To lunch at Lion’s Club as guest of Pio Pedrosa, Secretary of Finance. 9-10 had conference with Pedrosa, Jacinto, Jastram and Knight. Handed my memorandum re relationship between Commissioner of Customs and Collector of the Port of Manila to the Secretary. We had general discussion of the two alternatives I proposed, and the Secretary asked me to work out details of the two proposed, which he can submit to the Legislature. In the course of our talk, it was made shockingly clear how much the Customs is involved in politics. The present Deputy Commissioner and ex officio Collector at Manila (Fabros) has far more power than his nominal superior (Jacinto), and has placed relatives in several of the key posts in the Customs. He has very powerful political connections, and is, I fear, a thorough-going rascal.
The discussion at the Lion’s Club was about the desirability of creating a free-port, or foreign trade zone at Manila, and I have seldom heard more uninformed and half-baked ideas. It was a nice affair, however. The service clubs (Rotary, Lions, etc.) seem to be very popular in the Philippines. There must have been 150-200 men at today’s lunch. Called on Col. Soriano, president of Philippine Air Lines, San Miguel Brewery, etc. – one of the world’s rich men, I’m told. He was once a Spaniard, then a
Filipino, and is now an American citizen. We had half an hour’s talk about the Customs. Like everybody else, he says get politics out of the Customs and pay the staff a living wage. With Foster Knight, inspected the two principal piers with Delgado, the Arrestre contractor. The storage sheds are very capacious and well-built, and the stacking and handling of cargo are very well done. Lift-trucks and other mechanized equipment was in full use. Delgado took over the Arrestre contract last month, and his predecessor company did everything possible to sabotage the property and equipment. A very disgraceful performance. I had following to dinner here: Dr. and Mrs. Ray Moyer; Jim Ivy; Doris Bebb; Mrs. Pedigo. We had amusing time watching the dancing (it was Valentine’s Night). Many of the young Filipino couples were dancing the ?, which consists chiefly of facing each other 2 feet
apart and wiggling their behinds. Most of them kept very sober faces, and seemed to be taking their pleasures sadly.
Visit from Colin Hoskins–who said he was rather hurt that Quezon did not let him know before accepting his resignation as a director of the Philippine National Bank, but that he thought Quezon was right in Filipinizing it, and in excluding business men from the board, because “the more successful they had been, the more predatory the type.” I asked him about the sugar mill shares–he said all bank’s holdings were being bought up by Filipino interests–that the Jones-Costigan law was apt to continue, and under that, all the companies could liquidate their capital in five years, or even four. He thought very well of de las Alas, who is vigorous and yet prudent.
Luncheon at Malacañan in honor of Isauro Gabaldon who is sailing in Vittoria for six months in Spain and in Germany, where he is going to take the waters for diabetes. I was glad to see him and Quezon reconciled. Spoke of this and of Palma, to Quezon who said he was pleased to “recognize” them after giving them such a licking. Had a nice letter from Palma. He added that Gabaldon was one of the finest characters they have in the Philippines.
There were about thirty guests in the old dining room at Malacañan– the first time I had been there under the Filipino Government. I was the only American present. Former Residents Commissioner Gabaldon, Guevara, Delgado and Osias were there–also Alunan, Nieto, Gil, Montilla, Lacson etc. I sat between Mrs. Quezon and “Baby.” Mrs. Quezon told me that she had not been entertained by the Governor General in Java, and had refused to put herself forward as she was traveling incognito. It is evident that the Dutch are uneasy about the effects that Philippine independence will have on the Javanese.
Mrs. Quezon and I made many arrangements for our trips in April. Quezon and his wife showed great affection for one another.
The President said he wished to attend the coronation of Edward VIII in London, and I said I would like to go with him. Said he would have arrangements made through our State Department for his accommodation in London.
I asked him whether now that he had organized his government it would operate with vigour? He was positive it will.
Asked him when he was going to inaugurate his bridge and poker club for the members of the Assembly in the new basement at Malacañan. He replied that it was not quite finished. I told him the Assemblymen were in a mood when it would be a good gesture–he answered: “Not until I have given them a licking!” I laughed, so he had to join in.
Photographed by Arellano for Malacañan. Quezon wishes to hang up photos of Taft, myself and Murphy as the three Americans most closely connected with significant chapters of the American occupation. Arellano told me that everywhere confidence in Quezon was growing–that he was a real leader.
Papers contain notices about two matters showing the results of slowness in the administration. 1st, the rice regulation by the Government. The dealers claim that Quezon had acted too slowly to benefit them as intended. 2d, Quezon has suspended the Governor of Albay because he would not come to Manila to answer as to why the Provincial Board had reduced the cedula tax from two pesos to one. But it seems that the resolution of the Board had been before Quezon for so long without action that it became effective without approval!
