June 11, 1945 Monday

Discussion is raging in the Camp as to what the government will do with regard to alleged collaborationists like us. To some, this question has been settled—Pres. Osmeña having already spoken. As reported in the Free Philippines of June 1, Pres. Osmeña declared that he reiterates his policy on collaborators as stated in his speech delivered in Leyte last November. According to this policy, “every case should be examined impartially and decided on its merits.” Persons concerned fall within 3 categories: “Those prompted by a desire to project the people, those actuated by fear of enemy reprisals and those motivated by loyalty to our government and cause.” The matter had been submitted to the Cabinet. The President declared on the 31st of May that the question of collaborators is difficult but not an insoluble problem—provided it is not made a political football. He said that it shall not be allowed to result in a division of the people, as this would be fatal to the success of our efforts toward national rehabilitation, reconstruction and the preservation of national unity.

In his speech in Leyte, the President admits that not all public officials could go to the hills to fight. Some had to remain in their posts to maintain a semblance of government, to protect the population from the oppressor to the extent possible by human ingenuity and to comfort the people in their misery. If the officials did not accept and serve, the Japanese would have governed directly and utilized unscrupulous Filipinos capable of committing treason to their people. The President concluded that the motives which caused the retention of the office and conduct while in office, rather than the sole fact of its occupation, ought to be the criterion in deciding each case.

I agree 100 per cent with Pres. Osmeña. He evidently is thoroughly familiar with the facts. We are now convinced that full justice would be given us. However, from the beginning, I feared that politics and personal considerations might creep in, in which case we cannot be assured of justice in the disposition of our cases. Our country is now in a terrible state; its rehabilitation will be a great problem. We should not do anything that might hinder or affect unfavorably all the rehabilitation efforts. Now, more than ever, we need complete unity. This is the reason why I resent deeply acts and statements of present officials of the government that would compel us to be indifferent or to do something to protect ourselves which might prejudice such efforts. If we really love our country let us forget the past; let us bury our personal ambitions, all personal considerations. Let us be one in carrying out all plans that would enable our country to recover in the shortest time possible.

There is a great deal of rumor and speculation concerning those of us who are senators. A few days ago, rumor spread that we were leaving the Colony soon. Many congratulated us and asked us to visit their families. Some even handed us letters. The rumor became more persistent when Pres. Osmeña, on May 31, 1945 issued a proclamation calling a special session of the Philippine Congress for June 9th. The senators who are here are Yulo, Recto, Paredes, Madrigal, Sebastian and myself—six. One, Sen. Tirona, is detained in Bilibid Prison. There are two vacancies in the Senate on account of the deaths of Senators Martinez and Ozamis. It is said that our presence was necessary to have a quorum. I could not see it that way as there were 15 members of the Senate remaining. But they argued that some of them might not be allowed to sit; like us, they accepted positions in the Japanese regime or committed acts similar to ours. Roxas was one of the framers and signers of the Constitution of the Philippines and later accepted the position of Chairman of the Economic Planning Council. Rodriguez was a member of the Council of State and later on accepted a position in a committee. Arranz was another framer and signer of the Constitution and was a member of the National Assembly. Fernandez was signer of the manifesto to form a government organization at the beginning of the Japanese regime and later became member of the Council of State. Imperial was in the Court of Appeals. Sa Ramain was another framer and signer of the Constitution. They might be classified in the same category to which we belong, and if they are excluded from the special session, there could of course be no quorum.

News came that Congress had convened and that the Senate was organized with the following officers: President, Senator Roxas; President Pro Tempore, Senator Quirino; and Floor Leader, Senator Rodriguez. This has blasted all hopes of our being called in Manila in connection with the Senate.

Undoubtedly, the main reason why we have not been called is that we are still political prisoners. Surely they do not know us nor understand us. We are not capable of doing anything which may divide our people, which may hinder rehabilitation of our country in her preparation for an independent existence. For my part, I shall readily sacrifice my ambitions for the common good and to make our nation great and enduring.

