June 28, 1936

Sunday morning visit from Colin Hoskins. We agreed in disapproval of “nuisance taxes.” There was talk of warehouses and rural credit facilities. I asked him: “what is the use of doing these things for people with whom it is a cardinal principle never to pay back.” Very good talk in reply. Colin says sharp distinction must be drawn between debts owed to the government (taxes, credits &c.) and those to private concerns. People here do not feel a moral obligation to pay the government; in Spanish times here any broken-down Peninsular with family pull could get appointed a tax collector in the Philippines. (N.B. “tax farmer”). The Chinese, here for their part, had been brought up at home under a system of tax “squeeze”; American (Army and Havy officers &c. in spite of their oaths of office) would occasionally smuggle in goods from China. Why, then, blame the Filipinos? His chauffeur who had previously been out of employment for six months, now has 500 pesos in the savings bank. Houseboys &c carried not a centavo with them because they didn’t want to be drawn into crap games. When he was agent for the “Book of Knowledge” he sold (mostly in the Provinces) a half million pesos worth;–the 5% loss expected on payments was not reached. In selling lots for homes in Tondo etc., he finds 90% of the installment payers responsible. He had said to the Asociacion de Propietarios a few days ago that the 5% of non-payers were well-known irresponsible drifters:–and they assented. He concludes that the Rice and Corn Corporation will eventually come to building credit warehouses in the Provinces, and that generally speaking, taxes could be collected through an education of confidence in the government, so there is no real need of new taxes. (N.B. Quezon’s campaigns in the Provinces on this subject).

We agreed that the Filipinos are really a martial people, could pay for an army and wanted one. That MacArthur’s recent statement (tho belated) would have an excellent and permanent effect.

June 6, 1936

Arrived at Iligan, route having been changed by Quezon in accord with news from the Manila Weather Bureau. The visit to Culion is now to be at the end of trip.

Before making wharf at Iligan, Quezon addressed the Assemblymen, asking for funds for the development of Mindanao. He used maps, and said that an electric railway was to be built from Misamis, via Bukidnon to Davao, the water power for this project coming from the falls in Lanao. Only four or five of the Assemblymen had ever been in Mindanao before. The gathering seemed to be willing to vote the money, but wanted to know how they were to get the colonists? Quezon replied “Open roads, and they will come of themselves.”

Sabido is opposed to agricultural colonies, when established with government money.

I told Quezon, Osmeña and Roxas that economic plans for the Philippines were blanketed until either they decided, or circumstances decided for them, on their future economic relations with the United States. (I find many here agree with this feature of the difficulty of the sugar situation.)

Quezon talked of Elizalde and the Polo Club incident; he insisted that the refusal to elect Nieto a member had been due to its race discrimination against Filipinos; he added that Saleeby is an Assyrian Jew; that the Assyrians had for centuries allowed the Turks to trample them; that people of that type could not insult the Filipinos.

Osmeña is subdued and triste. He has, I am told, money and family troubles, as well as political.

There is no drinking whatever aboard the ship; the steward complains that he had stocked up, and nobody uses it! Sharp contrast indeed to the last voyage on Negros when Don Andres Soriano was host to the American mining magnates.

Drive from Iligan to Dansalan (Lake Lanao)–surely one of the most beautiful bits of scenery in the Philippines. Through Maranao Botanical Gardens, where there is a waterfall; past the fine fields at Momungan, where in 1914 we established an agricultural colony for “down and out” Americans, of whom there were originally about fifty but now there are only eleven left; all the other colonists today being Filipinos. Then Lake Lanao with mountains in the background which is as fine a scene as any in Switzerland. The buildings, however, have run down since American army days here. The Constabulary who now compose the garrison are splendid picked troops: big, athletic men.

The President’s speech of the day was made at Camp Keithley, where most of the Lanao Moro Datus were present. This made a brilliant scene with their vivid costumes. Quezon, instead of flattering them, as his predecessors had done, talked straight from the shoulder of what his government proposed to do to develop their country; and stated that now they would be required to expect no further consideration as Moros; that they must remember that they were all Filipinos, and that this is their own government. He stated very positively that he wanted no more disorders, adding that: “Life is precious everywhere, but in such beautiful surroundings as Lake Lanao, life is doubly valuable,” and then finally cautioned them that: “thus it would be wise of them to be good”!!

This was new talk for the Moros, and one of them remarked to a friend: “he is hard on us.” All this will do inestimable good. Quezon spoke very carefully, selecting each word. It was badly translated by a native into the bastard Arabic which the Lanao Moros are supposed to use.

Luncheon was served as the post club. It suddenly became dark and began to rain. The meal had been laid for one hundred and twenty, but many more were there, and the food disappeared in ten minutes–as in a visitation of locusts!

After lunch, Wolff and [I went to the house of Lt. Ormai, of the Artillery. He is a small man and a killer.] He said he had two stokes mortars, two mountain guns (3.2) and a sub-machine gun; that the last time he took a cotta (about two months ago) he found their bolt holes, and described how he shelled the Moros there. He said the Lanao Moros are cowards (Cooley says ditto). They oppose everything proposed by the government, but are divided into numbers of petty sultanates. These “Sultans” are selected, if of the blood of the former sultan, for their personal bravery. They get a share of the religious receipts. The older Moros present today had, no doubt, been leaders of the Pirate Empire existing from ancient times which fell after the American occupation; until that, they used to raid the northern islands of the Philippines for slaves and plunder. Their reign is at an end.

