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 The movie director replied saying that he had withdrawn the film.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.

September 29, 1936

At Malacañan, Kiko was introduced to the President in his office–which was formerly the bedroom where Kiko was born–Quezon was very cordial to him and had delightful manners with the boy; showed him about the Palace, and I myself was intrigued by all the recent improvements. The fill is completed on the riverside–to be made into lawn only, with no buildings; the water front opposite is to be a private golf course for Malacañan with a little ferry across the river.

At luncheon, Quezon talked of his recent stiff remarks to the Assembly on their proposal to abolish the salary of Ruiz, Director of Posts,–which, he believes, was really an invasion of the constitutional privileges of the Executive.

The President reported that he had just been talking on the radio-phone with Hausserman, in the United States, who predicted Roosevelt’s re-election, though the Digest polls were favourable to Landon. I asked him about the change of sentiment in America as to the Philippines. He replied that he was like a man in charge of a vessel during a typhoon:–he had nothing to do but to stick to the helm and be prepared for every emergency, and he didn’t want to be caught “snoring.” He agreed that the ten year term for the Commonwealth before independence was just as likely to be shortened as to be lengthened.

He told me he had arranged for Hartendorp’s paper a subsidy of 300 pesos a month, and was ready to go to 500 pesos; remarked that Hartendorp had behaved so much like a man when he was “fired” at Malacañan.

He then went back to the Wood administration, and said that General Frank McCoy was the only able man around Wood. He had been put there by the Forbes crowd to outwit him, (Quezon) but he had won most of the deals. McCoy wanted later to be commanding General of the Philippines, and he (Quezon) had blocked it. I laughed and remarked that he must have selected all the recent commanding generals here himself; –none of them were too bright. Quezon actually looked slightly confused for a moment, then broke out in a story of the selection of T. Roosevelt as Governor General. Hurley (the Secretary of War) told Quezon that Hoover wanted to placate the Progressive element in the Republican party, so wished to make “T.R. Jr.” Governor General here. Hurley asked Quezon to meet “T.R. Jr.”–which he did, then went to see Hurley who enquired what Quezon thought. “You told me, Mr. Secretary that the people of Puerto Rico all liked ‘T.R. Jr.'”–“yes”–“Well then they must be very far behind the people of the Philippines in modern thought.” Hurley laughed and Quezon told him to give him one month in the Philippines before “T.R.” came, and he would make it all right for him. But he warned Hurley that the members of the Cabinet would size up a Governor General in fifteen minutes. When he arrived at Manila, “T.R. Jr.” was only a Mabuhay man. How mistaken “T.R. Jr.” was in writing that letter of advice to his son, (remarked Quezon)–in which he cautioned him against accepting a commission in the army as that career was only suited to the less intelligent mind! Quezon said Governor General Davis had really made no impression out here; he had previously been Secretary of War and really didn’t want to come here–had wished instead to be Ambassador to France or to England.

Quezon told me he would revise the terms of the close season for snipe shooting whenever I wished,–adding: “I never pay much attention to what those Ph.D. men in the Bureau of Science say.”

I remarked that Kiko, having been born here, could, upon reaching the age of 21, choose whether he wished to be an American or a Philippine citizen–in which respect he had a wider choice than myself. Quezon at once said he would put a resolution thru the Assembly conferring citizenship on me; he had looked up the power in the constitution and found it there.

We had many laughs together and a really happy luncheon. He was pleased with Foster’s recent interview, especially his remark; “Up to this point President Quezon didn’t seem to think there was anything he couldn’t do.”

May 23, 1936

Trip to San Pablo with Colonel Craig, Mrs. White and Miss Wolfson. The manager of the dessicated coconut factory there (Stofford) told of periodic visits from four or five agents of the Department of Labour, enquiring of workmen whether they had “any complaints.” As a matter of fact there were none, since the eight hundred employes receive one peso a day and good treatment. This is the wrong way about for these agents: they should be schooled now to make proper enquiries, like life insurance agents. There was also a complaint by Stofford of the administration of justice in San Pablo.

Marguerite Wolfson told how, before Murphy’s arrival, they all had been prejudiced because what she called a “Mick” had been appointed, but at her very first meeting with him, he won immediately her support and championship by his modesty and simplicity. He said to her: “My sister and I are very simple people, and have never been used to all this social life. We didn’t appreciate the complexity of this position.” So she turned in and helped all she could. She said T. Roosevelt was a disaster because as Governor he was too undignified in his relations with the Filipinos.

Conversation at luncheon at San Pablo about Japan. Stofford and Mrs. White very friendly to Japan and full of admiration for its accomplishments.

February 14, 1936

Quezon appoints the National Economic Council and Government Survey Board; both have been held up for more than two months while Roxas was coyly weighing the advantages to himself in accepting or declining this work. Quezon told me only two days ago that he had abandoned the idea of the government survey board for lack of time to complete its work before the Assembly meets in June; that he wanted me to do the work superficially of course, but to give him something to show the Assembly. Yesterday when talking with Unson and Trinidad I suggested to them that they ask for a budgetary bureau to be set up within the framework provided by law for the Survey Board, and to be allowed to run on for a couple of years until they could finish the standardization, and all other technical reforms. Meanwhile, we could offer plans of consolidation and co-ordination of the different bureaus. Immediately after, they saw Quezon and I surmise the plan suggested by me went through, as they, with Paez are appointed as the new members of the Survey Board.

