December 21, 1944

Significant developments. Puppet P.I. government moving to Baguio. Laurel and all Ministers including Manuel Roxas scheduled to leave for Baguio last night. Jap Embassy also hurriedly packing to transfer to Baguio. Jap Dept. of Information burning papers, will continue propaganda in Baguio. Speaker B. Aquino remained in Manila, promised to go up after wedding of his son Billy. Minister Antonio de las Alas expressed fear Japs will eventually bring P.I. cabinet to Tokyo. Gen. Paulino Santos, head of P. Constabulary, will reside in Malacañan. Japs planning to give Sakdals thru Makapili more extensive powers in Manila government.

Further indications Japs vacating Manila: big shipyard and iron works in Findlay & Miller docks being dismantled; ammunition dump in Pinaglabanan being transferred. All telephone installations of buttai 2944 in City being removed. Jap leather factory in Aviles has stopped work. Wives of Jap civilians left by train last night. Preparations to move sick Jap soldiers from Quezon Institute now underway. Non-stop movement of troops, trucks, tanks, artillery in Manila roads. Soldiers are in full pack. Trucks loaded with supplies and baggages. Roads leading to the outskirts of Manila filled with Japs leaving the city hurriedly.

Manilans agog by these new developments. Morale of people has risen to skies. Jap morale evidently on the downgrade. An old Jap who had been here 10 years said: “What do you think of all these things?” Manilans think Americans will be in Manila by the 15th of January. Landings will be effected “maybe before Christmas or New Year”. People suspect landings in Batangas. Everybody is in gay spirits. “No better Christmas could be had!” some say. Talk of open city revived.

Barrio Teresa, Sta. Mesa, zonified yesterday morning. All houses in said barrio searched. About 400 males corralled near Sta. Mesa market. Everybody made to sit under sun. One man being battered with a blunt instrument kept shouting, pleading: “Somebody please kill me, please, please, please.”

Victor Pagulayan, assistant manager of Naric, dying. After leaving Fort Santiago he was brought to the hospital. Several liters of water have been taken from his lungs.

Indications rise that RICCOA, newest rice agency, may be able to distribute around 600 sacks for Manila before Christmas, if Japs permit. It is reliably known that Japs have recently decided to take “all rice that can be procured from Central Luzon because of military needs.” Rice to be harvested will not be deposited in Jap bodegas in City. Harvest will be stored in warehouses along Central Luzon. This again indicates Jap intention to leave Manila. This will naturally worsen food situation in City, increase hunger-deaths. Doctors of San Lazaro hospital estimated that deaths due to chronic hunger in city around 500 daily. Many walking in streets can be seen suffering from vitamin deficiencies. Beri-beri rampant especially among lower classes.

With all these significant developments, I am of the opinion that Gen. Yamashita recognizes the untenability of defending Manila. The more troops he keeps here, the more will be sacrificed. Manila is indefensible due to its many exits and entrances. Consequently, Yamashita has taken away from city all material and people like the puppets whom he would not like to see in the hands of Americans. He has sent the bulk of his troops to the north. He has sent a minimum force to guard the coasts of Tayabas and Camarines and Batangas, most possible landing points. Yamashita realizes that his troops in the coastline will only be decimated by U.S. aerial and naval bombardment. Coastline of P.I. is flat and open. No natural protection to defenders from skies. Yamashita expects to make his stand in the north with his back to Japan. There he has natural protection, mountains, cliffs and food.

People are waiting for the zero hour. When, when will it come? Opinions range generally “from Christmas” to the first 15 days of January. Up to now the furthest I’ve heard is “around the month of March.”

Meanwhile collaborators have changed tune, speak differently. Even Aquino is changing his opinions. Opportunists, perhaps.

Guerillas are increasing in numbers. Some believe capitol of Batangas, taken by guerillas, with aerial support.