Visit to Reina Cristina falls; a magnificent site, and the best hydro-electric proposition in the Philippines. This will certainly suffice to run an electric railway. Quezon has ordered the Bureau of Public Works to give no more franchises for water power in the Philippines; all are to be reserved for the government.

Camp Overton, near Iligan has been entirely abandoned. I first came there with General Pershing in December 1913.

Left Iligan for Zamboanga. At dinner with Quezon, Santos, Roxas and Sabido. Roxas and I pressed hard for reforestation and a campaign against forest destruction for clearings (caigñins). Quezon heartily agreed with our arguments. Someone remarked that Cebu had been so ruined by destruction of its forests, that in a century from now it would have hardly any population. I mentioned what the Government of Japan was doing for reforestation; how Germany, France, Switzerland managed it by communes. Quezon said he was confident he could make the people understand why they should not burn the forests for homesteads (caigñins).

The President added that this was the first visit to Lanao he had ever enjoyed, because he didn’t have to listen to Datu Amanabilang; that the last time this old Moro had spoken in his presence he had argued that they did not want to be governed by Filipinos but wanted the Americans there; but today a Datu had protested against the American Superintendent of Schools, and wanted a Filipino. He, (Quezon), thereupon “went for him”; and told him his threat of closing the schools by withholding children would not be listened to by the government; that if the schools here were closed, the money would go elsewhere, where people were clamoring for schools. Quezon further admonished this man that the Datus were no better before the law than the poor man–that even he as Chief Executive was not above the laws. That the Moros, though in a minority, had equal rights with the Christian Filipinos; that if the Moros developed a great leader, as he hoped they would, this man would be available for election as President. Quezon also denounced their petition for Moro Governors of provinces and Presidentes of villages, and said the best citizens would be selected where he was a Moro or a Cristiano.

Later, the President told me he now thinks the Lanao Moros will gradually “come into camp,” when they see that the government is in earnest; that they are good farmers, and he was going to build a fine road right around Lake Lanao, to help to civilize them, “instead of killing”; and if they won’t be “good” they will eventually meet the same fate that the American Indians did.

The President was rather sharp with his a.d.c., Major Natividad, for trying to get him to read a paper at dinner, when he wanted to talk.

In the absence of the Governor, Quezon called up the Colonel commanding the Constabulary here, and ordered him to remove the squatters from around the reservation at Reina Cristina falls. He also told Roxas that he would wire the President of the United States asking that the remaining Army reservations near Camp Keithley be turned over to the Commonwealth Government, so that henceforth settlers on these lands would not be evicted.

I had a talk with Assemblyman Luna of Mindoro about his bill to protect tamaraos, a unique small buffalo, found on his island and nowhere else today. He told me that the game reserve I had created by Executive Order on Mt. Calavite, Mindoro, was of no use because no game wardens had been appointed. He said the peculiarly malignant malaria found on this island had been eliminated at least from around San Jose. He added that he himself, has never been in the interior of the island, and it is almost uninhabited. Naturally, he wants this great province, just opposite Batangas, developed. I told him I thought the malaria in the past had practically ruined the island, since there had been a large population there in ancient times, to judge from old Chinese records.

A geologist named Belts, a great traveler and good observer, said a special brand of English was being developed here in the Philippines. The teachers had a bad accent and the pupils worse. (This is why I now find it more difficult to understand my servants,–and indeed all Filipinos, especially over the telephone.)

Talk with General Paulino Santos, the head of the Philippine Army, who is my cabin mate. More than twenty years ago I appointed him to be the first Filipino Governor of Lanao, and now he comes back as Chief of Staff, naturally, very proud he is of his rise in life. He is very conscientious and is fiery tempered about his work; he has no patience with political or personal promotion seekers. He is quick on the trigger about resigning if he meets a serious obstacle in administration–as he did with General Wood. He finds General MacArthur to be the cleverest American he has met, and very broad-minded. Santos intends to have all supplies for the new army made if possible in the Philippines. He will tolerate no interference with his official authority, and recently “sat on” General Valdes and Major Ord, MacArthur’s assistant. He does not get on well with Osmeña, but has a fine relationship with Quezon, who he says, was very cold with him at first. Santos is utterly and completely devoted to the service of his country,–and is not afraid of anyone nor of any nation. He remarked: “I honestly believe that next after the Japanese, the Filipinos are the greatest of the Asiatic peoples.”

Comments I have heard upon the Lanao Moros by my companions are: vacant expression, open boob mouth, stained with betel nut–(Malay type). These Moros do not bathe, and one is glad to avoid shaking hands with them. Their poor physical appearance is variously ascribed to inbreeding, hook-worm, and opium.

A passenger on the Negros who is a much-traveled geologist said that in the Dutch East Indies the third generation of Mohammedan Malay were quite tractable, and he thought these Moros would develop in the same way.

