Tuesday, October 4, 1938

Col Garcia and myself reported to Pres Q t 10:00 AM –we did not leave until 11:30. He told us of the same thing he told Lim –that he did not know of the promise of rank and that we are not receiving per diem. He said a soldiers role is service and that a soldier who does not desire to serve is no good — that a soldier can refuse to serve on only one ground and that is his honor. Now he says he does not condemn these officers after he understands that the Mil. Adv. has not lived up to his word. He explained that we look up to him as President then the Mil. Adv. as his representative — that the Mil. Adv. has his assistants whose words or promise the Mil. Adv. must uphold and which he cannot disclaim. Here is a violation of honor. He said he disapproved all reconsideration on account of his lack of proper information. He mentioned Catalan whose career from the ground up he admires. He asked what the trouble with Moran is and Garcia explained re per diem. Pres Q asked about Moran’s saying that he need not obey anybody in Hades as he has no boss. Garcia explained this. He asked about O citizenship and that he has heard O is going to be an American citizen. We disclaimed knowledge of this.

Interrupted by telephone from Mike E at Washington. Pres Q told Mike to give hell to Donalley and not to listen to political pleadings in the conduct of his office.

Spoke of cadres–

Spoke of dual ownership of mil. reservations in connection with Iloilo cadre & air company.

He spoke of the boner committed by Mil. Adviser on his initial estimate of 16 million which he (Mil Adv.) does not want to acknowledge. Pres Q says that he was willing to give more money for Nat. Def. saying that there will be 20 million more pesos in revenue yearly as a result of his taxation hoard. I brought up the issue of concern — taxation and the reasons for it. He mentioned Catalan having been a house boy of Joe Yulo. He spoke of Joe Garcia’s letter and said that any body that writes a letter like Joe wrote is not mature. He asked whether MacA ever consults with us and I brought up the subject of one sided consultation. He spoke about inspections and asked if MacA ever goes out to make these inspections and the answer was no. Col G. said MacA staff consults with us but not MacA himself. He described how he would have handled the affair himself.

He finally said that he will find a way to settle this question later and that he will send for MacA and Gen S.

December 13, 1937

We had considerable excitement recently due to forced landings by three of our airplanes while they were returning from a southern island trip. On eastern shore of Luzon they ran into the edge of a typhoon area, and, practically out of gas, each had to seek a spot to get down. One plane reported in by wire within an hour of landing; the occupants of another reached a telegraph station two days later; while the third, perched on a tiny islet that was completely isolated by weather, was unreported from Monday noon until Friday morning. Unfortunately this plane, piloted by Lt. Lee,  had Gen. Santos as one of the passengers (Segundo was the other). As a result headlines and all types of newspaper publicity centered around Santos and, this apparently irritated the President no end, who doesn’t like to see someone else’s name in the public prints.

He has written a letter to Santos demanding a full report on the trip with “whys”, “whats”, “whos”, and etc., etc. The letter was drafted by [ . . . ] who in his usual bootlicking, made its language as bitter, sarcastic and nearly intolerable [ . . . ] The Pres. even stooped to calling in a newspaper owner, Romulo, and inspiring an editorial of criticism against Santos. The whole incident is apparently to be used to relieve Santos, if possible, so they are working up an artificial sentiment of resentment toward him.

Actually the facts and reasons are simple.

The President wrote Santos a letter two months ago directing the destruction of all Moro cottas. Santos got the original order considerably modified in favor of reason and moderation, but it was still sufficiently severe to arouse Moro antagonism and sporadic revolt. A few of them gathered in a cotta at Lanao and trouble started which constantly grew more serious. Calls for help came from the local constabulary and finally Santos conferred at length with MacA. It was agreed to send down additional land forces, to get three planes ready for tactical operation in case of necessity, and to have Santos go down by plane to make an extensive survey of the situation.

