June 25, 1942

Quezon is very much exercised because he found that the Army Intelligence Service had discovered that Colonel Andres Soriano, his Secretary of Finance, had been one of Franco’s fascists. And now they were investigating the loyalty of Soriano and of Quezon himself. Quezon busy dictating a strong letter of protest to Secretary of War Stimson. The letter was sent by hand. Quezon called the Secretary of War personally on the telephone, and Stimson replied: “Don’t take them seriously.” Quezon: “But I do–very.” Stimson: “Well, then, let me tell you a story: when I entered the Army in 1917 they at once put me in the intelligence division. The first afternoon I was there, I read that every second man I knew was a ‘spy.’ I’ll call in General Strong and give him hell.” Quezon added that the Army Intelligence is also investigating a foreign ambassador in Washington.

Pacific War Council that day.

Roosevelt said that the reason the Atlantic Charter had omitted all reference to freedom of religion was because neither Churchill, (who was present at the meeting) nor he, had thought enough about religion to remember to put it in. (N.B. this was disingenuous in view of the photograph published at the time showing Churchill and Roosevelt sitting side-by-side on the deck of the Prince of Wales singing each from a hymn book.) Roosevelt added: “Churchill and I forgot it–that is the fact, but I couldn’t very well admit that.”

Roosevelt remarked that King Peter of Yugoslavia was interested only in the Hollywood girls. “I’ll have to send for a couple of them.”

Quezon says that at the Pacific War Council Churchill looked across the table in a puzzled way at him, but when he heard Roosevelt refer to him by name, he had a look of interest and after the meeting, came around the table and shook hands saying: “I’ve never had a chance to meet you before and I am very glad of the present opportunity to congratulate you on the gallant fight put up by your people. We consider it to have been a very great contribution to the war effort.”

Harry Hopkins said to Quezon: “I see you are the best dressed man on the Council.” The Minister from New Zealand expressed doubt. Quezon replied: “I heard a radio speech in English from a Japanese saying that the Filipinos had lost all their virtues as Oriental people due to the influence of Spain and the United States. All that they care about now is to be well-dressed, so that people will look at them.” Hopkins got quite red–he has no sense of humour, which Roosevelt, on the other hand, has in such abundance.

Roosevelt minimized the taking of the two outermost of the Aleutian Islands by the Japanese, but added: “I don’t know what my friend Mackenzie King thinks of it–he lives nearer than I do.” Mackenzie King did not seem to be so unconcerned over it as was Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was asked if he was sure of the victory of his party in the coming Congressional elections–he said “Well–no. But I was Governor of New York with a Republican Senate, a Republican House; and I think I can kid them along.”

National Defense Act of the Philippines. Quezon said: “As soon as I had agreed with the President and Congressional leaders on a new independence law (Tydings-Mc-Duffie Act) which eliminated the provision for keeping the United States Army in the Philippines after independence should be attained, I realized the responsibility we had assumed for the defense of the Philippines. During the last world war, we had organized a Philippine National Guard, but American Army leaders had never encouraged the maintenance of this. So, this time, I realized that my first task would be to prepare the Philippines when free to assume the responsibility for its own defense. I went at once to see General Douglas MacArthur in Washington; he was the best informed–the one man to advise me. The following conversation ensued:

“Q.: ‘General, I wish to ask you some questions and I hope you will answer them fully or not at all–be very frank. Do you think the Philippines if independent can be effectively defended against a first class power?’

“MacA.: ‘I not only think so, but I know so.’

“Q.: ‘Would you be willing to assume the responsibility of preparing the Philippines to defend itself?’

“MacA.: ‘Yes, if the President will allow me.’

“Q.: ‘How much do you think it would cost?’

“MacA.: ‘How much are you now spending on the Constabulary?’

“Q.: ‘About 6,000,000 pesos annually.’

“MacA.: ‘Add to that 10,000,000 pesos each year for ten years–it can be done.’

“Q.: ‘Yes. If I am elected president, that very day I will wire inviting you to come to the Philippines at once.’

“We next agreed that an American law then in force authorizing the President to send, on request, military missions to the South American countries should be amended to extend also to the Philippines.”

Quezon added to me: “I saw Roosevelt again and asked him to let me have MacArthur, and to have this law amended; that was done before I left Washington.

“I was then very much encouraged as to our national defense problem. I believed every word MacArthur said, and felt very confident. But I suspected that the War Department was not very enthusiastic over our plan; I felt this still more so when my friend General Harbord came to Manila a couple of years later; he said nothing about the Philippine Army–either for or against.

“Back in the Philippines, I went for everybody who criticized our National Defense Act. But when in 1939, I saw Czecho-Slovakia and Poland fall–saw Germany defeat them so easily though they had far more by way of defense than we could acquire even at the end of ten years, I began to weaken. I then told the Cabinet that I feared I was spending more money on the National Defense than was justified. If nations like Poland and Czecho-Slovakia can be overwhelmed so quickly, it is possible they would also do it to us. Better, perhaps for us not to waste so much money.

“So, I began to hesitate; I told MacArthur and Sayre. Upon one occasion I made a statement to newspaper men that I was not as confident as I had been before of the ability of an independent Philippines to defend itself against a first class power. MacArthur did not contradict my newspaper statement, but he never lost faith in his work. I called him before the Cabinet and told him my doubts as to the effectiveness of our plans. He replied that he had always taken it for granted that our own defense would be implemented by the United States Navy.

“Of course, my concern was not over the situation of the Philippines so long as we remained under the flag of the United States. I felt first, that no other nation would dare to attack the United States, and, second, that in case of attack, we would not have to rely upon ourselves alone, that the prime responsibility for the Philippines would rest on the United States. Whatever we might have would be just that much help.