Talk for one hour with Vice-President Osmeña:–recollections of old times when he was the undisputed leader of his people, and we had worked so closely together. I asked him about Palma’s report on education; he said he hoped it could be put into effect but was not sure. I next asked him about the high price of sugar shares in the Philippines. He thought the market level far too high, but said the sugar people had so much money they put it into more shares and high-priced haciendas. Next I recalled how with backing he had founded the National Development Company, eighteen years ago and it had accomplished nothing. Asked if all economic plans were not paralyzed by the sugar question, and he agreed.

Then I enquired about the reforestation of Cebu and he expressed himself as enthusiastic over the idea but at once diverted the conversation into a eulogy of planting fruit trees, and increasing the export of fruits. Said it was almost impossible to induce the Chinese to eat more sugar but in fruit: “can do.” He eloquently pictured millions of Chinese eating Philippine bananas which he thinks far superior to those from Formosa. I called attention to the recent exclusion of mangoes from importation into the United States on the old dodge of thus preventing the introduction of the “fruit fly”! (Recalled my speech in Congress on this subject, and the cynical smile of Speaker Cannon.)

I asked Osmeña about the future of their free trade market in the United States. He agrees with me this cannot be held. (So does Tommy Wolff, who comments: “none so blind as those who will not see.”)

Next I asked Osmeña about Nationalism in the Philippines. He said it was growing greatly, but that “it is wise to preserve some local sentiment or culture.”

Osmeña commented on the political strength of agricultural organizations in the United States, and said Secretary of State Hull told him: “These people are very powerful.” I asked him why United States spokesmen are now “delivering so many kicks against the Philippines.” He replied: “because of (a) the economic situation in America and (b) they have lost interest in the Philippines; the old generation, many of whom had altruistic feelings towards Filipinos, are gone.”

He agreed that the period before complete independence would be shortened by the United States if the Filipinos asked for it.

Osmeña then expressed feelings against the taking of teachers camp in Baguio for the army; said the teachers made the best soldiers anyway since they were so conscientious, and had such a sense of responsibility towards their country.

I reminded him of how we carried through the plan for civil government in Mindanao and Sulu in 1914, to which the War Department agreed because Pershing joined in the recommendation; Pershing’s motive being support for his own record–he wanted to rank as the last Military Governor of the Moroland and to show that his administration had pacified those regions in order that the army could be withdrawn etc. Osmeña then told a story of Pershing on a visit with him to Cotobato just before I came to the Philippines in 1913, when the proposal to establish a colony of Cristianos there was under investigation. Osmeña added that Bryant (?) was taking photographs of Pershing, explaining that he wanted a record of the one who would be “respondible” for the project, and Pershing at once said he would have the plates broken. Quezon said they have by now spent a million pesos on this plan, but agrees that it was worth it, since, right where there is the largest Moro population, the purpose has been accomplished in Cotobato of “settling the Moro question.”

Osmeña also talked of the Japanese: thought them very clever, and thoroughly disciplined. He expressed surprise that though the Japanese did not talk good English [while] their government statements in the English language were always so perfectly expressed. (I think former Consul General Kurusu is this “foreign office spokesman.”)

Short speech by Quezon to the Assemblymen as we approached Zamboanga. He believes that the town is ended (commercially) because of its geographical position. He asked the respective committeemen to visit the schools and leprosarium; but the great object of interest is of course, San Ramon prison colony (founded by Don Ramon Blanco in 1870 for political prisoners, and developed by us into an agricultural and industrial penal colony). He stated that the time had now come for the Assembly to decide (a) whether to sell this hacienda to private parties, or (b) to sell part of it and keep part (piggery) or (c) to keep it as training school for the Davao penal settlement. There are 1300 hectares at San Ramon, and 27,000 at Davao.

Tommy Wolff told us how, during one of his earlier political campaigns Quezon had been savagely attacked as a mestizo–especially in the provinces of Tarlac or Zambales. Quezon at once went to a meeting there and stated in his speech that his mother was a Filipina, he was born in the Philippines, and that he is a Filipino–he “didn’t know what mestizo meant.”

In Zamboanga, Osmeña made the address at the Plaza Pershing. It was said to have been extremely eloquent. He spoke con amore of the development of the former “Moro Province” and made polite allusions to my work there. The President and I played truant and went out to San Ramon with Speth and swam on the beach there. All the rest of the party joined us there at tea-time. Quezon persuaded me to eat for the first time balut, i.e., eggs containing chickens about to hatch! It is really quite a delicacy. The President at once noticed the prettiest girl there and danced with her; there was a lot of amusing chaff over his writing in her autograph book. Quezon then told us a lipstick story of a Hollywood girl he once met on the steamer crossing the Pacific:–he was giving her a cocktail and remarked: “I wonder why girls use that hateful lipstick?” She instantly replied: “Don’t be afraid, I’m not coming near you.” (But she did.)

Talk of the bad English accent of the young Filipinos of today; Quezon said he was going to try to have English instruction eliminated from the primary grades, and get Americans to teach in higher grades. I asked: why not get teachers who really speak English–namely, the English themselves?

Then had a talk with Quezon about Secretary of War Newton Baker. Listening to my account of my own slightly strained relations with him, he said “I thought the atmosphere of the army in the War Department was affecting him.”

