Hugh Gibson’s Food Mission Diary: Herbert Hoover in Manila, 1946

(above) British Pathé newsreel of a portion of former President Herbert Hoover’s mission to assess food requirements for devastated parts of the world, 1946.

While this diary is part of the Herbert Hoover papers, the diary of Hugh Gibson gives a useful glimpse into an interesting mission –Hoover’s task to survey the globe to see food requirements for devastated countries– and American perspectives about those countries and peoples. Among the nations visited was the Philippines. See The Food Mission Diaries of Hugh Gibson (1946 and 1947), particularly 2nd diary: 1st trip (part II), 1946 April 27–June 19, which contains the portion on the Philippines.  The entry starts at the bottom of page 11 and concludes the Philippine portion in the middle of page 20. It provides an American’s impressions of war-devastated Manila (Monday, April 29, 1946):

We drove through the ruined town which is far worse than it looks from the air. Instead of having been destroyed with bombs which scatter the walls, these buildings were for the most part knocked out by artillery and fire, so the walls still stand in utter desolation. Some of the newer structures stood up better to the punishment but there is very little that is fit for habitation. Wherever there is a vacant lot the squatters have swarmed in with scraps of corrugated iron, ply-board or tin and have erected shanty towns of the most appalling variety. With a weak government there is some doubt as to how and when they can get these people out.

It also includes an interesting vignette of a visit to Malacañan Palace in April, 1946 (pages 11-15, Monday, April 29, 1946):

 Malacañan was occupied by the Japs and consequently escaped destruction. It was mined but as so often happened, when the time came the enemy was so busy getting out that he neglected to carry out his fell purpose.

We were escorted up the red-carpeted staircase and through several big drawing rooms in one of what was a tremendous and rather fine chandelier. Holes showed where two other had hung. It seems the Japs made off with them but there is hope they may be hidden somewhere near at hand as it is doubtful whether they could have been packed and shipped in time at their disposal.

Osmeña was waiting at the door to receive us and escorted us across the room to instal us in big arm chairs. Then he sat down, composed his features and was silent in several languages at once. After waiting for him to sound off the Chief [Hoover] made some remark about being happy to tell him that an idea had appeared this morning as to how the Philippine food needs could be met. Osmeña nodded his head without batting an eyelash. He did not ask what the solution was, but nodded and then stopped as if turned off. The Chief made another remark and again got a nod for his reply. [U.S. High Commissioner] McNutt leapt into the fray with two efforts and got two nods for his pains. As things were rollicking along at this rate servants came in with champagne. Osmeña raised his glass and uttered two words: “Your health.” After this outburst of garrulity he relapsed into silence and after a time the Chief allowed he must not take up any more of his time. He evidently agreed as he offered no protest, but accompanied us all the way downstairs to get his picture taken by the waiting photographers.

This entry gives a glimpse of the reaction of Americans to the increasingly hard-of-hearing Osmeña; and incidentally documents the absence of two of the three large Czechoslavak chandeliers in the Reception Hall of the Palace –in the 1950s Minister of Presidential Protocol Manuel Zamora would recount that the chandeliers had been taken down for cleaning right before the war broke out, and were buried for safekeeping for the duration of the war.

On page 18 of the diary, there is also an account of a dinner given in honor of Hoover by the American High Commissioner, Paul V. McNutt, in which President Osmeña and President-elect Manuel Roxas were both present:

At 7:30 dinner at the High Commissioner’s. He has an agreeable house facing the bay, adequate but nothing like the style of Malacañan which [Frank] Murphy stupidly gave over to the Philippines so that he could go and live near the Elks Club. The High Commissioner has been a vagrant ever since and it has not added to his prestige. Murphy built a house of the water front where he and [Francis B.] Sayre lived, which may have been comfortable inside but which looks like of the less distinguished Oklahoma high schools. Why we had to put up something of that sort in a country where there is a distinguished native style is a mystery. Fortunately the cursed thing was thoroughly bombed and it is to be hoped that something decent will be be built or required for our new diplomatic mission.

Most of our party was asked to the dinner, a number of official Americans and several Filipinos, including the President and his wife and the President-elect and his. There was no love lost between then. I sat next to Señora de Osmeña. Directly across her was Señora Rojas [sic], wife of the Pres. elect. Not one word was exchanged between them through the dinner although McNutt did his valiant best. My neighbor is as chatty as her husband is taciturn and kept up a steady flow of conversation –but I haven’t an idea of what she talked about. Perhaps she does this as compensation like Mrs. Coolidge.

It was hot as blazes and we dripped through dinner which was served out of doors in a loggia. The thermometer stood at 102 which is high for people who were not so long ago in the snows of Scandinavia. We had some talk among the men after dinner…

In the same entry, there is another interesting vignette: about agrarian conditions:

FitzGerald ran into an interested situation here today. The Government people are crying famine and calling for help in securing rice for the starving. It seems that after the war the people in the valleys of Northern Luzon decided to get rid of their landlords and take over the land for themselves. So they shot some landlords and chased the rest away. Thereupon Mr. Osmeña’s boys moved in, organized a cooperative, and announced it would take the place of the landlords. Of course the landlords had been wrong to take half of the rice as their share, so the co-operative would take only thirty percent. However Osmeña’s party was essential to keeping the co-operative afloat, and there were some expenses of the underground which had to be met, so another ten percent would be knocked off for that. The net result is that Osmeña and his people have forty percent of all the rice crop of the region hidden away in hundreds of little warehouses, ready to play politics or make a fortune, or both. But it does indicate that the people are not going to do so badly with all the fruit and vegetables that grow so easily and all the fish they can have in any quantity.

And he closes with a snapshot of American official opinion on the prospects of Philippine independence:

On May 25 Rojas [sic] takes over as Pres. of the Commonwealth and on July 4th comes complete independence. The prospect is not rosy. The Osmeña government has had a year to put things in order. Congress is voting $600,000,000 for rehabilitation which is a fabulous amount compared to the work that has to be done. Many of the local people are already unhappy and look forward to disintegration as soon as the P.I. [Philippine Islands] are left to their own devices. The remark is frequently heard that within five years the people will be clamoring for the United States to move back in again. And at that they have not yet begun to envisage the possibility that China or Russia might move in. Asia for the Asiatics is a grand slogan but the mess they are going to make of it is terrifying.


August 16, 1945, Thursday

This morning, I modified my opinion as to when we will leave. I believe now that it will not be before the end of this month. It will be sometime in September or October. The reason for my change of view now is that I think Laurel, Aquino and Vargas, who are still in Japan, will be brought to the Philippines and I think their cases as well as the Ministers’ will be tried or investigated at the same time. Since the cases of those three or more serious, they may not be considered until after some time and, therefore, our cases will also be delayed.