Gen. MacA. fully agreed that Santos should go. The reasons were several:

  1. Santos is intimately acquainted with the country and the people.
  2. It was necessary to get first-hand information concerning the seriousness of the situation.
  3. It was obviously necessary to coordinate the plans and efforts of the army with those of the Governor-Commissioner of Mindanao, etc.

Gen. MacA. was the one who insisted that the planes, if they went, should be equipped for action. Jim and I have advised Santos to sit quietly, saying nothing except to answer the letter plainly, truthfully and without apology. He used his judgment and did the best he could. I cannot believe anyone will try to carry the thing too far. But I notice the Gen. says the only error made in the whole incident was the “decision to return to Manila”. This decision was, of course, Santos’ own so if that was the only error, he alone bears the responsibility!!!

October 8, 1937

At 12:15 today the General had a conference (called a conference by courtesy. It was nothing but a monologue –since even when given “2 minutes” to present our views, we’d lose the floor and have to subside) in his office. Present, Ord, T.J., Fellers and myself. Fellers was unquestionably present to act as “reporter” of the conference, especially to be the messenger to Malacañan. There was no other excuse since he has not been associated with the work of executing the defense plan; which was the subject of the conference.

The occasion for the conference was a conversation the General had with the Pres. last evening. The Pres. showed him an estimate (prepared by Ord for the Pres. at the specific request of the latter) as to the total cost, up to 1946, of the military program that the General has laid down as our objective. This plan, as dictated to us by the General time and time again involves:

Annual training of 40,000 conscripts for 5 1/2 mos. (3,000 to be trained for 11 mos.)

Organization of 30 reserve and 1 regular division.

Organization of an Air Force of approx. 50 fighting planes

Organization of an Off-Shore Patrol –to be as strong as possible with-in a 10 year cost of 10,000,000 pesos.

School, supply, control and administrative elements necessitated by above.

The cost of this plan, taking into account our best information on prices to be charged us by the U.S. for various classes of equipment, for the years 1938-45 inclusive is estimated by Jimmy and me to be 178 million pesos, or roughly 50,000,000 more than the 16 million annual average would provide. This was the information furnished by Jimmy to the Pres. (including 32 million for 1936-37).

The General states that this information, if true, makes him out to be either a fool or a knave, since his earliest promise to Mr. Q. was “that for 160,000,000 pesos, distributed over a 10 year period, he would make the P.I. so secure from attack, that no nation would deliberately undertake the enterprise”. He further says –now– that this 160 million program represents the only plan he has ever entertained for a moment. He says, now, that he has not deviated from that determination, and has not projected any plan that would contravene such a determination, for a single instant in the 2-year interval.

On June 15, 1936, I presented to the General what was intended to be a protest against the 30 Division program, a memorandum in which the certain minimum costs were estimated. A copy of this estimate is in the office files. It showed a certain deficit of 45,000,000 pesos and showed also that the estimates in it were generally far below what it was considered necessary to provide under the 30 Division plan. The General refused flatly to modify or restrict the objectives of his organizational plan as outlined at the beginning of today’s entry in this book. He made some prophecies that additional money would be forthcoming, either in the form of gifts in kind from the U.S., or lump sums from various Commonwealth Credits in the U.S. But finally he said that failing such windfalls, he was prepared to raise the yearly “ante” and demand more money by the appropriation route. When I inquired –which I did– as tohow he would make such action jibe with his 160 million peso promise, he replied that figure was just an approximation, and that it was understood by all that some changes would be necessary. He said also that we had plenty of reasons to advance for hiking the budget –World Conditions, possible early independence, etc., etc. (And this was long before the possibility of early independence was publicly mentioned by Pres. Q.)

So we proceeded on the 30th Division plan at the specific and unequivocal order of the Field Marshal. The occasion for bringing the estimate to his attention at that time was an effort on the part of Jim and myself to secure modification of the Marshal’s order to call 20,000 conscripts for training on Jan. 1, 1937. The original plan, (finally pared down by arbitrary action to the 160 million basis) called for training only 3000 men on January 1, 1937. The new order called for extraordinary and unforeseen expenditures as explained in a prior note in this book.