Quezon told me of High Commissioner’s insistent dwelling on the necessity of balancing the budget. Quezon had heard that Murphy stated the Philippine Army was unbalancing the budget, “and that was one of the reasons I accompanied him on the boat as far as Hong Kong but we never had a chance to discuss it.” When Quezon returned to Manila, he sent for Weldon Jones to talk this over, and said to him: “before we begin to talk, let’s agree on the term ‘balanced Budget.'” This was then defined as: “the ordinary expenses of the Government falling within the ordinary revenues.” Agreed. Then he told Jones that the recent income of the Philippine Government was not “ordinary,” because “we have had a row of Governors General here who didn’t collect the taxes.” He added that he would collect five million pesos a year more than his predecessors had done from the present taxes, and “in the first quarter of this year I have already collected two millions more than were received last year; moreover, I am going to impose new taxes: an inheritance tax (where there are no children) to confiscate all estates over a half million pesos, and heavy income taxes on all those having over 100,000 pesos income which is “enough money for any human being.” Weldon Jones expressed himself as delighted with this form of taxation, and, added Quezon “Murphy himself would be delighted but had not the nerve to risk public disapproval here; he will be glad to be absent while this is done”!

I commented to the President on his advantage with the legislature in being a Filipino himself, and, unlike his predecessors, he was thus able to deal directly with them, and not thru an intermediary. He replied: “I know the (sotto voce) Goddamn psychology well enough.”

Quezon asked Colonel Stevens commander of the local Constabulary (Army) at Zamboanga whether he would like to be transferred to Manila. Stevens, who was driving the motor said slowly: “Well, Mr. President, I would really rather stay in Zamboanga.” Quezon replied: “Well, next year you will have to come to Manila anyway for six months,–you can’t get to be a General without doing that. I will attach you to Malacañan and then you can get a per diem.” Stevens said “Very good, Sir.” He has about the nicest house in Zamboanga. We went there to play bridge later. Quezon explained to Stevens that he wanted the Non-Christians to “get accustomed” to Filipino officers and had moved Dosser from the Mountain Province, and Fort from Lanao accordingly.

Interesting talk with Quezon over my landlord and tenant propositions. He told me of the bill introduced to lay progressive taxes on large landed estates, as I had recommended in January. He said that Assemblymen had been in touch with him on this; that the savage attack in the Bulletin against this bill convinced him of its merit, if before that he had had any doubt that the idea was sound. I then talked about the Irish Land Laws with him, and asked him if Roxas would oppose, after lamenting in his University of the Philippines commencement speech that “the land in the Philippines was passing from the peasantry to large land-owners.” Quezon said “Yes, he will object, on account of his wife (a De Leon from Bulacan) but we shall beat him.” Told him I wanted to consult with members of the Labour Committee now on board about the bill, and he said “Yes–you’d better.”

After dinner I stayed on board writing up these notes, while all the rest went to the dance at the Zamboanga Club and returned at 11 p.m. in high spirits, but with no signs of alcohol.

Bridge with Quezon, Roxas and Sabido, from 11:30 to 4 a.m. Then sat talking with Quezon and Sabido until 5. For the first time, with Quezon, I raised the Japanese question. He said his first preference would be for the Philippines to stick to the United States, if possible; if not, to England. If those alternatives are not available, he would come to an arrangement with the Japanese, and “I can do it–I know how.” Sabido said that the Japanese individuals who he knows are all afraid of Quezon–that the President was the only man who could handle that question. Quezon said that a few years ago, in Shanghai, he brought Chinese and Japanese leaders together, and the success of those negotiations was temporarily such that the Japanese people at home were for a time annoyed with their army for treating the Chinese so harshly. Like every one else, Quezon has grown tired of trying to help the Chinese “nation,” but now says it would be the best thing for China to recreate her country with the aid of the Japanese. “The Japanese despise the Chinese” he said “but admire the Filipinos for setting up their own nation.” He then told some of the recent history of North Asia with a sympathetic understanding of Japanese problems; described how, at first, all they wanted in Manchuria was to protect the interests of their railroad there. The Chinese had agreed to Japan’s building this railroad, thinking it would be a dead loss but when, instead, it became profitable, “They threw stones at the Japanese.” He recounted the extreme aggressions of the Chinese which had harassed the Japanese so sorely–how the Chinese propaganda had brought the European powers to her side as had also the missionary propaganda in the United States. He added that the successful war of Japan against Russia had been brought by them as a purely defensive campaign, if ever there was one.”

Quezon believes in the good-will of Japan towards the new Filipino nation. He remarked: “I have acquaintance with a large number of Japanese, but have hardly ever been able to make friends of them”–an exception is Marquis Tokugawa–the grandson of the Shogun. Another friend is the present Japanese Consul General in Manila, who replaced an arrogant and trying man, and is more like Kurusu. The President said he is getting constantly closer to the Japanese Consul at Manila; that the latter is now learning to trust him, and actually gave him more information about the strained Davao situation than “any of my own fellows”–“I telephoned him recently and told him that the question which caused real irritation against Japan among the Filipinos was not Davao, a question the people at large really do not understand, but that of their invasion of our fisheries, a matter the Filipinos do understand, since it affects their own food supply.” The Consul replied that he saw the point clearly, and would ask his government to draw off the invading fishermen. President Quezon admitted that the reported “incident” on his recent visit to Davao was true: namely, that the Japanese Consul had suggested that there might be “grave consequences” in the outcome, and Quezon had replied: “You can’t bluff me.” We then talked of our old friend Ambassador Hanihara of long ago in our congressional days in Washington–Quezon said the incident which caused his recall as Ambassador, was very unjust: “Hanni,” (as we used to call him), showed the “offending” letter to Secretary of State Hughes before he sent it and Hughes said “fine”:–then, the fierce public reaction in the United States frightened Hughes, and Ambassador Hanihara was recalled by the Japanese Government and Hughes permitted this injustice in silence.