It is reported by radio that Emperor Hirohito will fly to Manila, in a Japanese plane from Tokyo to Okinawa and in an American plane from Okinawa to Manila. MacArthur has been designated as Commander-in-Chief to receive the surrender of Japan. The representatives of the vanquished always come to the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander or to the place indicated by the latter. MacArthur’s headquarters is in Manila; therefore, the Japanese Representative should go there. But why Hirohito precisely. I can’t understand why it cannot be Premier Suzuki. I do not believe the United Nations will deal with the Premier, however; he will probably be one of those to be arrested and accused as a war criminal. But his cabinet can fall and a Pacifist Cabinet could be created under the Premiership of Konoye, Konoye can then sign the peace terms. But it seems it has to be Hirohito. What a humiliation! Before, he was a proud ruler, considered as god himself. His words were law and divine order at the same time. Now he is under the orders of MacArthur.

I suggested to Compadre Serging Osmeña that he write a letter to his father. I so suggested because it seems that they are already in good terms. I explained to him that his father is an experienced and shrewd politician. Serging ought to know that just now his father is at a disadvantage as regards the collaborationists inasmuch as Roxas has openly thrown himself on their side. I told Serging that he write his father that there is discontent here on account of his passive attitude. He should suggest to his father to do something; to make a “golpe” (sensational and radical act) which will boost his stock among the “collaborationists” and such “golpe” should be a general amnesty proclamation freeing everybody accused of collaboration. This may incline the collaborationists to his side or at least put him in a better position to approach them later. I found Serging rather reluctant for reasons which he explained. The reasons involved family relations among the father, mother-in-law and Serging.

* * * * *

Excerpts from a letter of Roy W. Howard, the principal owner of Scripps-Howard newspapers, dated at Manila, July 30, 1945 to Arsenio Luz:

My chief purpose in coming here, aside from a desire to confer with Gen. MacArthur and get a picture of the general situation, was to see if I could be of any help to you. I wish that it were possible for me to report success, but after pursuing every line that is open, and discussing your case with everyone I know who might be in a position to help, I am afraid that as far as your immediate release is concerned, my effort has been a failure.

It is my sincere belief, Arsenio, that in spite of any action that can be taken, including even legal action, the group held in Palawan now will be kept there until the conclusion of the war with Japan. I realize that this is going to be very tough, and I doubt whether were I in your place it would be possible for me to reconcile myself to the belief that remaining there is the best course. But in my efforts I have run into a few facts which, without in any sense justifying the action taken against you, throw a light on the situation which I want to pass along to you.

In my efforts I have talked to Gen. MacArthur, Gen. Thorpe, head of the C.I.C., Pres. Osmeña, Manuel Roxas, Phil Buencamino, Salvador Araneta, Manolo Elizalde, Chick Parsons, Paul McNutt, and others. They have all been very sympathetic and have helped me to the best of their ability. But we have all run into a stone wall in that Gen. MacArthur is embarked on a course which I am convinced he believes to be in the best interest of the Filipinos, and from which I do not believe it is going to be possible to dissuade him. As I see it, the situation boils down to about this:

MacArthur is fighting a war and doing a most magnificent job of it. However, the job is one calling for the most intense concentration, and despite what I am sure is his keen realization of a pot of political and purely domestic needs, he is having a straight line and giving no consideration to any proposition except killing Japs.

I have no doubt that he suspects there are men at Palawan who are entirely innocent, and many who have been guilty of nothing more serious than indiscretion or bad judgment. To attempt to sort those men out, however, would, if justice were to be done, be equivalent to bringing about trials at this time. I can see many reasons why this would be inadvisable, the chief one being that at the rate of which feeling is dying down, it is obvious that there will be much less emotionalism attaching to collaboration trials later on, than would be the case today.

If trials were to be held today, they would of necessity be trials before an American military tribunal. I suspect Gen. MacArthur feels that not only will Filipino courts be more competent to judge Filipino psychology, but that Filipinos, knowing the conditions existing in Manila and the pressure that put to bear on people like yourself, will be infinitely more lenient than would be the case with a hard-boiled, wholly impersonal military court. In any event, Arsenio, at the end of the week’s effort, in which I have thrown in everything I have without obtaining any redress in your case, I am forced to say that I think that is the way the thing stands, and while Gen. MacArthur has promised to have prepared for his own personal consideration a review of your case, I do not honestly advise you to count on much of anything happening in consequence.

The real purpose in writing this letter is this: I do not need to tell you, I am sure, that my own faith in your innocence of any action prejudicial to the United States has never waned. That will not be either news or a surprise to you. What is more important, however, to you… something which I am not sure you fully appreciate is that no one from Gen, MacArthur down has expressed to me the slightest belief that any action which you took under the stress of occupation conditions was in any sense an action aimed against the interests of the United States, and no one to whom I have talked has expressed the slightest doubt of your loyalty to the United States and to your American friends. That goes straight, Arsenio, and without any discount.

To give you a complete picture, however, I must add that some of your friends, even though they are understanding and tolerant, feel that you may have on occasion been a bit indiscreet and not used your head as effectively as might have been the case. Everyone realizes, however, that hindsight is sometimes better than foresight, and I haven’t the slightest doubt that aside from the discomfit and inconvenience of being held in custody for the very few months during which this war is going to continue, you will ultimately be restored to complete standing in this community and given a complete bill of health.

If your old sense of humor is still working, and I have no doubt that you still possess it even though it may have been scuffed up a bit, you may smile at a line of reasoning which I have given Carmen, and which I put forward in all seriousness. I realize the ridiculousness of a man on the outside arguing to the man who is detained, on the virtues of being in jail, and yet I think in your case there is some virtue in the situation.

Let me explain: If it were possible to exercise any influence to get you sprung at the present time, and I had an opportunity to do so, I would advise you to turn your back on such an opportunity. My reasoning is this: if you were to come out under such circumstances and without a trial, there would always be hovering over you a suspicion that may be you were at liberty not because of innocence, but because of some pull you were able to exercise. Such a situation would be a handicap to you and your family for the rest of your life. On the basis of what I have been told, and I am not going to attempt to state here which man or men most influenced my judgment (although I assure you they were among your best friends and American well wishers), I believe that the hearing which you will certainly get immediately upon the conclusion of the war and the turning of this whole problem over to the Philippines, will give you a clean bill of health and completely establish your innocence of any action that would prejudice your standing either with Filipinos or Americans. For whatever my judgment is worth, the value of this bill of health and official establishment of your innocence will over the long haul more than compensate for the few additonal weeks or months that you may be denied your liberty.

As I said, this argument, sound though I am convinced it is, may be one easier for me to make on the outside than for you to accept on the inside. I know, however, that you will not doubt my honesty, even though you should doubt my judgment, when I tell you my opinion of the tremendous value which I believe will attach to your exoneration, as distinct from the situation which might result if you were released in consequence of political pressure, even though there was the possibility of exerting political pressure, a possibility which I am sure does not exist.

I would of course have come to Palawan to see you, had it been possible to do so. I even made some efforts in that direction, but became convinced that not only could I have been of no value to you down there, but to have made the trip might have in some degree prejudiced your case.

