Dinner—delayed Christmas dinner of “American milk-fed capon” at McMasters’ house. All talk of the new airport being built at Bacolod to accommodate large bombers. Since Manila and most of the island of Luzon is in hands of the Japs there is no landing field for American bombers when they come. This island chosen for base is between Manila and Davao at the extreme south, where Japs have also landed in great numbers. News that Sir Archibald Wavell has been placed in command of all Far Eastern forces is a blow to every American here. We feel that Roosevelt has sold out to Churchill. Evidently it was for the purpose (sole purpose) of having a British in command in the Far East that he flew to Washington. This means, we Americans in the P.I.’s feel, that the American fleet and planes will be called to save Singapore (and British women and children there) and pass by the Philippines and the American women and children trapped here. Churchill stated repeatedly in his talks in the U.S., “Singapore must be saved at any cost,” and then began to apologize for British defeats in the Far East by boasting of their accomplishments in Libya. I am quite bitter about the action of Mr. Roosevelt and toward our British allies who have led him away from what, we Americans have been made to feel, is the responsibility of our government.
Will General Brett and Adm. Hart (Americans who will be in command under “Sir Archibald,” as the under has been emphasized in all British broadcasts) bow and call him “Your Lordship,” “Your honor,” and back out of his presence? Imagine!!! Sir Archibald’s appointment is a double disappointment because of his record of defeats in Libya and his demotion, and the wide publicity given his failure when he was sent to command the then quiet Indian forces to get him from firing lines. After admitting he is not a strategist—but of noble lineage and should not have his family’s name belittled—we, the United States become a scapegoat and let him be put in command of us to build Sir A.’s prestige again. (I read Time and Life at the time of Sir A’s demotion and his record of military failure.) Yes, it is a bitter dose to take. The approval of this appointment by Roosevelt has caused more of a feeling of defeatism in the P.I. than the capture of Manila by the Japanese. We have kept stout hearts thinking confidently, daily, that help was on the way to us. Now we feel that while we go without food and suffer humiliation at the hands of the Japs, American aid will pass us by for British territory. How could you do this, Mr. Roosevelt? Are there no good American generals? Not one good enough to take the Far Eastern command when our great nation—the “greatest on earth,” the “arsenal for all the democracies’—puts her whole weight into the fight?