June 16, 1936

Called on T. Wolff at his office to discuss his memorandum on the new cedula tax law. Finished the draft of Landlord & Tenant Bill.

In the p.m., the Survey Board had its weekly meeting; they are framing a plan for the standardization of salaries in the Government. One of the marked characteristics of round-table conferences of Filipinos is their sense of humour. Unson, Trinidad, Paez, Rustia and Occuña were there.

Went to the Legislative Building to hear the message of the President to the Assembly. Gratings were locked on the doors. I pushed through the crowd, got a policeman to open the door and was met by Chief of Police Antonio Torres who said the city had been “under arms” since the night before; the only people in the galleries were his secret service men. Communists were supposed to have threatened a bomb.

Sat with the Alcalde and the Chief of Police. Quezon read a forty minute message of “progressive conservatism”–really an excellent program for the development and relief of the country. Acoustics of the hall are so bad, I could hardly catch his words. Torres says this building was designed for the National Library and 3000 pesos have just been spent to improve the acoustics of the hall, but with no success;–he said it must be air-conditioned and hung with tapestries. Quezon’s voice is too strong and oratorical for the loud speaker. If he proposes to broadcast, I have advised him to study the matter of his voice.

Bridge with Gordon, Jollye and Sinclair at the Manila Club. When I was home at dinner Quezon called me on the telephone to ask if I had read his message. He said he was very tired–had only begun it yesterday morning and had been up all last night over it. Quezon called attention to his reference to the Irish Land Laws.

Will analyse his message after reading it in the morning papers.

February 29, 1936

Air of repose in the Executive Building—when Quezon is in Malacañan the whole place is like a beehive.

Visit from Sandiko. An interesting type, apparently of mixed ancestry: Chino and Moro. He reported on his investigation into Friar Land questions in Bulacan: says the purchase by the Government would benefit chiefly the hacendros; somewhat also the tenants who had added from two to four hundred pesos value per hectare to the land–the aparceros also would gain some slight benefit. They now pay 24-40 pesos rent per hectare which goes eventually to the hacenderos but is not entered on the estate books; if they can raise 70-80 gantas of palay per hectare, the aparceros now get only about 20-30 of it for themselves–not enough on which to raise a family. He says usury in one way or another is universal, and that a system like the “Raffeisen” must be introduced here. Says all wealthy Filipinos invest their money in land, not in industries or mines, for they know how to get much more for it thereby. He wants to break the power of landlords and to free the small man who is now a sort of slave under a feudal system. Says our Rural Credit Association under Prautch broke down because the caciques borrowed all the money intended for the aparceros, Sandiko says they may have him killed, but he is not afraid.

Visit from Don Vicente Singson, who came at Quezon’s request, to talk with me over the suggested purchase of silver at 45 cents with part of the “gold” (i.e., United States dollar) credits in the United States. Singson is opposed to this because silver is so uncertain, being now a by-product of other mining. Is in favour of a gold standard for this government. Is also strong for the Philippines having its own currency standard–free from the United States dollar, being suspicious of the latter. Two years ago, when he was Secretary of Finance, Singson went with the mission to the United States, and finally persuaded the War Department to agree to separate the currency system here, but was not informed of their decision for six months and meanwhile had left the post of Finance for private business. Says the change of system must be made while the Philippines are still under American sovereignty, so as not to alarm the public. He wishes to have a central bank here, such as has been introduced in “succession states” in Central Europe–thus making the government able to regulate and prevent raids on the gold supply. Has heretofore been opposed by other bankers here, but they have now come around to his view. Thinks Quezon does not understand these questions, and he admits it. Laughed at the Chinese irony over Kammerer’s regulations. I tols him my story of Yuan Shih Kai in 1915. Singson says he is convinced the United States will give the Philippine independence “whether the Filipinos want it or not,” and that they must prepare for it now.

Golf in p.m. at Caloocan with Fox, Jollye and Sinclair. Bridge 7-2:30 a.m. here with Guevara, Dr. Bangui and the younger Palma. Good game–they are better performers at the Culbertson system than are the English or Americans here. At supper, Guevara launched forth on his favourite subject–the absorption of the Philippines by Japan. Says that altho’ the two raced are related they really have nothing much in common–“but our grandchildren will.” Cited a recent statement by Vice-Admiral Kenkicki Takahashi, Commander in Chief of Japanese combined fleets as follows: “It is likely that Japan’s economic advance in Manchukuo, soon will reach its limits, and, therefore, the Empire’s future commercial expansion must be directed to Southern Seas, with Formosa or the mandated islands of the Equatorial Pacific as bases. In such event, the cruising radius of the Japanese Navy must quickly be expanded so as to reach New Guinea, Borneo and Celebes.”

