May 6, 1936

Visited Director Camus of the Bureau of Plant Industry. He is a relative of Judge Camus who was present. This director is a fine example of the energetic, clean, highly educated public servant. The poor chap was zealous to show se his whole industrial plant in the short time at our disposal, which was interesting but exhausting. My seeking him was to ascertain whether there is any “overlapping” with the Bureau of Science; as, indeed, there turned out to be in the work of soil analysis, and probably in other botanical and agricultural enterprises. He said Quezon and Murphy had been there. The latter allowed him 10,000 pesos for a house to install his looms, and he put it up in twenty-five days to get the whole appropriation before the end of the year. He also makes cotton yarns of Philippines cotton, with old second-hand machinery. His purpose is to show the people that their cotton will find a market. He asserts that he could also make of hemp all the sugar and copra bags needed in the Philippines, and better than those made from imported Indian jute. He is also perfecting a process of manufacturing coir.

In p.m. bridge here for Guevara, Banqui and Nazario. I asked Pedro Guevara about his successor Resident Commissioner Paredes. Guevara replied that Paredes didn’t understand American Congressional psychology; said he (Guevara), without any speeches, got thru the authorization for the payment of the $23,000,000 “depreciation of gold” deposits of the Philippines at the end of a session of Congress, and even Senator Adams stood by him. Now Paredes is getting nowhere with all his speeches and public statements. Guevara also predicted the election of Landon (if nominated) over F. D. Roosevelt. Said organized business would defeat the latter. If elected, he thought, Landon and the Republicans would come out for a permanent dominion status for the Philippines and that there would never be complete independence here. Although this is exactly what Guevara himself has been working for he said he was in favour of F. D. Roosevelt because the latter was “good for the Philippines.” Also he had advocated selecting me as High Commissioner. Said when I was here it was all “like one happy family, and none of that anti-American feeling which is now growing up.”

March 19, 1936

Arrived at Zamboanga one hour before the Mayon which brought Quezon, his daughter “Baby” and a considerable suite. Walk up to market place where Assemblyman Alano introduced Quezon who spoke in Spanish. His address was on the duties of citizenship and the relations of the provinces with the Commonwealth Government; said also that whereas in the past elective officials who were guilty of misdeeds were more leniently treated than appointed officials would be–now the new government would treat them all severely since it was their own administration. Just afterwards, he proceeded to a hearing on charges of petty graft against Provincial Governor Ramos (mulcting ten pesos from policeman etc.). He gave no decision, tho’ during the hearing, Quezon suspended a stenographer and the Secretary of the Provincial Board for having falsified the record in favour of Ramos. Afterwards, Quezon told me he thought Ramos was guilty but did not know whom to appoint in his place. He gave a hearing to a Moro Datu who was opposed to military conscription. Quezon told the Datu, to the latter’s surprise, “I don’t give a damn whether you enroll or not. You will have time to study the question, and later on, if you don’t enroll something will happen.” This is in accordance with his idea that Moros are great bluffers, and will never agree with what you seem to want unless they can put you under an obligation.

Drive to San Ramon–a wonderful penal colony. Talk with Joe Cooley, who started it. He was unwise enough to go into business with an associate whom he describes as thoroughly unreliable–and with Joe Harriman the New York banker who is now in prison.

Visits to quarters of the Huntsberry, and the Tiltons–both are Lieutenants in the army.

Tea dance at the Zamboanga Club–met many old acquaintances; the most torrid heat I have ever felt. There was a big thunderstorm at night which delayed the departure of Arayat. Instead of leaving at 8 p.m. we did not get off until 2 a.m., so would be unable to keep our appointment at the mouth of the Cotobato River on the morning of March 20th–docked instead at Parang and we drove 28 kilometers over the hills on the new road across this part of Cotobato and arrived at the latter place at 12 noon. Meanwhile, the water parade which had been waiting for us at the mouth of the river had returned, much disgruntled.

