings, the Senator from Maryland, Chairman of the Committee on Tertitories etc., had been staying nearby with his father-in-law, ex-Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, and the two of them had come over to visit Quezon. Tydings then told Quezon that he would “father” “any damn thing” to which the President would agree in order to meet this situation.

So, together with Osmeña and Bernstein, I worked for the first day on the various forms offered for the proposed joint resolution. We could see Quezon for only an hour in the morning and the same length of time in the afternoon. That night Osmeña and Bernstein returned south.

Talk with Colonel Manuel Nieto, Quezon’s loyal friend and chief a.d.c. He told me that they had recently seen a colonel (American) who had escaped from the Philippines in July last. He reported that the Filipinos still have 10,000 troops in Mindanao; that there the Japanese held only Davao, Zamboanga, Misamis and the country up as far as Lake Lanao. The Filipinos can operate elsewhere in Mindanao as they wish. Tomas Confesor has a sort of government in existence in parts of Panay and adjoining islands; Samar and Leyte are for the most part unoccupied by the Japanese. Parts of Cebu are still in the hands of Filipino commandos; Luzon is pretty thoroughly occupied by the enemy.

In conversation at lunch I condoled with Mrs. Marcos Roces over the death of her brother-in-law, my good friend Don Alejandro Roces. It seems that the news had been kept from her–I don’t know why! In talking over this with Quezon later he remarked “Roces was better dead than left alive to explain later his attitude in his newspapers (La Vanguardia, Taliba, etc.) which had been pro-Japanese from the moment the enemy occupied Manila.” Quezon added that he would not himself hang any of the pro-Japanese Filipinos upon his return, though he added that “some of them may be killed before we can take control.” The general impression is that the Filipino people can distinguish accurately between those who are really pro-Japanese and those who are merely co-operating formally to preserve what they can of their country. Quezon quoted again the cable he sent to Roosevelt before leaving for Corregidor, that “if a government cannot afford protection to its citizens it cannot claim their allegiance.” It seems that thereupon Roosevelt cabled MacArthur to release the Filipino Army if Quezon demanded it, but also cabled Quezon his famous message “promising to redeem and protect the Philippines and give them their independence.” Quezon added that he had changed the word “redeemed” when he issued to the Filipino people the proclamation publishing Roosevelt’s message, on the basis of which the Filipinos fought the battle of Bataan. Roosevelt did not know that MacArthur had showed Quezon the message allowing him to disband the Philippine Army if Quezon insisted. Quezon praised Roosevelt’s attitude very highly.

He told me that Stimson’s recent visit to London was to insist that a more vigorous war be waged at once. Hence the pronouncements to that effect at the subsequent Quebec Conference.

About the so-called “independence” offered by the Japanese to the Filipinos, Quezon said: “As soon as I heard that the voting was to be done only by members of the Kalibapi, all my anxieties were ended. If it had been a vote of the Filipino people I would never have gone against it–I would have resigned.” (As a matter of opinion, the Filipinos are said to have “adopted” the new constitution by the vote of 181 hand-picked members of the Kalibapi!) This attitude of Quezon toward his retention of the presidency is uncertain in my mind. When Osmeña and Bernstein left after handing him the various forms proposed for a joint resolution of Congress, Quezon in bidding good-bye to Osmeña said “If this resolution passes Congress before November 15th, I shall resign because I am ill.” Mrs. Quezon also told me that when they go back to Manila, it would not be to reside in Malacañan Palace, but in their own house! On the other hand, Trepp says that he knows Quezon is going to retain the presidency, since he has overheard the negotiations on that subject!

After Osmeña and Bernstein had left, I worked for two more days with Quezon on the joint resolution and the various alternative forms were whittled down to one, declaring the Philippines independent, etc., as soon as invader was ejected and reciting Roosevelt’s famous message of promises to “redeem, secure, etc., and to repair.”

