February 16, 1950

Interview with President Quirino. (Introduced by Selden Chapin, US Chargé d’ Affaires). He was very cordial, and gave me an opening to preach my little sermon on politics and corruption in the Customs. I remarked that the disease is easy to diagnose but hard to cure, but added that, if (1) political influence could be eliminated from the Customs personnel and (2) Customs employees paid a living wage, the Philippines could have just as good a Customs Service as any country. He made one very discouraging but very Oriental, comment to the effect that, even if the Customs staff were paid more, they’d keep on squeezing. If this opinion (which is not correct of the pre-war Chinese Customs Service) is widely held, I doubt whether any permanent improvement can be made in the Customs here. Malacañang Palace is a handsome building, and I couldn’t help thinking of some of the able American Governors-General who occupied it in the old days. Most of the honest Filipinos would welcome the return of American control. To wack wack Golf Club, where Prof. Dalupan gave a luncheon for the E.C.A. staff. Worked on memorandum suggesting an enforcement division in the Bureau of Customs.

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