The General was adamant. He gave Jim and me a long lecture on “adequacy of security” as represented by numbers of “divisions” trained and ready. We urged a budgetary basis for all planning, and he grew furious, accusing us of “arguing technicalities” to defeat the conceptions of the high command!

Now –suddenly– when confronted definitely with the loss of the Pres.’s confidence because of the increased costs, he not only abandons this expanded plan, he deliberately states he never approved it, formulated it, or even suggested it except as an expression of of his hopes and ambitions. He told the Pres. (he says) that all portions of the plan that exceeded the 160 million limit are nothing but the products of Jimmy and myself –produced without approval from him.

Every scrap of auxiliary evidence, letters, partial plans presented to the Gen., requisitions, and the direct testimony of Jimmy, General Santos and myself furnish ample proof that he is again executing one of his amazing “about faces”.

We (J. and I) thoroughly approve of modifying the plan. We’ve fought for and urged such downward revision as is necessary to get within reasonable range of the 110,000,000 for 2 years. But it is amazing, mystifying and completely irritating to see him take the position that he had never directed anything else. In the “conference” I challenged him to show that I’d done anything not calculated to further his plans. Also, I informed him that never had he asked me whether or not I considered his plans a good one in its possibilities for defense of these islands. It’s not important what I think of his plan, but from any subordinate’s standpoint it is important when a senior charges “substitution of policy” –and virtual sabotage. He repeated over and over again his “personal” confidence in us, and, in words, accepted much of the blame for the misunderstanding. He simply “shouted down” any real explanation of my attitude.

But it was not a misunderstanding!

It is a deliberate scuttling of one plan (and blaming Jimmy and me as the sole originators, advocates and apostles of that plan, which we actually opposed bitterly) while he adopts another one, which in its concrete expression, at least, I’ve never even heard of before.

He invited us to apply for relief if we wouldn’t go along with the new plan.

I’m not so concerned in that part of it since it’s his responsibility to decide upon the main features of our defense system. But I’ve got to decide soon whether I can go much further with a person who, either consciously or unconsciously, deceives his boss, his subordinates and himself (probably) so incessantly as he does. I wonder whether he believes there is one atom of truth in his statements of this morning. I wonder whether egotism, exclusive devotion to one’s own interests, (in this case a 66,000 peso salary, plus penthouse and expenses) can finally completely eliminate a person’s perception of honesty, straightforwardness, and responsibility to the people for whom he’s working.

When irritated at the Pres. I’ve heard him curse that worthy as a “conceited little monkey,” and I’ve heard him, in turn, use even worse language with respect to every prominent officer in the U.S. Army, and officials in Washington. But sometimes I think that, in his mind, there is nothing ridiculous, absurd or even unusual in his attitude. He was raised in the conception of Douglas MacArthur superiority. Actually he has become only pathetic. The barest mention of his name in the gossip column of the poorest of our universally poor daily periodicals sends him into hysterical delight or deepest despair, depending upon its note of praise or condemnation. He gets frantic in the face of difficulty, even if the difficulty is only an imaginary one and displays an exaggeration of glee when he believes things are shaping up to glorify his name, or increase his income.

I shall never forget the time in Washington when receipt of instructions to report to the President, led him to conclude, in the greatest seriousness, that he was to be invited to be the President’s running mate in the succeeding election. It is this trait that seems to have destroyed his judgment and led him to surround himself with people [. . . ] who simply bow down and worship.