Now for one more point, and then I’ll wind up this interminably long letter. In April, before his death on August 1st, I visited President Quezon at Miami, Florida. At that time he was on his death bed and I think fully realized that his number was up. He talked with extreme difficulty and only in a whisper, because the tuberculosis had reached his throat. I won’t attempt to quote all of his conversation, but merely that which has a bearing on your situation, and on his unshakeable faith in you and confidence in your loyalty and integrity. There had at that time come back to the United States varied stories of collaborative action being taken by Filipinos. Cases discussed with a number of these people, some of whom I knew and others whose names had slipped me, but whom he insisted I had met and who knew me. Finally, he turned to me and said:

Roy, I do not know about all of these people. I am worried about Jorge Vargas. The reports on what Jorge is doing are not good, though I find it very difficult to believe that any one so long associated with me would turn out to be disloyal to me, to the Filipino people, and to the United States. I must admit that I am having to reserve judgment. About some of your friends, however, I would advise you to have faith, just as I have. There are some of them to whom disloyalty would be impossible and I include in this list Alunan, Joe Yulo, Arsenio Luz, Phil Buencamino…’

In addition he named those several others — people whom probably I would recognize if I saw them, but whose names at the time did not mean much to me.

Quezon told me at that time the instructions that he had left with his friends, and added that he was now in touch with those men by clandestine short wave radio. He also told me that within a week he had received a call from one of his men, a Filipino doctor, who had returned to the States from Manila within the preceding forthnight.

At home I have a diary memorandum which I wrote that night, in which I have Quezon’s exact words. The foregoing quotation, however, is to all intents and purposes correct and accurate.

…I am no seventh son of a seventh son, but I venture the prophecy that this war will be over before the end of the year and that your complete restoration to your family and to the position which you have so well earned in this community, will have been effected before the New Year is many days old.

Mr. Howard is one of the two or three great newspapermen in the United States now living. The news above is the most authoritative we have received inasmuch as it is the result of his personal conferences with MacArthur in whose hands our destiny lies. Therein it is clear that we will not be released while the war lasts. He believes that even if we can go now we should not accept it as there will always be the suspicion that we got out as a result of influence. Whereas if we are acquitted after due trial, we will be given a clean bill of health, and, therefore, be restored to our old position in the community. Such was my opinion from the beginning. We do not positively know what we are charged of. But under the circumstances, we presume that it must be treason to our country and disloyalty to the United States. As to the latter, I have never been disloyal to the United States but if they insist, I would not mind it because after all deep in my heart I do not recognize loyalty to any country other than my own. But the charge of treason to my country is very serious. From all indications at the present time, only prejudiced Filipinos believe that we have been traitors and they constitute a very small portion of our population. But how about future generations who do not know the facts personally? If our declaration of innocence now is not recorded, they may get the idea that we have done something against our country. So it is preferable that we be submitted to a trial in order that our formal vindication may be decreed if we are found not guilty.


July 20, 1945 Friday

At about ten o’clock this morning, we were advised that Col. Gilfilan, the Superintendent, wanted to see Mr. Paredes, Gen. Francisco and me. We all became very excited. We thought that we will receive some good news relating to our release. But I doubted this. Why should others, like Yulo and Alunan, whose cases are also very meritorious, not be included? On the other hand, I feared that I would be investigated. A few days ago, an Army Chaplain came with letters from Manila. I got the idea that one of those letters was for me. They were handed by the Chaplain to the Colonel. As they were uncensored, I feared that the letter for me may have contained something that would require further inquiry. But it turned out later that I had no letter. Those who were not invited by Col. Gilfilan looked at us with envy. We walked to the office of the Colonel where we saw our dear friend who had shown deep sympathy towards us, Colonel Barros. We immediately concluded that Col. Barros wanted to visit us and, for some reason, we were allowed to talk him at the Superintendent’s Office. Colonel Gilfilan was extremely nice to us. He motioned to Col. Barros that he could talk to us in the farthest corner of the room. We were with Col. Barros for about 20 minutes. He brought us some gifts. He said that he had been wanting to see us to be able to personally express his sympathy. He said that we must not be ashamed because almost all our countrymen are convinced that we had done absolutely nothing against our country and people, nothing that was even censurable. We asked the Colonel whether there was news about us. He answered no, except he considered the speech of Gen. MacArthur favorable to us in the sense that he urges unity among the Filipinos. He said that his wife cried when she heard that we were here as prisoners. He said that the people at the beginning were somewhat prejudicial against us, but now they understand and they even admire us. He reiterated his ardent desire that we be freed so that our country may again count with our services.

When we were about to leave, Col. Gilfilan beckoned us to sit around his table. He said that he was doing all he could to make us more comfortable. We expressed our gratitude.

Upon our arrival at the stockade, we told our companions to prepare their letters as we were leaving the next day. No one swallowed it.

All the newspapers report heavy bombardment of Japan by air and sea. One thousand five hundred super-fortresses and fighters from aircraft carriers had attacked different places in Japan. Air attack is almost continuous. The biggest task force ever assembled with several dreadnaughts are bombarding Japan from places about a rifle’s shot from the shores. We who trembled with just a few small planes bombarding, have a pretty good idea of the effects of such bombardment. We are now confident that the war will end soon. Although America has always insisted on unconditional surrender, there were statements from responsible persons in America that Emperor Hirohito will be spared and that the Japanese people will not be enslaved. Somebody jokingly remarked that Hirohito will go to the shrine, commune with his God-ancestors, and afterwards, say that he was requested by them to surrender. Recto remarked that the ancestors will mark, “Estamos cayados”.

I had expressed the belief before that the collaborationist issue may divide our people and confuse the political situation. Already in Manila there is a serious division on this account. But the injustice committed against us and the indifference toward our situation shown by even our most intimate friends in Manila, will compel us to organize a party of our own. This will be composed of the supposed collaborationists and their sympathizers. We will organize everyone here and found a newspaper. We will put up candidates for representatives and senators. We ourselves will run. We shall seek not only our vindication, but the carrying out of policies and programs which shall make our country truly independent and prosperous. With the elements this proposed party can count on, it will be a formidable one. If Osmeña and Roxas do not reconcile, the new party may even put up a candidate for president.

McNutt, ex-American High Commissioner of the Philippines and the father of the re-examinationist movement under which the Philippines will have more or less permanent political connection with America, is coming. Avowedly he comes to investigate economic conditions, but if that is the purpose, he is not exactly qualified. I am more inclined to believe that he comes to ascertain the chances his theory may have, and begin laying the groundwork to push his ideas through. We must be on guard. In the movement, he will be supported by American capitalists who see in the Philippines a good field for investment or a strategic place for commercial operations in the Orient, and the imperialists who dream world domination by America. We must assure the free rights of every people. We must combat imperialism at all cost.

What are we? Nobody seems to know. We came as war prisoners, but such status is inconsistent with the theory of those who wish to detain us. If the Republic had never existed and the Commonwealth continued, then we cannot be enemies and we cannot be war prisoners. If the existence of the Republic is recognized, we will then be enemies. At the beginning, the Superintendent here always mentioned the Geneva Convention as the source of all their authority. Later, we were told that we were merely under protective custody. We should appreciate their good intention, but is there real danger for us? Still later, we were told that we were modified or assimilated war prisoners. None of us understand this. Finally, two days ago, the Superintendent objected to our calling ourselves prisoners. “You are not prisoners. You are internees,” he said. It soothes us not to be branded as prisoners, but what matters is not the name but the situation.