February 26, 1936

Talk with Rafferty who is being done in by his partners in the manganese mine. Rafferty told me of repeated lies and evasions which are characteristically the world’s 11th wonder!

Talk with Simmie about the arrastre plant and the Government’s attitude toward same. Simmie says he, Gaches and Hausserman would become Philippine citizens in a moment if they could get out of the United States income tax by so doing. Said he was selling out his California property as quickly as he could.

Jollye told me last night that he once crossed the Atlantic on the same ship with ex-Governor General Stimson and ex-Governor General Davis–they spoke to one another but were not friendly.

Sinclair mentioned that the Tabacalera had spent several hundred thousand pesos here trying to raise Sumatra tobacco wrappers–it would not grow–either due to the soil or the climate. At the Carnival, he and I had inspected his (Smith-Bell’s) hemp stripping machine–noisy, slow and almost as much physical exercise as if done by hand!

February 25, 1936

Mrs. Quezon returned from a month’s absence in Java etc. Press photos of attentive loving couple, Quezon in yachting cap. The next day Quezon left with Nieto and his aides for an eight day trip through Balete pass and the Cagayan valley.

Talk with Colonel Vicente Lim, senior Filipino officer in the United States Army and a graduate of the American War College. He said: “Quezon is a very hard man to work with.” I commented on how the President’s calendar was congested, because gave too much time talking with each visitor. He replied, “He understands the psychology of his people.” He stated Quezon “is giving us the best Government we ever had, but God help us if he dies and we get a weak-kneed President.” Lim also said: “even Quezon is only human and can’t be 100% perfect–as evidenced by the appointment of Antonio Torres.” As Lim himself had wished to be Chief of Police of Manila, he may be prejudiced, but he seemed to be trying to be fair in the following estimate of Torres: “integrity unquestioned; has ideas, but is childish and can’t write English, and is a coward.” Lim said that his “thesis” at the Army War College in 1929 was that Japan within five years would take Manchuria; that they would wait until the United States got into great financial difficulties; that England is now also waiting, but to see if the United States will put itself together; otherwise England is prepared to fall back on Singapore. That Japan is planning a canal thru the neck of the Malay peninsula in Siam, and for this purpose is making friends with the Siamese rulers. That this canal would present no more difficulties than had the Panama Isthmus. Lim also said in his thesis (and still believes) that the Philippines is bound to fall under the economic domination of Japan, but the latter will not pay the cost of physical domination. Said the Americans could never defend the Philippines against Japan, but the Filipinos could make the invasion of their country too difficult to make it worthwhile. Lim is a brother-in-law of Vicente Villamin, and thinks highly of him, tho’ Quezon does not like Villamin. Lim told Quezon that he is ready to give up his rank in the United States Army to serve in the Philippines Army if really needed–otherwise not.

Dinner with Jollye–excellent food and civilized service–later to Carnival–poor show, and the loudspeaker has added new resources of horror to the barkers!

February 8, 1936

Golf at Caloocan with Hubert Fox, G. Sinclair and P. Jollye. Went to San Juan to buy a dog for Mrs. Ross and took it to their house. Colette Guest and Kuka Guest came to our house to call.

Jollye says that Dr. Mitchell, now on the Yolanda, is the man whom Senator Joe Robinson assaulted at the Chevy Chase Club, and for which Robinson was expelled from the Club.

Hubert Fox stated that the price of gold is much more likely to go up than down in the next ten years, and that for the next five years, at least, the Philippines is about the safest place in the world for an investment–and what country can be guaranteed for a longer period than that?

Papers report the arrival of Quintin Paredes in San Francisco and his statement that he was confident of the present for the Commonwealth, but was dubious of the future; saying: “we are not unmindful of the difficulties ahead particularly in the matter of graduated export taxes which begin within the next few years. We are sure that in your sense of generosity and responsibility you will not cast us loose.” This statement looks bad–probably he added some words which were unreported in the cable such as adding: “without fairer provisions for our future”–but as it stands it undermines Quezon’s position with the independistas here.