Just as I was leaving to return home, well satisfied with the draft of the joint resolution and Quezon’s proposed letter to President Roosevelt, a telephone conversation between Mrs. Quezon and ex-Governor General Frank Murphy in Michigan introduced another uncertainty into Quezon’s mind! Murphy was then quoted as having said that “he did not want the Philippines to be treated like India, and the resolution must grant immediate independence and he was going to Washington to get it!”

Canceran, the President’s private secretary, who had been busy all day for three days typing and retyping forms of the resolution as Quezon thought of new improvements, sadly said to me: “That is the trouble with the President, he always changes his mind at the last moment, upon new advice.”

Well, we shall see, what we shall see.

Roosevelt and Stimson are already committed to the earlier proposition–i.e., independence as soon as the Japanese invader is thrown out. (The other form might look as if the United States were evading their obligations).

It seems that Quezon has had Dr. Cherin, an assistant of Bernstein, working on the re-writing of Quezon’s book this summer, though Quezon told me nothing of that. The real hitch in publication is that Quezon cannot yet tell the full story of the all-important interchange of cablegrams between himself and Roosevelt before the battle of Bataan.


August 20, 1942

There is much animated activity in the air. For the last three months, that is, since the fall of Corregidor, hardly have we seen a plane. These days, however, they are all over like hawks looking for prey. We do not know why. Neither do we know what is happening outside this little world of ours, aside from what we could glean between the lines of, and beyond, the smoked glasses of the local press. The people are making their own conclusions and speculations of the situation, which, if all written down, would form volumes equal to those of Jules Verne. There are rumors that the Americans bombed Baguio, that a landing was made in Negros, in Aparri or in Mindanao, that the American convoy had been sighted over Palawan and American submarines had sunk Japanese warships off Corregidor.

These rumors were accepted as articles of faith even by learned and responsible persons. There were even rumors that the Americans were coming in time for November 15, the anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth, or at the latest, on Christmas. This was also accepted as true.


May 3, 1942

Civilian evacuees from Bataan report that the Japanese are hastily building large bamboo stairs to scale the cliffs of Corregidor. Barges are also being constructed rapidly, probably for landing operations. Artillery has also been emplaced on strategic points of Mt. Mariveles overlooking the surrounded fortress.

No news as to when Filipino war prisoners will be released. Some say “they’ll be freed at the end of the war.” Others think it will be when Corregidor surrenders. Meanwhile deaths in camp are progressively mounting. “Almost a thousand a day,” according to a Red Cross doctor.

Landings by Japanese forces in Cagayan, Mindanao. Manuel Roxas is there. I understand he is now a general.

Japanese cigarettes make me dizzy. But I’ve got to get used to it. Chesterfields are too costly.

This is my impression of the Japanese in my office after five months with them. They are hard-working, slow, patriotic, serious, without humor, arrogant at times if you don’t stop them, excessively courteous sometimes, speak too long over the phone, not concerned with the way they dress, slaves to plans, follow orders strictly, automatically, but not so very well versed with the rice industry. I believe they will learn more from the Filipinos regarding the rice industry than we will from them. I’ve told this to our Supervisor-de-Facto in one of our conversations. I told him: “We want men that will teach us; not men that we have to teach.”

In the final analysis, this war has been a great lesson for the Filipino people. Our nation will come out the better for it. The blood of our youths has not been shed in vain.

 


March 17, 1942 – Tuesday

After breakfast I asked permission to go to Bacolod to buy some things I needed and leave that atmosphere of nerves and shouting. Father Ortiz and I agreed to lunch at Ben Gaston’s house. We met Ben in Bacolod and he drove us to Talisay where the family hacienda is. Delightful served by Ben’s sisters Nieves, Conchita and Maria Luisa and Ben’s mother. I did not enjoy it because of a phone call from the President ordering us to return to Buenos Aires immediately after lunch. When we arrived at Buenos Aires we were told to get ready to leave at 5 p.m. I investigated the reason for his sudden change. The previous night, the President told us that he made up his mind not to run away and let himself be captured by the Japanese in case they attack Negros. He asked me if I wanted to be caught with him or remain and go to the mountains and hide. I replied that as Secretary of National Defense I would stick to him.