Once in a while we crave for real Filipino food. We cannot help but get tired of canned American food which we are not accustomed to eat. Minister Sison and I decided to stay at our quarters to be able to eat such food. It was one of the best meals we have ever enjoyed. We ate good fish, mechado, and rice, with mango and banana dessert. It was a perfect meal. It made us homesick, especially since the mechado was from my wife sent to me from Manila.

We were given a suit of khaki, a two-piece American soldier’s uniform. It is made of good cloth. The coat fits me, but the pants have to be remade by tailor Hernandez from Ibaan Batangas. He is a good tailor.


May 26, 1943

Doria and I sat in a taxi today with Mrs. Paul McNutt who had not seen our small daughter Ursula since she was a baby of three weeks at Baguio, six years ago. Mrs. McNutt was looking lovely and very smartly dressed. She commented on the regal style in which the Quezons lived at the Shoreham; and said that sometimes shen she entered the hotel with her arms full of bundles, as one was obliged to do nowadays, she met Mrs. Quezon flanked by two a.d.c.’s! Said that she herself had once been a refugee (from Mexico), but that was not the way people expected refugees to look! It was good-natured but ironic.

The Japanese radio (Domei) states that Vargas announced that all Filipinos should celebrate Japanese Navy Day (May 17) since the freedom of East Asia had been assured by the shattering by the Japanese of the Anglo-American and Dutch navies!

Arnaldo in charge of the library in the Commonwealth Building (1617 Mass. Ave.) says that it is not believed that the Japanese have destroyed any libraries in the Philippines, except possibly a part of the University Library. That the Philippine National Library was untouched, except that probably they took the old documents for their own great collection of Filipiniana in Tokyo–as, also possibly all the priceless collections of Professor Otley Beyer.

Sitting in the lobby of the Shoreham that evening with Dr. Trepp, we saw Quezon and his daughter Baby going toward the front door for a drive. Quezon went up the three or four steps nimbly almost waving his rubber-tipped cane. Trepp observed that if he had seen us, he would have been leaning feebly on Baby’s arm. Trepp told me that the President was a “used-up” man, physically; that there was nothing organical serious about his condition, and that he should live for from 5 to 10 years more–but was gradually wearing down. Says he (Trepp) saved Quezon’s life in 1932 and at first Quezon was grateful to him and put him in charge of the Sanitorium later replacing him there by Dr. Cañizares and making Trepp the latter’s “adviser.” As soon as Trepp had taught the Filipino doctors his methods, they shoved him aside. Quezon has not been generous to him in later years, but Trepp had built up a fine private practice in Manila, and had put his savings into successful gold mines.

Trepp said he “simply adored” Quezon until they went to Corregidor–but thought his leaving Manila a terrible mistake (of course, Trepp did not know of the pressure and specious promises of help from Roosevelt).


March 5, 1943

Shoreham.

Quezon wired for me to come here for ten days or so to help him finish his book, which he is determined to do, because, no doubt, of Warner Bros’ offer for the cinema rights.

Congratulated him on his Opera House (New York) address last Saturday, which he said had brought him many compliments.

Asked him about political conditions here–whether Roosevelt would seek a fourth term? He said, yes–if he thinks he can be elected, otherwise he will sacrifice Wallace or McNutt. That nobody could make a success of the first post-war presidency. The Republicans had no man in sight who could do it–the United States would be in for very hard times–whoever got in would be a one-term president. Then Roosevelt would try to get in again in 1948 when he would be only 68 years old. He thought the present trend in America was towards post-war isolationism, which would be disaster. The only two leading candidates who were surely not isolationist, are Roosevelt and Wilkie, and the latter was talking himself out of the nomination.

He then turned to the story of my nomination to the Philippines in 1913. He, as Resident Commissioner, had had an understanding that no nomination of a Governor General would be made without letting him know. But one day he read in a Washington evening paper that the nomination of Oscar T. Crosby, a West Pointer and an engineer for the New Jersey traction companies, was being considered. He went right to Tumulty and said he must see President Wilson. T. let him in with the agreement that he would take only three minutes. He asked Wilson if it was proper for him to express himself on a nomination of a Governor General? Wilson said “Yes.” “Mr. President, I have just read in an evening paper that Mr Oscar T. Crosby is being considered, is that a fact?” Wilson replied that it was. Then Quezon said: “The people of the Philippines will not feel that this is what they had expected of you.” “Why not?” “Because it says here that Mr. Crosby is a West Pointer, and that would mean to them that you were sending out a soldier to govern them with an iron hand; then it says that he is an engineer for the great traction interests–that would mean to the Filipinos that he was coming out there to advance American financial interests.” Mr Wilson replied: “That is interesting.” So Quezon went out and straight to the War Department where he told General Frank McIntyre that they had not kept their understanding with him, and that now he could tell them that they would not get their man nominated.

(It must have been shortly after this that I went to see the President at the request of my brother Fairfax, to advocate the nomination of Crosby. Wilson told me that he esteemed Mr. Crosby very much personally but that Crosby was connected with traction interests against which he had been fighting when Governor of New Jersey.)

Quezon then continued by stating that a few days after he had seen the President I came into his office at the request of my brother, to ask whether there was any hope for Crosby. He told me his objections and then said: “Why shouldn’t you get the nomination yourself?” I was somewhat taken aback and asked: “What makes you think I could get it?” He replied: “I don’t know, but I can try.” I asked him to wait a little for me to consider the matter and that anyway I did not want Crosby to believe that instead of advancing his cause, I had only been working for myself.

A few days later, I returned and said that if he found the idea acceptable he might go ahead. He went at once to Representative William A. Jones of Virginia, the Chairman of the House Committee on Insular Affairs and told him he had found the right man for Governor General. Jones expressed himself as much pleased with the idea so Quezon went on to Secretary of State Bryan’s office. He was diffident and rather uncertain in approaching the great man, but was at once admitted to his office. Bryan replied “why he’s the man who has been helping me to fight the reactionaries in the Ways and Means Committee in the tariff revision. I’ll go right into the President and put the matter before him.”

A day or two later my nomination went to the Senate and was confirmed the same day. Meanwhile Quezon had seen Senator Gilbert Hitchcock, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Philippines, who was believed to be rather a “reactionary” but he agreed at once. Hitchcock, however, was believed to be opposed to Philippine independence.

Secretary of War Lindley M. Garrison, a leading conservative, was fortunately absent on a speaking tour in the West at this time, or else, with the backing of the War Department he might have blocked the nomination. He, like most of the Army officers, was opposed to the independence of the Philippines.

