April 29-May 1, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon back from three weeks rest at Miami as guest of the military intelligence service. Originally he had planned to have me spend a fortnight with him to “finish his book” but on arrival there with his family he wired me there was no room available for me in the house which was provided for him. The real reason, however, as Trepp tells me, is that he was absolutely tired out, and spent the whole three weeks sleeping, resting and playing two-handed bridge. Dr. Trepp says that Quezon is in “good physical condition” but he, Trepp, does not know whether the President will live to get back to the Philippines if that is delayed four or five years longer. Quezon is already homesick, and much depressed by this “global strategy” which has postponed the prosecution of the Pacific War in favour of the European theatre. Trepp says Quezon is “wearing down.” He admits it is chiefly a question of spirit, and on this count, Quezon is getting gradually to realize how the cards are stacked against him and his country. Also he is deeply worried as to whether the Filipino leaders will continue to stand by him or whether they are provoked because Quezon and his family are safe in Washington while they are suffering under the Japanese occupation.

I had only two sizeable conversations with Quezon in these three days. A good deal of our talk was over the attempt he is about to make, after an hour’s conversation he had April 27th with Sumner Welles to get the Administration to pledge itself to two or three principles essential to the future security of the Philippines after the Japanese are expelled. The first of this is the acceptance by the United States after the Philippine Republic is set up, of naval and air bases in the Islands; the ground forces of the air bases to be supplied by the Filipinos. Second, an appropriation of $600,000,000 by the United States to rehabilitate the Philippines, which Quezon thinks would repair all essential damage done by the Japanese and also allow the Filipinos to industrialize the Islands. Third, support by the United States Government of quota laws on immigration into the Philippines in order “to maintain our occidental, Christian civilization.” (This last, of course, refers to Chinese immigration.)

Quezon expressed his present determination to retire at the end of the two years term of his second presidency which will expire November 15, 1943. He gave very sound reasons why he is determined to observe the constitutional provision under which he was elected for a second term of two years, but I told him I did not believe the “United States Government” would allow him to do this. Roosevelt has the power to suspend the Philippine constitution and after his message to Quezon on Corregidor of December 28, 1941, promising “to redeem and protect the independence of the Philippines” had done little since to carry out this promise.

Quezon says MacArthur states that, if, after Pearl Harbor, the United States had delivered an all-out attack on the Japanese with the two task forces in the Pacific, which survived the Pearl Harbor disaster, plus sufficient naval forces then on duty in the Atlantic, Japan could have been defeated at that time.

Roosevelt had agreed, however, to all the propositions of Churchill, when the latter came to Washington about New Year of 1942, to concentrate the first efforts of America and Great Britain on Hitler. Hence the present “global strategy.”

While I was present with him, Quezon received visits from Generals Stilwell and Chennault and also from the Foreign Minister of Australia, Dr. Herbert V. Evatt. They all had received an unsatisfactory answer from Roosevelt as to sufficient aid to MacArthur.

All of this weighs with increasing depression upon the bright hopes with which Quezon came to the United States in May of 1942. It is breaking his spirit.

He is intensely interested in the pro-MacArthur wave of sentiment now flooding the United States. Says MacArthur will never consider his own candidacy for the presidency if he is given the weapons and men with which to attack Japan. MacArthur has demanded 500 bombers and 450,000 men; he proposes to skip over the Netherlands Indies and get to Mindanao with air-troop transports. If refused sufficient support, he might become a candidate for the presidency–especially if he has been made to appear a martyr.

Quezon had dinner three nights ago with J. Edgar Hoover and Senator Chandler of Kentucky, the leader of the “pro-Pacific War” group in the Senate. Quezon says J. Edgar Hoover is much of the same opinion as Chandler. During this account of his dinner with them, Quezon cheered up as talked of the wonderful Kentucky ham they had eaten–far superior he thought to any so-called “Virginia ham”!

Quezon says that Roosevelt is absolutely “sold” on the Chinese, but adds that he (Q.) would rather live under Japanese rule than under the Chinese, but detests the thought of either.

The speech for which Quezon had been preparing on “Bataan Day” (April 9, 1943) was stopped by Roosevelt who thought it undesirable to commemorate an American defeat. The ceremony was to have been under the auspices of the Treasury Department as a rally to sell war bonds. So, instead of this, Quezon went a week later to Hartford, Connecticut, and spoke at the meeting in honour of General Wainwright, now a prisoner of the Japanese. Wainwright is a Connecticut man.

I tendered Quezon two invitations to come to Charlottesville to speak, but he merely shook his head. One bid was from General Wickersham to address the School of Military Government and the other was from Dabney Welford, President of the Raven Society–Welford had told me he thought that 800 students would attend for such an occasion.

It seems doubtful whether Quezon will finish his book; I turned back to him some fifty typed pages of his account of his experiences on Corregidor with my pencilled notes on it. He expressed no desire to see it. I asked Trepp why Quezon had not wanted to complete his book at Miami and Trepp replied: “He has no mental discipline.”

Quezon said that when he came to Washington in the early summer of 1937 and asked the President for independence in 1938 or 1939, he told Roosevelt how the Japanese had approached him on various occasions asking for “neutralization” of the Philippines, which would have meant withdrawal of the United States forces in case of independence. Roosevelt refused to entertain this idea though expressing himself as in general favour of “neutralization.”

