At 6:30 am attended wedding of treasurer Jimenez’s son. Attended dinner given by Mr. Serapio Canceran in Maceda’s home.
Long talk with Dr. Trepp the day after the funeral. What an extraordinary career was Quezon’s!–born a village boy in Baler in 1878, of mixed Spanish and Ilongot blood, he spent his childhood in one of the most remote and inaccessible little villages of the southwest Pacific. He died as the President in exile of the conquered Philippines, and was given the most impressive funeral which I ever attended. The cathedral was full and many dignitaries were there. He was buried in Arlington Cemetery–a great military display headed by General Marshall and Admiral King. His body is left there until it can be sent back to the Philippines on an American battleship.
Trepp described to me Quezon’s last illness: Asheville was the “low point” and Quezon began to improve again at Saranac Lake. He was kept in touch with the progress of the war by daily readings from newspapers, and attended now and then to a little executive business by letter and telegram. He wrote to MacArthur two days before his death. He was, however, not unaware of the seriousness of his condition. He told Nieto just a day or two before the end to look out for all his affairs and he had a long and satisfactory talk with his wife. At ten o’clock on the morning of August 1st, 1944, he suddenly had a hemorrhage–about a liter of blood which practically choked him–sank rapidly and died peacefully.
Trepp says that Quezon wore himself out completely by his quarrel with Osmeña over the presidency in November 1943, and never recovered. He was often found in tears in his bed at that time. This, Trepp names as the proximate cause of his death.
Mr. Serapio Canceran, the private secretary of the late President expresses deep concern over the possible killing of General Roxas by the Japanese because he is believed to be the “undercover” head of the guerrillas. He says that two days before he died, Quezon sent a cable to General MacArthur asking him to rescue Roxas and get him away from the Japanese. “This,” replied MacArthur “would be very difficult to do.” Dr. Trepp believes that Roxas will be elected first president of the Philippine Republic.
A few months later, Trepp himself died in Doctors’ Hospital in Washington of cancer of the stomach. I saw him several times in his last days, and this simple and honourable man suffered greatly towards his end.
Saranac Lake, N.Y.
This is the first entry in this diary for more than three months. Early in June, Quezon was attacked by bronchitis and soon developed a serious attack of tuberculosis. Dr. Trepp was frankly alarmed–he told me that Quezon was a worn-out man, and expressed himself as uncertain whether he could pull Quezon through this time. I suggested Saranac Lake, of which Trepp had never heard, but he understood at once when I mentioned the name of the famous Dr. Trudeau. So, after a couple of weeks in Washington and an equal period at Doctors’ Hospital in New York, Quezon was taken to Saranac.
Before leaving Washington, Quezon was not allowed to speak above a whisper, and the Cabinet met in his bedroom, where the President designated Osmeña to act for him, and in case the latter was incapacitated (as he then was!), Elizalde was to act as and for the President. This selection, inevitable as it was, created vast confusion among high officials–Quezon’s secretary, Dr. Rotor, and Bernstein, head of the Office of Special Services, were frankly uncertain whether they could (or would) get on with Elizalde!
Meanwhile, Osmeña, who, as already noted, has been suddenly operated on for appendicitis, came through safely, and then developed an infection and a high temperature. The first two occasions when I visited him in his bed in Doctors’ Hospital in Washington, he could not speak–only moved his eyelids. I then thought he might die in my presence. My third visit, a fortnight later found him sitting up in a wheel chair and conversing agreeably; I told him he would soon be dancing again, and to clinch the matter he stood up and did a couple of fox-trot steps. He has been more or less acting as President ever since, somewhat to the surprise of Elizalde, who had expected Osmeña to be out of business for a year.
Quezon’s 65th birthday was at Saranac on August 19, 1943; shortly after that I heard that he was going to send for me; a telegram on September 4, from Rotor asked me to go up to Saranac for a week.
On arrival, I found all the customary “court circle” at MacMartin camp–Mrs. Quezon, the three children and all their usual suite. Osmeña and Bernstein were there, and Valdes and young Madrigal soon arrived. They were all gayer and in better spirits than I have seen them since their arrival in the United States in May, 1942. Quezon was said to have gained five pounds, and was contemplating an early return to Washington to escape the cold weather at Saranac. Trepp seemed resigned to the move, although he was enjoying himself in surroundings which reminded him of his native Switzerland. Quezon had the steam heat on in the house all summer, and part of his “outdoor” porch enclosed!
I found Quezon still on his back in bed, he was obliged to talk in an unaccustomed low voice, and easily became tired. Osmeña, Bernstein and I were at once employed on several alternative forms for a joint resolution of Congress declaring that the Philippines were and of right ought to be free and independent, that independence was to be granted as soon as the invader was driven out of the Islands and was to be secured, and the United States was to make good the ravages of war.
Quezon had received at Saranac a visit from Secretary of War Stimson on the latter’s journey to the Quebec conference. Stinson had been deeply disturbed by the Japanese political maneuvers in the Philippines (as, indeed I have been myself). They feared that the Japanese grant of independence might rally a certain number of Filipinos to aid the Japanese army to resist the coming American attack on them in the Philippines. Stimson told Quezon that if this occurred, he (S.) would feel like committing suicide. Millard Tydings, the Senator from Maryland, Chairman of the Committee on Tertitories etc., had been staying nearby with his father-in-law, ex-Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, and the two of them had come over to visit Quezon. Tydings then told Quezon that he would “father” “any damn thing” to which the President would agree in order to meet this situation.
So, together with Osmeña and Bernstein, I worked for the first day on the various forms offered for the proposed joint resolution. We could see Quezon for only an hour in the morning and the same length of time in the afternoon. That night Osmeña and Bernstein returned south.
Talk with Colonel Manuel Nieto, Quezon’s loyal friend and chief a.d.c. He told me that they had recently seen a colonel (American) who had escaped from the Philippines in July last. He reported that the Filipinos still have 10,000 troops in Mindanao; that there the Japanese held only Davao, Zamboanga, Misamis and the country up as far as Lake Lanao. The Filipinos can operate elsewhere in Mindanao as they wish. Tomas Confesor has a sort of government in existence in parts of Panay and adjoining islands; Samar and Leyte are for the most part unoccupied by the Japanese. Parts of Cebu are still in the hands of Filipino commandos; Luzon is pretty thoroughly occupied by the enemy.
