June 1, 1942

At ten a.m. in Quezon’s rooms at the Shoreham with Don Andres Soriano and Resident Commissioner “Mike” Elizalde helping us to correct the typed draft of the twenty minutes address Quezon is to deliver before the House of Representatives tomorrow. Dr. Clark, formerly one of his advisers in the Philippines was sent off to get the text of Quezon’s first speech in the American House of Representatives in 1911 in which he had promised the United States the very support of the Filipinos in time of need which they had now rendered them thirty-two years later.

At luncheon at the Shoreham with Quezon and Osmeña. Talk of the good effect created by Quezon’s quiz by the Senators and members of the House last Saturday at luncheon at the Cosmos Club. Quezon commented that the most disturbing element of that occasion was the statement of Senator La Follette at the conclusion of the Senators’ remarks upon how we should disarm our opponents after we had won the war. La Follette had remarked: “We expect those five or six million men who will make up our armed forces, when they come home to tell us what we shall do with the peace.” This, according to Quezon, was “rubber-stamp” statesmanship, and he added: “We might as well have pure democracy.” He believes that the representative form of government means that the representatives are chosen to make the final decisions for their constituents; La Follette’s theory would mean a complete abdication of power by representatives elected by the people.

While we were at luncheon in the restaurant of the Shoreham, two priests came up with a tall refined looking young man whom they presented as the Archduke Otto.

Seeing that I was not to have the projected fortnight of quiet with Quezon at the Hot Springs, with a stenographer present, I seized this opportunity to tell him about the plans of our friend Morgan Shuster in New York for publication of his book. Shuster’s suggestion is that Quezon should write now chiefly about the war, and insists that it be ready for printing in September; he suggests that Quezon should prepare another and more complete biography later.

Quezon asked me how long it took me to write my Cornerstone of Philippine Independence, published by Shuster in 1922. I told him five weeks, and he expressed surprise that it had been written in long-hand.

I began, then, by asking Quezon to tell me of his birth and early life. This is a difficult way of working out a book because the text will lack the originality of expression and the animated style of narrative characteristic of Quezon’s own diction, and will have to be made up on the basis of my daily memoranda of his conversations. But I see no other way, at present, than to catch his ideas on the “rebound” every time I am with him, and we are so seldom alone together. At all events I had better make hay while the sun shines.

So I said to him that Shuster wants the story of the poor boy who became President of his country, as a means of reaching popular opinion in the United States, but that I myself had always found him muy señor, and supposed he had sprung from the class of principales. He laughed, and said his parents owned two acres of land at Baler when he was born. Then I said that since Shuster wanted, this time, only a war book, he should present first a short account of his early life and upbringing and then pass to a good story of his participation in the Philippine insurrection against the United States, and balance that later with a careful account of his recent notable and gallant services in this war as an ally of our country. He seemed to accept that idea, and I hope he will find time from now on to develop his own way of carrying out this literary undertaking.


August 21, 1936

Brought home to lunch, Dr. Victor Clark, the economic expert from Washington, who has been here for four months. As we both have been “advisers” of Quezon we chaffed one another about the small amount of “work” given us. I mentioned how I had passed the morning, and he said: “dilute your morning’s work down to 10% and you’ll get mine.” I told him how safe Quezon was on questions of currency and government finance, and that the President was determined to avoid the slightest excise for interference by the High Commissioner. He said he was perfectly satisfied with the financial situation here–except for the stock market boom which he thinks is bound to collapse, and he considers it a menace. He sailed for home the next day.


May 21, 1936

Called on Dr. Victor Clark at the Manila Hotel; he is the new economic adviser to this government. He is employed by the Library of Congress of the United States. A great traveler and observer. He is well-balanced, but perhaps a little timid. Has been here before for several visits. He now advises the Filipinos to be cautious is asking for amendments to the Tydings-McDuffie law, and adds that they may get amendments in Congress they do not want. He asked me particularly about the Rice and Corn Corporation–whether all the sales could not be taken over by one organization; I called attention to the fact that most of the rice mills and sales agencies were in the hands of the Chinos. He also told me that formerly he had been disinclined to pay any attention to “chatter politics,” but he had seen them come true in Manchukuo and in Abyssinia. He added that if the Filipinos did not develop Mindanao, some cub reporter today might suggest that that island is just what the Japanese need, and in the end they might get it. I told him of Quezon’s extreme preoccupation with this problem.