Next we talked over the strong anti-English sentiment in the United States today. I told him of my arguments with Gwathmey and Finley of the University of Virginia two days ago; that I was convinced that the heart of the so-called “democratic” movement in the world today was social: that it was rather a revolutionary struggle, not so much for political rights, as formerly, but a demand for social equality. He agreed, and said that it was rather dangerous to be pronouncedly in favour of the English in the United States today. That Roosevelt was aware of this and had told Lord Halifax so, but was sticking firmly by England. Quezon said that a large part of the dislike of England in the United States today arose from dislike of the Jews who were all-out to help England. Justice Felix Frankfurter had lost his commanding influence in Administration circles because of being so excessively pro-English. I recalled Colonel Lindberg’s Chicago address of August 1941 in which he stated that the principal influences which were pushing the United States into this war were: 1. The Roosevelt Administration; 2. The English; and 3. The Jews. For this, Lindberg was violently attacked in the press.

Quezon told of his own long-standing dislike of the English because of their arrogance in Asia; of how he had cursed them in Corregidor for their failures in Singapore and Hong Kong; how he had come to admire them as men, after Dunkirk and the battle of Egypt, and how the alliance between the United States and England now was the salvation of the whole world. He, himself, had given up for the present, all his own interests and plans for a Malay Federation, etc., and was concentrating only upon the interests of his own country. (This was the advice I so strongly urged upon him when I first joined him ten months ago on May 30, 1942.)

The recently (March, 1943) announced convention of the United Nations soon to be held to debate the world food problems, was originally the suggestion of Mr. Nash, the Minister of New Zealand, in the Pacific War Council. But, after a debate lasting two hours over the subject of wheat, in which the difference of viewpoint between those nations which produced wheat and those which bought it was apparently so sharp, the Council was going to abandon the idea of a convention of the United Nations as likely to serve only to show up the lack of unity among these “allies.” Then Quezon spoke in the War Council in favour of calling such a convention–he said it was quite right that the nations (U.S. and Gt. Britain) which were making the greatest effort in the war, and were spending their money should be the ones to direct the affairs of the United Nations. However it would be wise to allow the smaller countries an opportunity to present their own views. That would make them all feel that they were taking their share of decisions. It is potentially a strong movement to which attention must be paid. “Have the conference,” he said “not in Washington or New York, but in some quiet place like the Warm Springs, Virginia, where the delegates would be thrown into intimate association with one another and could discuss everything in private conversation. Roosevelt could address the conference on the subject of food, select a chairman and let the latter send everything placed before the Conference to Committees, to hear and consider and report later. Let there be no real debates before the conference to disclose or develop sharp differences of opinion, but let anyone discuss what he pleased, even though the ostensible purpose was only the food question.” Finally, these ideas were accepted by the whole Pacific War Council, and the project of a Conference of the United Nations was later announced by the President.

I commented on the loyalty of Roosevelt to his friends and supporters–how he immediately appointed to new posts those of his circle who had been defeated in the elections. Quezon commented: “I never did that.”

Excerpt from Quezon’s letter of March 4, 1943 to General MacArthur in Australia.

I gather from the reports to which 1 have referred above that some of our guerrillas are committing the same mistakes or abuses that were committed by our guerrillas during the fight against the Spaniards and later against the Americans. They are looting and maltreating, and, in some cases, killing Filipinos whom they suspect to be pro-Japanese. From every point of view that is wrong, moreover, it may be of serious consequences.

In the case of Peralta, he has even gone to the extent of criticizing me for not denouncing Vargas and his colleagues. The insolence of this man in attempting to give me a lecture regarding the history of the revolution in which I took part while he was still unborn or a baby, and on the psychology of the Filipino people, would be laughable if it did not betray his utter unfitness for the role that he is aspiring to play in the Philippines.

Not as an answer to Peralta, but only to make crystal clear my stand in this respect, I wish to remind you that even while we were in Corregidor, at a time when a policy of threat or condemnation might have had more effect than now, I studiously avoided saying anything that might give Vargas and the rest of the Filipinos who have now accepted positions under the Japanese Military Administration, the impression I have lost faith in them. The reason for my attitude is that I knew, and have not changed my opinion, that the Filipino can best be won by showing him confidence rather than distrust. Indeed, if threat and punishment would make a Filipino loyal, the whole country would now be pro-Japanese. In other words, I am of the opinion that if we want to keep the Filipinos on our side the commanders of the guerrillas must refrain from persecuting those who seem to be co-operating with the Japanese, unless they help the Japanese to discover the places where our guerrillas are hiding, or kill our men. Prager’s report shows that even our Constabulary and Philippine Army soldiers who are now serving in the Japanese organized police force are, in fact, loyal to us.

Long discourse today by Quezon illustrating his advantage in politics in the Philippines because he knew how to appeal directly to the tao instead of relying like most of the other politicos upon securing the support of the “leaders.” He illustrated this method by referring to General Sandiko’s successful appeal to the people in his province of Bulacan (during Governor Forbes’ administration) against an extra-legal Executive Order of the Governor General which Speaker Osmeña had obligingly ratified by passage through the Assembly.

His best story was of the campaign made by him against the all-powerful Godofredo Reyes of Sariaya, Tayabas, when Quezon was President of the Senate and in control of the Nacionalista party. He put up Primitivo San Augustin and, to the astonishment of all the leaders in Tayabas, San Augustin beat Reyes. Quezon had gone himself to open the campaign and had addressed crowds of taos appealing to them in speeches 1 hour to 1 ½ hours long not to let their caciques vote for them, but to exercise the right of suffrage like free men. This method won that election.

Discussion of the Church and of Masonry. Quezon thinks neither of them count much in Philippine politics–bishops always have been easy to beat, but less so since Filipinos have been ordained as bishops, and the parish priests are now almost exclusively native citizens.

Quezon always states that he became a Catholic again after his “daughters were grown,” but it really was in 1928 when “Baby” was about 7 and “Nini” was, say, 5. Quezon scorns the idea that this move benefited him politically. He explains he did it so that his daughters should not be “ashamed” of him. One can understand how Mrs. Quezon brought pressure on him upon this subject in the home life. In order to be readmitted to the Church, he had to renounce Masonry, since the Church will not tolerate any secret society and is especially violent against Masonry. Quezon argued with his father confessor against the prejudice in the Church against Masonry. The priest said: “Ah! you do not know–they don’t let you know what the real secret purpose of those in control of it cherish–they spit on the cross!” Quezon protested. “Do you know who I am–I am the Cardinal of the Masons–I almost might say their Pope! I am the Grand Master of the Blue Lodge.” But it was all to no effect–he had to give in.

Conversation with Mrs. Quezon on her voyage with Mrs, Buencamino to Java in 1936. The Dutch Government would pay her no direct courtesies because she came unofficially. The American Consul General in Batavia told her of all the precautions the Dutch Government had taken to prevent the Javanese leaders from meeting her. Two of the Javanese leaders, ladies who had been educated in Europe came to Mrs. Quezon’s hotel room after midnight and asked that the door be locked. Mrs. Quezon had already refused the room prepared for her so as to avoid the possibility of dictaphones. These two ladies begged her to help them towards independence. She said in reply that the Filipinos had succeeded because they were united under her husband (!). But the Javanese replied that they could do nothing to that end because they could not assemble to unite–the Government would not even allow more than two of them to meet together after dark.