In conversation at lunch I condoled with Mrs. Marcos Roces over the death of her brother-in-law, my good friend Don Alejandro Roces. It seems that the news had been kept from her–I don’t know why! In talking over this with Quezon later he remarked “Roces was better dead than left alive to explain later his attitude in his newspapers (La Vanguardia, Taliba, etc.) which had been pro-Japanese from the moment the enemy occupied Manila.” Quezon added that he would not himself hang any of the pro-Japanese Filipinos upon his return, though he added that “some of them may be killed before we can take control.” The general impression is that the Filipino people can distinguish accurately between those who are really pro-Japanese and those who are merely co-operating formally to preserve what they can of their country. Quezon quoted again the cable he sent to Roosevelt before leaving for Corregidor, that “if a government cannot afford protection to its citizens it cannot claim their allegiance.” It seems that thereupon Roosevelt cabled MacArthur to release the Filipino Army if Quezon demanded it, but also cabled Quezon his famous message “promising to redeem and protect the Philippines and give them their independence.” Quezon added that he had changed the word “redeemed” when he issued to the Filipino people the proclamation publishing Roosevelt’s message, on the basis of which the Filipinos fought the battle of Bataan. Roosevelt did not know that MacArthur had showed Quezon the message allowing him to disband the Philippine Army if Quezon insisted. Quezon praised Roosevelt’s attitude very highly.
He told me that Stimson’s recent visit to London was to insist that a more vigorous war be waged at once. Hence the pronouncements to that effect at the subsequent Quebec Conference.
About the so-called “independence” offered by the Japanese to the Filipinos, Quezon said: “As soon as I heard that the voting was to be done only by members of the Kalibapi, all my anxieties were ended. If it had been a vote of the Filipino people I would never have gone against it–I would have resigned.” (As a matter of opinion, the Filipinos are said to have “adopted” the new constitution by the vote of 181 hand-picked members of the Kalibapi!) This attitude of Quezon toward his retention of the presidency is uncertain in my mind. When Osmeña and Bernstein left after handing him the various forms proposed for a joint resolution of Congress, Quezon in bidding good-bye to Osmeña said “If this resolution passes Congress before November 15th, I shall resign because I am ill.” Mrs. Quezon also told me that when they go back to Manila, it would not be to reside in Malacañan Palace, but in their own house! On the other hand, Trepp says that he knows Quezon is going to retain the presidency, since he has overheard the negotiations on that subject!
After Osmeña and Bernstein had left, I worked for two more days with Quezon on the joint resolution and the various alternative forms were whittled down to one, declaring the Philippines independent, etc., as soon as invader was ejected and reciting Roosevelt’s famous message of promises to “redeem, secure, etc., and to repair.”
Just as I was leaving to return home, well satisfied with the draft of the joint resolution and Quezon’s proposed letter to President Roosevelt, a telephone conversation between Mrs. Quezon and ex-Governor General Frank Murphy in Michigan introduced another uncertainty into Quezon’s mind! Murphy was then quoted as having said that “he did not want the Philippines to be treated like India, and the resolution must grant immediate independence and he was going to Washington to get it!”
Canceran, the President’s private secretary, who had been busy all day for three days typing and retyping forms of the resolution as Quezon thought of new improvements, sadly said to me: “That is the trouble with the President, he always changes his mind at the last moment, upon new advice.”
Well, we shall see, what we shall see.
Roosevelt and Stimson are already committed to the earlier proposition–i.e., independence as soon as the Japanese invader is thrown out. (The other form might look as if the United States were evading their obligations).
It seems that Quezon has had Dr. Cherin, an assistant of Bernstein, working on the re-writing of Quezon’s book this summer, though Quezon told me nothing of that. The real hitch in publication is that Quezon cannot yet tell the full story of the all-important interchange of cablegrams between himself and Roosevelt before the battle of Bataan.
Shoreham Hotel. Lunch with Mr. Canceran, private secretary to Quezon. Canceran much bothered by the President’s frequent changes of plan for his trip to Florida causing the utmost possible inconvenience to everybody around him. This is the usual performance, but none of them get really used to it, and all grumble as much as they dare. I asked Canceran how the President got that way? He replied: “It was his life in Malacañan–absolute authority; all opposition crushed–complete selfishness–thinks about nobody but himself.”
Canceran is a young man, son of a farmer in the Cagayan valley. He is tall, lithe and graceful. His chin is up, his shoulders thrown back. He would look equally as well in a G-string and necklace of cowrie shells, and with a spear in his hand instead of a pen. As it is, he contents himself with a suit of “Kollege-Kut Klassy Klothes,” and flirts with all the waitresses. As this is the only possible way to get served in an American restaurant, it must be admitted that he shows a good deal of practical sense. He possesses a measure of native dignity and good taste in his pride of country. He is not impressed by American movies.
I told Quezon about the School of Military Government at Charlottesville. He replied: “Not one of those–fellows will get to the Philippines. The President has assured me that the first man to land there will be President Quezon, arriving in an American battleship.”
Discussion of the Moro problem: Quezon pointed out the mistake of Americans in not letting the Sultan govern Jolo–that they would thereby have avoided all those disorders and little wars. The Americans whom he left last Spring in Mindanao made another mistake: the American Army officers have always believed that the Moros loved them and hated and despised the Filipinos. General Sharp (in command there) and his staff were making plans for the great aid the Moros would render in repelling the Japanese in Mindanao. Quezon said to Sharp: “That’s all very well, but for God’s sake don’t give them any guns.” The other day he was laughing over a report from MacArthur of questions put by one of his staff to an officer who had escaped from Mindanao–the staff officer was trying to bring forth an answer showing how the Moros loved the American Army, and asked what kind of people the Moros were killing now? “Oh! every kind–Americans, Filipinos and Japanese” was the answer. As a matter of fact they had recently assassinated three American Army officers.
I suspect that Quezon’s own policy toward the Moros is that of the American of past days in our own country. “The best indian is a dead indian.”
When Quezon, before the war, granted permission to 10,000 Jews to settle in the Philippines at the rate of 1,000 a year, the Jewish Committee picked out, as the best farming land–Lanao! Quezon says he refused this, since they wouldn’t be alive at the end of a year. Quezon tells me that Lanao has as many rich and wonderful Moro farms as has Jolo nowadays.
