Shoreham Hotel. I found Quezon in high spirits; he had an overhaul yesterday at the Walter Reed Hospital, where they found his heart, arteries, kidneys, etc., quite sound, and ascribe his blood pressure only to nervousness.
He is now all enthusiasm for writing his book, and is at work six or eight hours a day in his room, dictating to Canceran, and writing his revisions of the manuscript. He has Morgan Shuster in New York on the telephone every day to talk over the batches of ms. he sends him. Shuster is encouraging him up to the limit.
I questioned him about the willingness of the Filipinos to agree to the retention of naval bases in their islands after independence and for which he had included a provision in the Tydings-McDuffie Act; the retention or establishment of which is to be subject to negotiation between the United States and the future Philippine Republic. He rejected the idea that the Navy should then continue to occupy the old base at Cavite, or, indeed, any place on Manila Bay, whereby the seat of government would be under naval guns –but would consent to their occupying such bases as Olongapo, Pollilo, etc., and he has already set up weather observatories at such stations. The idea of the Filipinos was that the American Navy would not interfere with the internal affairs of the Republic, but that its presence in the Philippines would deter other powers from aggressions.
With the Army, however, the situation was quite different –ever since the last military governor of the Philippines, General Arthur MacArthur, had shown such reluctance to turning over the government to Mr. William H. Taft, the first civilian governor; the Army and their different posts throughout the Philippine Islands had shown a very active interest in the working of the new government of the islands. Thus, they seemed to sense they represented the idea of the use of force against the Filipinos.
This opinion Quezon had expressed in November 1935 to Secretary of War Dern and to Senate floor leader Joe Robinson in Washington some months earlier, citing in a discussion of this question what he called the “betrayal” of a Governor General by the Army. He had reference, of course, to the ludicrous and abortive “uprising” of the Filipinos in the Botanical Garden in Manila at Christmas time of 1913 when I was the Governor. This affair had consisted of the gathering of some dozens of Filipinos, mostly of the cook or muchacho type, who tried to start a noisy demonstration, but were at once discouraged by a few of the city police. We later found that this abortive affair had been “staged” by agents provocateurs of the Philippine Scouts, a part of the American Army; and an American colonel of the Manila garrison had meanwhile paraded his regiment. The secret service agents of the army were at that time too much involved in local politics –possibly in order to justify their own continued employment.
Quezon on phone with Morgan Shuster over the first proofs of title page and foreword of his book. Insists on having the italics changed in Roosevelt’s pledge, taken from under “I pledge” and inserted instead: “the full resources and man power of U.S. are back of this pledge.” “That” he added to me “was what influenced our people to resist.”
I told him of the campaign being conducted in the United States by Pearl Buck for what she calls “economic equality, etc.” for Negroes in our country. Her argument is based on the Japanese propaganda in Asia which, she maintains, weakens America with the Chinese. I asked him if such an argument had any effect on the Chinese and he just laughed. He never had heard of Pearl Buck. He said that American Negroes were well liked in the Philippines citing the example of Major Loving, leader of the Constabulary band.
Quezon gets every day here in Washington from the State Department a precis of Japanese propaganda over the radio in the Philippines. He says: “The Japs are doing too d – d well”; that they had released Gen. Vicente Lim; had rebuilt the damaged railways, and had restored inter-island passage to the central and southern islands. I asked him about the sugar plantations; he thought the Japanese would keep them going, take all the sugar and not pay for it, adding “it makes no difference to me.”
Spoke of his troubles caused by the corruption by the Chinese in the Philippines. When a delegation from Chiang Kai-shek visited him he told them he sympathized with their desire of independence and hoped they would throw the Japanese out, but he did wish they would help him to curb Chinese corruption in the Philippines. The last Consul General they had in Manila was one of the “new young men” and he helped Quezon to clean up the immigration mess; and to put in jail the violators of that act. Quezon reorganized the Bureau of Immigration. He added that if he lives to attend the Peace Conference, he will work to see that China and Russia do not remain armed while Japan is disarmed. Hopes to line up Canada, Australia and the Latin American countries to that end.