February 25, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon says that when he first came to Washington as Resident Commissioner he, like most Filipinos, believed that when they saw an American man and woman out driving together, whom they knew not to be married to one another, they were sexually intimate. This was the old Spanish idea. But when he got to Washington and made friends with American girls, he soon found out the truth as to our views on the sexes–he was delighted, and when he went back to the Philippines, he convinced them as to the real American situation in these matters.

This conversation arose from an amusing incident–he was at his desk writing a letter to a well-known Washington hostess–a widow, but still young. She had recently entertained him in her house at a diner a deux. This was the first and only time they had met, and she terrified him by stories of the spying of the various secret services which, apparently, has always gone on in Washington. She told how, during the last war, she had warned Bernard Baruch, then a most important official, that she knew there were six police dictaphones in “his” house. He thought the statement ridiculous, but went home, made a search and found six of them–two under his bed! He was so furious that he went at once to President Wilson and resigned his office. The President finally calmed him down. Well, this lady, in return for some orchids which Quezon had sent her after the dinner, wrote him a rather empresse letter–a little coy and pleasantly familiar. He was struggling with his English vocabulary in writing his reply and asked me to help him. I read his letter and told him that it wouldn’t do at all–his phrase: “I was to find that, as the Spanish say, you carry your heart in your hand”–I protested that it was dangerous for a statesman to write such a letter–if a third party found it, use might be made of it. He jumped as if he had been shot–he was only trying to be polite. He explained that the phrase above quoted meant in Spanish only “sincere” or “virtuous” but I again objected that in English “virtue” meant not the old Latin sense of the word, but only referred to sex! He was horrified, entirely rewrote the letter in uncompromising phrases and thanked me rather effusively for saving him. He made a great story for his family out of this!

Quezon, Andres Soriano, Secretary of Finance and myself in conversation. More talk on news from the Philippines, which comes from Colonel Peralta, chief of guerrillas in Panay, through MacArthur in Australia, from time to time, and also, in bits, from returned travelers like Consul Willoquet, etc.

George Vargas, altho head of the government commission under the Japanese is not trusted by them. He is always attended by Japanese “aide-de-camp” when he goes out; Japanese officers live in his house. His wife confessed to Willoquet who saw her alone, that they are not free agents.

Quezon thinks the Japanese have disposed of Manuel Roxas by a feigned airplane accident. Soriano thinks that they have taken him to Japan to hold as a hostage. When Quezon was in the tunnel at Corregidor, he thought he was dying, and wanted to go back to Malacañan. Roxas begged him not to do so. Later when the time came for Quezon to leave Corregidor to join to MacArthur in Australia (an event which was not then anticipated), Manuel Roxas begged him with tears in his eyes not to go from Corregidor. He exhorted him to “think of your fame.” Roxas followed Quezon to Dumaguete, and went with him to Mindanao, though he did not wish to leave Wainwright at Corregidor. Refused to leave Mindanao and joined General Sharp’s forces there. Sharp was ordered by Wainwright from Corregidor, when the latter fell, to surrender explaining that the Japanese would not give any terms to those on Corregidor unless all the military forces in the Islands also surrendered themselves. So, to save the men and women on Corregidor, Sharp and Roxas came in and gave themselves up to the nearest Japanese command. (NOTE–later–Roxas and Commander Worcester, U.S.N.R. fled to the mountains of Bukidnon). General Paulino Santos and Guingona, [who were not in the army, are in Mindanao. They have “gone over” to the Japanese.] Quezon says that Guingona was with him when Vargas’ co-operation with the Japanese was mentioned in Quezon’s presence, and, as Quezon says, when he heard no adverse comment upon Vargas’ action, being a “bright fellow” (Q.), Guingona followed suit. Quezon expressed a desire to know what Guingona had done with the four million pesos of Philippine currency he took to Mindanao to pay the army there–“if he kept it for himself…” I protested vigorously that nobody who knew Guingona could believe such a thing possible. Quezon agreed. “But,” I said “I have now heard you say twice that–if he kept it for himself.” Finally we agreed that he had probably burned the money, as his instructions required.