Long talk with Manuel Concepcion on the currency; we agree that Paredes had lost his fight in Washington against the repeal of the law authorizing the payment of $23,000,000 to the Philippines for the gold devaluation, because he argued on sentimental grounds instead of giving exchange and commodity prices, the best he can do now is to get action by Congress suspended until proper arguments can be presented later on.
American republicans of the Philippines had their political convention to select delegates to their National Convention. Selph and Marguerite Wolfson were the spokesmen. They have learned very little in 36 years of progressive defeat on the Philippine question. They still hope to turn back the hands of the clock. They did not come out against “independence after ten years” but denounced the economic provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act.
Doria describes the hopelessness of trying to shop in establishments where Filipinos serve. They are obstinate, disobliging and arrogant. Always answer to any enquiry that “we haven’t any of that”–will never compete successfully in the retail trade with Chinese, Spanish and Japanese.
Attended dinner of Yale graduates of Philippines in honor of Yale men promoted recently: Justice Jose Laurel, Judge Delgado, Secretary of Finance de las Alas, Assemblyman from Marinduque and Celeste, the Secretary of the National Economic Council. A lot of real fun and a very pleasant evening.
Bridge earlier with Colonel Lim, Tan and Nazario at the Philippine Columbian Club–good game.
Did not attend Tommy Wolff’s gigantic reunion of “Old Timers.”
Saw Jim Ross –full of vigour and life and apparently he has recuperated from his dreadful accident of last January in New York. He told me that the Army-Forbes forces were fighting against me as hard as ever –that Bowditch, Ermin and Weinzheimer were at it. That Ermin had said General MacArthur would quit if I stayed on here. I told him he had better repeat that to Quezon. Jim was full of fight –said I must stay on– that Quezon would never allow the American Army to run his administration –that I had friends here who would stand up for me &c. &c.
Saw former Senator Hawes who is ill with a bad heart –he is managing the Congressional party’s trip, and said that in his studies of Philippine history one of the things that made him angry was my opponents making me out as a Tammany roughneck destroying things out here, instead of my being what he called a “Virginia gentleman.” Said his own bill was changed by the Tydings-McDuffie Act in only two particulars (i) the word “absolute”; (ii) withdrawing the United States Army at the end of ten years. Senator Hawes looks physically very feeble. He says that these people (Filipinos) cannot live with the present economic restrictions, which the United States must modify.
Saw Resident Commissioner Delgado and his wife; they came from America (leaving their children there) at his own expense, in order to accompany the Congressional delegation. A fearful row now on between him and ex-Senator Hawes –he says Hawes directs the Resident Commissioners in Washington, as he is an adviser to the Philippine Government at a “nominal” salary of $5,000 in addition to his $25,000 a year from the Philippine Sugar Growers Association. Delgado says that Hawes bosses the whole Congressional Mission, that he makes it seem part of the sugar lobby; that he (Delgado) is all that prevents the press men from spreading this idea; that the Philippine “Free Press” has just published an article attacking him (Delgado). He threatens that, if he is not sent back as Resident Commissioner, he will expose all this and show up Hawes. Hawes tried to prevent his coming out here. (I used all my best efforts to keep him quiet so as not to cast any discredit on the visitors nor on the government.) I told him finally, that I thought the appointment of the new Resident Commissioner was already settled.
Annual meeting of the Philippine National Guard Association; luncheon at Plaza Hotel, at which I was speaker.
Tea at Jaranilla’s. Mrs. Harry Hawes and Colonel Van Schaick were there. Met Rev. Dr. Lyons, who first suggested to me at Malacañan in 1920 the building of the Balete-pass road into Nueva Vizcaya and he was later the first man to make the trip over the pass by motor. Mrs. Jaranilla told Doria that the argument against woman’s suffrage in the Philippines, was the great influence that such a measure would give to the Church. (N.B. Roxas says the same.)
Went at 7 p.m. to the Manila Club to observe the “two minutes Armistice silence.” Of those who had been present when I attended there with the American Admiral on Nov. 11, 1918, I saw only Stevenson and Gordon. Jim Ross and Colin Hoskins spent the evening with me while Doria went to the Armistice Day dinner dance at the Manila Club. Our conversation was chiefly about arrangements for a reception to be given to the visitors by the American (Democrats) of the Philippines. Also we had much talk about MacArthur and Quezon.
In Senator Hawes’ room I met McDaniels, agent for the American Cordage Trust.