Quezon settled the question of the recent succession to the Sultanate of Jolo, by refusing to make the choice. The Government of North Borneo, a territory most of which is part of the Jolo Sultanate, wrote to him to enquire whom he now recognized as Sultan. He replied: “The Sultan is, for us, only the head of his Church–he will not meddle in the choice.” So the North Borneo Administration sent for the two candidates to come to Sandakan and present their claims–which they did. Datu Umbra, himself of the late Sultan, the royal blood, the husband of Princess Dayang-Dayang, niece of the late Sultan, was elected over the other claimant–a brother of the late Sultan.
This decision aroused two factions in Jolo, and greatly weakened their subsequent claim to the North Borneo lands. Some years later, the Chartered Company of North Borneo transferred “their” land, to Great Britain–but they had waited for this momentous action until six days after the inauguration of the Philippine Republic! Thus the Jolo Moros were dispossessed of their great inheritance in North Borneo!
The question of Quezon’s health is always to the fore, every day of his life. Even his American friends in the Philippines used to say that he used his illness as a means of avoiding unnecessary engagements or contingencies. Dr. Trepp tells me that so far as Quezon’s TB is concerned, that is perfectly in hand, and there is no reason why he should not live for years. As for his blood pressure, Trepp himself, who, not long ago had a heart attack, has a much higher blood pressure! Recently the President was urged to cut down on his food, and especially to avoid heavy meats. That regime lasted a few days, and then he claimed to be fading away so rapidly, and had become so feeble, he could hardly speak. At once, the family set up a terrible clamor that the doctors were killing him, and the regime was relaxed. It must have been a superb piece of acting. As it is now, he and his family, at least once a day, eat a Filipino dish reeking with fat, and with great lumps of pork, ham and sausage.
Every now and then, Trepp persuades Quezon to go out for a walk, which consists of creeping along the hotel corridors, doctor on one side and a.d.c. on the other, to his luxurious motor. They drive out to the suburbs and Quezon walks slowly for three or four hundred yards. Back home again, Quezon goes to work, or to receiving visitors to whom he talks for hours and hours–rounding off with four or five hours of concentration on bridge, until well after midnight.
Truly a remarkable “invalid”–he wears out all of his associates!
Arrived in answer to a telegram asking me to come as soon as I could. Quezon was looking very well and in good spirits. Told me he was going down to Arizona in about two weeks and “if he hadn’t finished his by that time he wanted me to accompany him for ten days or so.” No signs here of any work on his book. Dr. Trepp insists he had not worked on it “for months.” Elizalde told me en route to Canada that Bernstein was writing Quezon’s book for him; that he heard Quezon direct Canceran to turn over the ms. to Bernstein. Trepp thinks not. I asked Trepp why Quezon had so entirely neglected my draft of his book; Trepp did not know–thought possibly it had not been sufficiently eulogistic!
Quezon had seen Panikkar, the Indian, whom I met at Mont Tremblant. Had been very deeply interested. Panikkar told him the Indians want independence–not Dominion Status; that the Moslems also want it, though they demand safeguards as a minority. Quezon suggested to him the federal system like the United States, with a lower house representation based on population, and the upper house giving equality to states. Panikkar replied that is what they propose to do. That they must retain all of Occidental influence they now have and not just lapse into their former Oriental luxury and magnificence. England is afraid to let go just now–the Indian army is chiefly one of professional soldiers, and could easily turn against England if things went badly.
But Quezon told me he had abandoned all idea of taking any hand in the freeing of India and of Indonesia and in the forming of an Indonesian Empire, made up of a union of the Philippines and the Netherlands Indies. He had decided to concentrate entirely on the problems of his own people, though he would be “the happiest man in the world” if the other projects became a reality. Said it would take fifty years for an Indonesian Empire to become strong enough to withstand China or Japan. He had told President Roosevelt of his decision to concentrate on the problems of his own country and not take part in the other schemes, and that this statement “made Roosevelt jump.” He added that the good will or support of Great Britain as well as of the United States would be needed in either eventuality. Thought Hong Kong should not be given back to China, but that the English should pay China the value of the barren island as it was when ceded to them, because of the disgraceful circumstances in which they got it.
Panikkar told Quezon that the Burmese were going to fight on the side of Japan!
Quezon is now going to try to get through Congress a joint resolution that the Philippines are and of right should be independent, etc.
I spoke of my distaste for the masochism of Gandhi and Nehru–always in prison and seeming to glory in it; Quezon said: “It’s that Hindu philosophy.”
He recognizes that the English are essentially a manly race, but they have “that racial superiority which I hate. I am a member of a race which has been looked down upon for centuries, and I can’t stand that theory of racial inferiority. But their feeling of superiority is not vanity–they really believe it–hence their feeling of responsibility which is so marked not only in officials, but in businessmen and bankers as well.”
I also had a talk with Dr Trepp, his Swiss doctor. Says Quezon does not really need him now; his TB is so well under control, he can live anywhere he likes. Says he feels like a mere lackey of Quezon; there is no real work for him to do. Would like to get a job on the staff of a sanitorium. Has come to the conclusion that Switzerland is the only real democracy he knows. There is not an ounce of democracy in the Philippines–even a businessman there has no chance unless he is a Quezon man.
I also had a short chat with Quezon on past events in the Philippines. He said Governor General Luke Wright was all right, but his influence was impaired by the very anti-Filipino attitude of his wife.
Told me how he had taken Sumulong, Rodriguez, etc., away from General Wood, and then the latter threw up his hands. Quezon organized a Supreme Council of the Philippines and gave the pro-Wood Filipinos an equal representation on it with his own partisans. He, Quezon, presided but had no vote–still they all followed him obediently and without a question.
Dr. Pardo Tavera, a distinguished member of the first Philippine Commission, was patriotically against independence; he wanted the United States to remain there for the sake of the Philippines. Still, he was so independent-minded himself that he continually opposed the Governor General and really forced himself out of the Philippine Commission.
At Shoreham Hotel with Quezon whom I had not seen for at least two months–he looked pale and weaker. Told me he had been in bed for a long time, that for a while he could not walk, and I saw a wheel chair in Canceran’s office. As the conversation developed, he showed his usual animation and the colour came back to his cheeks.
I asked him again about the killing of Manuel Roxas and Jose Abad Santos by the Japanese. He said Manuel Roxas had not been killed but was still fighting in the mountains (of Mindanao?). Jose Abad Santos who had (deliberately) missed the last plane from Cebu had been caught there by the Japanese and had been shot. I asked him why? He could not explain but remarked “He left Corregidor in my party.” Said he would have been a really great Chief Justice, but could never have been President because he had no executive ability.