I found out that a radiogram had been received from General MacArthur advising the President to proceed to Mindanao. Soon after he received this message, Major A. Soriano arrived from Mindanao and advised him of the same thing.

We left for Panubigan at 6:30 p.m. and arrived there at 10:30 p.m.


December 20, 1941

Still no raid last night.

What’s happened to the war?

One day, the wolf said to the jackal, my friend, let us attack the bear. He is big and slow and does not know how to defend himself and between the two of us should be easy meat. To be doubly sure, let us first make friends with him. I will promise not to attack him, which should disarm him, and as for you, he knows he has nothing to fear from you, you are entirely contemptible and do not know how to fight. You can be a nuisance, though.

Swallowing his pride, the jackal gave his assent and a few howls as well to prove that he was really, contrary to the wolf’s judgment and his own conduct in the past, a formidable fellow.

As a matter of fact, the wolf conceded, you have your uses. Everybody knows he can’t trust you.

So the wolf and the jackal made friends with the bear. Then, when they thought the time ripe, the two entered the territory of the bear, the wolf snarling and baring his fangs, the jackal yelping a safe distance behind. Meeting the tiger on the way, they induced him to join them.

So, snarling, yelping and baring fangs, they entered the domain of the bear. Occasionally, the wolf would glance at his two allies and think a secret thought. Catching the glance, the two would feel an uneasiness which they tried to put down by thinking only of the easy pickings ahead.

The bear, surprised –or not at all surprised– retreated into his cave. Making loud noises of triumph, the trio followed him inside. In the darkness of the cave, the bear fell upon them.

Alarm this afternoon. I had lunch at two. With a friend. Bob.

“This is very good for wartime,” he said.

It was, indeed, very good food. For wartime. It gave us a bad conscience. Others dying or dead and we eat well.

Late this afternoon it was announced that another part of the Philippines was being attacked by the Japanese. An undetermined number of enemy transports were carrying on landing operations at Davao in Mindanao. The enemy landed “in force” in Davao, the official communique said, and heavy fighting was going on there.

Quiet night.


June 22, 1936

At office; visit from Becker from Aparri, who has always been a sort of confidential agent of the Government on affairs in the far north. Says he cannot persuade his two handsome mestizo sons to go to the Military Academy to become army officers. He came down to Manila to try to induce the President to visit the Northern Islands–as to which I talked later with Quezon and he agreed to go to see the Batanes, Camiguin etc “in between two typhoons,” tho he spoke rather ruefully of a typhoon getting him and me! Becker also asked to have one of Quezon’s confidential advisers sent up to Aparri for a while.

Becker says the Japanese are settling in isolated places on that coast, getting sea weed (for iodine)–they pay 5 centavos a kilo for the sea weed and sell it for 22. They also take camagon wood from the forests and load it in Japanese ships returning from the South. The island of Camiguin is heavily wooded with fine timber, and is people by those of Aguinaldo’s small force who escaped northwards when he was captured in Palanan by Funston. Becker says the Japanese fish these waters with ice-supplied boats which are periodically visited by a mother ship.

The country of the northern coast is a fine source of supply of rattan, and there are thousands of hectares lying idle in the interior. Ilocano emigrants are slowly trickling into Cagayan province. Many Negritos are in the cordillera east of Lake Cagayan, which, by the way, is not nearly so large as is shown on the maps. There was, he added, no danger of attack from the Negritos unless one goes armed. The Apayaos and Kalingas no longer disturb travelers from Ilocos immigrating via Abra across their country. The Aparri breakwater is not yet finished. Once a month a subsidized Tabacalera steamer calls at Batanes with supplies but gets practically no cargo there.

Later from 10:30 to 1:40 on the balcony at Malacañan Palace with Unson, Yulo and Marabut checking up on Quezon’s message on the budget–later we were joined by Quezon, Osmeña and Vargas–(Osmeña came on other business but took part in this discussion).