From numerous conversations, I gather that the famous “Moro problem” has been “solved”– though it is still possible to have local disturbances in Jolo and Lanao. Roads are being pushed everywhere. Cotobato Moros are dirty, unkempt and doped looking–poor specimens physically. Cristianos, especially Ilocanos, are settling everywhere in this wonderful valley. Cotobato is the most hideously ugly, galvanized iron town I have ever seen. Cattle, coconuts and palay. The Provincial Engineer said that by next year we would be able to motor from Cotobato to Lanao. Rains–reception at Provincial Treasurer Palillo’s, who was outspokenly furious at the failure of Quezon to come to his merienda. I tried to pacify him. Provincial Governor Gutierrez (Major in the Constabulary) had been tried on charges of using prison labour for his own purposes, but when it turned out that the labour made the magnificent flying field which he has leased to the government for one peso a year for five years, Governor Gutierrez was acquitted and reinstated.

Secretary Quirino says he will transfer the offices of the Department of the Interior for three months of every year to Zamboanga to show the Southern Islands that they are really part of the Philippines.

I congratulated Assemblyman Tomas Confesor on his independence speech answering Pedro Guevara.

Bridge with Quezon, Doria and Felicia Howell. The President said he wanted to stay on in the Southern Islands, but he had two military reviews near Manila. I consoled him by saying that all the hard work he had put in by cultivating the American Army officers was bearing most excellent results.

Quirino said that as Secretary of the Interior, he really occupies the former position of the Governor General, having authority over all the Provincial Governors. He also reported that when Quezon came down from Baguio recently he asked him: “Why did you suspend my Major” (Gutierrez, Major of the Constabulary is the appointed Governor of Cotobato), he (Quirino) replied: “Why shouldn’t I suspend my Governor?” Secretary Quirino started life as a school teacher at the age of fifteen–and his mother then took all his salary. Some years later, he said, Isabelo de los Reyes beat him as a candidate for Senator, and at the next election retired, saying he wanted to give Quirino a chance!

Quirino said to me that my silver purchase suggestion was “gaining ground.” He also remarked that I had helped in the purchase of the Manila Railroad bonds, because I knew the “psychological background” of the English bondholders.

Talk with Alano, the Assemblyman from Zamboanga. He is the manager of the United States Rubber Company’s plantation on Basilan Island. Lawyer. Used to be stenographer for Quezon in the American Congress in 1911. He was born in province of Bulacan. He recently accepted a nomination for the Assembly simply as a matter of “civic duty,” as he is a successful lawyer and plantation manager. Said Yulo had persuaded to such effect, that he replied he was willing to serve just as a stenographer as he did twenty-five years ago in Washington. He said the Assembly would be “all right” when it met in Manila in June. They were not going to make a fight for silly privileges.

Twelve thousand crocodiles were killed last year in the Cotobato River–the hides were sent to Manila for sale.

One merchant in Cotobato claims to have exported 1½ million pesos worth of palay (rice) last year.

Bridge with Quezon, Doria and Felicia Howell–Quezon is way ahead. He plays and bids excellently.

Left Parang at 6 o’c bound for Zamboanga or Basilan. Quien sabe?

Guingona was aboard and in lively discourse with a group of Assemblymen about the very advantageous flying fields they had mapped out and were preparing in Mindanao.

Major Hutter of the United States Army Medical Corps says General MacArthur states that my administration was the best the Americans had in the Philippines. This is something of a pleasant surprise!

March 15, 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 29, 1936

Air of repose in the Executive Building—when Quezon is in Malacañan the whole place is like a beehive.

Visit from Sandiko. An interesting type, apparently of mixed ancestry: Chino and Moro. He reported on his investigation into Friar Land questions in Bulacan: says the purchase by the Government would benefit chiefly the hacendros; somewhat also the tenants who had added from two to four hundred pesos value per hectare to the land–the aparceros also would gain some slight benefit. They now pay 24-40 pesos rent per hectare which goes eventually to the hacenderos but is not entered on the estate books; if they can raise 70-80 gantas of palay per hectare, the aparceros now get only about 20-30 of it for themselves–not enough on which to raise a family. He says usury in one way or another is universal, and that a system like the “Raffeisen” must be introduced here. Says all wealthy Filipinos invest their money in land, not in industries or mines, for they know how to get much more for it thereby. He wants to break the power of landlords and to free the small man who is now a sort of slave under a feudal system. Says our Rural Credit Association under Prautch broke down because the caciques borrowed all the money intended for the aparceros, Sandiko says they may have him killed, but he is not afraid.