Soriano asked if he could bring the Spanish Cabinet Minister of War (Bergdorfer?), who is now in Washington, to call on Quezon tomorrow morning? Soriano said B. was an anti-Nazi, and had remarked that Quezon’s fame was now great in Spain. Quezon replied that he could squeeze in a half-hour for the call from B. “which should be long enough if I don’t start making speeches–which I always do!”

It appears that Justice Frank Murphy presented to Roosevelt the plan for the recent announcement that Roosevelt has already recognized the Philippines as possessing the attributes of an independent nation by putting Quezon on the Pacific War Council and asking him to sign the United Nations declaration. Murphy then told Roosevelt quite heatedly that he disapproved the decision to make Hitler the No. 1 enemy, and concentrate on him to the disadvantage of the Pacific area. Roosevelt took Murphy’s objections in good temper and told Murphy to “cool off.”

Somehow, the conversation turned back to Dr. Dominador Gomez. Quezon described him as a pure Malay type, but very big and a tremendous orator in the Spanish style, who swayed his audiences as he pleased. He had been a colonel in the Spanish Army. Was elected in 1907 as a delegate to the First Philippine Assembly. The election was declared void by the Assembly because there was no proof that Gomez was a Philippine citizen. Another election, and Gomez was returned by an even larger majority amid tumults and mob fighting. So they let him in!

When Quezon was Resident Commissioner in Washington he had occasion to make some uncomplimentary remark about Gomez. Quezon, traveling homewards, got to Shanghai on the steamer where he received a letter from Gomez challenging him to a duel. On arrival in Manila Quezon received a visit from the famous Colonel Blanco, also formerly a colonel in the Spanish Army in the Philippines and founder of the Macabebe Scouts, who appeared as Gomez’s second to challenge Quezon and asking who his second would be. Quezon replied: “I shall appoint no second. I do not wish to fight a duel with Dr. Gomez. But you may tell him this: ‘I give him leave to shoot me any time he sees me. Also tell him that any time he comes within one metre of me, I shall immediately shoot him.'” Shortly afterwards, Quezon attended a burial in Manila. With him were his cousin Miss Aurora Aragon–now Mrs. Quezon and Mary Buencamino. They knew about the challenge and were horrified to see Dominador Gomez standing near Quezon and all the more so since Gomez had his hand in his side pocket! Mrs. Buencamino slipped right behind Gomez and stood there to grab his arm, but Quezon pushed right in front of him to look down into the grave. Gomez drew out his hand from his pocket, but produced only a pocket handkerchief to mop his face!

Quezon then told of his marriage to Miss Aragon in Hong Kong in 1919. I (the present writer) was on the Ocean (Pacific) en route for New York when I received a radio from Quezon. “Married Hong Kong.” I went down to Dr. Oñate’s cabin to wake him, and demanded that he should tell me who Quezon had married. He was afraid to commit himself and it was a half-hour before I could get out of him the guess that it was Quezon’s cousin, Miss Aurora Aragon.

The marriage was secretly decided on when Quezon and Miss Aragon were in Hong Kong. Quezon sent his a.d.c. to the American Consul and requested that he should ask the Governor to waive the required 10 days residence, which was done. When the guests and the principals had met in rickshaws at the civil marriage bureau, Quezon turned to Luis Yancko and said: “Do you know why we are gathered here? I am going to be married right now!” Yancko’s mouth fell open with surprise and he stammered “but to whom?” Quezon replied: “To this young lady who stands beside me.” “But, but that’s impossible” said Yancko (meaning because they were within the degrees of relationship prohibited by the Church). “Impossible–how do you mean?” “Well” said Yancko “not impossible but improbable!”

Yancko gave them a beautiful wedding breakfast at the leading Hong Kong hotel.

