Last night was a night of horrors. Apparently something I had eaten at Ah Gong’s filthy restaurant, or something I had eaten at a cafe last evening, gave me what appeared to be a case of ptomaine poisoning. From one am. to 5 am. I suffered nine violent paroxysms of purging, five of which was accompanied by no less violent vomiting. Have hardly been able to walk about today. Several others in the barracks were similarly afflicted; so it would seem as if Ah Gong is the purveyor of whatever sort of poisonous filth it is that has caused us to be sick.
(above) British Pathé newsreel of a portion of former President Herbert Hoover’s mission to assess food requirements for devastated parts of the world, 1946.
While this diary is part of the Herbert Hoover papers, the diary of Hugh Gibson gives a useful glimpse into an interesting mission –Hoover’s task to survey the globe to see food requirements for devastated countries– and American perspectives about those countries and peoples. Among the nations visited was the Philippines. See The Food Mission Diaries of Hugh Gibson (1946 and 1947), particularly 2nd diary: 1st trip (part II), 1946 April 27–June 19, which contains the portion on the Philippines. The entry starts at the bottom of page 11 and concludes the Philippine portion in the middle of page 20. It provides an American’s impressions of war-devastated Manila (Monday, April 29, 1946):
We drove through the ruined town which is far worse than it looks from the air. Instead of having been destroyed with bombs which scatter the walls, these buildings were for the most part knocked out by artillery and fire, so the walls still stand in utter desolation. Some of the newer structures stood up better to the punishment but there is very little that is fit for habitation. Wherever there is a vacant lot the squatters have swarmed in with scraps of corrugated iron, ply-board or tin and have erected shanty towns of the most appalling variety. With a weak government there is some doubt as to how and when they can get these people out.
It also includes an interesting vignette of a visit to Malacañan Palace in April, 1946 (pages 11-15, Monday, April 29, 1946):
Malacañan was occupied by the Japs and consequently escaped destruction. It was mined but as so often happened, when the time came the enemy was so busy getting out that he neglected to carry out his fell purpose.
We were escorted up the red-carpeted staircase and through several big drawing rooms in one of what was a tremendous and rather fine chandelier. Holes showed where two other had hung. It seems the Japs made off with them but there is hope they may be hidden somewhere near at hand as it is doubtful whether they could have been packed and shipped in time at their disposal.
Osmeña was waiting at the door to receive us and escorted us across the room to instal us in big arm chairs. Then he sat down, composed his features and was silent in several languages at once. After waiting for him to sound off the Chief [Hoover] made some remark about being happy to tell him that an idea had appeared this morning as to how the Philippine food needs could be met. Osmeña nodded his head without batting an eyelash. He did not ask what the solution was, but nodded and then stopped as if turned off. The Chief made another remark and again got a nod for his reply. [U.S. High Commissioner] McNutt leapt into the fray with two efforts and got two nods for his pains. As things were rollicking along at this rate servants came in with champagne. Osmeña raised his glass and uttered two words: “Your health.” After this outburst of garrulity he relapsed into silence and after a time the Chief allowed he must not take up any more of his time. He evidently agreed as he offered no protest, but accompanied us all the way downstairs to get his picture taken by the waiting photographers.
This entry gives a glimpse of the reaction of Americans to the increasingly hard-of-hearing Osmeña; and incidentally documents the absence of two of the three large Czechoslavak chandeliers in the Reception Hall of the Palace –in the 1950s Minister of Presidential Protocol Manuel Zamora would recount that the chandeliers had been taken down for cleaning right before the war broke out, and were buried for safekeeping for the duration of the war.
On page 18 of the diary, there is also an account of a dinner given in honor of Hoover by the American High Commissioner, Paul V. McNutt, in which President Osmeña and President-elect Manuel Roxas were both present:
At 7:30 dinner at the High Commissioner’s. He has an agreeable house facing the bay, adequate but nothing like the style of Malacañan which [Frank] Murphy stupidly gave over to the Philippines so that he could go and live near the Elks Club. The High Commissioner has been a vagrant ever since and it has not added to his prestige. Murphy built a house of the water front where he and [Francis B.] Sayre lived, which may have been comfortable inside but which looks like of the less distinguished Oklahoma high schools. Why we had to put up something of that sort in a country where there is a distinguished native style is a mystery. Fortunately the cursed thing was thoroughly bombed and it is to be hoped that something decent will be be built or required for our new diplomatic mission.
