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Tuesday, March 17, 1942

Saint Patrick’s Day—but a big day—100th day of war and General MacArthur placed in command of all forces in Far East. Optimism high. We’ve felt, like the Australians, that if we could get rid of retreating Sir Archibald the American and Australian forces might have a chance to save some of their own territory and then set in to recovering what Wavell had lost.

Cebu radio had been promising big things on the 100th day—announcement of MacArthur promotion as good as a victory. Also it was a blow to Japanese to know MacA. slipped through their fingers and was able to leave Bataan. U.S. High Commissioner Francis B. Sayre in Hawaii also. So, though we’re completely blockaded, to all intents and purposes those in whose hands our destinies be can come and go above the clouds or under the sea. Quezon has gone from island to island with his wife, Maria Aurora [Aurora], and his two daughters and his staff, by submanine. This is all annoying to the Japanese, who think they, not we, control the Philippines.

Reports from Manila. Dr. Jardelega has returned with his 16-year-old son who was in school in Manila when the war began. The boy looks pure Filipino (has American mother) and so Japs made no effort to prevent travel. Many other Filipino students are coming back to Negros on small sailboats, making a hop from island in the day and sleeping on land at night, as they navigate by eyesight alone in the day, seldom losing sight of land. This travel can be accomplished by small sailboat but not by larger deep-water ships.

Some bring back tales of horror: naked bodies dangling from poles on Jones Bridge in Manila near the post office—slit from throat to loins. Bodies of Filipinos who were not “loyal” to the Japanese conquerors. Feet sticking from garbage cans along beautiful Dewey Bouleyard on Manila Bay every morning, sometimes Filipino, sometimes Japanese, murdered during the night hours with absolute disregard for human life. Filipinos ambush and murder every Jap they can get during the night, and Japanese on the other hand shoot for any minor discourtesy or sign of disrespect.

Starving American soldiers in the prison camp in Manila. American prisoners taken through streets of Manila in trucks amid jeers and insults of Japanese (this to impress Filipino watchers who have more or less looked up to Americans in their midst and cannot understand why Japs can do this to them unless, perhaps, the Japanese are invincible and invulnerable sons of heaven, as they say they are).

Report from three different sources so must be true: Japanese do not like women in slacks. From Iloilo, report that women in slacks get faces or buttocks slapped.

Torture stories: Mrs. Christenson, wife of US, Army captain, asked by Japs to locate her husband (whose whereabouts were unknown to her). Her arms were burned by glowing cigarettes held by Jap questioners until pain became so severe she lost her mind and when released committed suicide, leaving two small children. Nails driven under fingernails of personnel of radio officer who refused to tell where radio equipment was hidden. Stories of rape in Manila and Hong Kong frighten us more than other incidents of brutality.