At lunch today Mrs. Quezon and General Valdes were describing the discomforts of life in the tunnel at Corregidor. Mrs. Quezon got tired of waiting in line before support to get her shower, so she would wait until 2 a.m. and bathe then. Soon others discovered the way, and they began standing in line in the middle of the night. No curtain hung on the alcove which contained the shower. After the heavy bombings, the water main was broken, and for two weeks they had not only to bathe in salt water, but also to cook their rice and make their coffee in salt water, which entirely upset their stomachs.

Colonel Velasquez, a West Pointer, who was in the front lines at Bataan and Corregidor, was recently at the military school at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he says he made himself rather unpopular when the meals were discussed by saying: “Sometimes we may have to go hungry for a long time.” Velasquez told me he thought a campaign like that in Tunisia was necessary to harden the American troops, who were now overfed and thinking and talking all the time about their three big meals a day. He said he thought our American troops were pampered.

Quezon has started work again on his book. Has rewritten the foreword. Warner Bros have offered to make a film of it. Much talk with Bernstein about terms and arrangements. Quezon does not think that Morgan Shuster has been careful enough in editing the English of his ms. He evidently wishes to be thought letter-perfect in English. He says he now wants to finish the book–can’t do it in Washington–too many interruptions. Requests me to go off with him for 20-30 days and work with him on the book.

Thursday, April 9, 1942

At 7:30 I went up to the house of Overseer Laurel to listen to the radio news and it was then that the Voice of Freedom station broadcasted the almost heartbreaking news that Bataan had fallen. Mr. Tiongson who had heard the news from the house of Dr. Velasquez, immediately came to see me. The news struck me with mingled surprise and sorrow. I did not really expect Bataan to fall all that soon, because I was under the impression that the men there had enough food and ammunition to last them many more months. I saw that Mr. Tiongson and Overseer Laurel were just as shaken as I was with the news, and I think that must have been the feeling of most of those who heard it.

The greater significance of what this news might mean to those of us in Mindanao impelled me to call a conference that same evening with Messrs. Tiongson and Laurel. I instructed them to work out the details of the evacuation as I had laid down in December. However, I enjoined them to do so quietly and without creating unnecessary fear or panic among the settlers, employees, and their families. I told Overseer Laurel to see that preparations of land continues without any interference. Also that any preparation for evacuation on the part of employees and settlers should be made quietly and at night, and that except for those who have houses in the farm lots, settlers or employees should be discouraged from moving from their residence in the town earlier than necessary, in order to avoid possible catching of diseases by members of their families.

To me the fall of Bataan marks the beginning of more aggressive and extensive Japanese invasion of more important islands in the Philippines, the Visayas and Mindanao especially. I am of the opinion that unless substantial reinforcements in the form of airplanes, naval fleet with merchant marine carrying plenty of ammunitions and other war supplies are sent to the Philippines, the Visayan and Mindanao provinces will be occupied by the Japanese forces before the end of April. However, I am sure that whatever may happen in the meantime, ultimate victory will be ours. I know General MacArthur and President Quezon will not rest until the Philippines is retaken.

Our conference broke up at almost midnight, and I retired to bed.

Saturday, March 28, 1942

At 6:00 in the morning, left Bañga for Midsayap as scheduled arriving there at 10:30 a.m. At 3:30, proceeded on to the presidencia of Midsayap to meet Commissioner Guingona who arrived with the provincial officials of Cotabato headed by Governor Pablo. After the usual greetings, the Commissioner informed me that the conference would start upon the arrival of Colonel Manuel Roxas, former Secretary of Finance. Commissioner Guingona confided that Sec. Roxas was the one who requested him to send a radio or to telegraph me requesting the conference at Midsayap, but that for military reasons he did not want his presence in Mindanao known by outsiders, At 4:30 p.m., Sec. Roxas arrived at the presidencia of Midsayap accompanied by General Vachon, Commander of the 101st Division, and Col. Thompson, the Chief of staff of General Sharp, the Commanding General of the Mindanao forces. 3 other American officers from Del Monte also came with the party. After the usual greetings and presentations, Sec. Roxas opened the
meeting explaining the purpose of his trip to Mindanao.