The Japanese, she said, through their cheap and excellent shops in Java as well as through the excellent manners of their shopkeepers were making great headway with the Javanese.

The Dutch system of rotation of crops included also rotation of agriculturalists–so the native farmers never felt they owned any of the fields!


November 14, 1942

P.M. at the Shoreham.

Quezon pale and tired and talking as little as possible. He was dictating a letter to Mrs. Woodrow Wilson thanking her for some courtesy and expressing to her how much the Filipinos loved the late President Wilson for fighting for their independence and for protecting their rights.

He gave an amusing explanation of the reason why the mass tomorrow is not to be at the Cathedral, as he had directed his chaplain, Father Pacifico Ortiz– instead, it is to be held at the Jesuit Church to which order the chaplain belongs, though there are more steps there than Quezon wishes to climb. “He wants to get more people at the mass than we had at the broadcast. But I told him” said the President, “‘to invite only the Roman Catholics on the list of those whom we had invited to my broadcast.'”

He then talked of his veto of the bill for “religious instruction” in the schools of the Philippines–adding however, that if beforehand, High Commissioner McNutt had expressed to him disapproval of that measure, “I would have signed it. I’ll tell you a secret: I let the Assemblymen think I might sign it–it was, however, so long I couldn’t read it, but would consider it if passed. They offered a conference with me on the terms of the bill, but I refused. When Mrs. Quezon heard that it might fail to pass the Assembly she was greatly upset. She was ill at the time, but I had a talk with her. I asked her ‘Do you trust me?’ She looked at me and said that question was almost an offense–of course she trusted me. I then asked her if she realized that in pursuit of my duty I would sacrifice even herself, our children and myself? She said: ‘Yes, do your duty.’ Then, when the time came to veto the bill, the Bishops whom I defied could not get at me.” Quezon remarked: “Many a ruler has been ruined by priests, especially by his wife’s confessors.”

Quezon then showed me the script of his proposed broadcast which will, as we now know, be heard in the Philippines, where the Filipinos are able to conceal their short-wave radios because, as the President remarked they shift their short-waves every day, and you know how far they can walk in the mountains in one day.

I made one suggestion to add four words to his address, which he adopted. It referred to the guerrilla warfare in the mountains, in which the Japanese take fearful punishment. Their experiences in Formosa have taught them to dread the mountain tribes. Quezon had recently received a short-wave message from Colonel Peralta in Panay which stated that he had just killed two thousand Japanese in mountain warfare there.


July 3, 1942

Met Lt. Col. Carlos Romulo, editor of Quezon’s paper the Herald in Manila–noted orator–a.d.c. to MacArthur, i.e., “press agent”–still very shaky, said he was wounded once on Bataan (?). He corrected the newspaper interview ascribed to him on landing at San Francisco. He did not correct the statements to the effect that he was in the United States “on a mission for General MacArthur,” nor that he was the “last man to escape from Bataan”; but did give a correct rendering of the Domei agency announcement concerning the burning of Cebu–that it was to show the Filipinos that all further resistance should cease–not that it was punishment for sniping, in which even women were said to have taken part from upper windows of houses when the army of occupation entered Cebu.

“Further resistance” probably refers to the guerrilla bands, or remnants of the army still active in the high mountains of Cebu, and perhaps also in Luzon and Mindanao.

Quezon tells me that a “high official” of the Red Cross reported to him that the Japanese are treating their prisoners in the Philippines well.

Reports come from Australia that the danger from the Japanese has not lessened–only that their present interest is turned elsewhere. Some think the enemy could take Australia and New Zealand whenever they wished.

“Nonong” (Manuel Quezon, Jr.) celebrates his sixteenth birthday. He tells me that “Calle F. B. Harrison” in Pasay has had its name changed by the Japanese.

Chat with Osmeña. He says that there were 5,000 troops in Negros; 5,000 in Cebu; 5,000 in Panay and 30,000 in Mindanao–all units of the Philippine Army, with high officers who were all Americans. Believes General Sharp, tho unwilling to surrender, probably did so when Lieutenant General Wainwright expressed his desire that he should do so.

Osmeña has always been interested in pushing the settlement of Mindanao by Christian Filipinos, but believes that in all these years they have only persuaded some 50,000 of them to go down there.

Osmeña was the founder of the Nacionalista party and its first president. Since 1907 they were permitted by the American Governors General to agitate for independence.

At the convention of Governors of Provinces in 1906, Osmeña, from Cebu, Quezon from Tayabas, Veyra from Leyte, Luna from La Union, and Gabaldon from Nueva Ecija were the only Nacionalistas, but ran the convention in spite of the fact that all the rest were Progresistas. Governor General Smith was in charge during these years. The principales of Negros proposed establishing a “Republic of Negros,” and Smith did not object so long as they stayed under the American flag. Tells the story of Smith’s first attempt to speak Spanish. It was at this banquet in Negros, and after the customary large number of courses, a lady beside him asked: “Quiere Su Excelencia tomar una siesta ahora?” He replied: “Si Señora, con usted,” thinking the siesta was a name for ice cream.

Quezon on the subject of protocol: “I have never been much interested in it. I prefer the theory of Don Quixote, who when he appointed Sancho Panza Governor of Baratari, was given a dinner by the latter. Sancho invited him to sit at the head of the table, but Don Quixote replied: ‘Wherever I sit will be the head of the table. “‘

The subject, however, is of great importance to Osmeña. Taft has fixed Osmena’s status as Speaker of the Assembly when opening the first Philippine Assembly, by declaring that, after the Governor General, the Speaker of the Assembly was the second man in the Philippines.

Leonard Wood, when Department Commander in the Army had raised the question with Governor General Forbes–Wood was unwilling to allow precedence over the Department to a Filipino. Osmeña cabled Quezon then the Resident Commissioner in Washington and Quezon went to see the Secretary of War adding that “Tho I considered my mission a silly one, yet the duty was imposed on me by my leaders.” He reported to the Secretary of War that Osmeña believed Wood was trying to undo the fiat of Taft, and that he (Osmeña) would consider such action a humiliation to him and to his people. “Personally,” said Quezon, “I never consider it important where they place me.” The War Department ducked the issue, ruling that when the Speaker was invited, the Commanding General should not be present and vice versa. This was in 1910-11. Quezon added: “Wood could not stand the idea of a Filipino being put ahead of him. I never regard such matters as important unless done with the purpose of humiliating me or my race.”

Quezon continued: “When McNutt was first sent in 1936 [sic] as High Commissioner to the Philippines, I was in Europe. The Japanese Consul gave a fiesta at which he toasted the President of the Philippines before proposing a toast to the High Commissioner (McNutt).” This Quezon considered as of no importance, and it was certainly not an official attempt of the Japanese to play politics in the Philippines. “The Americans in Manila had been pushing McNutt to assert himself, and got him crazy.” So, he sent circulars to all the Consuls in the Philippines calling their attention to the correct order of precedence, and instructing them to route all official correspondence with the Commonwealth Government through his office.