Acting High Commissioner Weldon Jones called me to his office to present his report (which I asked for on January 27th!) concerning Colin Hoskin’s proposition that the Philippine Government should purchase silver at 45 cents with some of their dollar deposits in the United States and thus make millions by seignorage. Jones had come to a definite conclusion in opposition. He said the world was too unsettled for such a move, and that any tampering with the currency in the Philippines would alarm businessmen here. He declared the Philippines must not be put on a “silver basis,” since silver is too fluctuating in value as a commodity, and the world is “moving away from it.” He added that China has just gone off silver and has joined the dollar exchange. We then discussed the possible effects of this latter move upon the Japanese. I expressed regret that England’s strenuous attempt to bring China into sterling exchange had failed. The Chinese are sticking like leeches to us, hoping to embroil us with Japan, and England is now willing to have America pull the chestnuts out of the fire; our trade with China is not worth it; Japan has already started a counter-block by setting up local customs houses in the North China block–charging only one-fourth of the standard Chinese duties, and thus intending to flood China with Japanese goods, and so threaten the stability of all loans to China held by foreigners.

Bridge in the p.m. with Nazario, Tobangui and La O.

Big dinner at the Manila Hotel given by Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Wolff as a despedida for Don Andres Soriano who is off on a visit to St Jean de Luz. Both Soriano and Colonel Hodsoll told of telephone conversations by wireless in the last few days with Juan Figueras in Biarritz!

Talk with Benito Razon just back from the United States. He had been recently with a group of Americans who expressed disapproval of the apparent change of heart in the Philippines over independence since the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie law; that this change was no doubt due to the same influence which was causing America to withdraw from activities in the Orient–i.e., the power of Japan; that the demand for free markets for the Philippines in America was based on unfairness of the sanctions in the Tydings-McDuffie law by which America keeps her free market here for ten years, and Filipinos get a free market in the United States for only five years. He agreed with me that the new series of kicks by Americans against the Philippines is based on general indifference (“we never had any good reason for being there anyway”) plus an irritation that Filipinos should have preferred independence to retaining American protection.


Sunday, March 22, 1936

All day at sea and very rough–all hands more or less under the weather. Bridge in p.m. Quezon has, so far, won all the rubbers and we three are all losers.

Talk with Quezon off Panay. I asked him about Philippine sugar shares; he said they were good for dividends for ten years–even after the “sanctions” levied five years hence. He told me that the planters are counting on the continuance of free trade with the United States. I remarked that I had bought some gold shares–he commented “They are good.” I said I was thinking of buying Shaw’s Philippine Iron Company’s shares–he said if you wait, you may be able to buy shares in a government-owned Company in Surigao–“you reserved them for the government twenty-one years ago.” I asked him if they had been recently surveyed and were as rich as we had believed? “Yes,” he replied.

I then asked about the possibility of setting up separate Filipino consulates–said he had taken it up with Secretary Hull before inauguration, and he had referred it to William Phillips. Had received no answer as yet.

Next I reported a conversation with Simmie concerning the arrastre plant. He replied that Simmie is a good man: “if I leave that business in private hands, his company will have the preference–but I want more money from it.”

Said Rodriguez would not remain as head of the National Development Co. He would send him around the world for a year to study industry and commerce, adding: “he talks too much”!

He asked me if I had talked with the High Commissioner about silver–I said certainly not; that I would not go to the High Commissioner about anything official without his instructions. I had asked Weldon Jones about it as he (Quezon) had requested and was waiting his report before making up my own opinion. Quezon said that the High Commissioner had talked with him about it.

We laughed a little over “experts” and he said he was getting one to come out here with only his travel paid.

I asked him if the United States would not give the Philippines the equivalent in silver even if they had refused to pay the losses on devaluation in gold. Quezon said that Morgan had formerly been ready to do this, but businessmen in Manila were carrying on with capital borrowed abroad and they are now afraid their loans would be called if silver in large quantities were introduced into the Philippines currency. He also remarked that the Philippine loss on devaluation was already more than thirty million pesos–especially when computed in terms of trade competition with Japan; he added that the present was the moment to get any benefits or concessions from the United States, before the Republicans get in.

I remarked that the Manila Bulletin was still fighting hard, against us and he replied: “They are the damndest die-hards and reactionaries I have ever seen.”

Next he commented upon Dr. Victor Clark, the financial expert of the American Congress, who had come for a few months to the Philippines as an adviser. Quezon said Clark was able to review all things dispassionately because he wasn’t even prejudiced about the Soviets, and that was the supreme test for an American.

Then he spoke of lawyers, and remarked that Clyde Dewitt was the best American jurist in the Philippines, and Jose Laurel was the best Filipino jurist.

At luncheon, on the steamer I told the President, of his daughter “Baby’s” witty reply to my comment on his speech in Zamboanga, and he sprang up and kissed her, saying; “She is a true daughter of mine.”