He told his audience that upon the departure of President Quezon to Australia to join General MacArthur, the President delegated him to take charge of the affairs of the Commonwealth Government and also to act as liason officer between the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the U.S. and the Philippines and the Commonwealth Government. He briefly informed his audience, particularly the Commonwealth officials present, the message that President Quezon wanted to transmit to the people of the Mindanao, both those in the military and civil government. The main subject of his speech was his enjoining the officials and the civil population to cooperate fully with the military authorities in charge of the defense of Mindanao and to double their efforts in the increased production of foodstuffs.

The meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m. General Vachon returned to his camp, while Roxas and the members of his party remained at Midsayap for the evening.

(Commissioner Guingona had made arrangements for Sec. Roxas and party to stop in the house of the Justice of the peace of Midsayap and I arranged to stay in the quarters of Captain Guballa.) After the adjournment of the meeting and after the departure of Gen. Vachon, Sec. Roxas took me to one corner of the building and has about 30 minutes talk with me. He told me that when he and the President arrived at Iligan, one of the first inquiry he made was “how is General Santos and how is the Koronadal Valley getting
along?” and the President was very anxious to know how the settlers and the employees were faring. Further, he said it was President Quezon who instructed him to send me a radiogram through Commissioner Guingona authorizing my drawing an amount not exceeding ₱50,000 a month to cover salaries and wages of employees of the NLSA actually working and that the President had every confidence in the NLSA being an important factor in the production of foodstuffs not only for the Army but also for the people of the Visayas who are liable to run short of food before the year is over. The Secretary confidentially told me about some of the outstanding Filipinos who formerly held high executive, legislative and judicial positions in the Commonwealth Government who have turned around and espoused the cause of the Japanese “Co-prosperity Sphere Policy” in the Far East. He said that both President Quezon and Gen. MacArthur received reliable reports from secret agents, that were left in Manila when they evacuated to Corregidor, about the identities of these Filipinos whose acts since the Japanese occupied Manila are a clear betrayal of their country. According to Sec. Roxas, Gen. MacArthur was particularly very highly indignant of the conduct of 4 of these men and that Gen. MacArthur has promised to see to it that when the day of reckoning comes they will get what is due them. Sec. Roxas also praised, in glowing terms, the conduct of the Filipino officers and men in both Bataan and Corregidor. He said their courage and bravery under fire have made Gen. MacArthur and the ranking American officers remark that they are equal to the best soldiers in the world regardless of race. Sec. Roxas added that unless the food and ammunitions in Bataan and Corregidor run out he has every confidence that the Japanese will not succeed in capturing these
two military posts.

When I arrived at Captain Guballa’s quarters, I inquired from the Captain whether the justice of the peace’s house had the necessary facilities to accommodate the visitors. Offhand he answered that he did not think the justice of the peace had enough beds and room for this men and he told me he was going to see Governor Pablo and Commissioner Guingona if they could not be prevailed upon to ask Sec. Roxas to come into Captain Guballa’s quarters instead. In a few minutes he returned with Sec. Roxas and the 4 American officers
and their baggage. Sec. Roxas himself told me that the Captain was very kind to have saved them from what would have been quite an embarrasing situation. The visitors took their baths and afterwards went to the dinner in the house of the justice of the peace. Then
they came back and Sec. Roxas and I had another half hour talk before retiring. From his talk with me and in the views he expressed I have come to the conclusion that the Secretary has grown in stature both as a politician and a statesman since I met him last before the war. He said that no matter what happens he will stick with General Wainright in Corregidor and Bataan
and that he is convinced that the American and Filipinos will in the end truimp if adequate reinforcement in arms and ammunitions are sent here, We talked on many other matters, Then we both went to sleep. I had a very restful night, one of the best I had since the war began.