Most of our party was asked to the dinner, a number of official Americans and several Filipinos, including the President and his wife and the President-elect and his. There was no love lost between then. I sat next to Señora de Osmeña. Directly across her was Señora Rojas [sic], wife of the Pres. elect. Not one word was exchanged between them through the dinner although McNutt did his valiant best. My neighbor is as chatty as her husband is taciturn and kept up a steady flow of conversation –but I haven’t an idea of what she talked about. Perhaps she does this as compensation like Mrs. Coolidge.
It was hot as blazes and we dripped through dinner which was served out of doors in a loggia. The thermometer stood at 102 which is high for people who were not so long ago in the snows of Scandinavia. We had some talk among the men after dinner…
In the same entry, there is another interesting vignette: about agrarian conditions:
FitzGerald ran into an interested situation here today. The Government people are crying famine and calling for help in securing rice for the starving. It seems that after the war the people in the valleys of Northern Luzon decided to get rid of their landlords and take over the land for themselves. So they shot some landlords and chased the rest away. Thereupon Mr. Osmeña’s boys moved in, organized a cooperative, and announced it would take the place of the landlords. Of course the landlords had been wrong to take half of the rice as their share, so the co-operative would take only thirty percent. However Osmeña’s party was essential to keeping the co-operative afloat, and there were some expenses of the underground which had to be met, so another ten percent would be knocked off for that. The net result is that Osmeña and his people have forty percent of all the rice crop of the region hidden away in hundreds of little warehouses, ready to play politics or make a fortune, or both. But it does indicate that the people are not going to do so badly with all the fruit and vegetables that grow so easily and all the fish they can have in any quantity.
And he closes with a snapshot of American official opinion on the prospects of Philippine independence:
On May 25 Rojas [sic] takes over as Pres. of the Commonwealth and on July 4th comes complete independence. The prospect is not rosy. The Osmeña government has had a year to put things in order. Congress is voting $600,000,000 for rehabilitation which is a fabulous amount compared to the work that has to be done. Many of the local people are already unhappy and look forward to disintegration as soon as the P.I. [Philippine Islands] are left to their own devices. The remark is frequently heard that within five years the people will be clamoring for the United States to move back in again. And at that they have not yet begun to envisage the possibility that China or Russia might move in. Asia for the Asiatics is a grand slogan but the mess they are going to make of it is terrifying.
The bomb scare has been sweeping Manila in the past few days. Rebeck tipped me off on a rumor that the Convention would be bombed. He said this could not be mentioned in the Convention Hall because the delegates might panic. Even Raul Manglapus, he said, was preparing to leave at about 4:00 p.m.
May 16, 1970
The Mansion, Baguio
10:50 PM, Sunday
I write this only tonight as the trip by boat last night was rough and I went to sleep at 11:00 PM. We started from Pier 15 at 8:15 and arrived at the San Fernando pier at 9:45 AM today. Outside the breakwater we were on a SE course with the wind from the North so we were rolling a little. This stopped when we rounded Cochines point at the south of the Bataan Peninsula. But the swells in the China Sea made Bongbong sick, he had to be given half a bonamine. Stevie Cu Unjieng vomited twice and Tessie Yulo once. But the rest were all good sailors.
In the morning I left at 7:30 AM to Lipa City – Fernando Air Base to speak at the graduation of the Flying Cadets (19) and student officers (12 and PMA’ers). Had to travel by car and it took us one hour and a half because of the fact that the airplane crashes have made Meldy nervous everytime I fly. (We just received from PAL the picture of the AVRO plane that crashed at Pantabangan with its tail section blown off apparently by explosives, then the right wing disintegrating then turning upside down just before impact on the ground). The PAC plane of Boy Tuason, Andy Roxas and Peggy Lim had an engine burn on take-off, the pilot feathered it but banked steeply on the dead engine instead of the functioning one, so stalled and crashed on its nose. The PAL Fokker plane that crashed in Iligan took off below minimal requirements as it was raining heavily and visibility was 100 yards, hit a mound of dirt on the side, twisted around and burned after all the passengers had escaped the plane. The stewardess who was about to put on her belt was thrown off the door that flew open and died of a cracked skull (the only casualty).