“In Washington, they had a Cabinet meeting to discuss the press furore over this matter, for they feared it would give trouble. Vice President Garner said: ‘I’m afraid we’ve sent a trouble maker there.’ President Roosevelt replied: ‘I wouldn’t say that, but he seems to be indiscreet.’

“I was in Paris at this time, but refused to be quoted as being mixed up in this damned nonsense. When I arrived in New York all the newspaper men were on to me on this question. I told them: ‘Gentlemen, all I wish to tell you is this: if there is a toast, and I am given the opportunity of drinking it, all I care about is that there should be enough to drink.’

“The President was relieved when he learned of this reply. But I feared that with McNutt I might have another Wood-Quezon fight on my hands in Manila. Before arriving home, I carefully wrote out my speech. The banquet of welcome, attended by some 1,500-2,000 people was dramatic enough for we had an earthquake during it. I told them: ‘In order that there may be no misunderstanding among the people, I consider it important on this occasion to state what I consider to be the rights of the President of the Commonwealth in relation to those of the American High Commissioner. The latter, as the representative of the President, occupies the highest place. But all the power and responsibility of this government, except in the matter of foreign affairs, rests in the President of the Philippines. In these matters, I am the boss. I will welcome any suggestions from the High Commissioner and no doubt his suggestions will exercise great influence on our decisions.” (Wm. H. Anderson’s book contains 20-30 pp. on this.)

Quezon next described his first lesson as a young member of the first Philippine Assembly in 1908 on how to act when attacked by the press. A local newspaper in Manila had attacked him in its morning issue and a friend rushed into his bedroom and awakened him with the article. He leapt out of bed, rushed through his dressing and ran to the office of the paper, asking to see Salazar, the editor. He shoved the paper before him and asked him if he had written it. “Yes,” so he pushed it into Salazar’s mouth who went over backward with his chair. Alemany rushed in to protest, and Quezon raging, asked him if he had anything to do with it, so Alemany fled. Then Salazar challenged Quezon to a duel and Quezon replied: “To hell with you and your duel.” He then went into the composing and printing room and told the workmen in Tagalog that they ought to quit working for such scoundrels.

The next morning, all the press attacked Quezon. He began to be ashamed and to think that after all he was disgraced. He went down to attend the session of the Assembly in the marble hall of the Ayuntamiento, and at the door met Governor General Smith, who “was himself a fighting Irishman”–Smith said to him: “Well, young man, you had quite a good time yesterday. Let me offer you a piece of advice–there is nothing worse than being ignored by the press; if they won’t praise you, pay them to attack you.” Osmeña said nothing to Quezon about the incident.

Visit to President Coolidge. Former Governor General Forbes told Quezon that in due time, Coolidge would be recognized as the greatest President next to Lincoln. Quezon remarked to me that he thought he was the worst “not even except Harding.” He described a visit with Osmeña to Coolidge in the White House. It was Osmeña’s first President; he bought a suit for the occasion and bowed low when entering the presence. Quezon continued: “After 10 minutes I saw that Sergio was beginning to revise his estimate. This was not one of Coolidge’s best days. He drawled and gulped and nobody could make sense out of anything he said. When we left the White House, Sergio said ‘Chico! Caramba! so that’s a President of the United States.'”

Quezon’s revision of Hare-Hawes-Cutting Bill: The provision of the indefinite retention of the American Army in the Philippines after independence was granted seemed to Quezon to make “independence” (a) futile–for had not the Army “betrayed” an American Governor General? What would they do when a Filipino became the head of state? “Suppose Don Sergio for example were the first President of an independent Philippines, what would happen? Directly after his inauguration he would perhaps wish to rest after the ceremonies and take a drive. He would go to Fort McKinley, outside Manila, and perhaps be halted by a sentry and turned back.”

The provision was moreover (b) dangerous--and would be liable to create incidents between the United States and the Philippines. Moreover, though at the time they naturally did not make this statement, there was the challenge to Japan in the continued presence of the U.S. Army in the Philippines. He thinks this requirement was a product of American imperialism.

So, he wired Osmeña and Roxas in Washington to await his arrival there and added that if they could convince him that the bill was wise, he would support it. This they failed to do. Senator Harry Hawes, one of the joint authors of the act, gave a luncheon for the Philippine delegation at which Joe Robinson, the floor leader of the Senate was present. Having listened to the discussion at the table, Robinson finally said with some show of anger–and he was a man of sudden anger and violence: “I’ve had enough of all this–you can take the law as it is, or leave it.” Quezon rose and said: “Then I’m through, we won’t accept the law.” He left and returned at once to the Philippines. Before Robinson’s death, a little later, the senator paid a handsome tribute to Quezon.

Upon his return to Manila, Quezon got the legislature to reject the law by more than a two-thirds’ vote. He told the caucus that they would have to “get rid” of Osmeña (the Vice President) as head of the senate (sic) and of Roxas as Speaker. There was much hesitation among them since the people were so anxious for independence that there was general support for the law. So Quezon told them: “You leave it to me–the popular support here for Osmeña and Roxas will not last thirty days.” Then Quezon offered his own resignation as President of Senate, which was refused by a large majority. Roxas, that evening, did not wait for the vote; he resigned as Speaker of the House of his own accord. He was “chaired” by the students at the University and said later that “he had fallen from the speakership into the arms of the people.” Quezon commented publicly that when Roxas had fallen into the arms of the students, he had picked out those of a pretty girl in the crowd–Quezon added that he wouldn’t mind that kind of a fall, himself. During the controversy, Quezon made no personal attacks nor reflections on either Osmeña or Roxas. The Hare-Hawes-Cutting law was overwhelmingly rejected by the legislature.

Religious Instruction in the Public Schools: Taft as the first Civil Governor had passed a law permitting this, but it was very ambiguous in its terms, and never put into effect. (N.B. this, and Taft’s visit to the Vatican, plus the “Friar Land Purchases” had a great deal to do with the re-election of Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. I was campaigning on the state ticket in New York in that election and knew of the immense activity–undercover–of the Catholic priests against our ticket headed by Alton B. Parker. F.B.H.)

Quezon says that when Laurel, Roxas and Recto were framing the constitution of the Philippine Commonwealth, Taft’s “religious instruction” proposition was inserted in the articles. The first session of the National Assembly, in the early winter of 1935-6, passed by 90 votes a law to this effect. Quezon vetoed the act on the ground that it was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Avanceña, whose advice he took privately, backed him up, but the act was never re-passed over Quezon’s veto, so never came before the courts. Avanceña went down to his home province of Iloilo to explain this matter to his sisters, who had brought him up and educated him. They had kept a school there since Spanish days, and were intensely religious. Avanceña did not broach the subject to his sisters but went to the priests who were those who “confessed” them, and explained to them the constitutional point. Then, after satisfying them, he arranged with them to come to dinner and to have one of them raise the question quite casually at the table.

