June 7, 1942

Quezon thinks this is a business war, caused by slavish imitation by Japanese of the Western powers’ methods of monopoly. If the Japanese had not closed the open door in China, there would have been no war. It was totally needless, in any case, for the Japanese could have undersold all commercial rivals with all of her own products in China and she had already regained for China control over her own customs administration. If the “open door” had been maintained, the United States could then have held their Chinese market only on petroleum and tobacco.

In Japan in 1937, Quezon met members of the House of Peers and of the Diet who were opposed to the militarists —not so now. One of the Peers who was speaking of the recent Coronation said it was the last, as a religious ceremony with all the “Son of Heaven” cult. Quezon says he is never entirely at his ease in conversations with Japs —they have been until recently, for too many centuries isolated from the rest of the world.

Thinks it is a mistake to assume the Japanese are naturally an Empire and the Chinese not; on the contrary, the Chinese have always been imperialists when they were strong enough, and the Japanese only recently so. China in the past tried to conquer Japan. If the Chinese now argue that the aid promised by the United States to China has not been satisfactorily supplied, he would reply, if he was an American, that the Chinese got us into this war anyway.

Quezon is absolutely opposed to the plan to let the Chinese remain armed after this war, and the Japanese entirely disarmed. “The Japanese could teach us civic virtues, but the Chinese only ‘trickery and corruption.'” Would prefer to have the Indians armed.

I asked him whether, in the peace settlement, the Dutch East Indies would be given back to the Netherlands? He replied: “That would be an outrage. The Malays should be allowed to unite. For years the Javanese have been looking to the Filipinos to lead them to freedom. The movement started when General Wood was Governor General; we smuggled their leaders into the Philippines with the connivance of the Collector of Customs (Aldanese); Ramon Fernandez helped them and gave them money. I must soon begin to work on this with the English, the Australians and the New Zealanders. At the Peace Conference, I intend to make a loud noise. If we were to be united politically, I would be willing to have the capital in Java. It is not mere numbers that count, but intelligence.”

He thinks we could make a satisfactory peace with Japan at any time, but Roosevelt would not consider it for a moment. Believes the Japs would consent to leave the Philippines outside their “Co-prosperity sphere.”

“The greatest political danger to Don Sergio and me now is that the Japanese may declare the independence of the Philippines themselves.” “If so” he added “I would not stand in the way for one moment, but would resign and not spend one more penny of the money of the Philippines in the United States, even though that would reduce my family and myself to starvation.” He said that if he were President of the Philippine Republic, and the Japanese sent for him now to return to be head of an independent country, he might consider it. But he is only president of the Commonwealth which owes allegiance to the United States, and he is irrevocably tied up with that. If the proposition of independence were put to the Filipinos now by Japan they would vote overwhelmingly for it —there would be no need of Japanese soldiers to carry out the election.

Roosevelt did not insist that the Filipinos should continue the war against the invading Japanese. On the contrary, on January 3rd, 1942 in response to his cable of the day before from Corregidor, in which Quezon had questioned the right of the United States to make the Filipinos carry on a war for a power which could not protect them, Roosevelt had wired MacArthur to permit the highest ranking Filipino officials to surrender the Philippine Army, and then ordering MacArthur to carry on the fight to his last man.

Quezon then told of some Indians who were on the steamer with him when he was crossing the Pacific in 1916 with the Jones Law in his pocket. Two or three of them came up to congratulate him on his great achievement and ask his help for Indian independence.  “This,” he replied, “I am not in a position to give.” They were taken aback and asked: “Aren’t you in favor of our independence?” “Yes, I’m in favor of it, but with your 350 million people, all you have to do is to have every Indian sneeze at the same moment. Give me one half of your population and I would have the English begging me for their independence.” They retired angry and confused.

He thinks that, physically, the Siamese most resemble the Filipinos. They went over to the Japanese before the war began because their former territories in Indochina which had been seized by the French, had been given back to them by the Japanese.

Discussing the two photos in the Manila Tribune ofJan (?) 1942 showing first George Vargas reading to the Japanese officers his acceptance of the post as head of the Executive Commission set up by them, and the second showing the group of Philippine representative citizens who had been summoned, or chosen to accept this new form of temporary government, I commented on the presence there of former Chief Justice Avanceña. Quezon remarked that it was a damned shame that the group insisted on the presence on that occasion of that old man.

