The message was excellent, and contained the following reference to agrarian reform:
In the meantime, I recommend the adoption of measures similar to those which were adopted in Ireland to solve agrarian problems there existing from time immemorial. I also recommend the immediate passage of a law authorizing the expropriation of those portions of the large haciendas which are urban in character and occupied by the houses of the tenants.
Saw the President on the balcony at Malacañan, and congratulated him on his message, though his somewhat impromptu speeches and papers are usually his best, because they give more of the ardor and passion of his personality. He called me over and kept Secretary Yulo and Justice Recto &c waiting in order to give me the following letter he had written (in long hand) in reply to mine of thanks for the trip on the Negros:
Malacañan Palace, June 17, 36.
Your note of the fifteenth is very much appreciated.
In asking you to join me in my trips I am only seeking my own pleasure and profit. Your company brings back to memory those happy days of our former association and offers me the opportunity–which I can seldom have in Manila–to get your views and encouragement on the plans I have which may be a little too advanced for some of my associates. It is a source of great satisfaction that you feel as much pleased with the trip as I am.
I expressed myself as very happy to have this letter. Then I took up with him his very frank and bold renouncing of the purchase of the remaining Friar Estates, and congratulated him on recanting his former views. (This is one thing I have been trying since last Autumn to spare his government.) I told him that his “Board of Arbitration” in my bill on Landlord and Tenant, as taken from the Irish Land Acts, was the Land Commission, and I had given them the power to purchase (with his approval and action by the Assembly) all or part of any of these estates; that it was better for him to have the power to use in an emergency, even if he didn’t exercise it. He agreed. I also told him that after his message a lot of the agitation and trouble would die down–he agreed. Hoped he could now induce the more turbulent tenants to move to Mindanao.
Talked with Colin Hoskins on phone about the landlord and tenant bill–he said “the failure to purchase the Friar Estates would disappoint some important churchmen.”
I took the bill down to Diokno’s office for remoulding.
N.B. on the Negros Quezon had remarked that before the arrival of the Americans in the Philippines, venereal diseases were almost unknown here. I told him with what reluctance in May 1917 I had closed the “Red Light” district of Manila, when the Commanding General of Fort McKinley brought me President Wilson’s Executive Order thereon, referring to eliminating such districts within a certain number of miles of an army post. This General was equally reluctant to act, saying: “I founded it myself in 1901 when I was Provost Marshal here”–Quezon said this closing had spread prostitution and venereal disease greatly here.
Talk with Secretary of Finance Alas on the standardization of salaries; he emphasized the view that this must be undertaken, and it was better to get it over with now, however disagreeable this may be. He admitted however that the higher salaries of the City of Manila and of Provincial Governors must also be readjusted.