He said he doubted whether the Japanese would ever have been inclined to attack the Philippines if it had not been for the presence of the United States there. Doubts now whether the Japanese would even allow moderate self-government to the Filipinos. Thinks however that the war is already as good as won, since the crushing defeat which Rommel suffered in Africa this week. As soon as Germany cracks, England and the United States can defeat the Japanese. Then he said to me: “We shall be back in the Philippines in 1944.”
Meanwhile, he said, it would make no difference if the Japanese won the battle of the Solomons, occupied Australia–or even India. Added they will have to be completely knocked out–will never give up. I pointed out how prudent the Japanese Government had been in giving up their spoils after three previously successful wars, when called on to do so by the Concert of Powers. He stated that this was because of their long-range planning, and that now they had attained their real objective, they would never back down. They must be smashed.
He then launched into a half-hour’s panegyric of the English. He had always been very anti-English before, and had denounced them savagely on his arrival in Washington for their collapse in Singapore. He now says that when it comes to their own real interests, such as the defense of England or of Egypt, nobody can fight more stubbornly than the English–he praised particularly their stand in front of Alexandria when they had already lost all their new material to Rommel. Previously he had always hated Churchill as an “arrogant imperialist” but now admits that he is a typical John Bull and is the man of the day. Continued with a vivid tribute to Queen Elizabeth in overthrowing the Spanish and French powers.
Was not much inclined to discuss last week’s overwhelming Republic gain in the elections in the United States. Remarked that his friend Justice Frankfurter had been “very silly–he is so ardently pro-English”–but did not explain what he meant.
Afternoon game of bridge during which he coughed frequently. Was due to entertain Justice Frank Murphy alone at dinner–explaining to me that there were certain subjects he wished Murphy to discuss with President Roosevelt. But just as Murphy arrived, Quezon was taken by a very severe fit of asthma, and doctors scurried in to attend him. He went to bed after an injection. Murphy was much worried, as indeed we all were.
Murphy and I talked together for 3/4 hour. Extremely interesting conversation about the election, and causes thereof.
Quezon, whom I had not seen for nearly a month, looks well but complains that he cannot make any great effort; and that his blood pressure is still very high. He spends most of the day in a silk dressing wrapper. He was closeted in his room for some time with Carlos Romulo, whom he afterwards characterized to me as politically “foolish” but adds that Romulo is a man who carries out everything entrusted to him.
He was very much aroused because of the proposed showing of an old film depicting the Philippine Constabulary in process of being cut to pieces by Moros until rescued by an American Army officer. Protested to J. Davies who is head of one of these propaganda organizations. Davies said he would at once look into it. But Quezon sat down and wrote a hot letter to the film director. Quezon denounced this attempt to show the Filipinos as cowards, (after this war in the Philippines) and added that he understood the director is a man “of Jewish race,” and that he, Quezon, considered this a poor return for his having opened the shores of the Philippines to the Jewish refugees, and for having himself given several acres of his own land to the Jews to help them to make a living. The movie director replied saying that he had withdrawn the film.
Then I had a long talk with him about his book. He stopped writing when he was in New York some two weeks ago, and retired to Leesburg to rest because he was tired. Canceran had told me that in New York he would begin dictating at 4:30 a.m. and they would not get breakfast until eleven. Quezon blamed Shuster and me for having allowed him to write so much of his personal biography and made him appear boastful–incidents of his youthful success as a runner, prizes at school, etc. He has been busy recently striking out all these passages from the galley proofs of his book which Shuster is setting up as he gets the ms. I pointed out to him that in June of this year I had worked ten hours a day for thirty days to get his book ready, under pressure from him and Shuster. Then when I submitted it to him for revision he had found a couple of mistakes I had made in putting his story on paper. That I had secured from him some account of his childhood and youth to introduce him personally to the American public, and to give a pungent background to his remarkably successful career. That he had so greatly enjoyed reviving memories of his youth that he had gone ahead with this quite independently of me. We had been talking all the time of a second book later on, in which he could really let himself go. That for nothing in the world would I stop him from recording his reminiscences, even tho they were not to go in this book. He admitted the truth of all this, but said he had decided never to write his own biography, that these things made him look ridiculous. That somebody else could write his biography (apparently not I), and he does not give me the long passages he had written or dictated about his personal life. I replied that I had been telling him for years that I was collecting materials for a biography of him, and he replied that I had better let him see what I was to write. I told him that there had been only three or four great autobiographies in the whole history of literature, and that to be really great at it a man must discard all concern as to what anybody would think of his character, and simply try to tell the truth. That I considered it fortunate that he had discovered mistakes in my ms. of this book, because that prompted him to write it all himself, which he could do a thousand times better than I could.
As for Shuster, I said that an editor learned from experience that when he persuades a man to write his first book, if he snubbed his excursions into matter not necessarily suitable, the author might throw up the whole job.
Quezon is a hard man to convince, but I think he was persuaded by this argument. He began dictating a third and fourth letter to Shuster telling him what to strike out but advising him to keep the surplus parts of personal biography for use at some future time. Then he set to work for some hours, striking out a good part of the galley proofs–much of which, I think, was quite unsuitable for the purposes of this topical war book. He called me in from time to time to read me the political parts he had written since I last saw him.
With this, I think his flagging interest in the book began to revive. It will be all the better if he now continues, though he will find it much harder to write of the serious events of the war and of his preparations for defense, than he did with the scenes of his early life which served an escapist purpose for his mind in these extremely troubled times.
He was particularly interested in reading me what he had written in favour of a “Dominion status” for the Philippines. Said he had often been accused by Americans of being secretly against independence but he had in 1916 supported the Clarke amendment in Congress for independence tho Osmeña had not. (Osmeña came to me in the Ayuntamiento one day in 1916 and was in the greatest distress and excitement–trembling–told me of the introduction of the Clarke amendment, and proposed to do all he could to defeat it. I told him: ‘D. Sergio, you have been going up and down the Philippines for years advocating independence. Now that it is offered to you, if you oppose it, the Filipino people will smear you on the wall.’ Quezon says nevertheless that Osmeña cabled him to oppose it.) In support of the principles of the Clarke amendment, Quezon says now that this would have given them independence in 1918 or 1920. That there was then, as yet, no great sugar industry in the Philippines so there would have been no powerful opposition to free trade in the United States; that the Americans would have wished to keep open their free market for shoes and machinery in the Philippines. The Jones bill, to which the Clarke amendment was added in the Senate made no provision for trade restriction in America for Philippine commerce. So the Filipinos, if made independent in 1918 would not have suffered any economic earthquake, and could have gone to work to prepare themselves for military self-protection.