When Quezon first arrived with MacArthur on Christmas eve, 1941, at Corregidor, Quezon wired Roosevelt stating that it was already evident that the Philippines could not be successfully defended, and equally evident that no immediate relief from the United States was to be expected, therefore he requested Roosevelt to authorize him to approach both Roosevelt and the Japanese, asking that the armed forces of both be withdrawn from the Islands. It was in connection with that request that Roosevelt wired authorizing MacArthur to disband the Filipino Army if Quezon requested it, and at the same time wired Quezon that he pledged the entire resources in men and materials of the United States, so that the freedom of the Filipinos should be redeemed and their independence established and protected. This was the first time that the United States had ever agreed (tho only by presidential announcement) to protect their independence. It was on this basis that the battle of Bataan was fought–at least, so far as the important participation of the Philippine Army was concerned.

During all these years of political struggle for the independence of the Philippines neither Quezon nor I had ever considered a protectorate possible–nor that the United States would consent to it. Quezon says: “Nobody fought the American imperialists more constantly and vigorously than I did–but now I would prefer to have them there–so long as they let us have back what we had already gained, and allow us to make our own laws. They will never send another Governor General nor High Commissioner to the Philippines.”

Quezon said that in his visit to him the day before, Dr. Evatt, the Foreign Minister of Australia, was in a cold rage against the English. Evatt reacted to the coining of the tricky phrase “global strategy” just as I (F.B.H.) had done. Evatt said that when Australia was threatened with invasion by the Japanese, the English would not send back the Australian troops until after the battle of El Alamein, and then returned them with only the clothing in which they stood–not one item of equipment. Evatt was going directly to England to tell Churchill exactly how the Australian troops felt about it. From my own acquaintance with Evatt I have no doubt that he did just that.

Quezon did not believe the English will make much of an effort in the Far East after Hitler is beaten; he quoted Churchill’s recent address in which he stated that after victory over the Germans, England would partially demobilize. But, all the same, even if the English leave the job in the Pacific chiefly to the Americans, Quezon is, for the first time in his life, friendly to the English and would be willing to co-operate with them and with the United States in the projects for future security in the Pacific. This is something very new for Quezon, who has always detested the English imperialists. He has heard from me many times how the United States originally took over the Philippines at the instigation of England, and against President McKinley’s wishes, but as part of the balance of power, and to avoid a war in 1899 with Germany. Also how the English have always exerted secret pressure on the United States to hold the Philippines as a means of maintaining the balance of power.

Quezon told me at great length of his conversation on April 27, 1943, with Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles, which took a full hour, and in which they apparently reached complete agreement. Quezon began by reading to Welles a quotation from a recent address in which Welles had said: “It can never be made too clear nor reiterated too often, that the foreign policy of the people of the United States exactly like their domestic policies, should only be determined from the standpoint of what the American people believe is their real, their practical, self-interest. Our foreign policy must not be based upon emotional altruism or sentimental aspirations.”

Quezon then proceeded to show Welles what the practical self-interest of the United States in the Far East would be, Pearl Harbor has proven to be ineffective to protect United States strategy. The United States, he advises, should take all the mandated islands and make the Philippines their outpost in any plan of defense in the Pacific. Of course he (Q.) knew that he spoke only as a layman, and the General Staffs would have to decide all these plans. Welles interrupted to say that the United States could not take the mandated islands, since that would be contrary to their public professions. That the mandated islands would have to be under international ownership, but the Americans should administer them. With this Quezon agreed, remarking that from the point of view of what he had come to say, it would amount to the same thing.

Quezon then went on to develop his ideas to Welles, stating that a condition precedent to all further agreements should be that the Philippine Republic be recognized by the United States as soon as the Japanese were expelled from the Islands.

He then quoted Roosevelt’s cablegram to him in Corregidor that freedom would be regained and protected, etc.

Quezon finally stated that this was his own last year of office as President, that he had yielded last time to the demand for re-election, but only on the basis of two years more, when Osmeña could succeed him. He would not stultify the position he had then so publicly assumed, that Osmeña had been included on the ticket on his (Quezon’s) own insistence, for Osmeña was only leader of a minority of the Nacionalista party. He was determined to retire on December 31, 1943. He now asked that the United States come to an agreement on future plans for the Philippines and now wait for the end of the war, so that Quezon could retire in the knowledge that he had completed his program for the Philippines.

What he asked was:

(1)  That the United States accept airfields and naval bases in his country (Welles stated that the Army and Navy were in favour of that); that the Filipinos furnish the ground forces for the airfields, and pay their men insofar as they were able.

(2)  That the United States contribute $600,000,000 for the rehabilitation of the Philippines.

(3)  That the Philippine Republic be supported by the United States in maintaining the quota systems established for immigration by the Philippine Commonwealth, so that they could sustain and preserve their own form of civilization.

Welles said he was in agreement with all of these propositions, and if Quezon would write him a letter to that effect, he would present the matter to the President within a week.

Quezon commented to me that the sum he asked for rehabilitation would be sufficient, and would also allow them to industrialize, and that fifty years hence there would be 50,000,000 Filipinos, able to defend themselves.


August 24, 1942

Quezon, whom I had not seen for nearly a month, looks well but complains that he cannot make any great effort; and that his blood pressure is still very high. He spends most of the day in a silk dressing wrapper. He was closeted in his room for some time with Carlos Romulo, whom he afterwards characterized to me as politically “foolish” but adds that Romulo is a man who carries out everything entrusted to him.