For some months, I’ve remained on this job, not because of the Gen. –but in spite of him. I’ve got interested in this riddle of whether or not we can develop a W.D. and an army capable of running itself, and I prefer to dig away at it to being on a “mark time” basis somewhere else. But now I’m at a cross road. If the Marshal is to persist in his arbitrary methods, and is going to make things as unpleasant, if not impossible, as his today’s homily indicated, then I’m for home. We should be able to get a better line on the situation with a few days! Right now I’m disgusted and in something of a temper, a bad state of mind in which to make any decisions.

There was some justification for his anger over the presentation of the 50,000,000 “deficit” estimate to Mr. Q. But in our defense it is to be said that we’ve literally begged him to arrange a weekly conference between the Pres. and himself. But in the past he’s been to high ranking to do so. Now he thinks his job (and emoluments) are at stake –and maybe he’ll do it. Thank God I scarcely know the little devil (Q.) so neither now nor in the future do I have to discuss anything with him.

In the meantime, “Quien soba”.

July 31, 1937

Have begun a campaign to instill in Philippine Army, particularly in officers, a higher regard for regulations, orders, and care of government property. Recently two or three instances have come to my attention of officers using government property for unauthorized projects. Have recommended in each case that the guilty officer refund the amount to government. Have further recommended that an officer who used a truck for ten days improperly be fined and reprimanded. Have urged Chief of Staff to stop approving requisitions for property unless accompanying documents show a real need for same. Directed a thorough investigation of typewriter situation, including a physical inventory of machines charged to offices in Manila, and personal payment for any that is missing.

Heard a bunch of gossip today (via TJ) that this mission is bitterly resented by H.C. That office is supposed to be particularly peeved at salary of Chief and his penthouse. The H.C. is also supposed to have written letters home to the President and Secretary of War demanding relief of mission. O.K. by me!! I’m ready to go. No one seems to realize how much energy and slavery Jim and I put into this d— job.

The General got quite disturbed upon learning of Army Headquarters plan to make a Mr. Melchor (head of Math Dept. at P.M.A.) a major in Aug. He talked on subject for 1/2 hours –I’m trying to get legislation creating a new corps of professors.

Radios from Jim (in Washington) indicate he is getting along pretty well in arranging extensive loans of ordnance from U.S. Army. He’s doing lots of good work, though why it was not done when General was in States is beyond me. Jim expects to sail Sept. 8, don’t see how he can predict his date of departure when Emily’s condition will not be known for some weeks. The sooner he comes the better for me, I’m tired. Over a year and a half at this slavery in this climate and no leave!

The mobilization for this fall, particularly the Manila concentration, is to be a much smaller affair than originally ordered. The General has finally become convinced that his idea of doing the job for next to nothing is out of the question. So after doing weeks of work on a 20,000 concentration (instead of the 25,000 the Gen. ordered) we are directed to come down to the 15,000 Luzon concentration, that I originally urged. We are told to keep additional expenses within the 100,000 pesos limit, as the maximum.

October 19, 1936

State banquet at Malacañan for Lord Rothermere–I doubt whether Quezon understands how to appraise correctly Lord Rothermere’s position in England. The old man made a good show and a witty speech. In his address of welcome, the President made me nervous. He was skating on thin ice, but with his usual skill managed to avoid making a break. The British Consul General Foulds, who sat next to General MacArthur, and hence next but one to Rothermere, told me later that MacArthur had not been taken in for a moment by the guest of honor. Quezon was ill at ease with a “Lord,” and had not been properly coached as to the proper mode of address &c &c. He came up to me when we were all on the balcony after dinner, and whispered: “For God’s sake go and talk to him.” Rothermere was cordial to me because of my long residence at Alness which is near his shoot at Dornoch in Scotland.

