May 27, 1936

Luncheon alone with Quezon at Malacañan. He appeared in very good spirits; is swimming daily in his tank, and played golf at Wak-Wak at 5 o’c. this morning. Spoke with pleasure of my appearance of good health and asked me to go with him on the Negros trip to the Southern Islands June 3-15, with the members of the Assembly. I accepted. He spoke also of the speed with which he had acted at once on Miguel Unson’s recommendation for the creation of a budget commission and had appointed Marabut at the head. I said the Governor of Leyte would think this was the result of his public complaint when we were in Catbalogan in April because no Leyte men were high in government office–a complaint which the President had denounced blisteringly before the crowd (advocating a national, not a local outlook). Quezon said this was so, and as he had so many sound reasons for doing so, he would suspend that Governor for one month, to avoid his increasing his undesirable influence over his province thru the appointment of his friend Marabut.

I spoke to the President of the good time we had had at the dance at Masbate–he invited me to a small dance at Malacañan Friday night–said he had sent for Corpus from Masbate to come to Manila on government business, but the latter had not had the sense to bring those charmers with him!

I asked him (for Unson) what his attitude would be on the question of the transfer of the Provincial Treasurers from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Finance (Quirino?). He said that was a subject as to which as much might be said on one side as the other–that he would accept the recommendation of the Survey Board. (Later I told this to Unson, thinking he would act at once as I advised, but Unson began to deliberate!) I enquired of Quezon about the repeated kicks emanating from the United States Congress towards the Philippines nowadays, and whether they could not later be reasonably straightened out. He seemed doubtful, but evidently is not ready to talk about it. (Nazario tells me that at the last press conference he said it was “up to the American businessmen,” and hinted at reprisals by the Filipinos.) I told him the simile of American psychology–when a son grows up the father does nothing more for him; Quezon liked that. I said that some Americans appeared to be peevish now because after all that had been done for them the Filipinos had insisted on separation. He replied: “Well! then why did they give us independence?”

I called Quezon’s attention to the controversy over appropriations for the Department of Labour between Secretary Torres and Miguel Unson, in which Torres called Unson “not interested in the poor man”–Quezon at once said Unson was extremely interested in the welfare of the poor. He added that he had one Cabinet minister who was “useless” and “worthless,” namely Torres; that he had nearly fired Torres several months ago; that Torres kept calling up (3 times) in a recent Cabinet meeting the proposal to build four story concrete tenement houses for labourers. Quezon finally snubbed him, and explained that tenements to house 100 families would only make the other 900 families wild; that a four story building was “too much work” for a labourer to climb; that concrete as a material in this climate was too hot–“why not leave them in their nipa houses?”

An article in the Bulletin, May 29, described a quarrel between officials of the Department of Labour and some labour leaders as to which group should get the credit for the “higher wage” movement. Apparently, government officials claim the labour leaders are “trying to steal the show.” “There is no reason for this sudden antagonism” a high labour official stated, “as in the past we have always sided with the labour element.” This displays an utter lack of public responsibility, similar to the debates in the Municipal Council of Manila over the cochero registration ordinance–these speeches are only cadging for the cochero vote.

Quezon spoke highly of Sandiko–as did I–I told him Sandiko wishes to go to America to study the labour question there. He was interested.

A. D. Williams was brought in by Vargas, to receive instructions about air-conditioning the President’s room at Malacañan Palace. Was asked to have the work finished in two weeks–Quezon adding: “I don’t want to do it for my successor.”

We talked of Geo. White’s visit and of our old friends in Congress–Quezon said he had liked the Ohio delegation of that day, except R. J. Buckeley who had voted against independence for the Philippines offered in the Clarke Amendment (1916).

Quezon agreed with me about the type required for “Public Defender.”

May 21, 1936

Called on Dr. Victor Clark at the Manila Hotel; he is the new economic adviser to this government. He is employed by the Library of Congress of the United States. A great traveler and observer. He is well-balanced, but perhaps a little timid. Has been here before for several visits. He now advises the Filipinos to be cautious is asking for amendments to the Tydings-McDuffie law, and adds that they may get amendments in Congress they do not want. He asked me particularly about the Rice and Corn Corporation–whether all the sales could not be taken over by one organization; I called attention to the fact that most of the rice mills and sales agencies were in the hands of the Chinos. He also told me that formerly he had been disinclined to pay any attention to “chatter politics,” but he had seen them come true in Manchukuo and in Abyssinia. He added that if the Filipinos did not develop Mindanao, some cub reporter today might suggest that that island is just what the Japanese need, and in the end they might get it. I told him of Quezon’s extreme preoccupation with this problem.

