About Claire Phillips

About the author: Claire Maybelle Snyder (December 2, 1907 – May 22, 1960), more widely known as Claire Phillips, but also known as Clara Fuentes, Clara Phillips, Dorothy Fuentes or her code name, “High Pockets.” American-born entertainer, bar owner, and spy for the Allied cause awarded the Medal of Freedom.

About the diary: Peter Eisner, author of MacArthur’s Spies, based his book in part on the author’s diary, located in the U.S. National Archives. As he wrote,

I came upon an index card at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, that indicated there should be information on a lawsuit Claire filed against the U.S. government after the war…, Claire’s claim for restitution from the government for the money she spent feeding the guerrillas and prisoners of war was hidden under the unassuming title Clavier v. United States. That took me from the National Archives annex in College Park to the original National Archives building in Washington, DC…

Another piece of evidence that had been tossed into the court file slipped out of the folder as I examined the container: a small leather date book that Claire had kept to make diary entries during the war and which she had not seen since making her last entry in 1944. The diary depicts in miniature the life and times of a woman who maneuvered her way through Japanese occupation in the Philippines, suffering through deadly disease, indignities, and imprisonment while concealing her efforts to spy on the Japanese. It is scribbled, sometimes crudely coded, not always decipherable, but has every sign of being genuine to the moment it was written.

Eisner, Peter (2017). MacArthur’s Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster who Defied the Japanese in World War II. Penguin.

The Philippine Diary Project has included the portions of the diary entries as cited in the book’s notes; where Eisner added supplemental information or details in a note, they have been included in italics. The entries for December 9-15, 1941 are in full, based on a photographic reproduction of the entries in the book.