He was very much aroused because of the proposed showing of an old film depicting the Philippine Constabulary in process of being cut to pieces by Moros until rescued by an American Army officer. Protested to J. Davies who is head of one of these propaganda organizations. Davies said he would at once look into it. But Quezon sat down and wrote a hot letter to the film director. Quezon denounced this attempt to show the Filipinos as cowards, (after this war in the Philippines) and added that he understood the director is a man “of Jewish race,” and that he, Quezon, considered this a poor return for his having opened the shores of the Philippines to the Jewish refugees, and for having himself given several acres of his own land to the Jews to help them to make a living. The movie director replied saying that he had withdrawn the film.

Then I had a long talk with him about his book. He stopped writing when he was in New York some two weeks ago, and retired to Leesburg to rest because he was tired. Canceran had told me that in New York he would begin dictating at 4:30 a.m. and they would not get breakfast until eleven. Quezon blamed Shuster and me for having allowed him to write so much of his personal biography and made him appear boastful–incidents of his youthful success as a runner, prizes at school, etc. He has been busy recently striking out all these passages from the galley proofs of his book which Shuster is setting up as he gets the ms. I pointed out to him that in June of this year I had worked ten hours a day for thirty days to get his book ready, under pressure from him and Shuster. Then when I submitted it to him for revision he had found a couple of mistakes I had made in putting his story on paper. That I had secured from him some account of his childhood and youth to introduce him personally to the American public, and to give a pungent background to his remarkably successful career. That he had so greatly enjoyed reviving memories of his youth that he had gone ahead with this quite independently of me. We had been talking all the time of a second book later on, in which he could really let himself go. That for nothing in the world would I stop him from recording his reminiscences, even tho they were not to go in this book. He admitted the truth of all this, but said he had decided never to write his own biography, that these things made him look ridiculous. That somebody else could write his biography (apparently not I), and he does not give me the long passages he had written or dictated about his personal life. I replied that I had been telling him for years that I was collecting materials for a biography of him, and he replied that I had better let him see what I was to write. I told him that there had been only three or four great autobiographies in the whole history of literature, and that to be really great at it a man must discard all concern as to what anybody would think of his character, and simply try to tell the truth. That I considered it fortunate that he had discovered mistakes in my ms. of this book, because that prompted him to write it all himself, which he could do a thousand times better than I could.

As for Shuster, I said that an editor learned from experience that when he persuades a man to write his first book, if he snubbed his excursions into matter not necessarily suitable, the author might throw up the whole job.

Quezon is a hard man to convince, but I think he was persuaded by this argument. He began dictating a third and fourth letter to Shuster telling him what to strike out but advising him to keep the surplus parts of personal biography for use at some future time. Then he set to work for some hours, striking out a good part of the galley proofs–much of which, I think, was quite unsuitable for the purposes of this topical war book. He called me in from time to time to read me the political parts he had written since I last saw him.

With this, I think his flagging interest in the book began to revive. It will be all the better if he now continues, though he will find it much harder to write of the serious events of the war and of his preparations for defense, than he did with the scenes of his early life which served an escapist purpose for his mind in these extremely troubled times.

He was particularly interested in reading me what he had written in favour of a “Dominion status” for the Philippines. Said he had often been accused by Americans of being secretly against independence but he had in 1916 supported the Clarke amendment in Congress for independence tho Osmeña had not. (Osmeña came to me in the Ayuntamiento one day in 1916 and was in the greatest distress and excitement–trembling–told me of the introduction of the Clarke amendment, and proposed to do all he could to defeat it. I told him: ‘D. Sergio, you have been going up and down the Philippines for years advocating independence. Now that it is offered to you, if you oppose it, the Filipino people will smear you on the wall.’ Quezon says nevertheless that Osmeña cabled him to oppose it.) In support of the principles of the Clarke amendment, Quezon says now that this would have given them independence in 1918 or 1920. That there was then, as yet, no great sugar industry in the Philippines so there would have been no powerful opposition to free trade in the United States; that the Americans would have wished to keep open their free market for shoes and machinery in the Philippines. The Jones bill, to which the Clarke amendment was added in the Senate made no provision for trade restriction in America for Philippine commerce. So the Filipinos, if made independent in 1918 would not have suffered any economic earthquake, and could have gone to work to prepare themselves for military self-protection.

In his plans for a Dominion status, he still would not have had a single American in uniform in the parts of the Islands which is government administered, but he would be willing to give the United States such small islands as they needed for their air bases, etc. He seemed anxious to have my views of what he had written on Dominion status, adding that this was the first time he had made a public statement to that effect. He wanted to know whether I thought it was all right him to make such a statement. I replied that in present conditions in the world, it was all right, and that for some years before the war, I had never given any weight to this proposition because I did not then for a moment believe that the United States would accept responsibility without power. Nor did he. But the invasion and occupation of the Islands by the Japanese had changed the whole political situation. For him now to advocate Dominion status would be merely the logical result of the choice of the United States which he made during those days of extreme anxiety, first at Mariquina and then on Corregidor, when he considered if new leaders were now arising in the Philippines. He replied that he was old (just 64) and could not answer for such a development. I asked him if the Filipinos would be in favour of his policy of Dominion status and he said “No.”