On June 2, we read in the papers that Gen. Manuel Roxas was reverted to inactive status effective May 28, upon his own request. Pres. Osmeña declined to comment. Many interpretation have been given to this news. It especially became mysterious on account of the attitude of Osmeña. It was believed that there had been a serious break between our two great leaders. We were very much concerned. We knew that it meant that the work for the rehabilitation of our country may be seriously affected. Our problems, the situation our country is in now, are such that no one man or group can cope with the situation. But we have faith in their spirit of sacrifice, in their love of country. We were relieved when Roxas was elected President of the Senate; now we know the reason for Roxas’ change of status. It is a great event—Roxas is the natural and logical man for that office. With his experience and ability, our country will be greatly benefited.

We are encouraged with the news that Senator Tydings, after his personal inspection tour, reported that the Philippines was stricken very badly by the war and needs prompt help. He submitted a four-point program for the rehabilitation of the Philippines as follows: (1) Loans to Philippine government to finance reconstruction; (2) Strict compliance with legislation calling for complete independence as quickly as economic conditions permit; (3) Gifts of funds for Army and Navy engineers to undertake rehabilitation of buildings and other structures as soon as war conditions permit; (4) General treatment of the Philippines to expedite the return to normal conditions. We should be very thankful to the Senator for his program. I hope, however, that as regards independence, the phrase “economic conditions permit”, will not be interpreted like the “stable government” condition in the Jones Law. The third is not clear; it may refer only to military buildings and structures.

Today we received a very disheartening news. It seems a fight between Osmeña and Roxas for the presidency is unavoidable. The election will be in November. Roxas is reported to have said, “I am more than ever determined to fight Osmeña for the Presidency.” The President on the other hand is reported to have said, “It doesn’t matter. I will run for the Presidency in November on national, and not purely personal issues.” So there is a challenge and an acceptance. Friends of both will undoubtedly intervene to settle the feud. I doubt whether they will succeed. Osmeña, on account of his long service in the government and his advanced age, wants to close his public career with a vote of confidence on the part of the people. On the other hand, Roxas feels that, although he is still young, this may be his last chance on account of the state of his health. Furthermore, he thinks that this is the time that he could be of great help to his country as the problems of the country are those he specialized in his studies and observations. Such a division will be fatal to our country. Our country lies prostrate on account of the war. She needs all of us, especially these two outstanding leaders whose love for country is proverbial and whose combined knowledge, experience and ability will enable us to surmount the difficulties that are in store for us. We pray to God that His light may be shed upon us in order to illumine our minds, so that all ambition, all rancor, all personal considerations, in fact, everything we have or may want to have, will be sacrificed at the altar of our mother country.

A word more about independence. Political independence and economic support on the part of America are entirely compatible. One great advantage of becoming an independent nation is that we can proceed with the preparation of our programs, and carrying out these programs with full power and without international considerations other than the reciprocity agreements involved. When I was Chairman of the National Economic Council under President Quezon’s administration, I despaired on account of the difficulties arising out of our dependent status. We could not legislate on anything that may affect American interests, notwithstanding the fact that the U.S. passed legislation without consideration to its effect on our economy, especially with regards to our exports to the United States. We could not deal with other countries as we did not possess the authority to do so. My experience has convinced me that it is impossible to prepare and carry out a complete and comprehensive program unless we have an independent nation, with complete freedom in tariff, currency, commercial treaties, etc.

The question has been raised whether it will be possible to prevent the fight between Osmeña and Roxas. From my personal point of view, settlement is most difficult. Now that Pres. Quezon is dead, we have to decide who would succeed him. Of course the choice is between Osmeña and Roxas. Their friends did all they could so the fight could be avoided. No effort was spared; no argument neglected. They especially emphasized the fact that Osmeña was old, and that the arrangement could be that Osmeña can be President this term and Roxas the next. All efforts failed.

Who will win? Nobody can tell. Each count with unconditional supporters. Each can muster good and effective arguments. In my opinion, however, the result will depend upon their views on live issues, especially the date for our independence, the political and economic relationships that may be established with other nations, and the “collaborationist” problem. In so far as I am concerned, personal considerations will never enter, grievances that I have had in the past, will all be forgotten. What matters to me is the independence of our country and the welfare of our people. For these I shall be willing and ready to make any sacrifice.

We had a program within the compound this evening. It was very entertaining.

