It Ins been one of the pleasures of my life since I have entered politics to do a good thing to the man who tried and failed to harm me. This pleasure was afforded once more to me today when I had a long distance telephone conversation with my old friend, Vice-President Osmeña, while I was in Dr. Wright’s office receiving professional attention.
The memory of that never to be forgotten fight on the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law, came vividly to my mind. The Osrox Mission, on failing to secure the approval of the Philippine Legislature of that ill-fated law which they defended so valiantly and with so much optimism of victory, instead of accepting graciously their defeat as they should have and abiding by the decision of the legislature, determined to defy the will of the majority and carried their fight back to the American Congress. They felt sure that the resolution of the Legislature sending me to America for the purpose of obtaining amendments to the bill which we rejected would result in a complete failure for they had made friends among Senators and Representatives during their stay in Washington, and those friends have assured them that nothing that I could do would make them change one iota in the provisions of the law which they have approved. In order that this antagonistic attitude of the Congress might be kept alive, they denounced me and my friends as having charged the Senators and Representatives who took a leading part in the passage of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law, that they were bribed or at least unduly influenced by Cuban sugar interests. It can easily be imagined under what adverse circumstances I went to the United States then to fulfill the mission which the legislature gave me to appear before Congress and obtain amendments to the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law. I will not go into details here of what I did after my arrival in Washington. It is enough for the purpose of this memorandum that I should mention the fact that one day I was dumb-founded to see in the newspapers in Washington a statement issued by Senator Tydings as chairman of the Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs or the Senate, to the effect that his committee has had an executive session and agreed that they would not make the slightest amendment to that bill except to permit the Philippine Legislature to have another opportunity to accept it. This statement was a public rebuke which Senator Tidings purposely attempted to administer to me. I who have been in Washington for nearly two months, trying to find a chance or a cause for approaching the Senators, instead or being disheartened by this statement of Tydings, I welcomed it as the opening door given me to approach the members of Congress who had to do with Philippine legislation. I immediately sought and secured an appointment with Senator Tydings. I went to his office in company with the former private secretary of President Wilson so as to have a witness to the conversation that I was going to have with Senator Tydings. I entered the room of Senator Tydings with the newspaper in my hand, and after the usual conventional greeting I asked him pointedly this question: “Senator, did you give out this statement?” He said: “Yes”. I said: “What do you mean by this Senator? The Philippine Legislature, when it had before it the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law, took for granted that that law was passed by the Congress in good faith; that when you provided in the said law that it would not take effect until accepted by the Philippine Legislature, we thought that in good faith you meant to find out what the opinion of the Legislature upon that bill was. The Legislature has rejected the bill and has sent me here for the purpose of presenting before the Congress our views and the reasons for the rejection of the bill, and the amendments which, if introduced, would make the bill acceptable to us. We expected that you would welcome this honest and frank attitude of the Philippine Legislature and that you would want to discuss with us the merits of the question. I have come to America; you know I am here; I have presented to the President of the United States and, through him, to the Congress formally, the action or the Legislature. And you, without hearing me, come out and say “We are not going to do anything except to give the Philippine Legislature another chance to accept this bill”. I said: “Senator, the Filipino people are intelligent people; they know what you mean by that. They know that what you mean is that we take this bill as it is nor not. So you are trying to force us to take that bill. My answer to you is this: ‘If you pass that bill a million times, a million times it will be rejected‘. And don’t forget that I who am talking to you is neither Senator Osmeña or Speaker Roxas. Those people came to you and told you that what they assured you was going to be supported by the Filipino people. They went back to the Philippines and the Legislature told them to go to hell and they are in hell now.
Now I am telling you that this bill will not be accepted by the Philippine Legislature until I say that it may be accepted and no man or group of men can ever get the Legislature to do contrary to what I want them to do. Now, I am giving you formal notice that your bill will be rejected and I repeat that it will be rejected as many times as you approve it here unless you make changes to that bill that are satisfactory to me. I said ‘Senator, don’t forget I speak I do with the authority of my people! “.
Senator Tydings looked at me and said: “All right Quezon, what do you want. Can we come to any reasonable agreement?” I said: “Senator, we can always come to a reasonable agreement, that is why I have come here because I am a reasonable man. I can compromise, so if you are ready to talk business I will talk business with you and there will be no difficulty in coming to an agreement as long as you don’t bulldoze me.” Then he said: “All right, Manuel, sit down and.get your head cooled off and let’s smoke a cigarette.
The same Senator Tydings who tried to thus bluff me five years ago eith the elated feelings on the part of Osmeña and Roxas, has given out a statement to the press a few days ago where he practically says “we cannot take Senator 0smeña’s word, the only man who we can listen to is President Quezon” and my friend Vice President Osmeña becomes disheartened and hopeless. It was time for me if I had the inclination to be vindictive, not so much as to express joy over his defeat but at least to be indifferent to his misfortune. Instead of that I came to his rescue and gave a statement to the press which saved him from political discredit. In my conversation with Osmeña this morning, I found him a very happy man and I am happier than he is for having returned his ill-will towards me five years ago with more than a good will – with a helping hand.
April 21, 1939