He got busy on the telephone talking in Spanish to Under Secretary of State Welles, offering to make a radio address to the Latin American States now that Brazil has joined the war. The suggestion was accepted. He also received an invitation to dine at the White House tomorrow evening.

He later sent a letter to Shuster explaining that he was not interested in any profits which might come to him from the book, altho he left the Philippines practically penniless. He wanted Shuster to be trustee for any such profits and to devote them to public purposes after the war, but if he were to die meanwhile, and his family were in want, that fact should be taken into consideration.

He then returned to the subject of his reminiscences. Told of his first “fighting speech” in the Washington House of Representatives which was in opposition to President Taft’s “Friar Land Purchase Bill”–in the middle of his speech, Crumpacker interrupted him to enquire what his colleague thought of it. Quezon replied: “I don’t know. Ask him. He is present”–but old Benito Legarda had slipped out. Quezon added “my colleague was a patriot, but he did not forget what was convenient.” When he got to their lodgings after his speech, Legarda embraced him and said “You were magnificent. Because you are so brilliant, I wish to save you. Don’t do it–don’t run your head against a stone wall. They will ruin you.” Quezon replied: “There will be other presidents after Taft.” “Yes,” said Legarda “but they’ll all be the same.” Quezon answered: “Well, I thank you very much Don Benito but remember: there is nothing so sad as a man’s not being able to return to his own country.” Legarda was not re-elected by the Philippine Assembly, went to Paris and died there, and never saw his native land again.

Quezon contrasted my action (immediately after the defeat of our party in 1920), in sending to President Wilson my resignation effective on his last day of office, with that of Governor Forbes, who was in the United States when Wilson was first elected, and went back to Manila, to be later ousted by President Wilson. Also Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. who as Governor General made a campaign speech practically accusing his cousin the President of being a crook. Then after F.D.R. was elected, T.R. Jr. offered to stay on in his post. F.D.R. replied thanking him for his devotion to his public office, but relieving him and making the Vice Governor acting. I observed that T.R. Jr. was very foolish. Quezon replied: “He’s worse that that–he’s stupid.”

In p.m. August 24th had a conversation with Mrs Quezon and Mrs. Marcos Roces, widow of the captain who was my a.d.c. in the Philippine National Guard in 1917. Her brother-in-law Don Alejandro Roces has been in recent years the most intimate friend of the Quezon family in the Philippines–at all their fiestas, or on the yacht Casiana or at Baguio with them. In the past, Roces had fought Quezon savagely with his newspapers. The first mission confided to me by Quezon when I became his Adviser in 1935 was to go as “ambassador” to Don Alejandro in his newspaper office and negotiate a treaty of peace between two doughty opponents. (See my diary for Nov. ’35.)

Mrs. Quezon does not believe the Japanese have done general damage in the Philippines since the occupation of Manila. The Japanese who acts as “G.G.” is occupying the Quezon house in Pasay, which was undamaged in the bombing.

She feels quite lost at having nothing to do nowadays. Had not only a busy life looking out for Malacañan Palace, but also for their houses in Baguio, Pasay, Mariquina, Quezon City, Cabuyao and Tagaytay.

But, when her children were fairly grown up or at school, Mrs. Quezon asked her husband to allow her to see what she could do as a farmer of her 600 hectare farm near Mount Arayat in Cabuyao. The first thing was to get irrigation water from the system in the Candaba swamp, adjoining the farm; but Quezon refused to authorize the extension of the government irrigation system in order to irrigate his wife’s farm. However she persuaded him to have a survey made, so that it was shown that such extension would benefit many thousands of hectares belonging to other persons in that vicinity.

Sugar farming had been abandoned there by Felipe Buencamino, so Mrs. Quezon started with 200 hectares of rice paddy. Then she got a Japanese manager and planted 25 hectares in ramie, a Chinese plant which can furnish rubber and also a fibre from which both “linen” and “silk” fabric can be made. The Japanese in the Ohta Development Company in Mindanao had made a great success of this fibre. It is stronger than abaca and cuts one’s hand when trying to break it. The fibre is about three feet long and makes stronger parachutes than does silk. The Japanese send to London the linen they make of it–the most beautiful sold in England.

The ramie plant is about 5 feet high, and the suckers must be cut four times a year. The leaf is heart-shaped and is silvery underneath. The fibre sells for 40-50 pesos per picul and the income is sixteen times as great as that from sugar cane. The cost of production is 20% of the gross revenue. From her 25 hectares, Mrs Quezon was getting 32,000 pesos net profit a year. It gives continuous employment to labourers throughout the year. Her ambition was to have 50 hectares of ramie. The Japanese have a special knack in this cultivation; it requires dry land, but must have irrigation.

Mrs. Quezon has had in recent years a very active and profitable life as businesswoman; was on one or two boards of mining companies, with, for two or three years an income of 1,200 pesos a month from Acoje mine (she helped to discover this chromium mine herself). In Quezon City she owned a grocery store and a drugstore; just before the invasion she had paid 20,000 pesos for beginning construction of the first cinema there; she owned also apartments and two houses in Quezon City.

She likewise owns three pescarias, or fish ponds, in Guagua, Pampanga, which yield two nettings a year; the fry are put in when the size of mosquito wigglers and in six months are foot long; 3-4,000 fish at a haul, which go fresh to market in baskets. The ponds are salt water, but are kept brackish. It is really curious how superior in business matters the Filipinas are to the average Filipino men.