October 17, 1936

Went with Don Vicente Singson to Malacañan to see Quezon in order to urge a modification of the sales tax law in order to impose only one incidence if the goods are sold in the proposed new produce exchange;–this referred to agricultural products only. Singson did the talking–an excellent statement for about ten minutes. Quezon then called a meeting of the National Economic Council for the next day, at which, eventually, the proposition was adopted. So it passed the Assembly, but was followed by another law organizing a government produce exchange; which was, perhaps, either a trick or bad faith of some sort (Yulo?).

During our interview, Quezon had spoken of the devastations in Nueva Ecija which he had just visited:–he said the stench of decomposition was still in his nostrils. Due to his visit he had been able to stop the survivors from rebuilding in exactly the same exposed spots.

May 12, 1936

Survey Board meeting, called to co-ordinate the work of the University of the Philippines with various bureaus. Present: Bocobo, Bewley, Kasilag, acting Director of the Bureau of Public Works, and Camus, Director of the Bureau of Plant Industry. Very interesting meeting in which they all seemed ready for cooperation. Bocobo suggested a means by which this may be done. Also, he and Bewley, Director of the Bureau of Education, talked of overproduction of vocational graduates, especially in agriculture, who could find no jobs afterwards. Public opinion is outraged if any attempt is made to close or limit schools. New type “A” curriculum is to be 60% academic and 40% vocational. They are going to try to give primary education to every child, and gradually to reduce the secondary. In Java and other Dutch East Indies there are only four trade schools and four agricultural schools for a population of over 50,000,000. The Muñoz Agricultural School in Nueva Ecija costs the Government nearly five times as much as do other schools.

Bocobo said the plan to have the legislature fix the salaries of Professors in the University of the Philippines would take away academic freedom. (I agree.) Unson made mild fun of this statement. Bocobo is strongly for increased funds for research–he suggested getting the several industries of the Philippines to contribute. We talked of the National Economic Council, and I called attention to its paralysis because no general economic policy has been adopted by the government; all its energies are now bent towards getting a relaxation of the sanctions of the Tydings-McDuffie act. Unson told me confidentially that the membership of the National Economic Council was not well received by the public. He said Elizalde and Trinidad were well thought of–but Madrigal’s business methods were prehistoric.

Bridge in p.m. with Satterfield, Peters and Saleeby.

May 7, 1936

Earthquake lasting fifteen seconds at 5:13 a.m., which did not even wake me.

The morning papers published Rafael Palma’s report on a proposed reorganization of the educational system here. This is the promptest and most intelligent report of any board so far appointed under the Commonwealth Government. Emphasis is laid on five years of elementary education which should be free and compulsory; secondary education to be confined to agriculture and industry, and people are to pay for the usual high school education, which would better be left to the non-government schools. I wrote to congratulate him. If accepted, I wonder whether this report can be put through the legislature? (The Bureau of Education is the strongest political organization in the Philippines.)

Went to the British Consulate at the request of Foulds, acting British Consul General, who wanted some information from Quezon but did not desire to make it “official” by asking questions himself, as follows:

  1. Did the Japanese threaten Quezon with “grave consequences” over the Davao land question, and did Quezon reply: “you can’t bluff me”? Foulds himself expressed skepticism over the accuracy of this newspaper report.
  2. Could High Commissioner Murphy when going to the States, appoint an “Acting” or merely “delegate” his powers? These involve questions of official calls if a British warship comes here to visit.
  3. Would the High Commissioner return here?

Then Foulds and I had a general, and on the whole, very congenial conversation on Great Britain, the Japanese, and the question of complete independence here.

Went to the Survey Board and made my report on the Bureau of Science. This is the first time in 15 years I have tried dictating to a Filipino stenographer and I found it more work than to write in long hand. I seem to have a larger vocabulary in English than that to which they are accustomed out here. I told Miguel Unson that Geo. Vargas had expressed himself as impatient to get the Government Survey Board’s report–Unson replied: “I am a slow worker, I know, and Vargas is a fast one, but I do not trust those quick decisions of Vargas.”