Quezon thinks that when he asked Roosevelt for independence for the Philippines in 1938 or on 4th of July, 1939, Roosevelt was quite in conformity but was curbed by those “Experts” in the Department of State.
Quezon then remarked that he brought Rafael Palma’s new “history” for the government and then refused to have it printed, adding that Don Rafael seemed to favor Wood’s administration quite as much as mine. I told him that Palma had said to me in 1936 that I was much more “radical” than some of the Filipino leaders then were –meaning, of course, that my views on independence were more aggressive.
On Corregidor, Quezon said, he became so dissatisfied with Carlos Romulo’s broadcasts on Corregidor that he asked MacArthur (on whose “staff” Romulo served) to put him under the censorship of a committee composed of Osmeña, Roxas and Santos. Romulo came to him and said that would humiliate him, but “I had decided to fire him if he did not submit. I told him I never put out anything myself without submitting it to them.” I then read to Quezon Romulo’s interview in today’s New York papers stating that the Japanese had burned all the books in the library of the University of the Philippines dealing with “Democracy, the United States and England” etc… Quezon stated that he had heard this rumoured but did not know whether this was true or not. The part of Romulo’s interview dealing with the Bello incident was true. Bello had a school of his own at Vigan, and when the Japanese first got there they ordered him to haul down the American flag, but said he could leave the Philippine flag over his school flying. He replied that the law obliged him to have both flags, that they could haul down the flags themselves, but he refused to do so. They shot him down.
I then tried to read to Quezon from Collier’s recent article on atrocities by Japanese when entering Manila. He didn’t want to listen to it, said he never even read Marsman’s article on atrocities in Hong Kong; said he did not believe all this stuff, and would not take part in the abuse of the Japanese.
I subsequently asked three members of Quezon’s staff about atrocities in Manila; they seemed somewhat surprised by the question, calling attention to the fact that Manila had been declared an open city and was not defended. One of them said he had heard that the niece of Major Stevenot, a young American woman, had been abused by the Japanese because she would not tell them where Stevenot was. (He was on Corregidor). Stevenot was the head of the long distance telephone company, and of the radio company. Another indignity was offered to a Filipina girl who had no pass for crossing a bridge –or else did not understand the sentry’s questions. There were many atrocities of rape in the provinces.
Quezon said he had sent Colonel Andres Soriano to see Norman Davis to ask about treatment of prisoners by Japanese. Davis is head of the American Red Cross. Quezon is trying to have supplies forwarded to the Philippines. Davis stated that he was already in touch with ex-prisoners returning from Shanghai and they reported they had been well treated.
The British recognized the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, and can thus communicate with their nationals there through channels. The United States has not recognized Japanese occupation of the Philippines.
American School System in the Philippines. Quezon described his quarrel with Vice Governor and Secretary of Public Instruction Gilmore (under Wood). It was in a car going down to lunch with Gilmore at the Army and Navy Club. Quezon told him the American system was destroying the old civic virtues of the Filipinos –respect for the family, the church and authority– the discussion became so heated that Quezon refused to lunch with Gilmore.
The following story was told me recently by Frank L. Crone, former Director of Education in the Philippines and in Peru:
Quezon and Osmeña were sent for during Wood’s time to come to Malacañan Palace and were occasionally kept waiting for three quarters of an hour before being received by the Governor General. Wood’s a.d.c. told Crone that on one such occasion Quezon appeared clad in a camisa de chino, chinelas (slippers) and a salacot (big country hat). When surprise was expressed at his costume, he replied: “well, if I am to be treated like a tao when I come to Malacañan, I’m going to dress like one.”
Crone said also that the ancient local, democratic self-government still prevailed in every barrio in the Philippines. The cabeza de barangay was not a government position, but was the head of the local group named barangay after the original muster of the vinta, or long boat in which their ancestors had first landed in the Philippines.
Also, he added, family affairs, such as domestic matters like Marriage, are usually settled by a big family council.