In his plans for a Dominion status, he still would not have had a single American in uniform in the parts of the Islands which is government administered, but he would be willing to give the United States such small islands as they needed for their air bases, etc. He seemed anxious to have my views of what he had written on Dominion status, adding that this was the first time he had made a public statement to that effect. He wanted to know whether I thought it was all right him to make such a statement. I replied that in present conditions in the world, it was all right, and that for some years before the war, I had never given any weight to this proposition because I did not then for a moment believe that the United States would accept responsibility without power. Nor did he. But the invasion and occupation of the Islands by the Japanese had changed the whole political situation. For him now to advocate Dominion status would be merely the logical result of the choice of the United States which he made during those days of extreme anxiety, first at Mariquina and then on Corregidor, when he considered if new leaders were now arising in the Philippines. He replied that he was old (just 64) and could not answer for such a development. I asked him if the Filipinos would be in favour of his policy of Dominion status and he said “No.”
He got busy on the telephone talking in Spanish to Under Secretary of State Welles, offering to make a radio address to the Latin American States now that Brazil has joined the war. The suggestion was accepted. He also received an invitation to dine at the White House tomorrow evening.
He later sent a letter to Shuster explaining that he was not interested in any profits which might come to him from the book, altho he left the Philippines practically penniless. He wanted Shuster to be trustee for any such profits and to devote them to public purposes after the war, but if he were to die meanwhile, and his family were in want, that fact should be taken into consideration.
He then returned to the subject of his reminiscences. Told of his first “fighting speech” in the Washington House of Representatives which was in opposition to President Taft’s “Friar Land Purchase Bill”–in the middle of his speech, Crumpacker interrupted him to enquire what his colleague thought of it. Quezon replied: “I don’t know. Ask him. He is present”–but old Benito Legarda had slipped out. Quezon added “my colleague was a patriot, but he did not forget what was convenient.” When he got to their lodgings after his speech, Legarda embraced him and said “You were magnificent. Because you are so brilliant, I wish to save you. Don’t do it–don’t run your head against a stone wall. They will ruin you.” Quezon replied: “There will be other presidents after Taft.” “Yes,” said Legarda “but they’ll all be the same.” Quezon answered: “Well, I thank you very much Don Benito but remember: there is nothing so sad as a man’s not being able to return to his own country.” Legarda was not re-elected by the Philippine Assembly, went to Paris and died there, and never saw his native land again.
Quezon contrasted my action (immediately after the defeat of our party in 1920), in sending to President Wilson my resignation effective on his last day of office, with that of Governor Forbes, who was in the United States when Wilson was first elected, and went back to Manila, to be later ousted by President Wilson. Also Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. who as Governor General made a campaign speech practically accusing his cousin the President of being a crook. Then after F.D.R. was elected, T.R. Jr. offered to stay on in his post. F.D.R. replied thanking him for his devotion to his public office, but relieving him and making the Vice Governor acting. I observed that T.R. Jr. was very foolish. Quezon replied: “He’s worse that that–he’s stupid.”
In p.m. August 24th had a conversation with Mrs Quezon and Mrs. Marcos Roces, widow of the captain who was my a.d.c. in the Philippine National Guard in 1917. Her brother-in-law Don Alejandro Roces has been in recent years the most intimate friend of the Quezon family in the Philippines–at all their fiestas, or on the yacht Casiana or at Baguio with them. In the past, Roces had fought Quezon savagely with his newspapers. The first mission confided to me by Quezon when I became his Adviser in 1935 was to go as “ambassador” to Don Alejandro in his newspaper office and negotiate a treaty of peace between two doughty opponents. (See my diary for Nov. ’35.)
Mrs. Quezon does not believe the Japanese have done general damage in the Philippines since the occupation of Manila. The Japanese who acts as “G.G.” is occupying the Quezon house in Pasay, which was undamaged in the bombing.
She feels quite lost at having nothing to do nowadays. Had not only a busy life looking out for Malacañan Palace, but also for their houses in Baguio, Pasay, Mariquina, Quezon City, Cabuyao and Tagaytay.
But, when her children were fairly grown up or at school, Mrs. Quezon asked her husband to allow her to see what she could do as a farmer of her 600 hectare farm near Mount Arayat in Cabuyao. The first thing was to get irrigation water from the system in the Candaba swamp, adjoining the farm; but Quezon refused to authorize the extension of the government irrigation system in order to irrigate his wife’s farm. However she persuaded him to have a survey made, so that it was shown that such extension would benefit many thousands of hectares belonging to other persons in that vicinity.
Sugar farming had been abandoned there by Felipe Buencamino, so Mrs. Quezon started with 200 hectares of rice paddy. Then she got a Japanese manager and planted 25 hectares in ramie, a Chinese plant which can furnish rubber and also a fibre from which both “linen” and “silk” fabric can be made. The Japanese in the Ohta Development Company in Mindanao had made a great success of this fibre. It is stronger than abaca and cuts one’s hand when trying to break it. The fibre is about three feet long and makes stronger parachutes than does silk. The Japanese send to London the linen they make of it–the most beautiful sold in England.
The ramie plant is about 5 feet high, and the suckers must be cut four times a year. The leaf is heart-shaped and is silvery underneath. The fibre sells for 40-50 pesos per picul and the income is sixteen times as great as that from sugar cane. The cost of production is 20% of the gross revenue. From her 25 hectares, Mrs Quezon was getting 32,000 pesos net profit a year. It gives continuous employment to labourers throughout the year. Her ambition was to have 50 hectares of ramie. The Japanese have a special knack in this cultivation; it requires dry land, but must have irrigation.
Mrs. Quezon has had in recent years a very active and profitable life as businesswoman; was on one or two boards of mining companies, with, for two or three years an income of 1,200 pesos a month from Acoje mine (she helped to discover this chromium mine herself). In Quezon City she owned a grocery store and a drugstore; just before the invasion she had paid 20,000 pesos for beginning construction of the first cinema there; she owned also apartments and two houses in Quezon City.