After having his office in Malacañan air-conditioned, Quezon turned the “conditioning” off and sits outside on the balcony to do his office work. (Those of whom I enquire here seem to be of two minds concerning the advantages of air-conditioning–a process new here, tho I first experienced it in Buenos Aires six or seven years ago!)

Visit from Ramon Diokno and Eulogio Benitez with the former’s draft of my landlord & tenant bill; he has amplified it by including amended portions of the Civil Code, rice tenancy law and sugar tenants law–a remarkable bit of legislative drafting. If this bill is adopted it will free the “serfs” on the land and provide in the Philippines an exit from the feudal system.

Talk with Unson concerning the plan to make the Governors of Provinces appointive instead of elective (qua France). It will have support in the Assembly since this measure would enhance the prestige of Assemblymen, who will then be the chief elective officials in the provinces. Even if he favours this centralization of power, Quezon will hardly come forward to advocate it, since it appears superficially to be a step back from democracy!

Unson reports that the disappearance of fish from their former haunts in the Philippine waters is due chiefly to dynamiting. He said further that agents from the Department of Labour foment “safe” strikes in order to have the credit for settling them. His last bit of official gossip was that the Philippine Army is to buy old type Enfield rifles, and .45 caliber revolvers–a size Unson thinks unsuitable for Filipinos.

When Quezon joined our group, his budget was gone through, and he was particularly concerned to change the last paragraph which as originally drafted, sternly admonished the Assembly not to touch the surplus of the government–(thirty-one million pesos nominally–nine millions real unencumbered surplus)–Quezon asked us what we thought of appropriating the government’s surplus. Unson spoke up at once, pointing out that the system had been different here than elsewhere. In England and France they budgeted only for expected actual expenditures. Quezon and he agreed that the real riches of a nation were to be found in the pockets of the people and not in the Government vaults. I told of the first United States surplus under President Andrew Jackson, which was divided up by the government among the states. Quezon then modified his budget message so as to leave a door open to use the nine million surplus later if needed; said he wanted to get his tax laws through first, then take five millions of the surplus as a revolving fund for the development of Mindanao. He went on to say that the trouble in using a surplus would not be with the Assembly, but with the United States Government which under the Tydings-McDuffie law has powers to intervene here in financial matters–that the High Commissioner was always at him to keep a surplus and to balance the budget–principles which, however, Murphy did not himself observe when Mayor of Detroit, and which are certainly not followed by his chief, President Roosevelt. “I could manage Weldon Jones” he said, “but it is hardly worth while for he will not be Deputy High Commissioner for long; from what I read in this morning’s paper, Murphy will be back in a few months; in reference to a proposed nomination for Governor of Michigan, he now states that his work in the Philippines is not yet finished.”

The President then invited me to lunch with him after all the others left, and told me how he had left Manila dead beat on Friday but as soon as he got to Atimonan and had a swim he wanted my company and thought of wiring for me to join him on an excursion to Alabat Island where the sea bathing is so wonderful. He had talked to the school teacher at Alabat and found that in the schools practically no Filipino patriotism is taught. Said he had gone in swimming again at Sunset Beach, Cavite, “but if I had not been enough of a man to go through with it, I would have refused on account of the jelly-fish.”

I handed him the Landlord & Tenant bill. He said Secretary Torres had come to him a day or two after his message to the Assembly last Tuesday, and had told him that his passages referring to the land system had killed all danger of disturbances; especially now that he has reversed his former position and has come out against purchase by the government of the great estates. I asked him if the church was not disappointed. He said “Yes, for they expected to sell their lands to the government at a terribly high price.”

He had been reading a Spanish work of the early conquest of the Philippines and expressed regret that the high reputation of the Filipinos for commercial honesty in their early dealings with the foreigners was no longer maintained today. He also said he was sorry that the Spanish expeditions of long ago against the Moluccas and Borneo had failed–for by now they would be the center of a great empire. I remarked that this would come to pass anyway in the future. Quezon agreed.