She feels very deeply the interruption of her business life.

Major (Dr.) Cruz, who was present, is superintendent of the hospital she built near her farm in Pampanga. He told us that there was now news that the “communists” there had gone over to co-operation with the Japanese, as the Sakdalistas around Laguna also had, from the beginning, already done. Mrs. Quezon remarked: “A good thing, then they will no longer be communists.” Cruz observed they had never really been communists, but merely followers of Pedro Abad Santos, who is himself somewhat inclined that way. They followed him because of their grievances against the landlords. They had killed two or three of the leading landlords in recent years. There are, thinks Cruz, about 15,000 of them, including their families, in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Pangasinan.

Quezon says that Americans owned the sugar in Cuba and they brought on the war against Spain.

He remarked that Osmeña had perfect physical courage; is quite imperturbable; but has no “moral courage.”

While playing two bridge hands tonight he made mistakes–quite unusual for him–he was abstracted, and admitted he was thinking of Romulo.

Once more we agreed that the American school system in the Islands had been in some respects a failure, especially in the teaching of English, which gets worse and worse. Quezon said that while he was lying ill of TB in his house in Baguio, with a Filipina as trained nurse, she told him one morning that the “Press” was there to see him. He said: “Tell them to go to Hell”–the man at the door, who overheard, was Father Tamayo, the head of the Dominicans, where Quezon had been educated. The nurse had said “priest” as if it was “press.” Quezon easily explained this later to Tamayo.


June 22, 1942

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon returned from a conference with Secretary Ickes, whom he greatly likes.

He is getting more interested every day in composing ideas for his book, which I am glad to see. Today, he expressed his wish not to have any controversial subjects in this war story, but will save them for the biography he wishes to write later. He may insert Japanese atrocity stories of their invasion of the Philippines, but only “as told to him”–not as being of his knowledge true. This settles neatly a ticklish question of policy.

Quezon observed that Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Welles is more “effective” than our old friend Hull, and believes it best to sound him out first on any plans for the future of the Philippines.

Stated that he had told ex-Vice Governor Hayden that in his book he had been so kind about him that he felt he could say in criticism only that Hayden appeared to be an adherent of Governor General Wood–“You are still a Republican”–Hayden reddened. Quezon told him that the theory that Leonard Wood had “saved” Philippine finances was ridiculous. “If I had not stopped him, he would have thrown away assets worth three hundred million pesos in the Philippines.” Hayden replied “I suppose you mean the railroad, bank, etc.”

Lord Halifax had given Quezon a luncheon. This was the day after Quezon’s first appearance upon the Pacific War Council. Halifax said to Quezon at luncheon: “I liked your remark to the press.” Quezon said he liked Lady Halifax better than he did her husband. She had told Halifax after luncheon: “You’d better have a talk with President Quezon–You may learn something.”

Mrs. Quezon who was then present with us, had just attended a luncheon given for her by Mrs. Sayre. Sayre is about to resign as High Commissioner. She told Mrs. Quezon that there had been a broadcast from Manila in May arranged by the Japanese. In it an American lady told how the American civilian prisoners at Santo Tomas in Manila were allowed to establish their own form of government; had their own entertainments and their own schools for their children. Exercise was allowed daily in Santo Tomas grounds etc. She then added that their chief concern was that they had no milk for their children–at this point a Japanese spokesman interrupted and said: “That is the fault of the Americans for destroying all supplies before we arrived.” I asked Mrs. Quezon if it was true that they had destroyed all the food supplies before going to Corregidor, and she replied “Of course.”

I then asked Quezon further about his famous luncheon with the Japanese Emperor in 1937–whether the Emperor had offered him any “special treaties” (n.b. this was one of the questions recently submitted to Quezon by the Cosmopolitan). He said “no.” I asked him whether Ambassador Grew’s annoyance with this whole affair had not changed the United States Government’s attitude toward Quezon for a time. He said not; that President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull were all right, but that he might have had some enemies, like Stanley Hornbeck, the “Far Eastern expert” in the State Department. Denied that the State Department had interfered to spoil his subsequent trip to Mexico; that the Mexican President had sent him his gorgeous $500,000 train,–“like a hotel” to convey him to Mexico City.

Told the story of his shift in plans during his escape to Australia in going from Dumaguete by speed boat with Lieutenant Bulkeley across to Mindanao. Wainwright had wired him that there were five Japanese destroyers in the straits, and it was inadvisable to go now–better to postpone. But Colonel Soriano together with Major Fernando of the Philippine Army Air Corps had just spent several hours in one of those old planes off Negros waters. They had sighted only one Japanese destroyer, which at 6 p.m. had gone off towards the Sulu Sea. So, after midnight, when he and his family, having received Wainwright’s warning message, had gotten nearly all the way back from Dumaguete to Bais (20 miles), Soriano caught up with them in the dark, and he and Bulkeley advised Quezon to turn around again and take the chance of getting across that night to Mindanao. Quezon accepted.

To an enquiry as to whether Mrs Quezon ever expressed her opinions about such decisions on this dangerous voyage; he replied: “Never; she always did just what I decided.” I then enquired how he had felt about the possibility of his capture by the Japanese? He said he did his best to avoid capture, but he always felt that if taken by them, they would treat him with every consideration, and probably put him right back in Malacañan.