She likewise owns three pescarias, or fish ponds, in Guagua, Pampanga, which yield two nettings a year; the fry are put in when the size of mosquito wigglers and in six months are foot long; 3-4,000 fish at a haul, which go fresh to market in baskets. The ponds are salt water, but are kept brackish. It is really curious how superior in business matters the Filipinas are to the average Filipino men.
She feels very deeply the interruption of her business life.
Major (Dr.) Cruz, who was present, is superintendent of the hospital she built near her farm in Pampanga. He told us that there was now news that the “communists” there had gone over to co-operation with the Japanese, as the Sakdalistas around Laguna also had, from the beginning, already done. Mrs. Quezon remarked: “A good thing, then they will no longer be communists.” Cruz observed they had never really been communists, but merely followers of Pedro Abad Santos, who is himself somewhat inclined that way. They followed him because of their grievances against the landlords. They had killed two or three of the leading landlords in recent years. There are, thinks Cruz, about 15,000 of them, including their families, in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Pangasinan.
Quezon says that Americans owned the sugar in Cuba and they brought on the war against Spain.
He remarked that Osmeña had perfect physical courage; is quite imperturbable; but has no “moral courage.”
While playing two bridge hands tonight he made mistakes–quite unusual for him–he was abstracted, and admitted he was thinking of Romulo.
Once more we agreed that the American school system in the Islands had been in some respects a failure, especially in the teaching of English, which gets worse and worse. Quezon said that while he was lying ill of TB in his house in Baguio, with a Filipina as trained nurse, she told him one morning that the “Press” was there to see him. He said: “Tell them to go to Hell”–the man at the door, who overheard, was Father Tamayo, the head of the Dominicans, where Quezon had been educated. The nurse had said “priest” as if it was “press.” Quezon easily explained this later to Tamayo.
During the Spanish regime, the cabeza de barangay was the collector of the cedula personal tax; he was handed a list of all inhabitants over 18 and had to produce revenue called for by the list, whether he had been able to collect it or not; as a result he was usually ruined. See references in Rizal’s novels, which are, however poorly translated into English.
Rizal, said Quezon, had never been one of his heroes–he was persevering, but never a man of decision–he refused, when an exile in Dapitan, to join Bonifacio in the revolution; this fact was counted on by the defense at his trial–but his execution was foreordained. The uncertainty in the mind of the reader of Rizal’s famous books Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo as to whether it is Elias or Ibarra who is really the hero of his novels indicated either Rizal’s own habitual indecision, or a wish to cover up his belief against a subsequent inquisition by the Spanish authorities.
Mabini (the “divine paralytic”) is more nearly Quezon’s hero. His ms. was unknown until his death; is now in Philippine National Library–and has never been printed. It denounces Aguinaldo severely, on account of his narrowness and selfishness. Mabini was captured and held as a prisoner by the Americans, and never could be forced to recant. After the insurrection, he took the oath of allegiance to the United States. While on Corregidor, Quezon wanted to go back to Manila and, like Mabini before him, have nothing to do with the captors (Japanese) even if necessary to go to prison.
At the Malolos Congress, Buencamino and Paterno urged Aguinaldo to quit the hopeless fight and negotiate with Schurman, President of McKinley’s Philippine Mission.
Quezon next turned to an account of the debates among his government associates on Corregidor upon the question of Surrender of the Philippine Army to the Japanese: They, none of them, believed in any permanence in the independence then offered by the Japanese. Osmeña and Roxas, as well as Quezon thought that if this offer was accepted by them, the Japanese Army could be persuaded to withdraw within a reasonable time, and that they might allow the American Army to be evacuated to the United States. Quezon and his advisers believed that the war would eventually be decided by an attack on Tokyo, and nowhere else in the Far East. Meanwhile, they felt it better to put up with Japanese interference in their affairs–thus sparing the Philippines all that it otherwise might go through. As for permanent independence granted them by the Japanese, it would mean very little for the Japanese Consul General would be the real Chief Executive of the Philippines. He would come to Malacañan with all “due courtesy” but the first time a serious one of his “requests” was refused, it would mean war.
Quezon called my attention to what I had told the Americans in Manila in my time namely that Quezon was the “best friend they had in the Philippines.” As a choice between the Americans and Japanese he would take the former every time; he could put up with even such absurdities as those of Governor General Wood, because he was an American–he could talk and drink with him. When he was Resident Commissioner in Washington he had lots of American friends who treated him exactly like one of themselves. With the Japanese, he could never be at ease–never could really understand them. The Japanese policy in Asiatic countries is utterly selfish; they had been so long isolated that they still thought only of themselves.
Ever since the fracas of the League of Nations, Quezon has believed that if America withdrew from the Philippines the Japanese would absorb the Islands. The Filipinos, he thinks, could not have “made terms” with them. “We would have been in the present position of the Siamese; they have the form but not the substance of self-government –that generally satisfies the Orientals but not the Filipinos.”
The following account by Quezon of the beginning of the political fight between himself and Osmeña was dictated by him to Canceran in my presence on June 7th, for use in his book The Good Fight but was omitted from the book when printed, so it is reproduced here.
“I was elected to the Assembly as Nacionalista in 1907. I was the floor leader and Osmeña the Speaker. In 1909 I was appointed Resident Commissioner and occupied the position until 1916. I secured from Congress the passage of the Jones Law and was elected Senator and then made the President of the Senate.
“The great fight between Osmeña and me started when General Wood was there. The remote cause of my fight with Osmeña was the jealousy of the Senate of its prerogatives and the Senators never admitted that. They thought that the recognition of the Speaker of the House as the number one man was a denial of the seniority of the Senate over the House. It was a mistake of Osmeña. I swear before God that I never intended to replace him as the leader of the party. I had so much love for this fellow. As a matter of fact I thought he was better prepared than me. I had no doubt that at that time he was better prepared. And this idea was so sincere with me that even when the fight on the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill came I decided that I was not going to fight it. I was only going to explain my opinion for I thought it was my duty to tell the people. I even told Governor General Murphy that Osmeña and Roxas were the men best prepared to run the government, and that even after my election as President. But with the acts of these two men they convinced me that I could do that better than they. I will tell you how I discovered this.
