From Bad-as, we are now hitting the trail to the sea below Sniogbuhan San Joaquin. We are here very early—thoroughly exhausted. Our presence attract the attention of people on the beach. We have eaten our breakfast hurriedly. Our sailboats have been waiting for us. We immediately board them and [?] sail with Point Siaton in Negros as our objective. We feel slightly nervous, for we have to pass through Japcontrolled waters between Panay & Guimaras. Thank God, no Jap motor boat pops up. The wind is intermittently blowing, and we drifted into the mouth of the strait for a while. An East wind blows now, late in the evening. We are now heading fast to Siaton. We feel safe now from the enemy.
We leave [Panay] today early, with Osorio as our objective for the night. The day is cloudy and the sun has not come out with its heat. We have made in good time the rough mountain trails, hitting a point a little over Osorio at about 7 p.m. Here we bivouac for the night, on the edge of a little stream. My cargadores sleep on the ground under a huge rock. We take our rest in a vacant small cottage, wherein three of us fit in snugly.
My companions are Roberto, my eldest son, Patsy, my nephew, Sp. Dep. Govs. Golez & Afatalicis. P.S. Serelina is our principal guide.
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.
Radio San Francisco announced the Japanese landing in Panay. The press confirmed the news, adding that a similar landing was effected at three points in Cebu. The three capitals of the three provinces of Panay were occupied without even a shot. As usual, the Fil-American soldiers fled to the mountains, leaving behind them a trail of fire and destruction.
It is a rather curious fact that we are learning about the Japanese advances through foreign sources ahead of the Japanese radio and press.
All day at sea and very rough–all hands more or less under the weather. Bridge in p.m. Quezon has, so far, won all the rubbers and we three are all losers.
Talk with Quezon off Panay. I asked him about Philippine sugar shares; he said they were good for dividends for ten years–even after the “sanctions” levied five years hence. He told me that the planters are counting on the continuance of free trade with the United States. I remarked that I had bought some gold shares–he commented “They are good.” I said I was thinking of buying Shaw’s Philippine Iron Company’s shares–he said if you wait, you may be able to buy shares in a government-owned Company in Surigao–“you reserved them for the government twenty-one years ago.” I asked him if they had been recently surveyed and were as rich as we had believed? “Yes,” he replied.
I then asked about the possibility of setting up separate Filipino consulates–said he had taken it up with Secretary Hull before inauguration, and he had referred it to William Phillips. Had received no answer as yet.
Next I reported a conversation with Simmie concerning the arrastre plant. He replied that Simmie is a good man: “if I leave that business in private hands, his company will have the preference–but I want more money from it.”
Said Rodriguez would not remain as head of the National Development Co. He would send him around the world for a year to study industry and commerce, adding: “he talks too much”!
He asked me if I had talked with the High Commissioner about silver–I said certainly not; that I would not go to the High Commissioner about anything official without his instructions. I had asked Weldon Jones about it as he (Quezon) had requested and was waiting his report before making up my own opinion. Quezon said that the High Commissioner had talked with him about it.
We laughed a little over “experts” and he said he was getting one to come out here with only his travel paid.
I asked him if the United States would not give the Philippines the equivalent in silver even if they had refused to pay the losses on devaluation in gold. Quezon said that Morgan had formerly been ready to do this, but businessmen in Manila were carrying on with capital borrowed abroad and they are now afraid their loans would be called if silver in large quantities were introduced into the Philippines currency. He also remarked that the Philippine loss on devaluation was already more than thirty million pesos–especially when computed in terms of trade competition with Japan; he added that the present was the moment to get any benefits or concessions from the United States, before the Republicans get in.
I remarked that the Manila Bulletin was still fighting hard, against us and he replied: “They are the damndest die-hards and reactionaries I have ever seen.”
Next he commented upon Dr. Victor Clark, the financial expert of the American Congress, who had come for a few months to the Philippines as an adviser. Quezon said Clark was able to review all things dispassionately because he wasn’t even prejudiced about the Soviets, and that was the supreme test for an American.
Then he spoke of lawyers, and remarked that Clyde Dewitt was the best American jurist in the Philippines, and Jose Laurel was the best Filipino jurist.
At luncheon, on the steamer I told the President, of his daughter “Baby’s” witty reply to my comment on his speech in Zamboanga, and he sprang up and kissed her, saying; “She is a true daughter of mine.”