Quezon is very much exercised because he found that the Army Intelligence Service had discovered that Colonel Andres Soriano, his Secretary of Finance, had been one of Franco’s fascists. And now they were investigating the loyalty of Soriano and of Quezon himself. Quezon busy dictating a strong letter of protest to Secretary of War Stimson. The letter was sent by hand. Quezon called the Secretary of War personally on the telephone, and Stimson replied: “Don’t take them seriously.” Quezon: “But I do–very.” Stimson: “Well, then, let me tell you a story: when I entered the Army in 1917 they at once put me in the intelligence division. The first afternoon I was there, I read that every second man I knew was a ‘spy.’ I’ll call in General Strong and give him hell.” Quezon added that the Army Intelligence is also investigating a foreign ambassador in Washington.
Pacific War Council that day.
Roosevelt said that the reason the Atlantic Charter had omitted all reference to freedom of religion was because neither Churchill, (who was present at the meeting) nor he, had thought enough about religion to remember to put it in. (N.B. this was disingenuous in view of the photograph published at the time showing Churchill and Roosevelt sitting side-by-side on the deck of the Prince of Wales singing each from a hymn book.) Roosevelt added: “Churchill and I forgot it–that is the fact, but I couldn’t very well admit that.”
Roosevelt remarked that King Peter of Yugoslavia was interested only in the Hollywood girls. “I’ll have to send for a couple of them.”
Quezon says that at the Pacific War Council Churchill looked across the table in a puzzled way at him, but when he heard Roosevelt refer to him by name, he had a look of interest and after the meeting, came around the table and shook hands saying: “I’ve never had a chance to meet you before and I am very glad of the present opportunity to congratulate you on the gallant fight put up by your people. We consider it to have been a very great contribution to the war effort.”
Harry Hopkins said to Quezon: “I see you are the best dressed man on the Council.” The Minister from New Zealand expressed doubt. Quezon replied: “I heard a radio speech in English from a Japanese saying that the Filipinos had lost all their virtues as Oriental people due to the influence of Spain and the United States. All that they care about now is to be well-dressed, so that people will look at them.” Hopkins got quite red–he has no sense of humour, which Roosevelt, on the other hand, has in such abundance.
Roosevelt minimized the taking of the two outermost of the Aleutian Islands by the Japanese, but added: “I don’t know what my friend Mackenzie King thinks of it–he lives nearer than I do.” Mackenzie King did not seem to be so unconcerned over it as was Roosevelt.
Roosevelt was asked if he was sure of the victory of his party in the coming Congressional elections–he said “Well–no. But I was Governor of New York with a Republican Senate, a Republican House; and I think I can kid them along.”
National Defense Act of the Philippines. Quezon said: “As soon as I had agreed with the President and Congressional leaders on a new independence law (Tydings-Mc-Duffie Act) which eliminated the provision for keeping the United States Army in the Philippines after independence should be attained, I realized the responsibility we had assumed for the defense of the Philippines. During the last world war, we had organized a Philippine National Guard, but American Army leaders had never encouraged the maintenance of this. So, this time, I realized that my first task would be to prepare the Philippines when free to assume the responsibility for its own defense. I went at once to see General Douglas MacArthur in Washington; he was the best informed–the one man to advise me. The following conversation ensued:
“Q.: ‘General, I wish to ask you some questions and I hope you will answer them fully or not at all–be very frank. Do you think the Philippines if independent can be effectively defended against a first class power?’
“MacA.: ‘I not only think so, but I know so.’
“Q.: ‘Would you be willing to assume the responsibility of preparing the Philippines to defend itself?’
“MacA.: ‘Yes, if the President will allow me.’
“Q.: ‘How much do you think it would cost?’
“MacA.: ‘How much are you now spending on the Constabulary?’
“Q.: ‘About 6,000,000 pesos annually.’
“MacA.: ‘Add to that 10,000,000 pesos each year for ten years–it can be done.’
“Q.: ‘Yes. If I am elected president, that very day I will wire inviting you to come to the Philippines at once.’
“We next agreed that an American law then in force authorizing the President to send, on request, military missions to the South American countries should be amended to extend also to the Philippines.”
Quezon added to me: “I saw Roosevelt again and asked him to let me have MacArthur, and to have this law amended; that was done before I left Washington.
“I was then very much encouraged as to our national defense problem. I believed every word MacArthur said, and felt very confident. But I suspected that the War Department was not very enthusiastic over our plan; I felt this still more so when my friend General Harbord came to Manila a couple of years later; he said nothing about the Philippine Army–either for or against.
“Back in the Philippines, I went for everybody who criticized our National Defense Act. But when in 1939, I saw Czecho-Slovakia and Poland fall–saw Germany defeat them so easily though they had far more by way of defense than we could acquire even at the end of ten years, I began to weaken. I then told the Cabinet that I feared I was spending more money on the National Defense than was justified. If nations like Poland and Czecho-Slovakia can be overwhelmed so quickly, it is possible they would also do it to us. Better, perhaps for us not to waste so much money.
“So, I began to hesitate; I told MacArthur and Sayre. Upon one occasion I made a statement to newspaper men that I was not as confident as I had been before of the ability of an independent Philippines to defend itself against a first class power. MacArthur did not contradict my newspaper statement, but he never lost faith in his work. I called him before the Cabinet and told him my doubts as to the effectiveness of our plans. He replied that he had always taken it for granted that our own defense would be implemented by the United States Navy.
“Of course, my concern was not over the situation of the Philippines so long as we remained under the flag of the United States. I felt first, that no other nation would dare to attack the United States, and, second, that in case of attack, we would not have to rely upon ourselves alone, that the prime responsibility for the Philippines would rest on the United States. Whatever we might have would be just that much help.
“At the beginning of November 1940, I gave notice to all Americans in the service of the Commonwealth that I could not commit myself to them beyond my own term of Office–so they all had a year’s notice before the election of November 10, 1941. I added: ‘I am not a candidate for re-election.’ I had no disagreement whatever with MacArthur; I intended to keep him but would not commit myself or tell him so. He asked me ‘What will you do if you are re-elected?’ I refused to explain and said to him, ‘If you find something you find more satisfactory, take it.’
“The result of the election of November 1941 was much bigger than before. Only Sumulong ran against me. He died later when I was in Corregidor.”