I asked Quezon what he proposed doing to stop the Moros from smuggling in Chinese coolies and opium? (A matter apparently entirely neglected nowadays) and inquired why he didn’t get a fast gunboat. He replied that in a couple of months he would have five of Mussolini’s fast “torpedo type” boats capable of going fifty miles an hour.

To bed at 5 a.m. after a more interesting day and night.

May 20, 1936

Quezon issues a statement that passage by the United States Senate of a bill repealing the authorization to pay the Philippines $23 millions for gold devaluation of Philippine Government deposits in the United States banks was a “great injustice to the Filipino people,” and that the “loss of the money to the Philippines was directly due to the refusal of an American Secretary of War to convert convert Philippine Government deposits in the United States into bullion, despite the urgent requests of Philippine representatives”; and that: “The said funds were in the keeping of the government of the United States and held in trust by its officials and America has profited by it as much as we have lost.”

General Santos said, quoting MacArthur, that judging from the registration for military enrollment, the present population of the Philippines is 18,000,000. This is 4 million more than is usually given, but seems probable. It is 18 years since we took a census.

Victor Buencamino told us there is a daughter of Governor Frank Carpenter employed in the Philippine Education Co. I asked him about mestizos. He said those part Spanish and American blood exhibited all the worst traits of both races–that the Chino-Filipino was the best–(n.b. he is one himself)–the real reason (in my opinion) is that the half-blood of one of the dominating races tries to “belong” to the social caste above him and is rebuffed and embittered by his partial failure. The Chinese, on the other hand, have never dominated politically nor socially here.

At the Survey Board, Unson who had proposed abolishing the “home economic division” of the Bureau of Science, had today been interviewed by Miss Olora, head of that division. He was all of a twitter, and couldn’t keep off the subject of what a great work she was doing.

May 19, 1936

Three nice letters from Doria at Peking. She is thrilled by sight-seeing, but bored by all the “Main Street” personalities she meets.

Papers carry a statement by Quezon that he has arranged with the High Commissioner for a preliminary trade conference after the election in Washington. Papers guess that (Speaker) Roxas and Alunan will be sent (??).

3-5 p.m. with Survey Board–officials of the Bureau of Science there. I questioned them as to the failure of administration of the fish and game law.

Dinner at Colin Hoskins for Weldon Jones and Major General Santos; Jim Ross, Carlos Romulo, Dr. Valdes, Victor Buencamino there–all in barong tagalog. Conversation after dinner chiefly about General MacArthur and later about Japanese relations with the Philippines. Jim Ross said MacArthur was a brilliant soldier but had Napoleonic ambitions. Hoskins added he was sorry to see him here, as something always happened when MacArthur was present, and that the general only wanted or organize the Philippines Army to help the United States. Santos thinks Japan’s expansion is to continue on the mainland, and that she doesn’t want political sovereignty here.

May 16, 1936

Abolition of the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes is announced pending a commission which is to be substituted. It is alleged that the Moros (and Pagans?) object to the designation!

Two articles in the Press show the difficulty of running a government on Quezon’s method of never consulting newspapers:

(a)   Memo. by General MacArthur, in answer to Press criticisms, explaining that the selection of Generals for the new Philippine Army was made without any influence from Quezon.

(b)   Vargas’ explanation of a suggested new yacht for the government, was not merely for Quezon but to replace the Bustamante, the old cable ship, which became more expensive to repair than to substitute a new ship. An editorial in the Bulletin showing that “if a frank statement of intent had been made in the first place etc.”–and concluding: “no apologies are needed.” Quezon gives himself most reluctantly to the press–tho he is not nearly as neglectful of it as I used to be!

Ambrosio–for the past twenty-five years N° 1 chauffeur at Malacañan Palace, came to see me; he says Murphy will not return–(he is now High Commissioner Murphy’s chauffeur); this may be “servant’s gossip” but Ambrosio is in a position to hear a lot!

One hour and a half with Dr. Roxas and Unson at the Survey Board; Roxas expounding the necessity for a fixed and sufficient income for research work–says we must prepare for the “diversification” of industries. He and Unson ridicule the idea that the Philippine Government cannot exist without the fat sugar industry.

After Roxas left, Unson told me confidentially that “something very important” was pending in top circles, and that Quezon would have to return from Hong Kong by the 18th. It is a discussion of the relations of the Philippines with the United States and Japan. If Japan will not undermine the sovereignty of the Philippines, but merely wants trade here, it might be a good idea, according to Unson, to make some arrangement with Japan, in view of the “wobbling” of the United States’ attitude towards the Philippine problem. “We are here in the Orient, and here we stay.” This all-important question was possibly brought to the front by the Davao land muddle. Unson says that he and Vicente Singson wrote recently withdrawing from a dinner group at Wak-Wak because they found at the first dinner held that it was intended for them all to be committed to using their best efforts at whatever cost to secure retention of the United States’ market. Unson says there are plenty of other leading Filipinos who are restive under “too much sugar” in politics. They want to prepare for independence by planning the economic future. (Dr. Roxas is apparently of the same view.)