Talk with ex-deputy Varona. I asked him what the National Economic Council, of which he is a member, was doing? He replied: “nothing much until the question of “national self-sufficiency” was decided. (The Filipinos are getting ready to trade the Philippine markets for continued free trade with the United States.) In that case, they will do nothing at all in the Economic Council, and it will be a regular gas chamber, instead of actually going to work, as the public expects, to prepare the economic life of the Philippines for complete independence. The attitude of Roces’ papers here on Senator Walsh’s ridiculous objection to competition in the United States market by Filipino made rubber shoes is a good example of the paralysis here! Varona said that in Negros there was a new patriotism–viz: “Buy American”–“Entirely disinterested!” I commented. He said the “N.E.P.A.” was anathema in Negros (sugar).

Quezon is due back today from his family trip to Baler, the birthplace of himself and of his wife as well. He is to stay here until he goes on May 13th as far as Shanghai with High Commissioner Murphy.

February 14, 1936

Quezon appoints the National Economic Council and Government Survey Board; both have been held up for more than two months while Roxas was coyly weighing the advantages to himself in accepting or declining this work. Quezon told me only two days ago that he had abandoned the idea of the government survey board for lack of time to complete its work before the Assembly meets in June; that he wanted me to do the work superficially of course, but to give him something to show the Assembly. Yesterday when talking with Unson and Trinidad I suggested to them that they ask for a budgetary bureau to be set up within the framework provided by law for the Survey Board, and to be allowed to run on for a couple of years until they could finish the standardization, and all other technical reforms. Meanwhile, we could offer plans of consolidation and co-ordination of the different bureaus. Immediately after, they saw Quezon and I surmise the plan suggested by me went through, as they, with Paez are appointed as the new members of the Survey Board.

Talked with Hartendorp, publicity adviser; he has three plans:

(1)  To condense news of local papers for Quezon, under separate columns of approval and criticism

(2)  To post a one sheet Government “Gazette” with caricatures etc., selected from local papers, in every municipality and school in the Islands

(3)  To send one sheet of selected articles in local papers out to a list of American papers.

Talked with Lapointe about his recent trip to San Fernando, Union, to see the carnival there. He travelled 3d class in the railroad and is amusing but bitter in his criticism of the dirt and delays. Also says most of the passengers carry a revolver in the hip pocket. He mimics General Wood very well–also Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. whom he calls the “Play Boy” of the “Far East.”

Golf in p.m. at McKinley with Doria.

Talk with Palting, mail clerk in Malacañan; he lived eight years in New York, joined Tammany Hall and voted without being a citizen. Came back here at Quezon’s suggestion. Has valuable suggestions as to reorganization in the Post Office here.

General Holbrook arrives vice General Kilbourne.

December 20, 1935

7 p.m. in Malacañan with the President who was in good health and spirits. I complemented him on his message on economic planning –he enquired whether it has been well received in the foreign community. I gave him Colin Hoskins’ plan on organization for the economic council &c. Then I asked him what was the matter with the Manila RR. bond purchase? He said it has been held up to enquire of the United States Government as to whether they considered that the Philippine Government was resposible for the principal of these bonds; they had replied thru the High Commissioner in the affirmative –so Quezon said the bill would go through because this meant that the United States would act on the maturity of the bonds and seize the Customs House. He said that if the American Government had decided this Government was not responsible for the principal, he was going to say to the English that he had been in favour of purchase but the Legislature demands better terms. I told him that this Government was not responsible for principal of these bonds –that just as we had bought the railroad we could sell it. Then he said Confesor (Assemblyman) had told him of F. Theo Roger’s (of Free Press) story that I had come out here to get what I could for the English! He said that he had authorized Confesor to state the true facts in the Legislature –that this impugned his honor as well as my own– that he would put Rogers in prison if he printed such a gross libel. He asked me to bring him the memorandum on these bonds which I had prepared for him on December 6, which I did. We then talked a lot about England and the English –I told him to consult me if he had any questions up with the English, since I understood them better than most Americans who were misled by their bland manner and assumed innocence. That what they understood and respected was force and power. Quezon admires the English character. He asked me if I thought the Empire was essential to the continued existence of England as a great power and I said yes!

We then discussed colonization and land problems in the Philippines. He advocates spending money on roads to open up new sections of Mindanao, so that settlers will move in of their own accord. He does not advise spending money on settling people in a wild country; said he would provide transportation for volunteer settlers.