He thinks Kihara, former Vice Consul at Davao, whom he likes, is the go-between between the Japanese High Command and the Executive Commission of Filipinos.


August 11, 1936

Saw Quezon coming out at 9:30 with A.D. Williams, Arellano the architect and Assemblyman Magalona. He called out to me asking me to lunch with him, and a moment later sent a messenger to ask me to join his party. We went down to the Port Area to see the land which Magalona wants to lease for a hotel. Quezon told me it would not compete with the Manila Hotel, since it would be of a different class, and would not be a success anyway –the group of Negros sugar planters represented by Magalona “had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it”; they hoped to construct the hotel in four months to be ready for the coming Eucharistic Congress. Quezon approved the plan “because the government might as well get the income from the rental.” Somebody added that “the Government would probably get the hotel in the end –to use for offices.”

Quezon talked of getting rid of the San Miguel Brewery as a neighbour of Malacañan Palace, and making government offices there, so that he could house all the bureaus under the control of the President in one group around him: Civil Service, Auditor, Budget Office &c. Apparently, he contemplates exchanging the Government Ice Plant (now leased for 120,000 pesos a year to San Miguel Brewery and assessed as worth 1,200,000) for the brewery buildings next to Malacañan.

Quezon also told us that Cuenco had been to see him asking his aid in getting the Assembly to modify the new inheritance tax law so as to exempt bequests for religious and educational purposes. Maximo Kalaw, the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee had then come to ask him to oppose this change. Quezon is opposed anyway –says the Government is spending a very great deal of money anyway on educational and charitable programs. The papers carry an item of another decision backed by Quezon to insist on the payment of certain taxes by the Church. It is possible he feels restless now over his re-conversion to the Church made when he was so ill in California several years ago. He is, I think, irked both by that and the partial restriction of his mental liberty. If so, the Church had won a Pyrrhic victory in restoring him to its bosom! I remember how at the time of my appointment as Governor General, the question was “why not send a Catholic to a Catholic country?” and the reply was “The Church doesn’t want a Catholic as Governor General –they had one in Governor General Smith, and he was so impartial in his relation to the Church that he leaned over backward!”

On our return to Malacañan, the President and I went to his office and I told him I wished to ask him about three points he had suggested to me as to my future relations out here!

(1) He had said I had better stay on out here for the rest of my life (giving complimentary reasons) –“not of course always in the Government –but as an investor” –I now was asked to become a director of a company about to be launched. He properly replied it would not be suitable “so long as I was at Malacañan”– of course he “had no objection to my making investments here.” (I passed up for the moment the plan I am forming to get out of the government service). Then Quezon asked me what was the second question?

(2) I raised again his suggestion that I should collaborate with him in a history of the Governors General since my time. His face lit up with this. I said we should not wait, but “strike while the iron’s hot.” He agreed, and advocated my seeing him three times a week, either while driving around or in Malacañan, adding “I like your company, and I think you like mine.” “The way not to write a biography is to sit down to it, because then one often misses the important points.” My third question.

(3) Was whether he had consulted Secretary Yulo as to Americans taking up Philippine citizenship. He jumped and said: “By Jove, I had forgotten that” and sent for Yulo immediately.

Then he went into the matter of his relations with  Murphy, saying “Murphy is a man who avoids facing a difficult situation –especially with a determined man like myself. If he ever comes back here he will not dare to try to run the government. I would rather have Weldon Jones here –he is clever, wise, and modest. I consulted him about that part of my message to the Assembly denouncing the withholding of the excise taxes in the United States –and he was very helpful.”

