On August 3rd the Bulletin carried an article stating that the High Commissioner’s office had turned “thumbs down” on the proposed new bond issue for public works pending in the Assembly. The Herald that afternoon published a very aggressive and powerful statement by Quezon that the High Commissioner’s office had absolutely no legal authority to interfere in the matter of the bond issue, and denouncing the Bulletin etc. I telephoned him that night to congratulate him on his statement. He was pleased, but said he was in bed with a temperature of 102° (probably the result of yesterday’s lechon at the picnic he gave in Laguna Province for the Assembly!); he added: “I was somewhat provoked by the Bulletin’s article.” Subsequently, he told me how the idea had been given to the Assembly thru Cuenco–that the policy of the Bulletin was to be always “throwing bricks” at the Administration; that it was also that paper’s fixed principle to try to make out that the High Commissioners governed the Philippines, (contrary to the provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act). His vigorous counter-attack threw the Bulletin office into confusion, and Taylor sent Ora Smith to Malacañan to apologize, but he couldn’t see the President because of his illness. Quezon told me “every pain I had in my stomach I laid on the Bulletin.” Weldon Jones came to see him the next day and said “This may cost me my job,” so Quezon sent a letter by Clipper to Murphy stating that Jones was not responsible for the “thumbs down” article; that he was very satisfactory here, and would be the best man for High Commissioner if Murphy did not come back.
On the same day (August 3rd) the Herald printed an article by MacArthur on the defense of the Philippines. It was an extremely able and brilliant analysis of the military problems of this country, and made very convincing reading. Quezon was so much pleased that he proposes to give a banquet in favour of General MacArthur.
Quezon was in Baguio August 5-8, 1936. Jim Ross had dinner with him recently, and the President said that Mrs. Quezon was going away for a year. Jim told him to be careful and to remember “the fierce light which beats upon the throne”!
Golf alone in a.m. Doria rode with the High Commissioner and Teahan –enjoyed it immensely but said the High Commissioner was so “mooney and difficult to talk with”– Doria refused to enter the Mansion House because Mrs. Ora Smith whose husband directs the Bulletin was there.
(Baguio). In p.m. at Quezon’s house; bridge; Quezon, Peters, Ed. Harrison & myself. Quezon is undoubtedly a brilliant bridge player tho unacquainted with many of the Culbertson calls. He listens attentively to the bids, then takes a long time to bid and places the cards with skill. As my partner he bid three no trump, was doubled and he redoubled making 3 extra tricks, all of which depended on one successful finesse –thus netting 2100 (game & rubber). He had Jake Rosenthal staying with him, who is a really devoted personal friend of his. House was full of children playing with Christmas toys.
Long talk with A.D. Williams at Malacañan about the reorganization of the government. He gave me a chart showing a reduction in the number of the provinces, based on topography and roads –which would save nearly half of the expenditures on provincial governments. We discussed many bureaus and buildings for the same. He said that the retirement of surplus officials as proposed by the law of two years ago was not carried out. I asked him if he would serve on a committee to work out a plan, if I could get Palma also? He consented.
Saw Quezon for one hour in Pasay –says he has had frightful pains in his stomach, and thinks that milk does not agree with him; therefore, he ate a dinner of oysters, fish, chicken, four vegetables, and a sweet! An awful diet for stomach ulcers! Then he became very natural and lively. Said his 1st pardon had been for adultery, and that he would not allow a man to remain in prison for an offense he had so often committed himself. I told him he must cast responsibility for administration on his cabinet –said he proposed to do so, and that is why he has just announced the rule of only two cabinet meetings a week, because they had fallen into the habit of not giving an increase of salary to an employee without cabinet consent. I told him there was much corruption in the government. He agreed and said that was why he had jumped so hard on the Director of Commerce, in connection with the importation of rice –as a warning to all minor employees. We arranged a program for a committee to reorganize the government. Then I asked him about nationalization of industries. He said they must do it; but should begin by an economic review, and then inform the public. If capital was not forthcoming to start the necessary industries, the government would undertake them, and later offer them at public auction to private business.
Quezon then said he had told Roy Howard that, except Taft, I had been the only Governor General who had done anything permanent for the islands. That his break with Osmeña had started with his objection to the latter’s “pussyfooting” and support of Wood. That Wood tried to sell the Philippine National Bank and the Manila Railroad; that if he had done so, it would have lost 100,000,000 pesos for the Philippines; that his fight with Wood killed Wood, and nearly killed him (Quezon). (Doria had had a conversation this same day with Roy Howard’s son, Jack, who on this trip south spoke of the extreme loyalty of Quezon to me –[adding that Ora Smith would weep copious tears and at the next instant knife a man in the back).]
President Quezon spoke well of Foley of the Philippine National Bank and of Yulo. Said he (Q) was informed of a lot which goes on, because he has three agents in Tom’s Dixie Kitchen; that he knows all the racketeers in his Government, and will outwit them. He added that he was going to direct only the policies of the government, but I wonder?
Motored with Doria and Rafael Palma to Los Baños to inspect the College of Agriculture. Excellent plant, interesting animal industry of cattle and pigs. Also good Forestry School. Dean Gonzales and his staff of young professors, had each a Ph.D. degree from an American university. They came from all the different provinces. Palma and I addressed them. The Dean said that, at first, the graduates were all absorbed in the Government service, but that now an increasing number go back to their own lands to apply their scientific training. He added that ten percent of the students came from abroad –Siam, China, Java etc. He believes it is the best college of tropical agriculture to be found in the tropics. All animals, he said, which are brought in from cooler climates degenerate here from anemia. The school has a quinine grove now twenty years old, planted in Bukidnon, and they want machinery to make enough quinine to supply the whole Philippines. Rafael Palma thinks that with the irrigation systems now installed or on the way, the Philippines can eventually be self-supporting in rice.
Palma told me of his ten years service as President of the University. He visited one hundred universities in Europe and forty in America. Very interesting and very able man. He is now in favor of economic planning and opposed a standing army. Says the Filipinos have not yet recovered from their inferiority complex.
Saw ex-Speaker Roxas at the Manila Hotel –he asked me about the purchase of RR bonds. I said I thought better terms could be had, but that was a “penny wise pound foolish” policy. He assented.
Ball at Malacañan Palace for the Assembly. Had a talk with the new Speaker –Montilla– he has a refined face and a good social manner –met a group of of Japanese and talked with them. Quezon was in very good form. I left after the Rigodon. Met High Commissioner in the gardens; he was just putting Ambassador Grew in his motor.
Colin Hoskins tells me of a conversation between the editor of the Herald and “Mike” Elizalde, who is the head of the National Development Co.; Elizalde denounced my appointment as adviser and damned Quezon!!
Doria tells me that Ora Smith says he likes me personally so much that he will have “tears in his eyes” when his articles in the Bulletin “paste me on the wall.”