The President also said that instead of continuing the former cusrom of purchase of the Friar Lands in the provinces around Manila, he wanted to get fair treatment for the tenants; that previous purchases of these lands had not helped because outside speculators had intervened, and had secured the lands; he asked me to acquire a copy of Gladstone’s “F.F.F.” law for Ireland of about sixty years ago, when he settled the Irish agrarian problem. (Fixed Tenure, Fixed Rent and Freedom of Transfer). Told him I would go to ask Blunt, the English Consul General. He also asked me to get Blunt’s reaction to the interview he had given the London Times representative who came with Blunt a few days ago –not for publication– he told the Times man he would have to deny the interview if published.

We also talked over plans for the reorganization of the government. We agreed that this time time it must be a real reorganization and radical. He said he had only been in charge for a month and was already sure the present government was most inefficiently organized. He announced that he wanted me to sit with his three commissioners. He asked me which of two alternatives he should choose — (1) to have investigation & report by his three commissioners or (2) to just call in Department Secretaries and tell them they could only have so much appropriation, and must reorganize their Departments. I told him (1) was more scientific, and advised him to proceed with (1) and afterwards apply (2). I asked him how radical the reorganization was to be? –did he, for example, approve of the plan of reducing the number of provinces to 28? He said “no” –that the saving of a couple of millions would not compensate for the dimunition of energy and progress which would result. I then asked him whether he would approve of abolishing the elective city council of Manila and substituting a Board of appointed managers with the Alcalde as its chairman –latter to be elected? He said “yes.”

As I was leaving, he asked me if I would keep notes and write up an account of these months afterwards. I replied that I was already doing so. I also told that if at any time my presence became embarrassing to him on account of the attacks on me by the old imperialists, just to send me on a mission abroad and I would not come back. He replied that he and I would continue to work here together until we had accomplished something substantial.

I then went to home of A.P. Blunt, British Consul General –he did not get there until 8 o’clock, having been at work in his office, getting off in the mail all his reports on governmental development here. Promised to write the Foreign Office for “F.F.F.” on Irish lands. When asked what his reactions were to the President’s interview with the London Times, Blunt said Quezon was very broad minded, and amazingly frank. I denied that I knew what Quezon had said in the interview –Blunt said he had been embarrassed by the President’s raising the question of Roy Howard’s statement that if the United States abandoned the Philippines, the Filipinos would get under England’s wing. He said Quezon had stated he could run a better government here than anybody else had done –I agreed. As I left, Blunt asked me in a casual voice what had happened about the purchase of the Manila RR. bonds –I said there had been “a hitch.” He eagerly enquired “what hitch?” I said it had been caused by Vicente Villamin’s speech –“ah!” he said “they fear the wily English bankers, whereas our fellows would rather get this agreement now than perhaps lose everything later.” I replied that there was much to be said on each side, but I really thought the deal would go through –(it passed the Legislature just about that time).

While I was at Malacañan, Quezon talked at length about his letting out the American Justices of the Philippine Supreme Court –under the Constitution he had the power not to accept their resignations until July 1st next, and he was considering assenting to Chief Justice Avanceña’s request to retain them that long, when the Bulletin published an editorial attacking him for thinking of letting the Justices out. Thereupon he sent to Avanceña to enquire whether the six month’s retention of those Justices was essential to the Court –Chief Justice Avanceña replied he could not really say so– thus the resignations are to be accepted as of January 1st. He wrote a letter for the press explaining that he is thus conforming to the spirit of the Constitution. He says Malcolm is behind the drive –he dislikes him as unreliable. Quezon then spoke of the unparalleled generosity of the retirement gratuities given by the Filipinos to those Justices –Malcolm was to receive 60,000 pesos!

Wrote an address for the banquet tonight of the Political Science Club of the University of the Philippines. Got home to find Doria greatly upset over a scurrilous attack on me in a letter pretended to be from a Filipino to the Bulletin. I hope this campaign does not discourage both Doria & Quezon! I have never answered (nor read, if possible to avoid) any newspaper attacks!

Reception this p.m. at James Ross’. Dinner of Political Science Club of U.P. at the Cosmos Club –sat between Bocobo, President of the University and ex-Judge de Joya –speech.