June 28, 1941

Today’s Manila News says Finland declared War on USSR.  And Louis Chevrolet, builder of my favorite car, died at age 63, but I am still very much in love with that Chevy Apple Green Coupie.  Let me continue to pay tribute by mentioning those early military pioneers.  The PC being the core of our new PA, PCA Alumni are the primary source and its roster from 1907 to 1935 only totals 508 which means there were only about 400 to select from.  Maj Porfirio Zablan and Lt Pelagio Cruz of the PAAC came from this pool.  Other sources are the Phil Scouts (PS) and US Army’s Phil Depmt (USA) at Ft McKinley.  My friend, Lt Luis Villareal, former Jr Aide to the Pres, informed me that Quezon was personally involved in the selection of these pioneers.  He first selected Gen Vicente Lim USMA ’14 to be the G-1 of C/S Paulino Santos.

Early PS recruits were Cols Fidel Segundo for UP; Pastor Martelino, Capts Rufo Romero and Emmanuel Cepeda for PMA.  These PS Os were promoted one rank higher which was termed assimilated ranks.  Maj. Paciano Tangco who had an aptitude for radio communication was picked by Quezon to pioneer the Signal Corps. He was assisted by Capt Lasseter Mason USA SigC. Then came the UP group headed by Lt Francisco Licuanan & Manuel Quiogue; thence by Manuel Syquio, Amos Francia and Jose Rodriguez from PMA. They built a great Branch of Service.

I remember Miss Rosky Santos, beautiful daughter of C/S Gen Santos who used to attend our Yearling summer hops as a drag of Cav Pedro Francisco.  I wonder where she is now. 

June 25, 1941

Front page news today says FDR pledges all possible support to USSR  under German attack on wide front since June 21.  Also, Wilhelm II, German ex-Kaiser died, age 82.  British RAF fighters shot down 26 Nazi planes showing German air superiority over England is waning with the help of their radar system.

I commented previously on the leadership and administration of our military establishment, the Commonwealth Phil Army.  Currently, I consider the leadership and administration under Gen Basilio J Valdes MC comparatively stable and normal with Gen. Vicente Lim as his G-3 and the different services manned by technically trained leaders.

To appreciate how we arrived at this stage, let me mention those early pioneers aside from Quezon’s military advisors (MacArthur, Eisenhower, Ord and Huff) who did the early work.  Maj Gen Paulino Santos was appointed as first Chief of Staff from 1936 to 1939 with Gen Vicente Lim as his G-1.  The PC with Hq at Oriente Bldg was made the nucleus of the PA.  PCA graduates like Maj Porfirio Zablan ’15 with flying aptitude was  recruited by Lim to pioneer the PAAC together with Maj Lee and Lt Jose Francisco USNA ’32.  Then came Lts Pelagio Cruz, P Q Molina, Jesus Villamor Grp and the 17 members of Class ’40 which made PAAC at present a solid organization in personnel.  I remember Miss Aurora Zablan, Maj Zablan’s daughter, a drag of my Mistah Romeo Lising during our summer socials.   I wonder where she is now?  Cav Lising  was a casualty of WWII. 

June 21, 1941

This is the third week of intensive torpedo training by the 1st Q-Boat Squadron under the supervision of Chief Torpedo man William Mooney USN.  We are not only learning a lot but more importantly, we are beginning to know the actual employment and use of this powerful weapon that can sink the mightiest battleship.  Needless to say, all hands at OSP are working very hard with lots of enthusiasm.

News headline says German troops drive into Russia in a wide front from Arctic to the Black Sea.  Meantime, the Japs are increasing their troops in French Indo-China proclaiming its right to forge a new order in the region.