“At the beginning of November 1940, I gave notice to all Americans in the service of the Commonwealth that I could not commit myself to them beyond my own term of Office–so they all had a year’s notice before the election of November 10, 1941. I added: ‘I am not a candidate for re-election.’ I had no disagreement whatever with MacArthur; I intended to keep him but would not commit myself or tell him so. He asked me ‘What will you do if you are re-elected?’ I refused to explain and said to him, ‘If you find something you find more satisfactory, take it.’

“The result of the election of November 1941 was much bigger than before. Only Sumulong ran against me. He died later when I was in Corregidor.”


June 11, 1936

Arrived early in Jolo. The party went off to tour the island, while Quezon took me swimming to a beach half an hour by motor from Jolo, an ideal strand and cool crystal water. This is the only proper swimming place we have yet found. We were followed by Major Gallardo and six soldiers, who were posted at sharpest attention facing back from the beach on to the jungle. There have been three killings this week in Jolo–one of a soldier by a juramentado. Quezon found the water rather too cold, but was exhilarated by the spur of it. We were taken there by a Spanish mestizo formerly in government service in Manila who now owns the electric light plant in Jolo. The President introduced him as the “Rockefeller of Jolo” and said to him: “you have made millions out of the Moros”–to which he replied: “no Sir! out of the cristianos, because the Moros go to bed immediately after dinner!” Quezon roared, and said: “Now this man is a friend of mine.”

We talked of General Wood, and Quezon said: “When I write my history of his administration here people will say I was prejudiced, but Wood wished to sell the whole Philippines. He was also so anxious to make friends with the Moros that he told the Constabulary not to shoot at them”–“the result was that a few years ago the Moros massacred nearly a whole company of Constabulary here in Jolo, and killed all the officers; the only survivors were those who were the fastest runners”–“I do not feel any rancour against General Wood, only pity.”

The Sultan of Sulu has just died, and the question of the perpetuation of the “Sultanate” is raised. His brother is the claimant tho his niece Dayang-Dayang wishes to be Sultan. Quezon says she is, by far, the ablest of the Moros, and is married to Datu Umbra. (I remember her telling me 20 years ago how she had fought against the American army in the trenches at the battle of Bud Daho.) The Mohammedan law, so far as I know, does not permit of a woman being Sultan, but anyhow the late Sultan surrendered a large part of his political sovereignty to General Bliss in 1903 (?) and finally to Carpenter in 1915. “Much greater surrender of rights to Carpenter” said Quezon. He told me Governor Fort of Jolo wished the government to select the Sultan, but Guingona stopped his making this blunder before it was too late. There is to be a conference at 10 a.m. today to settle this question; Quezon said he would recognize the Sultan only as the religious head. I asked him whether it would not be easier to do as the English and Dutch do? “No! not at the expense of good government. My first thought is always of that.” (An excellent and characteristic bit of philosophy).

He is now talking confidentially with Mrs. Rogers (a German mestiza who is the wife of a former Governor of Jolo, and is the source of much of his information here). I heard him say: “If you were a man, I would make you Governor of Jolo.” I asked Mrs Rogers if there were any dances at Jolo? “No! only killings.”

Quezon told me that Osmeña made a speech during the late political campaign denouncing him for his fight against Governor General Wood, and stating that he (Osmeña) had only taken part “as a matter of discipline.” Quezon remarked: “I was very glad to learn this–they were scared.” To my question, he said “I forced the Cabinet to resign.”

I told Quezon that the closest parallel to his constructive work was that of Mustapha Kemal in Turkey, who has given perhaps the best example today of government work in modernizing and organizing an Asiatic race. He replied: ”Yes! he is more like me than anybody else.” He has evidently been studying Kemal’s career. Quezon added: “the chief difference between us is the religious one–he is a Mohammedan and I a Christian.” I remarked that Kemal had separated Church and State. “Yes, but the religious difference between us, however superficial the religion of each of us, permits him a different behaviour. We both love to gamble, but I refrain from doing so–Kemal seeks his excitement, when government affairs are quiet, in the underworld, drinking with the lowest men and frequenting the coarsest women.” I remarked: “Well, Kemal is not a gentleman.” Quezon replied “Neither am I,–I come from the common people.” He went on to say that Kemal, like himself had an “unbalanced nervous character,” but while Kemal satisfied his tendencies in abovementioned ways, Quezon restrained himself. He agreed with my remark that he (Quezon) would not be so well if he did not have all these troubles and excitements of political life with which to contend.

The President then talked of the Philippine Army. I said that if they had not taken away from us the National Guard which he and I organized in 1917-18 (Air Corps and submarine also) we would be better off here now. “Yes,” he replied, “our work would now be partly accomplished.” We spoke of the parade on the Luneta in which I led the National Guard division in review before him. Quezon said “Wasn’t that splendid! I want you and myself to review at least one hundred thousand Filipino soldiers before the end of my administration; many of our rich people here don’t want to pay for protection! But this will cure the inferiority complex of the Filipinos.” He spoke of the fine soldiers now here on the wharf, and we agreed that these fellows were “killers.”

There has been only one typhoon in Jolo in 80 years–that of 1932, which took off most of the roofs in the town.

I asked him (Quezon) again about the 5 torpedo boat vessels he has ordered from Italy, and he said they were exceedingly fast and quite cheap, adding: “these are the boats with which Mussolini scared the British Navy out of the Mediterranean.”

Bridge in p.m.; at night a ball in the Park pavilion in Zamboanga. I went with Osmeña. Major General Holbrook was there, having brought three planes down from Manila. The steamer sailed early in the morning for Manila direct, cutting out the Culion (leper colony) part of the program because many of the Assemblymen are prone to seasickness.