February 26, 1950

Lunch at the Staplers lovely house in Rizal (next door to the Huie home). He is Capt. Jack Stapler’s brother, and in Marsman & Co. He says the outlook for foreign firms in the Philippines is pretty dim, chiefly because they are the only ones which pay 100% taxes. Stapler also spoke of the crowd of American swindlers and carpetbaggers who came to Manila after the war, and gave the American community a black eye. He also mentioned the scandalous sale of US Army and surplus stores by American officers and men; and said that US Army people are even today selling supplies stolen from Clark Field. Dinner here with Foster Knight and a man named Fuller, who is going to Formosa for E.C.A. He told of the 4 brides who compared notes after a month of marriage and discussed, in political terms, their wedding night experiences. No. 1 said it was a case of Roosevelt, — over and over again. No. 2 said she could quote Churchill: blood, sweat and tears. No. 3 mentioned Dewey, who tried to get in twice but failed both times; No. 4 said it was like Truman: he got in twice but didn’t know what to do after he got in.

Where to place a statue of Quirino in Washington. Not near Washington, who couldn’t tell a lie. Not near Honest Abe Lincoln. Put it next to Christopher Columbus, who didn’t know where he was going when he started, didn’t know where he was when he got there, and did it all on borrowed money.

February 23, 1950

The Cecchi’s had E.C.A. staff for cocktails. After dinner, Foster Knight showed us his colored photographs of Korea and Hongkong. Conference with some of the staff re re Quirino’ s latest move — an appeal to America to give him a hand-out with no strings attached. Feeling among E.C.A. staff here is strongly opposed, and I concur 100%. I don’t want to see what happened in China repeated here.

February 22, 1950

Holiday for E.C.A. but I worked, finishing odds and ends and getting my report polished up. With Foster Knight lunched at Capt. Rayon’s [Razon] house, with Sr. deLeon, former Commissioner of Customs, and Sr. Francisco (of the Dalupan Committee). De Leon said that getting rid of political influence in the Customs is even more important than raising pay. He was very bitter against the politicians. Capt. Razon said that the Philippine people have lost all confidence in, and respect for, the government. He intimated strongly that the best thing that would happen to the Philippines would be re-occupation by the USA.

Had an hour’s chat on the general situation and the E.C.A. program with Charles Glaser and David Sternberg. The latter is a cripple and confined to a wheel chair. He knows the country and the people pretty intimately. One thing that worries Glaser and Sternberg is the apathy of the people toward reform. They can’t understand why the common people are not more excited about the failure of the Congress to pass the Minimum Wage Law. Sternberg says they are “politically illiterate.” To buffet dinner given by Admiral Giles Stedman at Elks Club. Invited for 7:30 and arrived at 7:30. Dinner served at 9:30 —- by which time I was fit to be tied. I still dislike this type of entertaining intensely. Fortunately, I had a table with Mr. and Mrs. Huie. Mr. Huie was in Navy during war (Commander) and had his ship blown out from  under him in Manila Bay. Lost 40% of his complement. After occupation he was ordered to go to Santo Tomas, get a Chinese and his family and put them on a destroyer. He took 16 men, all armed to the teeth, and and finally found the family. He has forgotten the name but says the man was T.V. Soong’s secretary. Mrs. Huie was Miss Gloysteen, of Peking. She is very charming and easy on the eye. We have many friends in common. She spent a summer at Sacconnet, R.I. when she was at Smith took care of two children. Later, taught at Tingchow. I told her that I went to Junior Prom at Smith the year she was born (1914). Rotary Club had. a “Barrio Fiesta” on the lawn of the hotel tonight, and it was most colorful. Many of the American women wore the Philippine woman’s costume, and some of the American men wore Filipino “pina” shirts.

February 21, 1950

Mr. P.V. Gonzale (Nate’s local agent) took me to the government-owned cotton mill, where the Manager showed us over the place. (I took Nathan, E.C.A. Economist with me). 17,000 spindles; 105 looms. Saco-Lowell equipment for preparatory and spinning; Crompton and Knowles and Draper looms. Completely integrated including dying, bleaching and printing. 10’s, 12’s, 16’s, 20’s and 30’s yarns. Machinery old. It looked to me as if the place was doing pretty well with the equipment it has. Lunch at Bonnie Liu Sycip’s pretty little house. She was very proud to show it to me. We had a good talk fest about mutual friends. Alexander came in after lunch. Dined at K. Huang’s house. Mike and Louise Arnold were there. 16 other guests, Chinese and Filipino. Good Chinese food, but I missed two courses: a shrimp dish and a crab dish.