May 13, 1936

Intense heat these days–97°-100° indoors. In the afternoon Trinidad (who is the manager of the Pampanga Sugar Co.), of whom I asked why no sugar shares were for sale, said this was the time to sell out, not buy, but shareholders expected to get all their capital back in three or four years, and a profit also. However, present prices offered for the shares were too low to tempt holders into the market.

In shopping in Manila, especially on the Escolta, American “salesmanship” is used to the Nth power, with the result that some of us are offended (as I was in Heacock’s today) and leave without a purchase.

Five prisoners escape from Montinlupa–one is recaptured; the “trusty” system seems to have its limits.

At 3:30 p.m. went down to the Coolidge to say good-bye to High Commissioner Murphy and Quezon. The former looked preoccupied and tired. I said to Quezon: “you will see Doria in Peking.” He answered: “Oh! I’m only going to Hong Kong–to be back Tuesday (18th)–wish you were coming with me.” I told him I was staying here under Dr. Sison’s care. The next day, Vargas received a telegram stating that Quezon was not returning until the 28th so probably he will get as far as Shanghai. On the steamer, I chaffed Osmeña about being my “boss” now, and he said “I’m not to be acting President”–Quezon apparently acts on precedents of recent American presidents.

Talk with A. D. Williams. He said Quezon was angry with Bewley, whom he had previously always supported, because the teachers in the Bureau of Education had opposed giving up Teacher’s Camp in Baguio for the National Army as Quezon and MacArthur desire. This worried Bewley greatly, so he apparently saw Quezon and disowned all opposition.

March 25, 1936

Busy morning at office. Miguel Unson has seen Quezon and has received instructions that I shall work with the Government Survey Board. He came in and outlined their work. The office is at the Heacock Building, and he spends most of his time there. Is worried by the belief that insufficient revenue is obtained from the customs, and is trying to work out a scheme for improvement; he says that every time the customs bureau is investigated the revenue receipts leap up!

We talked over the issue of railway vs. roads in Mindanao: he says the plan is to take down there that useless railroad outfit in Cebu, and perhaps in Iloilo as well, and to build roads as feeders. I also saw Osmeña for a moment before the Cabinet meeting and he talked on the same subject: says the time has come to decide either for railroad or roads, and not to make the same mistake as in Luzon, where they run parallel.

Hartendorp came in, and reported that he had recently called on General MacArthur, who has an office in Santa Lucia barracks. The General told Hartendorp that he was the first editor who had called on him, and expressed surprise; he also voiced regret that Quezon’s address on National Defense at the University had not been better received, and that the press does not support the plan. He said that his plans are extremely well forward, and that the Philippine army is going to get munitions and equipment at one-quarter cost from the United States Army. In ten years, the Philippines, he believes, will have a force making it necessary for another country, if attacking, to lose a great number of men, and to spend perhaps a billion dollars, which will make them hesitate to attack. This would be very different from the picnic the Japanese had in walking into Manchuria. Hartendorp asked whether the Philippines were not rich enough to make this “worth while,” and whether these islands are not a prize because “strategically located”? The General replied that the strategic situation would bring in other allies–especially the United States. Seemed positive of that. He also remarked that Quezon was one of the five great statesmen of the world.

Hartendorp reported that Quezon had cut his Friday press audiences four times running–“doesn’t seem to care a damn about the press,” and, of course, is being criticized by the newspaper men.” Hartendorp observed that in the opinion of people with whom he talked, there were too many United States military reviews and parades going on (n.b. Quezon is reviewing troops at Fort McKinley this p.m.).

8 p.m.--Negros left Manila with a large party as guests of Don Andres Soriano headed for Masbate, to inspect his mines there: Masbate Consolidated and IXL. Quezon, Roxas, Sabido, Confesor, Babbitt, Belden, Correa, Dewitt, Spanish Consul, Fairchild, Fernandez (Ramon), Fox, Hodsoll, Ingersoll, Kerk, Le Jeune, Peters, Selph, Whittall, Wolf and many others. Fine ship of 1900 tons and everything aboard de luxe. Bridge with Quezon, Babbitt, Ingersoll, Peters, Wolff etc. at all hours. Conversations with many aboard on mines, sugar, etc. The general impression as to the latter is no basis for the buoyancy and optimism as to the present prices of sugar shares and their future prospects. No one can answer the question: why this optimism? Not only are Filipinos buying up sugar mills, but haciendas also in the sugar districts are changing hands at prices much higher than before. Ramon Fernandez says they have just found that they can produce sugar at four and a half pesos a picul, whereas five and a half has been the cheapest heretofore. But the real reason for the situation is probably that the Filipinos know the sugar game (some have already made fortunes out of it), and they would rather stick to something they do so well than venture into new fields. Many of the gold mines are in an experimental stage still, and the general public is waiting to see what happens.