Returned to Manila at 10:30 AM to arrive at the Escolta PNB building at 12:00 to address the Rice and Corn
May 16, 1970 ( Cont)
Then went to Malacañang at 1:00 PM to meet Gen. Menzi on his Pulp and Paper project and the PHILCOX man, Tony Tiotko on the navigational aids valued at $12.5 million they are installing.
At 3:00 PM after some conferences and a 15 minute nap, I was at Del Monte to inaugurate the new 15,000 cavan a day rice polishing and processing plant of the Mindanao Progress Corporation of Roberto Tulio. Conference at Bonifacio 4:30 PM to 7:00. Malacañan to pick up some books, papers and clothes and was at the boat at 7:30 PM where I met Henry Martel on the Navotas reclamation project of Ramon Clinamco and Monching Cojuangco on the PLDT franchise which Maj. Fl. Leader Veloso badly mishandled. I had warned him that his asking ₱200,000 only for Montano the minority
floor leader was going to lead to a scandal. Monching Cojuangco also went ahead and paid the grease money although I do not believe Lening when he says that he did not keep any part of it. The House on the motion of Maning Zosa and the promptings of Danding Cojuangco voted to recall of the franchise and now there is a serious move to change Veloso as majority floor leader.
I scolded Monching a little for the bungling.
Imelda is smarting from Nini Quezon Avanceña’s remarks to Fanny Aldaba Lim that we may be hardworking, intelligent and sincere but we are making too much money. She mentioned Al Yuchengco. We are also supposed to own Atlas, Dole, AG&P and other big corporations. If they only knew!!!!
Office of the President
of the Philippines
January 29, 1970
The UP faculty had a demonstration this afternoon. They walked from Agrifina Circle to Malacañang, handed me a manifesto blaming the administration for “the pattern of repression.” No mention at all about who started the stoning nor the danger to the First Lady and me – nothing but police brutality. Dean Majul claimed they were referring to the government in general and that he who heads a house is responsible for the happenings in that house. Dean Escudero of Business Adm. says he was a Marcos Liberal and that it is a matter of faith. Dean Feria (apparently an American lady) of English says there was brutality, that her 17 year old daughter was near our car and did not see any stone thrown (she must need glasses otherwise where did the wound of Agent Tuson in the forehead come from). Dr. Francisco Nemenzo arrogantly proclaimed he was not content with the manifesto but after “seeing my reaction to it”, he was happy. I had said that I was disappointed in the faculty of my alma matter; that the UP was charged as the spawning ground of communism and that the manifesto was full of ambiguous generalities that had a familiar ring to them. Then I read a report that he had said he wanted the members of the faculty to be hurt by the police and that he had given directions to the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation to prepare gasoline (apparently for Molotov cocktails), stones and other missiles to be used
Office of the President
of the Philippines
in the Friday (Jan. 30th) rally, and that in the charge of communism in the UP, his name was mentioned. Tomorrow, the big student rally. But Gargaritano of the youth reform movement says the NUSP and the NSI will not come to Malacañang but go to Congress instead. The Kabataan Makabayan will come to Malacañang, though. Mayor Villegas has said that he will not allow the police to be near the demonstrators. I ordered him in writing to maintain peace and order in all rallies and demonstrations. He sent word that his press release did not mean he would keep the police away. I showed to the UP professors the Collegian which carried the communist party articles and said that I did not wish to stop this but that I hoped that the two sides of the question would be ventilated. VP Lopez called the editor of the Collegian a leftist.