He added that he thought Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos had gotten caught by the Japanese in Cebu. (N.B. they shot him there).

Exchange of cables between Quezon in Corregidor and Roosevelt: Quezon advised him that he was in grave doubts as to whether he should encourage his people to further resistance since he was satisfied that the United States could not relieve them; that he did not see why a nation which could not protect them should expect further demonstrations of loyalty from them. Roosevelt in reply, said he understood Quezon’s feelings and expressed his regret that he could not do much at the moment. He said: “go ahead and join them if you feel you must.” This scared MacArthur. Quezon says: “If he had refused, I would have gone back to Manila.” Roosevelt also promised to retake the Philippines and give them their independence and protect it. This was more than the Filipinos had ever had offered them before: a pledge that all the resources and man power of United States were back of this promise of protected independence. So Quezon replied: “I abide by your decision.”

I asked him why he supposed Roosevelt had refused the joint recommendation of himself and MacArthur. He replied that he did not know the President’s reasons. Osmena and Roxas had said at the time that he would reject it. Roosevelt was not moved by imperialism nor by vested interests, nor by anything of that sort. Probably he was actuated by unwillingness to recognize anything Japan had done by force (vide Manchuria). Quezon thinks that in Washington only the Chief of Staff (General Marshall) who received the message from MacArthur in private code, and Roosevelt himself, knew about this request for immediate independence.

When Quezon finally got to the White House, Roosevelt was chiefly concerned about Quezon’s health. Roosevelt never made any reference to their exchange of cables.

Quezon added that, so far as he was aware, the Japanese had never made a direct offer to the United States Government to guarantee the neutrality of the Philippines, but many times they made such an offer to him personally.

“It was not that I apprehended personally ill treatment from the Japanese” said Quezon; “What made me stand was because I had raised the Philippine Army–a citizen army–I had mobilized them in this war. The question for me was whether having called them, I should go with this army, or stay behind in Manila with my people. I was between the Devil and the deep sea. So I decided that I should go where the army did. That was my hardest decision–my greatest moral torture. I proposed by cable to President Roosevelt that the United States Government should advise the Japanese that they had granted independence to the Philippines. This should have been done before the invasion and immediately after the first Japanese attack by air. The Japanese had repeatedly offered to guarantee the neutrality of an independent Philippines. This was what they thought should be done.” Quezon is going to propose the passage by Congress of a Joint Resolution, as they did in the case of Cuba, that “the Philippines are and of right out to be independent” and that “the United States would use their armed forces to protect them.”

When asked by Shuster to try to describe his own frame of mind when he was told at 5:30 a.m. Dec. 8 of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Quezon said he had never believed that the Japanese would dare to do it; but since they had done so, it was at once evident that they were infinitely more powerful than had been supposed– therefore he immediately perceived that the Philippines were probably doomed.

In Washington the other day, he asked the Chinese Ambassador whether the Japanese had not fooled all the rest of the world by pretending to be weak. The ambassador just laughed. Quezon says that if consulted, he would have advised the Chinese to take a leaf from the Japanese book on cunning. The Japanese had been checked in their expansion plans three times, (after each of their three successful wars), by the concert of Great Powers–each time they “bowed their head” and submitted. Finally, after waiting nearly half a century, their chance had come, and they took it. So, if the Chinese, at the time the “China Incident” broke had pretended to submit, then allowed themselves to be armed and trained by the Japanese, they would only have had to wait their chance.


June 15-16, 1942

Quezon tells me that when he went to Corregidor on December 24 last, part of the “doubts” about the policy he should adopt were based upon the possibility of a declaration by the Japanese of Philippine independence. This thought was, for him, a “nightmare.” We would have been left in an impossible situation, for if he accepted, the United States would have turned against him, and if he refused, his own people might have repudiated him. He thought that if, after the Burma campaign, the Japanese had proclaimed the independence of India, it would have started a revolution there.

It was not until he got to the Visayas after February 20th and had talked to people down there, and especially with those who at the risk of their lives, had escaped from Luzon, that he was able to gauge the real sentiments of his people. Among these was Tomas Confesor, who had escaped from Bauang in a boat provided by the “Quisling” Mayor of the town, who had been selected by the Japanese to replace the constitutionally appointed mayor, since the latter had been killing all the Japs he could get at. “Incidentally,” said Quezon, “these Filipino ‘Quislings’ were like those Filipino officials appointed by the American Army during the Philippine insurrection–they would do everything in their power to aid their own fellow countrymen.”

At my request, Quezon told me of his conversation in Malacañan with Litvinoff, the Russian diplomat, just before the war. The Russian warned him very seriously: “Be on your guard”–the same advice he then gave to General MacArthur and to Admiral Hart. Quezon thought highly of Litvinoff and says he believes the Russians knew more about Japan than the Japanese knew of Russia.