Let me make a brief comment on our military leadership and administration at present which is the Philippine Army created under CA # 1, Dec. 21,1935, crafted by MacArthur, Eisenhower, Ord and Huff, mil advisors to our current CinC, Pres Quezon.  Our Sec of Defense is Teofilo Sison, Chief of staff is Maj Gen Basilio Valdes MC.  He is the second Cof S, the first being Maj Gen Paulino Santos.  HPA is at Oriente Bldg near Binondo Church and G-3 is B/Gen Vicente Lim USMA’14 and Eisenhower’s classmate.

MacArthur and staff holds office in Malacañang and in the beginning, they called all the shots through Gen V Lim who started as G-1 at HPA.  At present, HPA is well organized that minimal interference is coming from Malacanang.  At present, Ord is gone since that fatal plane crash in Baguio in 1938.  Eisenhower is also gone for a new assignment in CONUS in 1939 and replaced by B/Gen R Sutherland. This leaves MacArthur, Sutherland and Huff as the present Mil Advisors of Quezon.

April 5, 1939

Yesterday I had a very disagreeable incident with General MacArthur which, nevertheless, ended happily. For some time now past, there had come to be recommendations that I propose the creation of a Department of National Defense. My own reorganization board, especially the chairman, Mr. Unson, felt strongly that the Army should not be allowed to become accustomed to hear no other voice than that of an army man, but on the contrary, it should be made to feel its dependence upon the civil authorities. In spite of the fact that on several of my papers connected with the Army I have emphasized the fact that in a democracy the Army is only a instrument in the hands of civilian authorities. To perform certain governmental functions, it seems to me that public opinion would not be satisfied until the Army was actually placed under the immediate control and supervision of a department head who was a civilian. Certain informations which have been revealed to me during the last two months convinced me that my office, with all the amount of work that it has to supervise, could not exercise sufficient supervision over army matters to satisfy me that nothing of real importance was done in the National Defense program without my knowledge. This, together with that pressure

from outside, induced me to agree with the leaders of the National Assembly particularly the Speaker to enact a legislation that would authorize me to create and organize the Department of National Defense if and when, in my opinion, the time was ripe for such a step. There was another consideration why I thought this should be done. The time for the expiration of my term as President is approaching and I always felt that I would not leave the presidency without having created the Department of National Defense and having it functioned for some time so that the head of the department would be able to establish under my administration precedents that would be followed by his successors in regard to non-political interference with national defense affairs on the one hand and the Army on the other would be made to feel its dependency upon civilian authorities.