I enquired whether he wished the Survey Board to proceed with their attempt to consolidate scientific laboratories or to wait, since, against the wish of his own expert adviser, Dr. Manuel Roxas, he had wired to ask for some export from the Mellon Institute, to come out here to help us to reorganize. He said: “Yes, go ahead.” The President is determined, if possible, to prevent “overlapping” and we dealt with the extreme difficulty of getting at the real facts from the bureaus concerned here!

I asked him to request Washington to prolong the service of Consul General Hoover at Hong Kong for one year (to the time of Hoover’s retirement). He at once drew up a cable to the High Commissioner to that effect, which was very complimentary to Hoover.

Told him that Doria and I wanted to go to Bali for a couple of weeks:–he replied that he did not understand the interest in Bali, adding: “We have plenty of Balis here.”

Quezon then said he was celebrating a great event today telling me that a month ago, spots had been discovered again on his lungs. He had been dreadfully worried, and told nobody, not even his wife, but today another examination had been made and he is now absolutely clean of tuberculosis. Meanwhile, he had taken exercise and had avoided the sun. This dread of tuberculosis hangs over all the truly brilliant prospects of his remarkable career.

Asked him for the pardon of Evangelista in San Ramon and he said he would attend to it.

He had asked Unson about amending the sales tax law so as to collect it at a higher percentage but with a single incidence, and thus to stop tax evasions. Unson said it was impossible to stop Chinese evasions, and that collection at the source would penalize manufacturers instead of falling on the merchants.

In the afternoon, tea dance at Bilibid for the birthday of General Santos. Quezon was there, but did not seem to enjoy himself much.


June 9, 1936

Chat with ex-Speaker Roxas: he said that there is a copper mine in Capiz which has contracted to sell the whole of its output for one year to the Japanese; he further stated that the vast iron fields which I set aside by Executive Order in 1915 as a government reservation had aroused the interest of Marsman who was now contesting the validity of this action; in Roxas’ opinion, Marsman will not put up a real struggle against the government. I suggested to him that it might be better for the government to lease this iron field to Marsman on a royalty basis. Roxas says he asked the High Commissioner before he left to get the consent of the President of the United States for the Philippine Government to (a) give Quezon flexible tariff rights to raise or lower 100% on any item of the custom’s tariff; and (b) to negotiate commercial treaties (under supervision of the American State Department) with foreign powers.

Quezon made an excellent talk to the Assemblymen just before our arrival at Davao: he spoke in Spanish and first called attention to their visit to Cotobato, and said that the former army post at Parang should be the capital not only of Cotobato but of all Mindanao. That it was equidistant from Zamboanga, Lanao and Davao. He then turned to the Davao question giving a very carefully worded exposition of the burning question of the day: he said “there is no Davao question,” and that the press had been guilty of irritating public opinion both in Japan and the Philippines. “It shows how the newspapers can embroil nations, even to the point of war,” he said, “but there is nothing in Davao which threatens Filipino rights nor the economic position of the country. If there is no Davao question there is a Davao situation, which is not to be sneezed at. By their handling of this matter, the Filipinos will be judged as to their ability and sense of justice in dealing with foreign nationals.” He went on to say that: “The Executive branch of this Philippine Government has examined the situation very carefully, with a determination to solve this matter with the Assembly. It is not desirable, nor is it necessary for the legislators to examine into this matter today.”

When the Negros docked, Quezon again put Osmeña to the fore, and the latter received the plaudits of the crowd and the Constabulary honors. Osmeña was to be in the front all day. (Very wise!) Quezon knows Osmeña would like it very much.

Wolff, Major Speth and I went with the procession to the end of the (plank) motor road, but there was not sufficient railway transportation for all the party, so we slipped back to lunch and to shop at Davao.

Swim with Quezon and Speth–water muddy and warm, but Quezon enjoyed himself with great zest. He went over his reasons for taking Assemblymen into his confidence:–to make them more nationally conscious and give them “a sense of responsibility to their country.” “These young men will be the statesmen of the future–but I am making it very hard for my successor.”

I asked Quezon whether the absence of Japanese on the streets etc., today in Davao was not on their part an act of policy (so this would not look like a Japanese colony), and he whispered that this had been staged by the Japanese Consul General.