September 21, 1936

Return to Manila of Quintin Paredes, Resident Commissioner to the United States, who is reported as wishing to resign. He states the difficulties he has encountered in America, and still hopes for the payment of the Philippine Government of the excise tax and the gold devaluation fund. He says there is very little understanding in the United States as to the Philippine situation. False reports, he states, are sent by “some journalists” in Manila and printed by the United States press without verification. (Aimed at the Bulletin assassins). No reference to this statement was printed on September 22, in the Bulletin nor in the Tribune. This corroborates what General MacArthur told Quezon in our recent meeting. Paredes says: “Information now current in the United States is that the Commonwealth Government is very extravagant in its expenses, and that our system of education has been wrecked. Some correspondents here in the Islands have sent this misinformation to the United States with the apparent purpose of discrediting the new government.” (This is the same campaign which was daily directed for years from here against my administration. The Filipinos of twenty years ago paid no attention to it when aimed at me;–indeed seemed to believe it, if not to enjoy it!)

The exodus of government officials to enter business continues–some of their best men are leaving office.

Flare-up in Baguio recently where Quezon went to attend the commencement exercises of the Officers Training Corps. The members of the Assembly present at this commencement left the reception because their Speaker was not “recognized.” (A great deal of antagonism against the new Army and its officers exists in the Legislature.) It is hard work for Quezon to keep the boat from rocking. He is staking all on the new army.

August 24, 1936

Quezon’s banquet for General MacArthur of 144 guests at one table in the central hall in Malacañan. Army, Navy, Consular Corps, Committees of Assembly, Church pundits, etc., etc. Probably the most brilliant and dramatic dinner party ever given in the Palace. The purpose of the evening’s ceremony was to confer an appointment as Field Marshal on MacArthur with the presentation of a gold baton. Quezon’s address opened with an account of his first visit to Malacañan in 1900 as a prisoner of war, he having been sent through the lines by General Mascardo of the Filipino insurrectionary forces from Zambales to ascertain whether General Aguinaldo was really a prisoner of war. The story was well and dramatically told–thus furnishing an excellent introduction to the son:–MacArthur’s address was carefully prepared and was eloquently delivered. He was covered with orders and decorations. His speech was all about preparedness. When he had finished, the Japanese Consul General who sat next to me whispered: “it is the same speech the Japanese Generals make before the Diet when they want more money for the Army!” He (Uchiyama) talked that evening more openly and frankly about Japan that one expects from one of their officials. Told me of recent nationalization of all water power in Japan; also of the new rule requiring old men to vacate the public service and in business as well;–in the latter they must now retire at the age of 55 unless they are Directors, when they can go on to 60. Youth insists on taking control. Pensioners get one third of their former salary.

Uchiyama had originally set up the first Japanese Legation in Havana;–he commented that Cuba under the Platt Amendment was much like the Philippine Commonwealth now.

Later, Quezon invited MacArthur and his staff, Cavender, Jim Ross and myself to stay on in his office, and we talked until one o’clock. MacArthur and I were urging Quezon to influence the Bulletin to stop its campaign in the United States in derogation of the Philippines. MacArthur says that news from the Philippines, manufactured by the Bulletin and by Walter Robb is published as facts by the Associated Press and the United Press etc., without verification–the only place in the world where this is possible! MacArthur also discussed the influence of Stanley Hornbeck in the State Department, who for fifteen years has directed “Far Eastern Affairs,” and is strong for America’s withdrawal from the Pacific.

August 17, 1936

The August 15 edition of La Union reports an intelligent speech by Diputada Dolores Ibarruri in the Cortes in Spain, which makes clear the Civil War in Spain is largely based upon landlord and tenant disputes.