Talked with Hartendorp, publicity adviser; he has three plans:

(1)  To condense news of local papers for Quezon, under separate columns of approval and criticism

(2)  To post a one sheet Government “Gazette” with caricatures etc., selected from local papers, in every municipality and school in the Islands

(3)  To send one sheet of selected articles in local papers out to a list of American papers.

Talked with Lapointe about his recent trip to San Fernando, Union, to see the carnival there. He travelled 3d class in the railroad and is amusing but bitter in his criticism of the dirt and delays. Also says most of the passengers carry a revolver in the hip pocket. He mimics General Wood very well–also Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. whom he calls the “Play Boy” of the “Far East.”

Golf in p.m. at McKinley with Doria.

Talk with Palting, mail clerk in Malacañan; he lived eight years in New York, joined Tammany Hall and voted without being a citizen. Came back here at Quezon’s suggestion. Has valuable suggestions as to reorganization in the Post Office here.

General Holbrook arrives vice General Kilbourne.

January 14, 1936

Made a short memorandum on proposed silver purchase and annexed Colin Hoskins’ opinion. Could not see Quezon as he was too busy.

State banquet in the old ball room of Malacañan so used for the first time. Very magnificent—over 100 guests in honor of the High Commissioner, two Admirals, three Generals, Cabinet, Supreme Court, Consular Corps etc. nearly half an hour’s delay in going to the table. The High Commissioner and President Quezon came in twenty minutes late, but that was not their fault—they were waiting for guests to assemble, as is done in British Government Houses—a custom introduced here by T. Roosevelt, Jr. That particular ceremony only works effectively when the guests are sufficiently self-disciplined to get there first—many of the Filipinos stroll in at any old time—some accept an invitation and never even show up.

Quezon was looking very dignified and as proper head of a State –made an excellent address –which he read– (caution of an executive rather than of a legislator)! He touched on the coming trade conference and hoped that when President Roosevelt calls it together some of the inequalities of the situation may be smoothed out; he stressed the importance of having a High Commissioner like Murphy who will cooperate. The High Commissioner spoke well and without notes. He is dignified and has admirable use of English; he is, perhaps, a little too sentimental, but that is genuine and kindly. I sat next to the Japanese Consul General who pumped me for all he was worth on trade questions. He especially wanted to know when the Trade Conference would be called, but I, of course, had no idea, and only told him I hardly saw it coming this year.

Jan. 12, 1932, Tuesday

Montinola is much better and will be out, I think by Friday.

Went to Mrs. Alicia Longworth[1] for tea to meet Roosevelt. It was a small affair but the Sec. of War and Gov. Davis were there.

Dined with Osmeña and Roxas in a Chinese restaurant, then a movie.

[1] Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth  (Feb 12, 1884-Feb 20, 1980) oldest child of President Theodore Roosevelt. She was an American writer and socialite. Her husband,  Nicholas Longworth III was Republican representative from Ohio and was, Speaker of the House from 1925-1931.

January 11, 1932, Monday

Went to B[ureau of].I[nsular].A[affairs]. this a.m. and met Gov. Roosevelt. [1] He is a small wiry fellow, broad grin and an evident desire to please.

Osmeña’s luncheon was held this noon at the Shoreham,  (26 covers)  and all went well. Present were (in addition to our crowd) Davies, Mrs. Davies, Gen. and Mrs.McIntyre, Miss McIntyre, Gen Parker, Gen Wickings ? Gen. and Mrs. De Lamuy?, Mrs. Hull, Miss Hull, Mr. and Mrs. Brunn ? Mr. and Mrs. Parker, Mr. Swityer ?  and R. Owen.[2] It was Gloria’s first appearance and a favorable one.

Worked all afternoon and evening. O[smeña] dropped in and we had a long chat.

The Mission was introduced to the Roosevelt this afternoon at the office of the Sec. of War.

[1] Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (Sept 13, 1887-July 12, 1944) eldest son of Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, he was Governor General of the Philippines from Feb 29, 1932- July 15, 1933.

[2] Ruth Bryan Owen (Oct 2, 1885-July 26, 1954) a Democrat, was Florida’s first woman representative in the US Congress. She sat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Sat., January 9th, 1932

Spoke with Gov. Davis[1] last night and learned he was having a conference with Hoover this a.m.  Later in the a.m. it was announced that he had resigned and Roosevelt* named in his place.

Rain and snow today. Took Gloria home and dined at Guevara’s and then called on Celia Costa.

We are beginning just into shape material for hearings beginning January 15.

[1] Dwight F. Davis (July 5, 1879-Nov 28, 1945) was Governor General of the Philippines from 1929-1932.  Prior to that he also served as Secretary of War from 1923-1925. He  was also a tennis champion and is best known for established the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, later renamed the Davis Cup.

*Theodore Roosevelt Jr.