To turn back to a description of public sentiment in the Philippines, Quezon said he had known of course that he could get the Filipinos to raise an army, and he did. He also had been positive that he could bring the Filipinos into the war against Japan if their country were invaded–and he did so. But further than that, he could not tell, without full consultation with them, whether they would take any part in the “rising tide of color,” which is a movement sponsored by Japan as “Asia for the Asiatics.” But when he got out of Corregidor he learned how profound and widespread among the people was the spirit of resistance to the Japanese, and how deep was the hatred of the Filipinos for then. They had even threatened to kill Vargas, though they well knew that he, Quezon, had asked Vargas to stay there and care for Filipino interests as acting Mayor of Greater Manila. That if the Japanese now withdrew most of their forces from the Philippines for use elsewhere, leaving only a small garrison in the Islands, the Filipinos would kill every one of them. “For the first time I realized that we are really foreigners in the Orient.” He attributes this largely to their Christian religion. He stressed how deep was now the devotion to the United States of the Filipinos altho they were very angry at the “Old Timers.”

He still thinks that if the independence of the Philippines had been declared by Japan; that would have caused a revolution in India.

Quezon is seriously considering a plan for declaration of independence of the Philippines now. (N.B. that is what Quezon and MacArthur advised President Roosevelt to do in their Christmas cablegrams from Corregidor).

Quezon repeated his talk with Roosevelt at the signing of the United Nations pact in the White House yesterday by Quezon and by Mexico. This, he thinks is conclusive recognition of the Philippines as a “separate nation.” He thereupon asked Roosevelt if he was going to be admitted as a member of the Pacific War Council. Roosevelt replied that “Halifax wants India to have a seat there.” Quezon instantly answered that there would be a meeting of the Pacific War Council on Wednesday. (Quezon remarked to me that an appointment by the British Government of an Indian to sit on this council would be that of a sort of Quisling.)

So on Tuesday morning Quezon went to see Sumner Welles who spent an hour and ten minutes telling him in perfect Spanish how the Philippines deserved a seat on the Pacific War Council. He said he would find out what Roosevelt had meant, and would let Quezon know by telephone; which he did.

The Philippine President then turned, as he often did, to reflections on the very close co-operation he had enjoyed with General Douglas MacArthur during critical days in the Philippines. He recalled that in all circumstances, and at all times, the general had the most perfect manners and offered him every proper official deference; even later, when they were in Australia, he would never ride on the right of the seat in the motor car. In Melbourne, “where I was nothing, MacArthur would always come to my house to see me. If I visited his office, he would come down the ten stories from his office and stand until I was seated in the motor. He would never give promotions nor send orders to any of my people without first referring the matter to me. This was different from the methods of General Wainwright, who had succeeded to the command on Corregidor when MacArthur was ordered to Australia; he had promoted Manuel Roxas from the rank of Colonel to that of Brigadier General after I left Corregidor. I had deputized Roxas to act for me, but was not consulted as to his promotion, and I objected. The promotion was then not effected. I was the only authority who could fix the ranks in the Philippine Army. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to explain this to Roxas since I then lost all communication with him while he was in the mountains of Mindanao.

“Among my closest advisers during the invasion all, Santos, Osmeña, Yulo, Roxas, etc. played a man’s part. Roxas and Osmeña were the strongest among them for our sticking to the United States.

“As for General Lim, I found that a meeting during that time of strain was necessary with MacArthur, Lim and General Valdes, to curb Lim’s proposals, and to show them that they must not take their important orders from MacArthur while he was only my adviser without consulting me. During that brief period before MacArthur was given full command of the armies, I kept the sole authority to decide important questions.”


December 23, 1938

Staying with the President alone at the Guest House across the Pasig River from Malacañan Palace.

At luncheon we had Don Alejandro Roces, proprietor of the T.V.T. newspapers and Paez, manager of the Manila Railroad Company. Paez told of the success of the new branch of the railroad in the Bicol Provinces –at last, they have through connection with Manila and it is no longer necessary to cross Ragay Gulf by steamer. Quezon mentioned that he had refused the request of residents of those provinces for a highway parallel with the railroad.

Roces came in excited by the press dispatches giving the exceedingly strong reply of Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Welles to the German Charge d’Affaires in which he refused to apologize for the very strong denunciations of Germany by Secretary Ickes. Parallel and even more aggressive statements had been made by Ickes himself, and by Key Pittman, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, which contained the language: “We do not like the government of Germany and we do not like the government of Japan.” Roces is expecting serious consequences –perhaps war. Quezon remarked: “The way to keep the peace nowadays is to use insults.”

Later Roces told me of his conversation about me with the late Governor General Leonard Wood, who had asked him what he thought of me. Roces replied enthusiastically about me, stating that before my coming here, the Filipinos had felt they were “nobodies.” Wood replied: “What wonderful friendship!” Roces answered him: “That is not merely friendship –it’s justice.”

Roces then went on to relate a conversation he had just after the defeat by the United States of the Philippine insurrection. He said tartly to a friar: “You gave us Heaven and Hell, but kept the earth for yourselves –now we want our earth, and you can take back your Heaven and Hell!”