Visited the Survey Board; interesting conference with Don Miguel Unson, who was in one of his more confidential moods. We agreed in sympathizing with Quezon’s rather futile effort to escape from a life-long habit as a partisan politician. He is caught on flypaper, also, with his almost hopeless task of coping with the bureaucracy and with inter-departmental jealousies. His one big mistake was in taking over the Cabinet of his predecessor. If he had chosen as his Cabinet fresh men, infused with the new spirit of the Commonwealth, he might have been able to carry out his plans. “The people think he is strong!” said Unson. He then began on the subject of MacArthur and referred to Quezon’s unshakable confidence in the Marshal: “MacArthur has great prestige to maintain, and he would not do anything to lower it, but people are already laughing at his defense plans–what could we do to prevent Japan from taking Mindanao? A country is not supposed to be conquered until its capital is taken; but the Japanese could say “we don’t want Manila, we only want Mindanao”–as indeed they have done in Manchuria. What we really need here, thinks Unson, is a strong National Police force which could protect the rights of foreigners and avoid international incidents.” (N.B. It does appear that MacArthur’s defense plans refer principally to Luzon.) Unson then told the story of General Alejandrino’s resignation as adviser to the President. He had been studying defense plans since 1914, and was a member of the Council of National Defense when he became an adviser in January last. He prepared a plan for the National Police and had reached a certain point which needed a decision by the President, but his request for an interview was ignored. Se he resigned. Now Quezon has asked him to become once more a member of the Council of National Defense, and he told Unson he was reluctant to accept “because he wished to preserve his independence of thought.”

About the creation of a National Police force, Unson says my suggestion of a Guardia Civil is impracticable (I suppose because of opposition from the Army–plus the matter of cost). Quezon cannot consent to disentangle the Constabulary from the Army but expects to be able to retain direct control of the Constabulary branch of the army himself. His idea is now to put the Municipal police directly under the Constabulary with power to move them from one town to the other etc. This, Unson confesses is a direct invasion of municipal autonomy–“just when we are talking of giving greater autonomy to the municipalities”!–I told him that this, after all, is the English method of government–like “Alice through the Looking Glass”–he laughed and replied “well, we are doing some of it here already.” We then discussed the apparent impossibility of a solution of the problem of the government of the City of Manila. He says an elective Mayor would make it only worse. We agreed upon the hopelessness of the street and traffic problems–he cited what the Chinese have done in Canton and Amoy.

Unson then mentioned Guevara’s opinion that the United States had wanted the creation of an army here. He himself had referred this question to Governor General Murphy, who said “no,” then bit his lips and changed the subject.

August 3-9, 1936

On August 3rd the Bulletin carried an article stating that the High Commissioner’s office had turned “thumbs down” on the proposed new bond issue for public works pending in the Assembly. The Herald that afternoon published a very aggressive and powerful statement by Quezon that the High Commissioner’s office had absolutely no legal authority to interfere in the matter of the bond issue, and denouncing the Bulletin etc. I telephoned him that night to congratulate him on his statement. He was pleased, but said he was in bed with a temperature of 102° (probably the result of yesterday’s lechon at the picnic he gave in Laguna Province for the Assembly!); he added: “I was somewhat provoked by the Bulletin’s article.” Subsequently, he told me how the idea had been given to the Assembly thru Cuenco–that the policy of the Bulletin was to be always “throwing bricks” at the Administration; that it was also that paper’s fixed principle to try to make out that the High Commissioners governed the Philippines, (contrary to the provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act). His vigorous counter-attack threw the Bulletin office into confusion, and Taylor sent Ora Smith to Malacañan to apologize, but he couldn’t see the President because of his illness. Quezon told me “every pain I had in my stomach I laid on the Bulletin.” Weldon Jones came to see him the next day and said “This may cost me my job,” so Quezon sent a letter by Clipper to Murphy stating that Jones was not responsible for the “thumbs down” article; that he was very satisfactory here, and would be the best man for High Commissioner if Murphy did not come back.

On the same day (August 3rd) the Herald printed an article by MacArthur on the defense of the Philippines. It was an extremely able and brilliant analysis of the military problems of this country, and made very convincing reading. Quezon was so much pleased that he proposes to give a banquet in favour of General MacArthur.

Quezon was in Baguio August 5-8, 1936. Jim Ross had dinner with him recently, and the President said that Mrs. Quezon was going away for a year. Jim told him to be careful and to remember “the fierce light which beats upon the throne”!