Quezon then gave me a copy of his letter of November 2, ’35 to Murphy opposing a “definition by the Secretary of War of the duties and privileges of the High Commissioner” and stating forcibly the constitutional rights of the new Commonwealth. Murphy never replied to this. The President went on to discuss the powers of inspection of the High Commissioner into the offices of the government, which are very broad. Said he had drawn up an authorization for all bureaus and offices to give information upon request by the High Commissioner, but on advice of Yulo he had withheld this. However, the only two matters on which information has not been furnished are: (a) the Philippine National Bank, which refused “in spite of my orders to furnish a copy of their minutes to the High Commissioner and I did not press them further” and (b) as to the Belo Fund. Murphy came to see him with a demand for the list of payments in the Belo Fund, and Quezon told him he could see it himself, but he would not turn it over to the High Commissioner’s office. He told Murphy: ” The powers of inspection of your office are based on the responsibility of the United States to make sure that Philippine finances are kept sound. How could the authorized expenditure of my 250,000 Belo Fund affect the general financial position? If this, however, is mere curiosity, or is an attempt to show that I have not administered the fund honestly and legally, –I resent it.” Murphy returned to the enquiry later, but got no further. Quezon went on the steamer as far as Hong Kong with Murphy who then never raised the question, but en route to Shanghai he gave Yulo a letter on the point, saying he need not put it on the record if it was thought unwise. Yulo never gave this letter to Quezon. Then, the President continued: “I would rather deal with a man who came out in the open like Stimson –who was a savage, but not one who fought from ambush– he was out on the open road always ready for a scrap. He was brutal –I never knew a man so well brought up who was so rough. Once during Stimson’s administration as Governor General, Don Miguel Unson came to me and said he would have to resign as acting Secretary of Finance. I persuaded him not to resign and then told Stimson, who replied: ‘I have tried to be careful with the Filipinos and especially with Unson –I didn’t know I was rough!'”

Later, at luncheon with Quezon and Aldanese, I opened the conversation by saying I had seen in the papers that he is interested in the Leyte Rock Asphalt dispute with the Bureau of Public Works. That this was not my business, but I had the papers on my desk and here they were –the latest statements from A.D. Williams and Claude Russell. He said at once “I am in favour of A.D.” –(so sounds the death knell of an infant Philippine industry!). He went on to say that Claude Russell had lost the government a lot of money as head of the defunct coal company (no doubt he did, but this valuable coal is now about to “come home to roost”). He added that General Wood came out here breathing fire and promising to “take the Government out of business,” but the only business they should properly have relinquished was that of coal, and: “Wood kept hold of this company for two years after we tried to close it up, because Russell kept flattering him.” He then went on about Wood. I told of the day in November 1920 when the news of Harding’s election as President had been received here. At the moment, I was driving up to Malacañan with Quezon and Osmeña and one of them said: “This means either Wood or Forbes.” “How did you come to prophecy Wood?” I asked. Quezon replied: “We didn’t select Wood; he was chosen because he was a defeated candidate for the Presidency and Harding didn’t want him around. I had first known Harding when he was a Senator, and asked him later in the White House why he had sent Wood to the Philippines. Harding replied: ‘Because the people of the Philippines asked for him.’ ‘Why, Mr. President, no reputable Filipino would ask for a man who had insulted them as the Wood-Forbes Report did.'” (Quezon found there a telegram prepared by Fairchild and Cotterman! I asked if any Filipino had signed it and he said “perhaps Aguinaldo.”) “But,” added President Harding, “Wood will stay there only a year, for the University of Pennsylvania has elected him Chancellor, and will hold it open for a year.” Quezon thereafter started back to Manila and meanwhile the Legislature had passed a resolution offering co-operation to Wood. Quezon was angry about this. He told Osmeña they ought to fight, but Osmeña was for compromise. During the first year, the Legislature passed every bill requested by Wood. At the end of the year, Harding wired Wood that he was unwilling to impose on his sacrifice any longer, but Wood replied that his work here was unfinished. “No gentleman,” remarked Quezon, “would reply in that way to the President’s suggestion.” The Chancellorship of the University of Pennsylvania was then given to another, and Wood remained as Governor General for some six more years until his death. Both men present at this lunch said that Wood had employed every effort to investigate them. Aldanese added that he was not aware that for two months, four army secret service men had been raking everywhere for his “graft” because he wore a diamond ring and was building a house. They examined all the banks in Manila for proof of his supposed wrong-doing. Then Wood congratulated him (Aldanese) “because there was nothing against him.” Quezon said they had made a search for his “five millions” which were, they concluded “probably in Spain”!! George Fairchild, who was a traitor to Quezon (and to me) in every other respect, said at that time in a conference with Wood, that Quezon never had been a grafter. Fairchild ought to know, because when my administration had helped him to start his sugar central at San Jose, Mindoro, George had offered him 600,000 pesos of the stock which Quezon refused. Fairchild then gave some of this stock to his lawyers: Jim Ross, who kept his (and lost) and his partner Ham Lawrence, who sold his (and gained).

