Long talk with Dr. Trepp the day after the funeral. What an extraordinary career was Quezon’s!–born a village boy in Baler in 1878, of mixed Spanish and Ilongot blood, he spent his childhood in one of the most remote and inaccessible little villages of the southwest Pacific. He died as the President in exile of the conquered Philippines, and was given the most impressive funeral which I ever attended. The cathedral was full and many dignitaries were there. He was buried in Arlington Cemetery–a great military display headed by General Marshall and Admiral King. His body is left there until it can be sent back to the Philippines on an American battleship.
Trepp described to me Quezon’s last illness: Asheville was the “low point” and Quezon began to improve again at Saranac Lake. He was kept in touch with the progress of the war by daily readings from newspapers, and attended now and then to a little executive business by letter and telegram. He wrote to MacArthur two days before his death. He was, however, not unaware of the seriousness of his condition. He told Nieto just a day or two before the end to look out for all his affairs and he had a long and satisfactory talk with his wife. At ten o’clock on the morning of August 1st, 1944, he suddenly had a hemorrhage–about a liter of blood which practically choked him–sank rapidly and died peacefully.
Trepp says that Quezon wore himself out completely by his quarrel with Osmeña over the presidency in November 1943, and never recovered. He was often found in tears in his bed at that time. This, Trepp names as the proximate cause of his death.
Mr. Serapio Canceran, the private secretary of the late President expresses deep concern over the possible killing of General Roxas by the Japanese because he is believed to be the “undercover” head of the guerrillas. He says that two days before he died, Quezon sent a cable to General MacArthur asking him to rescue Roxas and get him away from the Japanese. “This,” replied MacArthur “would be very difficult to do.” Dr. Trepp believes that Roxas will be elected first president of the Philippine Republic.
A few months later, Trepp himself died in Doctors’ Hospital in Washington of cancer of the stomach. I saw him several times in his last days, and this simple and honourable man suffered greatly towards his end.
did not see Quezon this day; he had a Cabinet meeting for half an hour at 11:30 a.m. and then “slept” the rest of the day.
Talked with Dr. Rotor and Bernstein. The latter says Quezon is emotionally very much upset with the editorials in Washington Post and Washington Star; and very angry with Lippman. Rotor says Quezon is always pessimistic towards the end of a political fight; he walks right up to an issue, fights every step with all his might and then becomes pessimistic over probable results. Bernstein added that since that conversation at Saranac at which we were present when Quezon told Osmeña that if the resolution were passed by November 15th he (Q.) would resign because he is ill, Bernstein had heard nothing more on the subject. He says that at the time Quezon was sincere, but he (B.) never believed that Quezon would quit.
Talk with Resident Commissioner Elizalde who was more cordial than usual; he had helped Tydings to draw up the resolution as finally introduced. Thinks the idea inspiring and beautiful.
Discussed with him the Mountbatten appointment; he said it was not done in order to interfere with MacArthur, but so as to have British forces reconquer their lost Asiatic colonies; thus they can hold them. Otherwise if done by Americans or under American Command the United States might insist on independence for these colonies. At least the United States would be embarrassed by the matter! Elizalde said also that General Marshall, Chief of Staff, did have a “run-in” with Churchill at Quebec –Marshall is no “yes man.” Elizalde insists that old General Pershing is in an army combination with Marshall, Admiral King and General MacArthur.
Bataan, symbolic of hope for the Fil-American forces and a thorn and yoke for Japan, has come to an end. Its spirit and history, however, represent something that will not end with its surrender.
Allied radios carried the official release from the USAFFE that General Wainwright had sent General King with a white flag, and the defending forces laid down their arms. On the other hand, the Press and Japanese newscasts reported that East Bataan has surrendered and that the Japanese mopping-up forces have occupied various towns, crushing the isolated cases of resistance they encountered. The news is rather confusing. If there was surrender, why the continued fighting? If the defenders have already laid down their arms, why are they still being attacked?
From official sources, we learned that Japan launched a devastating attack, putting into play her whole war machine, thus annihilating the enemy resistance in six days. It was added that the general offensive started on Good Friday, the 3rd of April, before which they were not really serious about the conquest of Bataan.
As far as we were concerned, the attack on Bataan has been consistent for the last three months, intensifying to a grand scale these past two weeks.
At any rate, the stronghold of Fil-American forces has fallen. Only the small island of Corregidor remains to prevent the entry of the Japanese to the Bay. But for all its fortifications, how long will it stand against the vigorous and gnawing advance of the Japanese forces supported by thousands of reinforcements?