Duggleby states that up to date, no proof exists that the Paracale district is as rich as the gold vinds in Baguio. However it was formerly the chief seat of Spanish mining. Says that under American rule no new mines have been discovered in the Philippines–yet every creek in the islands has traces of gold. He doubts whether sufficient gold will ever be produced to satisfy the world, since production is not increasing, in spite of very high present price of gold as a commodity.

The general opinion is that very little foreign capital has as yet come into Philippine gold shares.

Talked with Fairchild, Fernandez and Alunan on sugar: the latter sold his own sugar shares in Negros. Babbitt is bewildered by the high prices of sugar shares, including those of his own company.

I asked Quezon if he couldn’t do something to ease off the dismissal of Hartendorp. He replied “we are going to make him a Professor of English.” Quezon was tired out when he came aboard, and the next morning he was as fresh as a daisy, and very gay. I heard him dictating in his cabin–next to mine, at 6:30 a.m.

March 19, 1936

Arrived at Zamboanga one hour before the Mayon which brought Quezon, his daughter “Baby” and a considerable suite. Walk up to market place where Assemblyman Alano introduced Quezon who spoke in Spanish. His address was on the duties of citizenship and the relations of the provinces with the Commonwealth Government; said also that whereas in the past elective officials who were guilty of misdeeds were more leniently treated than appointed officials would be–now the new government would treat them all severely since it was their own administration. Just afterwards, he proceeded to a hearing on charges of petty graft against Provincial Governor Ramos (mulcting ten pesos from policeman etc.). He gave no decision, tho’ during the hearing, Quezon suspended a stenographer and the Secretary of the Provincial Board for having falsified the record in favour of Ramos. Afterwards, Quezon told me he thought Ramos was guilty but did not know whom to appoint in his place. He gave a hearing to a Moro Datu who was opposed to military conscription. Quezon told the Datu, to the latter’s surprise, “I don’t give a damn whether you enroll or not. You will have time to study the question, and later on, if you don’t enroll something will happen.” This is in accordance with his idea that Moros are great bluffers, and will never agree with what you seem to want unless they can put you under an obligation.

Drive to San Ramon–a wonderful penal colony. Talk with Joe Cooley, who started it. He was unwise enough to go into business with an associate whom he describes as thoroughly unreliable–and with Joe Harriman the New York banker who is now in prison.

Visits to quarters of the Huntsberry, and the Tiltons–both are Lieutenants in the army.

Tea dance at the Zamboanga Club–met many old acquaintances; the most torrid heat I have ever felt. There was a big thunderstorm at night which delayed the departure of Arayat. Instead of leaving at 8 p.m. we did not get off until 2 a.m., so would be unable to keep our appointment at the mouth of the Cotobato River on the morning of March 20th–docked instead at Parang and we drove 28 kilometers over the hills on the new road across this part of Cotobato and arrived at the latter place at 12 noon. Meanwhile, the water parade which had been waiting for us at the mouth of the river had returned, much disgruntled.

From numerous conversations, I gather that the famous “Moro problem” has been “solved”– though it is still possible to have local disturbances in Jolo and Lanao. Roads are being pushed everywhere. Cotobato Moros are dirty, unkempt and doped looking–poor specimens physically. Cristianos, especially Ilocanos, are settling everywhere in this wonderful valley. Cotobato is the most hideously ugly, galvanized iron town I have ever seen. Cattle, coconuts and palay. The Provincial Engineer said that by next year we would be able to motor from Cotobato to Lanao. Rains–reception at Provincial Treasurer Palillo’s, who was outspokenly furious at the failure of Quezon to come to his merienda. I tried to pacify him. Provincial Governor Gutierrez (Major in the Constabulary) had been tried on charges of using prison labour for his own purposes, but when it turned out that the labour made the magnificent flying field which he has leased to the government for one peso a year for five years, Governor Gutierrez was acquitted and reinstated.

Secretary Quirino says he will transfer the offices of the Department of the Interior for three months of every year to Zamboanga to show the Southern Islands that they are really part of the Philippines.

I congratulated Assemblyman Tomas Confesor on his independence speech answering Pedro Guevara.

Bridge with Quezon, Doria and Felicia Howell. The President said he wanted to stay on in the Southern Islands, but he had two military reviews near Manila. I consoled him by saying that all the hard work he had put in by cultivating the American Army officers was bearing most excellent results.

Quirino said that as Secretary of the Interior, he really occupies the former position of the Governor General, having authority over all the Provincial Governors. He also reported that when Quezon came down from Baguio recently he asked him: “Why did you suspend my Major” (Gutierrez, Major of the Constabulary is the appointed Governor of Cotobato), he (Quirino) replied: “Why shouldn’t I suspend my Governor?” Secretary Quirino started life as a school teacher at the age of fifteen–and his mother then took all his salary. Some years later, he said, Isabelo de los Reyes beat him as a candidate for Senator, and at the next election retired, saying he wanted to give Quirino a chance!

Quirino said to me that my silver purchase suggestion was “gaining ground.” He also remarked that I had helped in the purchase of the Manila Railroad bonds, because I knew the “psychological background” of the English bondholders.