Upon my return from my farm in Arayat yesterday, Jorge came to me and told me that General MacArthur called him on the phone and expressed great concern over the bill which has been reported to the Assembly according to the newspapers, creating the Department of National Defense. Jorge told me that General MacArthur wondered whether this meant that I was dissatisfied with his services and if so all that I had to do was to inform him of the fact and that he would immediately return to the United States without the necessity of creating this department, indirectly to deprive him of the authority to carry out the national defense program, and that if he were to retain him he felt that he would be unable to perform the duties I have entrusted to him if the department was created. From the report of Vargas of the conversation, I realized that General MacArthur was unduly excited, yet I did not take it seriously and simply told Vargas to call General MacArthur over the phone and tell him that there was no occasion for him to worry and that since I had to leave for Baler, I had no time to see him but would write him a short note explaining the situation. Then I took my siesta. When I woke up, a little note was sent to me by the telephone operator telling me that General MacArthur wanted to talk to me over the phone, but since I was not disposed to talk this matter with the General at this time, I sent words to the operator that I was not in. Fifteen minutes later, my messenger came to my bedroom and informed me that General MacArthur was already in the Palace. I told my messenger to inform the General that I was not in. It seems, however, that the General remained in the Palace dispite this answer and then went to the office of Vargas in an effort to secure an interview with me. I was positively provoked by this insistence of the General. I felt that he was going beyond the bounds of propriety, for although we were very close friends I was, nevertheless, his chief and it was my privilege to dicide when and how I should discuss with him official matters. So I made up my mind to give him a lesson and so I simply refused to see him. By eight o’clock that night after disposing of some urgent pending matters, I asked Vargas to show me the proposed reorganization bill which contains this provision regarding the creation of the Department of National Defense and which I was seeing for the first time. And after going over the bill and informing myself of its contents, I told Vargas to dinner with me because I was willing to see General MacArthur and I wanted him to be present during the conference. Vargas told the General that I was ready to see him and General MacArthur in a few minutes appeared in the Palace before I finished my dinner and gave instructions to take him to the porch. After my dinner I went out to meet with the General and greeted him in the usual way — “hello General”, and he answered, “Good evening, Mr. President, I am afraid I am not very welcomed at this time.” I ignored this remark, invited to a chair and he said, “Mr. President, I am sorry that I have attempted to see you when you were not ready to see me, but I am a very frank man and I want to know what does this bill now pending before the National Assembly regarding the creation of the Department of National Defense mean, whether it means that you are through with me.” I said, “well, General, I am going to answer you with the same frankness. I want to tell you that I resent your reaction to that bill. When this noon Vargas informed me of your conversation with him, I just laughed because I thought it was very foolish of you to have so construed the meaning of that bill. You should know me well enough to know that if I had anything against you I would tell it to you before I said it to anybody else. I am not one of those who hit in the back.” Then I explained to the General the reason for the presentation of the bill, and finally ended by saying, “Of course, I never intended to organize that Department of National Defense without fully discussing the matter with you and whether I organize it or not it was my intention that you should continue your work in accordance with our understanding in Washington, but, General, it is time for you to realize fully, as I have no doubt you do, that after all the final authority and responsibility in this government rests with me; that while I have the highest regard for your ability  as I consider you one of the greatest if not the greatest soldier of your time, and while I have absolute confidence in your loyalty, I must, nevertheless, reserve the right to have the final say on all matters where I may have my own opinion even when that opinion is contrary to yours. I know how ignorant I am on military affairs, but I still can and do form my own judgment on some of these questions, and when I do I must insist that what I say will go.” To this reamrk General MacArthur simply said, “Well, of course, Mr. President, you know that I am a soldier and if a soldier knows something, he knows his duty to obey orders whether the orders that he is obeying, he likes them or not, and he gives his best evidence of his training as a soldier when he obeys orders faithfully and loyally that he dislikes. There has never been any question in my mind that when after you said the last word after giving me the opportunity to express my views that your last word must be obeyed”. “Well,” I said, “that settles the question, General, and let us forget the incident. Now I want to talk to you about other things in the army. I want you to tell me whether as a matter of practice or discipline with all the armies in the world, it is contrary to regulations for a subordinate officer to express his disagreement with his chief when, in his opinion, the chief is making a decision which is wrong.” General MacArthur said that it is not, on the contrary, it is the duty of the officer to express his disagreement provided he expresses it through the proper channels and does not go over the head of his superior. “Well,” I said, I am very glad to know that because I intend to tell you that regardless of what the practice of armies in all the world, I want the Philippine Army to give to the officers of the Army the privilege to express their opinion and once they have been heard the superior authority may still decide the question contrary to their expressed opinion and in that case the superior’s order has to be obeyed. Then we talked about General Valdes and General MacArthur told me that General Valdes would make a better Chief of Staff than General Santos.

Thus a subject which I thought was going to end with a showdown was ended in a mutual satisfaction between General MacArthur and myself.

 

 

Aboard the “Casiana”

January 10, 1939

Recently I gave a luncheon for 40 people at the Manila Hotel in honor of Gen. Santos, retiring Chief of Staff, and of Gen. Valdes, newly appointed to that post. The circumstances under which the change was made, gave a popular impression that everyone, including this office, was trying to kick Santos out. My luncheon was given, in the hope that Santos could make some “face” –so dear to the Oriental– through the implication that his transfer to his new job was really a promotion! He’s a much abler man than his successor, but he’s a “tan” and that condemns him in the eyes of the Mestizo group, and that group runs the P.I. Sec. Alunan is Santos’ new boss.