This started the President talking about the present troubles on the Buenavista estate in Bulacan, belonging to the Church. These difficulties had come to a head this week. Quezon said: “The Archbishop is my friend, or used to be.” The Buenavista through its revenues supports the “San Juan de Dios” hospital in Manila. At the moment, the estate is in the hands of a receiver, who had ordered the new crop to be left untouched while the financial troubles were adjusted; the aperceros (or tenants) are to receive their share –there have been disorders, threats and danger of bloodshed. Secretary of Justice Santos recently called this serious situation to Quezon’s attention in a recent Cabinet meeting, and the President became indignant that he had not been earlier informed. He telephoned at once to Orense, the lawyer for the Church, to the Governor of the Province, to the Constabulary &c. to hold up everything for a week until he can get the situation straightened out. Quezon even threatened Orense with violent resistance from the Constabulary if his agents proceeded. States that he will not be like General Weyler who sent a company of Spanish artillery to the Calamba estate to shoot down the tenants there (vide Rizal). He then sent for the Archbishop and recalled to him the reason for the Filipino insurrection against Spain. The “Friar Estates.” He then offered to lease the estate for the government for an average rental equal to that which the Church had received from this estate for the past five years, plus ten per cent, which would make 115,000 pesos as an annual return for an estate assessed at four million pesos. Quezon said the government would buy the estate for three million pesos. The Archbishop withdrew to consider, and the matter is still pending.

I remarked that when Governor Taft had negotiated the famous Friar Lands purchase, it was a pity he did not buy all the Church estates for the government. Quezon explained that Taft bought only the Friar Estates because he thought that those belonging to the Archbishop would be protected by the Filipinos who are all Catholics.

Quezon then mentioned his last summer’s veto of the bill for religious instruction in the state schools –he said that over two thirds of the Assembly favored this bill.

Finally, he talked of the commencement exercises this year at San Juan Letran, the college he had attended as a boy. They had played during these exercises, not only the Filipino National Anthem, but that of Spain also –then everybody else present gave the Fascist salute but at that point, Quezon sat down. When he made his address, a little later, he slapped them severely for this incident, stressed the need for neutrality in the Spanish Civil War, and commended the attitude of High Commissioner McNutt in avoiding partisanship. Then in order to temper off the severity of his rebuke, he remarked to them: “I am glad to get even with the faculty, these padres did just what they wanted with me for eleven years!”

A little later, when he went to mass in some parish church, the friar organist started the old (Franco) Spanish anthem and immediately switched to the Philippine anthem, and he realized how directly the Filipinos had derived their anthem from the old Spanish one.

At dinner that night, the President developed a theory in favor of representative democracy instead of “mob democratic rule.” “The people care more for good government than they do for self-government,” he asserted, adding that “the fear is that the Head of State may either exceed his powers, or abuse them by improprieties. To keep order is his main purpose.”

As I felt there was more than a dash of unorthodoxy in his present philosophy, I then led him to a discussion of the qualities of those who are candidate to succeed him.

His present choice is Yulo, of whom he thinks so highly as a lawyer, and added that it was most important for an executive not to exceed his powers. He has consulted Yulo at every turn of his administration. Now he will make him speaker to “give him his chance.” At the same time he is bringing Manuel Roxas close to him as Secretary of Finance, to study him as well. I put several questions as to Yulo’s qualifications in handling other men, and in getting the best out of them. Quezon replied that if Yulo succeeded him he could sustain him and put him over. He admitted however that the frequent appearances of Yulo at the glittering social events of the sugar barons did not help him with “the people” adding the view that Joe’s (Yulo’s) only weakness is that his wife runs him: she is very extravagant. The President added that Yulo has no control whatever over Mrs. Yulo’s exhibitions of wealth; she used, moreover, to come to a banquet up to an hour late. He, Quezon, finally gave instructions to his staff at the Palace, that his dinners were to be kept waiting only ten minutes for Mrs. Yulo, and no longer. Shortly after this, she came to a dinner party half an hour late and was told at the door that the dinner was going on, and empty places at the table had been removed. This put a stop to her tardiness.

Roxas, he says, will certainly be President of the Philippines some day –“nothing can stop it” though he does not know whether Roxas will actually succeed him. Roxas has built up a great reputation throughout the Philippines; has matured and improved tremendously in the last three years.

I asked him what would be the position of Roxas if his new tax measures were rejected by the Assembly? He replied: “I will put them over.” Roxas has planned his new taxes on the mines in consultation with the principal representatives of the mining companies, and they have already agreed that the proposed taxes are fair.

Paredes, he says, is a very strong man and is the leader of all the Ilocanos; he has Tinguian blood, but not as much as had the late Ignacio Villamor, whom I had nominated as the first Filipino President of the University.

Paredes, he continued, is a very able man, but violent. Quezon greatly appreciates his support of Yulo for the speakership, and he spoke very highly of the former –but he knows, of course, how warmly I am attached to Paredes. I told Don Quintin the next day that Quezon had spoken so well of him, and he expressed the utmost skepticism then added: “if he wants to extricate me from my difficulties here, why does he not ‘deport’ me on one of those missions to the United States or Europe?” He added that he had no career in the Assembly, and that unless he keeps quiet for the next three years, it will just bring on a row with the administration; that if he does not keep quiet, he will lose his political influence.

This conversation was so confidential that I did not report it to Quezon, and the President made only one further comment at this period upon Quintin Paredes, which was to the effect that Paredes had a big personal following in the Assembly of which he was Speaker –while Roxas, as Speaker had only a dozen personal followers there, and had to be helped by Quezon and Osmeña.

My conversations with the President that night at the “Guest House” concluded early because he was so tired, and as we said “good night” he dwelt for a few minutes upon the subject of the book he wishes to write in collaboration with me. He suggested that I work up my own notes first and he will supply a thread of narrative for the administrations that came between mine and his! It is difficult to see how this would work out –I have no talent as a Boswell and not even an ambition to fill so exacting a role!