Talk with Alano, the Assemblyman from Zamboanga. He is the manager of the United States Rubber Company’s plantation on Basilan Island. Lawyer. Used to be stenographer for Quezon in the American Congress in 1911. He was born in province of Bulacan. He recently accepted a nomination for the Assembly simply as a matter of “civic duty,” as he is a successful lawyer and plantation manager. Said Yulo had persuaded to such effect, that he replied he was willing to serve just as a stenographer as he did twenty-five years ago in Washington. He said the Assembly would be “all right” when it met in Manila in June. They were not going to make a fight for silly privileges.

Twelve thousand crocodiles were killed last year in the Cotobato River–the hides were sent to Manila for sale.

One merchant in Cotobato claims to have exported 1½ million pesos worth of palay (rice) last year.

Bridge with Quezon, Doria and Felicia Howell–Quezon is way ahead. He plays and bids excellently.

Left Parang at 6 o’c bound for Zamboanga or Basilan. Quien sabe?

Guingona was aboard and in lively discourse with a group of Assemblymen about the very advantageous flying fields they had mapped out and were preparing in Mindanao.

Major Hutter of the United States Army Medical Corps says General MacArthur states that my administration was the best the Americans had in the Philippines. This is something of a pleasant surprise!

December 21, 1935

Contribution to the Tribune by Pedro Abad Santos commenting on Roy Howard’s article. A very shrewd analysis of the present situation. So far as Quezon is concerned, I do not really know his views of the future –I discard that part of Santos’ article which deals with the working classes, for while now suffering from economic depression, they are certainly on a much higher standard of living than any others in tropical Asia.

Conversation at his office with J. Ross. He supplied the key to the puzzle –everything clicks now and falls into place:

(a) Quezon’s reticence with me

(b) The Roy Howard interview

(c) The good impression wished to be created by the purchase of Manila RR. bonds from the English Company

(d) The unwillingness of Blunt to accept Quezon’s house in Pasay at a very reduced rental

(e) The embarrassment of Blunt over the interview the London Times man (Stevents) had with Quezon etc., etc.

(f) The anxious enquiries Quezon made of me as to the utter dependence of England upon holding her Empire together etc., etc.

This is haute politique indeed. J. Ross told me that Quezon is in favour of independence if that is safe (so is J. Ross!) that at the moment he is badly scared over Japan; that England appears to be an “anchor to windward” (words mine); that three years ago Quezon told him that the United States was going to “kick us out” and Quezon was then in favour of going to London to talk with the Foreign Office; J. Ross told him that the Foreign Office would not talk with him. That Colonel Frank Hodsoll told J. Ross that he (Hodsoll) had been asked by Quezon to talk to the British Ambassador in Washington and had done so.

J. Ross and I agreed on the reasons for the attacks on me here –that I was believed to be in favor of quick independence and that they believed my own Government here had damaged business (Wood-Forbes Report); J. Ross thought it would die down soon. Elizalde’s opposition to me was due to his jealous wish to have a controlling influence over Quezon.

The most surprising symptom I have found here this time is the utter lack of self-confidence among the Filipinos!

J. Ross asked me if I did not think Quezon could lead his people into a Protectorate –I said he could lead some of them, but that denial of independence was a cartload of dynamite.

Doria left at noon en route for the Mt. Data Christmas party of Heine Schradieck of the Standard Oil. Amazingly enough, I remember how I had interned Schradieck together with the other Germans in the Philippines when we entered the World War in 1917.

Saw Secretary of Agriculture Rodriguez, former Governor of the Province of Rizal, concerning the dispute between Binangonan and Cadorno municipalities.

Saw the President at Malacañan at 6 p.m.; he was about to start for the National Assembly which was ready to adjourn. He was in the barber chair now established in the Palace and he received my account of my interview with Blunt with alert interest. His mind was taken up, however, with a pending dispute between the Jesuit Friars and their tenants on some unspecified hacienda. He said he wanted me to help him on it, but what he really desired was a sympathetic audience before which to express his own views. Secretary Yulo was waiting in the next room and joined in the conversation. Quezon said he had sent today for Araneta, the lawyer for the Jesuit Corporation, to prepare the ground before he should see the Administrator of the Corporation tomorrow; that agrarian troubles on this hacienda might result in bloodshed; that he (Quezon) was in favour of justice rather than the law; that these families of tenants had cleared the land and had lived on it for generations –that they practically owned it and had more moral right there than the Friar owners who had not paid originally for the land and had not spent any money on its development. (I interjected the view that as the Friar orders had then been the government they had practically given these lands to themselves, as was customary in Frailandia –that the situation was like a chapter out of Noli Me Tangere –“yes,” Quezon said, “except that now there is no Spanish Governor General to order out the troops.”) Quezon said he told Araneta he would not evict the tenants who had not paid rents and that he would not send the Constabulary to defend the Administrator; that, pending the purchase by the Government of these Friar lands (or alternative measures) he considered the tenants had more moral rights than the Friars –that if these people were dispossessed more “communism” would result; that he did not care to make any public statement of his views, because in this case there might be outbreaks instigated by demagogues.

During the morning, Quezon had signed the National Defense Act in the presence of Osmeña and MacArthur –movie taken of same.

Jim Ross told me he understood “Mike” Elizalde was out as head of the National Development Co.