Visit from Don Vicente Singson, who came at Quezon’s request, to talk with me over the suggested purchase of silver at 45 cents with part of the “gold” (i.e., United States dollar) credits in the United States. Singson is opposed to this because silver is so uncertain, being now a by-product of other mining. Is in favour of a gold standard for this government. Is also strong for the Philippines having its own currency standard–free from the United States dollar, being suspicious of the latter. Two years ago, when he was Secretary of Finance, Singson went with the mission to the United States, and finally persuaded the War Department to agree to separate the currency system here, but was not informed of their decision for six months and meanwhile had left the post of Finance for private business. Says the change of system must be made while the Philippines are still under American sovereignty, so as not to alarm the public. He wishes to have a central bank here, such as has been introduced in “succession states” in Central Europe–thus making the government able to regulate and prevent raids on the gold supply. Has heretofore been opposed by other bankers here, but they have now come around to his view. Thinks Quezon does not understand these questions, and he admits it. Laughed at the Chinese irony over Kammerer’s regulations. I tols him my story of Yuan Shih Kai in 1915. Singson says he is convinced the United States will give the Philippine independence “whether the Filipinos want it or not,” and that they must prepare for it now.

Golf in p.m. at Caloocan with Fox, Jollye and Sinclair. Bridge 7-2:30 a.m. here with Guevara, Dr. Bangui and the younger Palma. Good game–they are better performers at the Culbertson system than are the English or Americans here. At supper, Guevara launched forth on his favourite subject–the absorption of the Philippines by Japan. Says that altho’ the two raced are related they really have nothing much in common–“but our grandchildren will.” Cited a recent statement by Vice-Admiral Kenkicki Takahashi, Commander in Chief of Japanese combined fleets as follows: “It is likely that Japan’s economic advance in Manchukuo, soon will reach its limits, and, therefore, the Empire’s future commercial expansion must be directed to Southern Seas, with Formosa or the mandated islands of the Equatorial Pacific as bases. In such event, the cruising radius of the Japanese Navy must quickly be expanded so as to reach New Guinea, Borneo and Celebes.”

February 6, 1936

The President names all but one of the Judges of the Court of Appeals–good selections, made in accordance with recommendations of the Supreme Court, and various Bar Associations. It now appears that the undue deliberation in the selection was owing to Quezon’s desire to make the public understand that there would be no “politics” in his courts. Even so, I think he overplayed his hand. I saw Francisco Delgado and congratulated him–he replied that his acceptance was at a considerable financial sacrifice–I said “of course”–he replied that when, years ago, I offered to appoint him a Judge, he could decline but now every citizen must do what he was able to help their own new Government.

In the afternoon, I had a bridge party–Rafael Palma, Pedro Guevara, Colonel Lim, Angel Tuason, Jose Reyes, Zamora and Nazario–they play really expert Culbertson bridge.

January 22, 1936

Only a short time at office. Played bridge in p.m. with Pedro Guevara, Tuason, Nicasio and Reyes. I have laryngitis, and can hardly speak. Home and to bed, where I stayed until January 26 with a severe attack of “tonsilitis” or perhaps “dengue” –had no doctor.

The papers are attacking Quezon freely for receiving the bandit Asedillo and allowing him to be taken back to his province by the Governor of Tayabas in Nº 1 car –thus making a hero of him. However, Quezon is extremely wise in showing such energetic determination to put own banditry in the provinces and graft in the government. Both have increased in recent times out of all measure, and much more so than is publicly understood. Whether this is due to (a) the prospective change to a Commonwealth Government or (b) the dreamy mentality of Murphy plus his absorption in his own career as a promoter of Christian ethics, or (c) to the “get rich quick” mood of the times in the Philippines ( hard times following a great sugar boom) is hard to say –possibly all three. But Quezon is placing emphasis upon public order, and he knows how to secure it –his method of “getting” the bandit leaders out here is, in the end, always the successful one in the Philippines.

January 6, 1936

At the office in the morning Hoskins was discussing the landlord and tenant situation. He said that with rice (palay) selling at 3 pesos a ganta the peasant, who gets one-half share from his landlord can just manage to make both ends meet –but with palay at its present price of 1.50 pesos they cannot make a living; that often a man borrows at the rate of 80 centavos a ganta in the planting season and has to deliver the palay six months later to his creditor (Chino or Cacique) when it is worth 3 pesos. He explained the slow growth of the country banks and the country branches of the Philippine National Bank of which he is a director. Also discussed the currency situation and advocated the purchase of silver at the present price of 45 cents and the issue of silver certificates against the same.