Acting High Commissioner Weldon Jones called me to his office to present his report (which I asked for on January 27th!) concerning Colin Hoskin’s proposition that the Philippine Government should purchase silver at 45 cents with some of their dollar deposits in the United States and thus make millions by seignorage. Jones had come to a definite conclusion in opposition. He said the world was too unsettled for such a move, and that any tampering with the currency in the Philippines would alarm businessmen here. He declared the Philippines must not be put on a “silver basis,” since silver is too fluctuating in value as a commodity, and the world is “moving away from it.” He added that China has just gone off silver and has joined the dollar exchange. We then discussed the possible effects of this latter move upon the Japanese. I expressed regret that England’s strenuous attempt to bring China into sterling exchange had failed. The Chinese are sticking like leeches to us, hoping to embroil us with Japan, and England is now willing to have America pull the chestnuts out of the fire; our trade with China is not worth it; Japan has already started a counter-block by setting up local customs houses in the North China block–charging only one-fourth of the standard Chinese duties, and thus intending to flood China with Japanese goods, and so threaten the stability of all loans to China held by foreigners.

Bridge in the p.m. with Nazario, Tobangui and La O.

Big dinner at the Manila Hotel given by Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Wolff as a despedida for Don Andres Soriano who is off on a visit to St Jean de Luz. Both Soriano and Colonel Hodsoll told of telephone conversations by wireless in the last few days with Juan Figueras in Biarritz!

Talk with Benito Razon just back from the United States. He had been recently with a group of Americans who expressed disapproval of the apparent change of heart in the Philippines over independence since the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie law; that this change was no doubt due to the same influence which was causing America to withdraw from activities in the Orient–i.e., the power of Japan; that the demand for free markets for the Philippines in America was based on unfairness of the sanctions in the Tydings-McDuffie law by which America keeps her free market here for ten years, and Filipinos get a free market in the United States for only five years. He agreed with me that the new series of kicks by Americans against the Philippines is based on general indifference (“we never had any good reason for being there anyway”) plus an irritation that Filipinos should have preferred independence to retaining American protection.

May 6, 1936

Visited Director Camus of the Bureau of Plant Industry. He is a relative of Judge Camus who was present. This director is a fine example of the energetic, clean, highly educated public servant. The poor chap was zealous to show se his whole industrial plant in the short time at our disposal, which was interesting but exhausting. My seeking him was to ascertain whether there is any “overlapping” with the Bureau of Science; as, indeed, there turned out to be in the work of soil analysis, and probably in other botanical and agricultural enterprises. He said Quezon and Murphy had been there. The latter allowed him 10,000 pesos for a house to install his looms, and he put it up in twenty-five days to get the whole appropriation before the end of the year. He also makes cotton yarns of Philippines cotton, with old second-hand machinery. His purpose is to show the people that their cotton will find a market. He asserts that he could also make of hemp all the sugar and copra bags needed in the Philippines, and better than those made from imported Indian jute. He is also perfecting a process of manufacturing coir.

In p.m. bridge here for Guevara, Banqui and Nazario. I asked Pedro Guevara about his successor Resident Commissioner Paredes. Guevara replied that Paredes didn’t understand American Congressional psychology; said he (Guevara), without any speeches, got thru the authorization for the payment of the $23,000,000 “depreciation of gold” deposits of the Philippines at the end of a session of Congress, and even Senator Adams stood by him. Now Paredes is getting nowhere with all his speeches and public statements. Guevara also predicted the election of Landon (if nominated) over F. D. Roosevelt. Said organized business would defeat the latter. If elected, he thought, Landon and the Republicans would come out for a permanent dominion status for the Philippines and that there would never be complete independence here. Although this is exactly what Guevara himself has been working for he said he was in favour of F. D. Roosevelt because the latter was “good for the Philippines.” Also he had advocated selecting me as High Commissioner. Said when I was here it was all “like one happy family, and none of that anti-American feeling which is now growing up.”