“After my election as President of the Philippines, I did not want to give Osmeña a portfolio in my Cabinet. I wanted him to be my senior adviser and have all papers of the different departments go to his office before they were acted upon. But he is so interested in the appearance of things that he insisted that I appoint him Secretary of Public Instruction and he thought that his men would believe that I had disregarded him if I did not give him that portfolio and that would make him lose prestige with the ‘Pros. ‘ He insisted and I appointed him. I told him ‘I am going to appoint you but you must understand that in these circumstances you will not be my adviser any longer. You will have a seat in the Cabinet; will have a voice and no more. And you will understand that I cannot offend the other members of the Cabinet by having their views submitted to another secretary of department.’ So I dealt with the secretaries of department without taking his views first.
“However, I still thought of meeting his views on general policies and gave instructions to my aides and Secretary that the Vice President could see me any time without previous engagement, and I set aside a time for him every day. But instead of talking to me about public policies he brought petitions of men who stood by him, as well as gossip. I tolerated this for three weeks, but later on I revoked my instructions to my Secretary and aides about seeing the Vice President because I got sick about the things he brought to me. So he ceased to be what I wanted him to be–my adviser. The immediate effect was for me to go through all the departments of the government. That is why when you were there I was practically handling everything.
“Now, there is one department of the government in which I was convinced of my utter ignorance–the department of finance. I had an understanding with Osmeña and Roxas that I would make Roxas Secretary of Finance. I did not appoint him right away because I wanted his services in the House. He was a minority leader and I wanted him to work in conjunction with the majority leader so there would not be any trouble in the House. When the House was about to adjourn, I sent for him and told him about his appointment to the secretaryship, but he said that he wanted to go to Capiz and consult with his followers. He came back and said: ‘Mr President, I am ready.’
“I had talked with Quirino, the Secretary of Finance then, and had prepared him for the change a long time ago. I sent for Quirino and told him that I would appoint Roxas Secretary of Finance and him as Secretary of the Interior. I called Roxas over the phone and asked him: ‘Are you ready?’ He said ‘yes.’ Then I told him that I was going to write him a letter offering him the position. I wrote the letter, sent it to him; but I was so tired that day, I told my aides that I would not see anybody and went to bed. I fell asleep and did not wake up until five in the afternoon. During that time the reply of Roxas was delivered in which he said: ‘I have received your letter and I felt that I should remain in the House unless you think that my services are absolutely essential in the Executive Department.’ That made me so mad. I thought it was an act of treachery; that he wanted me to write another letter begging and tell him: ‘you are so essential that I cannot run the government without you.’ I was so angry that I called my children and took them for a ride with my launch in the Pasig River.
“At seven the following morning I sent for Antonio de las Alas. He came and I said: ‘Alas you are the Secretary of Finance.’ I almost killed him with the news and after telling him about his appointment I left the Palace and told the people in the Palace that I did not want to see anybody. I answered Roxas’ letter and simply told him: ‘I understand your position and I therefore shall not appoint you Secretary of Finance.’ That is all I told him, and he has been trying [sic] to see me, but I never saw him. After giving out to the press the appointment of Alas I sent word to Roxas that I would see him. He came and said: ‘Mr President, I have received your letter and I have come to tell you that I withdraw my letter.’ ‘Well, it is just a little too late’ I said. ‘And I want to tell you something so that there may be this clear understanding between us. Manoling, I have told you time and again that I could not run this government without you as Secretary of Finance and I never changed my mind about it, but when I wrote you the letter it was the President of the Philippines offering you that position. The President will not admit that he cannot run the government without you or anyone. I am going to run this government without the “Pros” and you can all go to hell.’
“The Vice President wanted to see me. I thought he was going to intervene and I was determined to tell him that I wanted his resignation as Secretary of Public Instruction. So I told my aides that I would see him right away. But to my disappointment, he did not say a word about the case. Later on I discovered why. That fellow Sabido went to see the Vice President and told him not to mention anything about the case of Roxas to me saying: ‘The President, I am afraid, will have us all out. ‘
“That is the reason why I say that these people forced me and gave me the chance to discover whether I could run this government or not. You know that in a banquet in the Palace I said that I have always thought that the Vice President was much better qualified than I was to run the government. But it was he himself who convinced me that I can run it better than anybody.
“Way back in 1916, upon the passage of the Jones Law, Osmeña telegraphed me asking what position he could occupy–what I thought should be done–where do you think I should go? I told him that I wanted him to continue being the leader of the party and that therefore he should go to the Senate and be its president. He telegraphed me again that in consultation with the leaders of the party he had decided that he should continue as Speaker and that they would elect me senator. I told them that I wanted to practice my law profession.
“So from the beginning I feared that there would be this conflict and he himself saw it.
“You know the report that the Wood-Forbes Mission made. That report made me mad like hell. I arrived in the Philippines sick with fever and before my arrival Wood had been appointed Governor General. I learned that the legislature had approved, upon the appointment and assumption of office on the part of General Wood, the same joint resolution which was approved when you were appointed Governor General. I sent for Senator Sison and told him: ‘How is it possible that you people have approved his resolution?’ He said: ‘Well, it was presented by Palma. You left Palma as your representative and we assumed that they have consulted with you.’
“That was the most humiliating thing for the legislature to do. So from that time on I realized that Osmeña was not the man to lead the country under those circumstances. I did not immediately start the trouble, but I began to show him that I was not pleased. I criticized him for that and from that time on I started letting him know that there was trouble coming. So we did not have trouble until I was ready for it, and the fight for leadership started. The elections came and I defeated him.”
Met Lt. Col. Carlos Romulo, editor of Quezon’s paper the Herald in Manila–noted orator–a.d.c. to MacArthur, i.e., “press agent”–still very shaky, said he was wounded once on Bataan (?). He corrected the newspaper interview ascribed to him on landing at San Francisco. He did not correct the statements to the effect that he was in the United States “on a mission for General MacArthur,” nor that he was the “last man to escape from Bataan”; but did give a correct rendering of the Domei agency announcement concerning the burning of Cebu–that it was to show the Filipinos that all further resistance should cease–not that it was punishment for sniping, in which even women were said to have taken part from upper windows of houses when the army of occupation entered Cebu.
“Further resistance” probably refers to the guerrilla bands, or remnants of the army still active in the high mountains of Cebu, and perhaps also in Luzon and Mindanao.
Quezon tells me that a “high official” of the Red Cross reported to him that the Japanese are treating their prisoners in the Philippines well.