In the afternoon at Malacañan from 4-7. Quezon was rather tired and appeared absorbed in refitting the Palace; he is making a new entrance on the street side and all quarters on that side, including the dining room are to be for the use of his wife and children; the old ball room is to be made into a banquet sala; the bedroom where Kiko (my son F.B.H. Jr.) was born in 1921 is now Quezon’s library and office; the downstairs floor-space by the river is to be made into a “club” with bridge tables, dance floor and bar; land on opposite side of the Pasig River is to be bought and made into a park; a new building is to be erected on the opposite bank of the river with guest rooms on the top floor, and the President’s office and that of the Council of State on the ground floor. Thus he hopes to make the (old) Palace “habitable for his family”! He received Ed. Harrison and Baroness Von Hagen who are to be married soon; she had just arrived in Manila preceded by a newspaper blast announcing her as a “criminologist.”

The President said he was quizzing Supreme Court Justices daily to find out whether they placed “human” rights on an equality with “property” rights; that he was going to have on that bench only justices who would interpret the Constitution in the spirit of the age in which it was written; that Recto thought as he (Quezon) did; that he might have to get ride of one or two of those old Justices.

Quezon also said he was about to “explode a bomb” tomorrow or the day after, because he was going to suspend the leases obtained over 1,300,000 acres of land in the Philippine oil fields by a syndicate composed (incidentally!) of four or five of his best friends (Buencamino, Luz, &c) that the son of Osmeña was one of them and had been selling some worthless stock in his company; that he would force them to go to the courts over their leases –that he would fight the monopoly. I told him that the heads of both the Asiatic Petroleum and Socony had told me in recent months that they did not believe there was any paying oil in the district.

He also told me he had changed his plans for the reorganization of the government –that he was going to make Manuel Roxas Secretary of Finance and turn the reorganization over to him. (This lets me out of this complicated task.)

The President asked me to make a thorough study of the Landlord & Tenant situation. To go about the provinces and examine. That he wanted me to do it because any Filipino whom he might delegate would belong to one class or the other (i.e., landlord or tenant) or be influenced by it. That I could have what assistance I needed, and could choose either to be associated openly with Secretary of Labor Torres (the nominal head) or go at it without being known to be employed on that research. When I asked him whether he would be willing to tax the large estates (Friar &c) out of existence, he said he positively intended to –I advised him that he must get a law first fixing rents and the tenure of holdings for the tenants.

He asked me to go up to Cabuyao tomorrow with him to see the farm there which he owns, and on which he intends to build a nipa house, and to farm.

Also said that if his health lasted, he would in three years have a “model government” here.

Quezon was interested in Whittall’s suggestion (via me) to have a visitors book in Malacañan similar to those in English “Government Houses.”

He talked of moving Bilibid prison immediately; stating that the law authorized him to sell it but that to buy the new site he would have to use the funds of the National Development Co. and then face the Legislature on this. Is going to make a park out of Bilibid grounds, for he felt it was a crime not to have more parks in a tropical city like Manila; and if the municipal board would not agree to this, he would “get rid” of them. He not only wants several more parks in Manila but said also he was going to transform Harrison Park.

Afterwards played bridge with Quezon, Guevara, Zamora and Karadag.

Quezon left for twenty minutes treatment by his doctor; he is always worried by a draft or by any cool air, and wears more clothes than anyone else in the tropics.

December 14, 1935

Saturday –Quezon away at Canlubang, presumably staying with the Ehrmans. Garfinkel, Vargas and Nick are all dashing about trying to meet the President’s sudden decision to change his office to that formerly occupied by Secretary Franks; they are also pushing work on a new office to be called the library in Malacañan Palace.

Bridge with Zeitlin and Colonel Lim at Pedro Guevara’s house. Pedro told me that if a vote were taken in the Philippines on the proposal he made as Resident Commissioner for a permanent Protectorate by the United States, he would win. Thinks it will come about, anyway.

October 13, 1935

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

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

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

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