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.