February 20, 1950

In office here all day. To dinner at Delgado’s (Delgado’s Bros. Arrastre Contractors). Mrs. Delgado very pretty, mother of 4. I held the 9 month old baby boy, and he laughed and gurgled. Jacinto, Commissioner of Customs, Handry (Free Press), McKelsey, and several Filipinos there. Very good buffet supper with a chicken pie the size of a motor car wheel, salad, ham and mangoes for dessert […]. Had long talk with Jacinto, who is very worried about the future of his country. He asked how we can expect the people to be honest when they know that the highest officials are crooked. Since the war, the morale of the whole country has sunk to the very lowest depths. The military forces are worse than the Huks in their oppression of the peasants; no wonder the people in the barrios protect the “dissidents”. In the Customs, corruption is brazen; Customs officers go around to importers’ offices and shops and demand bribes (This happened in Shanghai after the war.) Jacinto blamed the Chinese for much of the corruption in high places, because they have, as he said, the “money bags” and don’t hesitant to open them in influential quarters. He cited one Chinese who brought in millions of dollars worth of American cigarettes without import license, put them in bond, and then (by bribery) got release as “advance quota.” He was supposed to have paid out $1,000,000 in squeeze, but he cleared much more than that. Jacinto begged me to have E.C.A. send out a man to help him with investigations and enforcement work. I told him frankly that I didn’t think it would be of much use until the government raises Customs pay to a subsistence level.

February 9, 1950

E.C.A. staff meeting at 8:15 am. Wrote memorandum to Secretary of Finance recommending change in relationship between Commissioner of Customs and Collector of Port of Manila. To Finance office to buy Military Scrip (same as we
used in Japan), then to PX to buy tobacco and toilet articles, then to National City Bank to cash a check into pesos. Manila is an extremely expensive city to live in. I must, of course, use the official exchange rate (2 to 1) while the black market rate is 4 to 1. Lunch with C.P. Chen, Chinese Ambassador, at New Europe Restaurant. Ambassador worried because a Representative has filed a bill in the House which would drive every Chinese retailer in the Philippines out of business in the years. He said that the he had been a member of the Kuomintang over twenty years, but that
the Kuomintang was chiefly responsible for the disasters which have befallen China. To Custom House. Had a chat with Fabros, the collector of the Port. To cocktail party at Chapin’s (Counsellor of Embassy) to meet Bishop Lane (?). Maryknoll Mission, and
several other priests. Back to hotel, and then off to dinner at the UNO Club, given by Albino Sycip to the E.C.A. top staff. Four tables, one of which was all women; other three all men. Met a lot of Chinese. Bonnie Liu Sycip and Alexander were there.

February 8, 1950

Foster Knight returned last night from an inspection trip with Pio Pedrosa, the Secretary of Finance. It was nice to see him again; odd how our paths have crossed after all these years. I recall — many years ago — his stay in the German Hospital in
Shanghai, where he was found to have T.B. Then lost touch for years until we met in Washington during the war. Next, we met in Chungking. Last summer, when E.C.A. had to evacuate Korea, Foster Knight came to Tokyo, when I saw a lot of him. Now, we are in the same office — in Manila. Lunch with Representative Allas, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; he asked me my frank opinion of the Philippines Customs, and I told him — laying stress on the necessity of (1) eliminating political influence from the Service and (2) raising the pay of the staff to a living wage. Called on Pio Pedrosa, Secretary of Finance. Preached my little sermon, with which he professed complete agreement. He showed me two letters on his desk from the Speaker of the House requesting him to intervene in favor of two of the 180 Customs employees recently discharged. Pedrosa asked me to stay three months in Manila. I said “no can do”, but handed him a draft letter for his signature requesting E.C.A. to appoint Hugh Bradley as Customs Consultant here. Pedrosa agreed to send it in. Had Gil and Virginia “Gina”) Stuart, Ian and Daphne Bradley, and Foster Knight to dinner here. Ian impresses me as very “vital”, honest and good young man, with plenty of steel underneath a very pleasant and sincere manner. […]

February 2, 1950

To E.C.A. office where I had a talk with Vincent Cecchi, acting chief of mission. Met most of the E.C.A. staff.
Called on American Ambassador — Cowen — who was cordial and helpful. Met Chapin (Counsellor) and several others, and Ed Rice. Lunched with Ed and his nice wife (Mary. In afternoon, met the staff of the Dept. of Finance (the Secretary is away on a trip). Back to office, where I met other members of E.C.A. staff. Gilbert Stuart came to see me. He wants to buy 3 fishing boats from BOTRA, which were brought over here to get them out of Communist hands, but discovered yesterday that they are subject to duties and taxes totaling 50%. I could only advise him to take his case to the Commissioner of Customs. Had Loris Craig to dinner here. After dinner we sat in lobby and watched the guests pass by — guests at a ball given by President Quirino to President Sukarno of the Indonesian Republic. Moved to a room of my own, and unpacked.

February 1, 1950

Had about 6 hours sleep but routed out of bed before daylight to breakfast at Wake Island. The sun came up as we ate in the little dining room — with which I have become quite familiar. Arrived Guam about noon; lunched there and took off at 2:30. Guam was pretty hot. Several of our passengers left here, and were not missed — especially 3 or 4 young men who came out for the contractors who are working here. These lads started drinking at 8 a.m., and kept it up all day. One of them — an electrician — said he had a swell job: all expenses paid and pay of about $25.00 a day. Time difference between Wake and Manila is 4 hours, so we sat our watches back accordingly. Arrived Manila at 6:45 p.m., Manila time, and met by Senor Jacinto, Commissioner of Customs, and Mr. ? of the E.C.A. staff. Five or six newspaper reporters on hand. To Manila Hotel. No room for me, because President Sukarno of the Indonesian Republic is paying a state visit to Manila. I am in Foster Knight’s room; he is away for a few days.