Quezon then told of the special election for senator of Ramon Fernandez over Sumulong. He said that one day at lunch at Malacañan he told Wood that the contest was not between those two candidates, but it was Wood vs. Quezon and that he (Quezon) would beat him in every precinct. Wood (who had a sense of humour, as Quezon remarked) smiled and replied that he was afraid that was so. And so it was! Quezon and Aldanese agreed that Wood’s mind had begun to fail when he was here as Governor General.

The President had invited Collector of Customs Aldanese, to lunch in order to discuss measures for increasing the safety at sea on Philippine ships. He said that on a recent trip to Cebu with Osmeña, he had put “Baby” Quezon (his eldest daughter) with a party in one of the ship’s boats, which leaked, and it required two men to keep bailing it out; –then, one after the another two oars broke! Aldanese was told that a committee of naval officers would visit him at Quezon’s request to discuss plans for greater safety. Aldanese said regulations were not observed in ships because the owners pushed the captain to carry more passengers than the law allows to ports where there are no customs officers; he added that the law should be amended to provide for power of suspension of the right to navigate a vessel, so the owners would have to back up the ships’ officers in enforcing regulations. Quezon agreed. They also said that far too many officers are employed on these ships. The President remarked that he would furnish Aldanese with twelve secret service men to travel about and investigate the shipping situation.


May 24, 1936

Conflict between Don Vicente Singson, head of the Rice and Corn Corporation, and Collector of Customs Aldanese who insists on duty being paid on imports of rice from Saigon. Singson refuses to pay. Aldanese says that the Corporation makes a profit and must pay duty. (No doubt this is on the side of Chinese dealers who control the rice market here.) Later, Quezon, after consulting Secretary of Justice Yulo, ruled that the Corporation need not pay customs duty. (The Herald on May 27 gave a front page leader on this as “a menace to constitutional Government” because Quezon decided this point himself instead of letting it go to the courts.) It is evident that all signs of dictatorship will be resisted here.


April 24-25, 1936

Long talks with Unson about the Philippine Government. He remarked that General Wood had a sense of humour and was a strong character–in some respects was a great man. Does not know why Wood vetoed the act to create a Budget Office.

Unson and I discussed the Bureau of Science. He thinks it is attempting too many diverse duties; that it is overlapping the work of other bureaus. Unson is in favour of turning it into an Industrial Research Bureau; when it has perfected an industrial method it should quit that and investigate another. Discussed also appointive provincial governors and a national police as authorized in the constitution, in order to stop political maneuvers, favouritism and improper use of the police. Various members of the Assembly seem to be receptive to these ideas.

We reviewed consideration of the Bureau of Posts and of a possible consolidation of the Bureau of Lands with the Land Registration Office. Unson says it has been a mistake always to have appointed a lawyer as Director of the Bureau of Lands. (Undoubtedly this is one of the most unsatisfactory Bureaus of the Government.) More discussions as to Aldanese and the Bureau of Customs. All agree that Aldanese is himself perfectly honest but has not enough firmness or “ferocity” (Unson).

Dinner with Mr. and Mrs Oleaga at Casino Español. Doria tells me that Marguerite Wolfson and Mrs Gaches tried to take care of Quezon at Topside, Baguio, two or three years ago when he was so ill he could not walk. They were trying to get him away from his host of followers, but Quezon stayed only thirty-six hours at Topside, and was so strenuous a personality that she and Mrs Gaches had to “go to bed for a week” after he left. She says he is as exhausting as a “vampire.”


March 30, 1936

Made the commencement address at the School of Surveying of the University of the Philippines, talking on the subjects of the Friar Land Estates in Luzon and the development of Mindanao. Largest commencement the school has ever had.

Later, I interviewed H. C. Anderson at the Manila Hotel on the reorganization of the Bureau of Customs. He said that Collector Aldanese is o.k., and what is needed is to raise the salaries of the appraisers and also to send a Filipino appraiser to be on the staff of the United States Commercial attaches in Kobe, Shanghai and Hong Kong to check invoices; also we need a Customs Judge here.

At Malacañan, I learned that Quezon goes off tomorrow on his trip to the Bicols and to his birthplace: Baler. Hope I don’t have to go up the Pacific coast in the little Arayat in this gale of wind. Expect not, as he has said nothing further to me about the trip.