Quezon was dictating to Canceran the chapter of his book on his birth and childhood. Great was my surprise at the primitive conditions at Baler 60 years ago: no market–everybody raised, or shot or caught their own food or exchanged their crops for venison and pork. Few shotguns; most of the people were armed only with spears or bow and arrows, etc. He replied: “Inferiority complex of the Filipinos never has permitted them to tell the truth about their primitive conditions in Spanish days. I shall be the first.” (Vivid contrast here with the profusion, extravagance and disregard of expenditure in which he has lived during the Commonwealth; instead of resenting this, the Filipino are probably proud of all this reckless display–I’ve never heard him express the view that anything he wanted was too expensive. F.B.H.)


July 16, 1939

Have brought home a typewriter with the idea of using it hereafter in letter writing and in making these notes. Dictation to Filipino stenographers is not only frequently irritating and patience trying; it often prevents free expression of opinions because so many subjects seem to involve evaluation of racial characteristics. For a long time I’ve been trying to jot down an occasional note in longhand, but when I found the other day that in certain cases I could not decipher my own writing I decided the time had come to do something about it.

During May so many difficulties arose involving misunderstandings with, or at least, lack of effective contacts with Malacañan, that Secretary Vargas finally took the bull by the horns and insisted that I undertake my old liaison job. So now I go there every day.

While I doubt we can ever again get things running in their old time smoothness, we are at least spared many embarrassments and irritations that were habitual when our contacts with that office consisted only in seeing the papers that were sent to our office daily through a junior clerk.

A couple of weeks ago the General published a statement setting forth his views with respect to the “Jap” menace to the Philippines. So far as anyone could see there was no excuse for the outbreak except that Gov. McNutt had said, in support of his contention that the U.S. should hold on [to] the Islands, that upon independence they would immediately fall prey to the military might of the Japs. The General not only argued that the defenses of the islands would be effective; he rather pooh-poohed the possibility of a Japanese aggression in this region. TJ and I, as usual, recommended against breaking into print; as, as usual, to no effect. Locally, we have seen but one American newspaper comment on the statement. The N.Y. Tribune ridiculed it. When he was insisting that his statement HAD to be published the General discounted the idea that the possibility of antagonizing Mr. McNutt would have any effect on his acknowledged political ambitions because he had decided that the High Commissioner was not going anywhere, and, he concluded, the statement would be acclaimed locally among the politicians; renewing his own popularity and cementing his hold upon his job.

A week after the above incident the news came out that Gov. McNutt had accepted an important political job at home under the auspices of the New Deal. This act, in the General’s opinion, immeasurably strengthened the Gov’s political standing, so, post-haste he got off a flowery letter of congratulations, hoping desperately the Gov. would not read anything personal in his argumentative statement of a week earlier.

Two days ago the evening broadcast contained an item to the effect that Congressman Kennedy was recommending to Pres. Roosevelt the appointment of the Gen. as High Commissioner. Burning to secure some political job that would restore the power, prestige and face that he has lost during the past four years through ego, laziness and stupidity the Gen. immediately undertook, characteristically, some of the machinations that he conceives to be clever. He wired Steve Early, Congressman Van Zandt, and Simpson, a newspaper man, asking their support.

Since the wires went through the department (by no chance would he spend the money for commercial dispatch) every officer of the Dept. Staff will immediately know that he is in the position of importuning for a job. Assuming that he will not get it, although it is perfectly true that four years ago the Pres. announced to him an intention of making the appointment at that time, there will be an additional number of people here who will feel entitled to sneer at his connivings, and will read, between the lines, that he is getting fearful and discontented in his present job. It’s his business, exclusively, but I get exceedingly tired of defending him in front of personal critics for words and deeds that I consider as stupid as they do. Ho-hum.

One reason that the Military Adviser’s post has lost for him some of its former attractiveness is continued proof that he is losing influence and prestige, that no longer may he announce an arbitrary decision and see it accepted as the law of the Medes and Persians by the President and the Army. Almost four years ago poor old Jim and I tried to make him see that the price of staying at the top of the heap was eternal watchfulness and, above all, so conducting himself and his job as to inspire confidence and a dependence upon him for important information and decisions. We begged him to arrange a weekly meeting with the President, so that there would not grow up a tendency on the part of the President to depend upon others. He ridiculed us. He was then riding so high that his favorite description of himself was the “Elder Statesman”. He informed us that it was not in keeping with the dignity of his position for him to report once a week to Malacañan.

While I was home last summer the Scout question came to the fore once more, and the General’s decisions and attitude were so unsatisfactory to the Scouts that many of them left us and went back to the American Army. At that time he succeeded in working up the President to the point where the latter believed in a “scout cabal seeking the eventual seizure of the government a la Cuba!” So–with a supposedly decisive victory, one that clearly re-established his power and prestige, the General felt that all was clear on his horizon. But the Scouts did not quit… As time went on they kept dinning away until the Pres. got another slant on the whole affair. Finally in a public speech, that is, it was public so far as the officers of the Army were concerned, the Pres. announced that he was misinformed as to the fact at the time he expressed a desire to get rid of the Scouts, that he had acted hastily, that he regretted his statements and decisions of that time and he would seek to correct them. The General was present when all this was said, and I think it was really the first time that he clearly realized how far we had come from the days when the merest expression of his “professional opinion” served to enlist enthusiastic and universal support for any and all of his schemes.

Of course, to those of us that were close to events, and not concerned with our own future fortunes, nor blinded by illusions of glittering grandeur the trend had been plainly visible for months. But such indications as had come to the Gen. previously had, in his opinion, been discernable to no one else, consequently he had, he thought, lost no FACE. For a man of his type, the answer was to ignore them. This he did… but now, under the lash of practically public repudiation on a particular incident, he writhes. Just as, in his own mind, he was formerly higher in public prestige and official position than he was in reality (although lord knows he was high enough) so now he really believes himself to be closer to disaster than he is. Mr. Q. is not going to let him go… he cannot afford to except as a voluntary act on the part of the Gen. or as a result of almost open insubordination. He, the Pres., has too often tied his administration and his govt. to the PLANS and ADVICE of the Gen., and done this publicly and emphatically, to cut him suddenly adrift.

And that is enough of all that.

A few weeks ago I received WD orders to go to Ft. Lewis upon expiration of my tour. The question of the official terminating date was taken directly to the CoS by the AG, according to personal advices from Jim Ulio,  and it was decided to shorten my tour to November at the latest. I was further authorized, if I could arrange with local officials, to come home in August. All this came about as a result of letters I wrote to Jim Ulio, because for many reasons Mamie and I were looking with longing eyes to our return date. It turned out to be impracticable to get away in August, but we are going in November.

John’s schooling presented a problem, but we finally agreed to keep him right here and bring him home with us in the fall.

We are delighted with the Ft. Lewis prospect. We believe we’ll like the place thoroughly. Be a little tough to give up 500 dollars a month… but that had to end soon anyway.

 


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.