|The White House||Date||October 24 1966|
|President Lyndon B. Johnson||Day||Monday|
|The President began his day at:||Manila Hotel, Manila, Philippine Islands|
|Time||Telephone (f or t)||Activity (include visited by)|
|In||Out||12:07a t Mary Slater|
|7:00 AM||The President awakened and gotup and shaved immediately. He then had breakfast of chipped beef, melon balls, and tea. (The President was alone in his room this morning, Mrs. Johnson did not join him. At about 8:00a Jake Jacobsen came to the President’s suite. He did not go into the President’s room because the President was asleep –he was reading the papers, and had fallen asleep. Paul Glynn and Jake Jacobsen lt him sleep until about 8:25a. Then Paul waked the President, and the President asked for Jake and Marvin. They went into his room. Marvin Watson showed the President some Lady Hamilton watches, cigarette case with seal (small and large) and then went over a little bit of the President’s schedule for today with him. The President told Marvin Watson he would have Bill Moyers in tonight with the foreign correspondents in his suite at about 7:00p for drinks and a briefing. And, Mrs. Johnson had agreed to meet with the Thai group in the suite, and he might drop by to see them also. The President seemed rather tired –a peaceful tired– a calmness about him. Paul Glynn: mf|
|8:41a||The President departed his suite with Mrs. Johnson for Congress of the Philippines Building.|
|8:43||Depart Manila Hotel|
|4:37p||REMARKS at Manila Summit Conference, Malacanang Palace (per Bill Moyers’ briefing using extensive qotes) –carried almost verbatim in Manila newspapers|
|6:18p||Returned to suite, stopped in room 407where Juanita, mary esther, yb and mf were looking at native crafts. The President looked around the room, and asked mjdr about some paintings. He said he liked the one of the farmer and rooster which was over his bed. He then went to his room, and called for mjdr to come in.|
|Lying on bed and watching television while talking on the phone —|
|Talked to Mary S about getting dresses for his girls for tomorrow’s fiesta —|
|7:25p||8:40p||Bill Moyers, Walt Rostow, Bob Fleming, Leonard Marks w/ foreign correspondents:|
|Francis Lara, Agence France Press|
|Pat Heffernan, Reuters|
|Stewart Hensely, UPI|
|John Hightower, AP|
|Ralph Champion, London Daily Mirror|
|Vincent Ryder, London Daily Telegraph|
|Jacque Francillon, Le Figaro|
|Jack Brooks, Vancouver Sun|
|Lothar Loewe, German radio and television|
|Hans Westerman, West German radio and television|
|After the newsmen left, Leonard Marks stayed behind for a short visit w/ the President.|
|9:45p||DINNER w/ Marvin Watson, Jake Jacobsen|
|Mary Slater, Mary Esther Garner, Yolanda Boozer, mf|
|During dinner the President –visibly tired– talked of small things. He inquired about churchgoing activities yesterday. He talked about the hard work Secret Service was doing, saying he hoped they would get some rest because he really saw them take the punishment. He talked about High Sidey’s column in the latest issue of LIFE concerning the President’s talking to a group of newsmen before his last press conference, and suggested that Bill correct Sidey, since records show that the President did not talk to the newsmen before the conferece as Sidey suggested.|
|10:30p||To the bedroom w/ MW and JJ|
|a rub by Wes King — and retired at 12:00 midnight|
|The President today signed a birthday letter to Amb Blair and had it delivered to the Ambassador w/ a pair of gold cufflinks.|
Finished memorandum on Customs Enforcement Divisions.
Wrote a lot of short letters. Walked to National City Bank to cash a cheek Paid hotel bill. Spent an hour alone on the roof garden watching the sun set over the Bataan hills. These Manila sunsets are inexpressibly beautiful. Foster Knight and I dined together and watched the dancing for an hour. The floor was crowded, and we couldn’t help wondering at all the gaiety — and all the expense– in a city which is in grave danger either from internal disturbances or — later — from external aggression. Knight said that, when he arrived last month from the grimness of Korea, he was struck by the luxury of Manila as exemplified in this hotel, and by the apparent lack of awareness among the people here of the conflagration in Korea.
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.
Arrived Manila Bay at 0800… to anchorage; we went in to Pier 15 at 1800 and began to debark at 2000 and were done at 2145.
Got the mail… 4 letters from Louise, and one from the war dept. saying I was made Captain on 25 September… 17 months after becoming 1st Lt… hope that is not indicative of poor work… but may be. I’m glad it came through. Had Sullivan pin my new Bars.
They say that we will load and leave tomorrow.