We attended the “Commencement” of the University of the Philippines’ Conservatory of Music–Bocobo, Mrs. Quezon and Roxas were there. About 15 graduating students performed and a like number of the Philippine Army band handled the “heavies.” This was a classical concert which began with Handel and tapered down to Puccini. The orchestral pieces were all right; and they had one good woman pianist.


February 3, 1936

Dinner at Malacañan for Cabinet–Doria wore her new black dress which was a great success, and Quezon asked her chaffingly if she was in mourning for King George? Corpus, President of the Philippine National Bank, sat on one side of me, and spoke con amore of how I supported him as Director of the Bureau of Lands against American attacks. He said Secretary Denison only supported him when, as Governor General, I ordered it. I urged Corpus to write his memoirs–he said he had been a newspaper reporter for five years before I appointed him as Director of Lands, but that his own style was only anecdotal.

Talked with Under-Secretary Albert, who remembers not only the Philippine Revolution against Spain, but later on an interview he had with President Wilson; he came back here sharing a cabin with Quezon when I arrived in the Manchuria in Oct. 1913. He said that Quezon was much excited when he secured my appointment as Governor General through Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan in 1913–he then said: “now we are sure to get independence.” Albert gave Doria some complimentary accounts of me as a public speaker.

After dinner, I talked for a half hour with the President. He told me of his difficulties in appointing Judges, and said that Osmena had urged on him the nomination of Rafael Palma to the Supreme Court. That he (Quezon) had wanted to appoint him, and had consulted Chief Justice Avanceña and other Justices–that they had been rather non-committal, but when Quezon returned from Baguio, and asked them again about Palma, the Supreme Court Justices had meanwhile heard Don Rafael Palma argue a case before them and were now certain that he was not qualified to be a Justice. Quezon said that Osmeña had asked for an appointment with him every day for a week, and that he had given every excuse, especially that he was tired, until it was too late for Osmeña to interfere again. Osmeña then told Quezon that they were better able to select the judges than was the bench. I called his attention to how Osmeña had nearly wrecked by administration by his insistent recommendation of Venancio Concepcion as President of the Philippine National Bank. We agreed that Osmeña was a bad judge of men. I called his attention to the efforts I made for five years to induce him (Quezon) to break with Osmeña. He replied: “It took me twenty years.”

Osmeña had also persistently tried to get an appointment with Quezon to argue in favour of Aldanese. Quezon and I agreed that the Collector of Customs was personally straight, but Quezon said he had been put in an awkward position by Governor Wood. I complained that the Philippine Government was full of graft, and asked whether it was not because Governor Murphy has had his head in the clouds. Quezon said, “no, you must not think that of Murphy”–that the original fault was with Governor General Wood–that corruption was rife under him. That his successor, [sic] Governor General Davis had announced in a speech in Honolulu that he was going out to the Philippines to clean up graft in this country. That while Davis was here, he never knew anything at all about the country.

The announcement of the Government’s decision to cancel the lease of the arrastre to Simme & Gilke had subjected Quezon to a perfect bombardment of letters of protest from Americans. They state that the lease of the arrastre to the Manila Terminal Co. under Governor Wood had greatly improved the freight service at the Manila docks. Quezon said that perhaps it had not been done any too well before but that he was going to turn it over to the Manila Railroad Co. and have Paez manage it; that the Manila Terminal Co. had been making 500,000 pesos a year out of it. That they had offered Aldanese a large salary for extra service with the Manila Terminal Co.; that Governor Wood had permitted him to accept; [that it was “unethical” for the Collector of Customs to have another salary from a business firm.] This practice had been stopped November 15 under the new constitution.

Quezon next talked about the (Baguio) Constabulary Academy case, where he had just dismissed eight of the cadets, including his own nephew, for hazing and had transferred Colonel Johnson, the Commandant. The cadets whom he had examined personally concerning this case, had replied that they thought the regulation against hazing was a dead letter. I told him how President Thomas Jefferson in the last year of his life had ridden down from Monticello to the new University of Virginia and had dismissed his own two nephews (my great uncle Cary and his cousin Carr) for a student prank. He said he wished he had known of this, for he would have cited it as a precedent in this Constabulary case.