Reports come from Australia that the danger from the Japanese has not lessened–only that their present interest is turned elsewhere. Some think the enemy could take Australia and New Zealand whenever they wished.
“Nonong” (Manuel Quezon, Jr.) celebrates his sixteenth birthday. He tells me that “Calle F. B. Harrison” in Pasay has had its name changed by the Japanese.
Chat with Osmeña. He says that there were 5,000 troops in Negros; 5,000 in Cebu; 5,000 in Panay and 30,000 in Mindanao–all units of the Philippine Army, with high officers who were all Americans. Believes General Sharp, tho unwilling to surrender, probably did so when Lieutenant General Wainwright expressed his desire that he should do so.
Osmeña has always been interested in pushing the settlement of Mindanao by Christian Filipinos, but believes that in all these years they have only persuaded some 50,000 of them to go down there.
Osmeña was the founder of the Nacionalista party and its first president. Since 1907 they were permitted by the American Governors General to agitate for independence.
At the convention of Governors of Provinces in 1906, Osmeña, from Cebu, Quezon from Tayabas, Veyra from Leyte, Luna from La Union, and Gabaldon from Nueva Ecija were the only Nacionalistas, but ran the convention in spite of the fact that all the rest were Progresistas. Governor General Smith was in charge during these years. The principales of Negros proposed establishing a “Republic of Negros,” and Smith did not object so long as they stayed under the American flag. Tells the story of Smith’s first attempt to speak Spanish. It was at this banquet in Negros, and after the customary large number of courses, a lady beside him asked: “Quiere Su Excelencia tomar una siesta ahora?” He replied: “Si Señora, con usted,” thinking the siesta was a name for ice cream.
Quezon on the subject of protocol: “I have never been much interested in it. I prefer the theory of Don Quixote, who when he appointed Sancho Panza Governor of Baratari, was given a dinner by the latter. Sancho invited him to sit at the head of the table, but Don Quixote replied: ‘Wherever I sit will be the head of the table. “‘
The subject, however, is of great importance to Osmeña. Taft has fixed Osmena’s status as Speaker of the Assembly when opening the first Philippine Assembly, by declaring that, after the Governor General, the Speaker of the Assembly was the second man in the Philippines.
Leonard Wood, when Department Commander in the Army had raised the question with Governor General Forbes–Wood was unwilling to allow precedence over the Department to a Filipino. Osmeña cabled Quezon then the Resident Commissioner in Washington and Quezon went to see the Secretary of War adding that “Tho I considered my mission a silly one, yet the duty was imposed on me by my leaders.” He reported to the Secretary of War that Osmeña believed Wood was trying to undo the fiat of Taft, and that he (Osmeña) would consider such action a humiliation to him and to his people. “Personally,” said Quezon, “I never consider it important where they place me.” The War Department ducked the issue, ruling that when the Speaker was invited, the Commanding General should not be present and vice versa. This was in 1910-11. Quezon added: “Wood could not stand the idea of a Filipino being put ahead of him. I never regard such matters as important unless done with the purpose of humiliating me or my race.”
Quezon continued: “When McNutt was first sent in 1936 [sic] as High Commissioner to the Philippines, I was in Europe. The Japanese Consul gave a fiesta at which he toasted the President of the Philippines before proposing a toast to the High Commissioner (McNutt).” This Quezon considered as of no importance, and it was certainly not an official attempt of the Japanese to play politics in the Philippines. “The Americans in Manila had been pushing McNutt to assert himself, and got him crazy.” So, he sent circulars to all the Consuls in the Philippines calling their attention to the correct order of precedence, and instructing them to route all official correspondence with the Commonwealth Government through his office.
“In Washington, they had a Cabinet meeting to discuss the press furore over this matter, for they feared it would give trouble. Vice President Garner said: ‘I’m afraid we’ve sent a trouble maker there.’ President Roosevelt replied: ‘I wouldn’t say that, but he seems to be indiscreet.’
“I was in Paris at this time, but refused to be quoted as being mixed up in this damned nonsense. When I arrived in New York all the newspaper men were on to me on this question. I told them: ‘Gentlemen, all I wish to tell you is this: if there is a toast, and I am given the opportunity of drinking it, all I care about is that there should be enough to drink.’
“The President was relieved when he learned of this reply. But I feared that with McNutt I might have another Wood-Quezon fight on my hands in Manila. Before arriving home, I carefully wrote out my speech. The banquet of welcome, attended by some 1,500-2,000 people was dramatic enough for we had an earthquake during it. I told them: ‘In order that there may be no misunderstanding among the people, I consider it important on this occasion to state what I consider to be the rights of the President of the Commonwealth in relation to those of the American High Commissioner. The latter, as the representative of the President, occupies the highest place. But all the power and responsibility of this government, except in the matter of foreign affairs, rests in the President of the Philippines. In these matters, I am the boss. I will welcome any suggestions from the High Commissioner and no doubt his suggestions will exercise great influence on our decisions.” (Wm. H. Anderson’s book contains 20-30 pp. on this.)
Quezon next described his first lesson as a young member of the first Philippine Assembly in 1908 on how to act when attacked by the press. A local newspaper in Manila had attacked him in its morning issue and a friend rushed into his bedroom and awakened him with the article. He leapt out of bed, rushed through his dressing and ran to the office of the paper, asking to see Salazar, the editor. He shoved the paper before him and asked him if he had written it. “Yes,” so he pushed it into Salazar’s mouth who went over backward with his chair. Alemany rushed in to protest, and Quezon raging, asked him if he had anything to do with it, so Alemany fled. Then Salazar challenged Quezon to a duel and Quezon replied: “To hell with you and your duel.” He then went into the composing and printing room and told the workmen in Tagalog that they ought to quit working for such scoundrels.
The next morning, all the press attacked Quezon. He began to be ashamed and to think that after all he was disgraced. He went down to attend the session of the Assembly in the marble hall of the Ayuntamiento, and at the door met Governor General Smith, who “was himself a fighting Irishman”–Smith said to him: “Well, young man, you had quite a good time yesterday. Let me offer you a piece of advice–there is nothing worse than being ignored by the press; if they won’t praise you, pay them to attack you.” Osmeña said nothing to Quezon about the incident.
Visit to President Coolidge. Former Governor General Forbes told Quezon that in due time, Coolidge would be recognized as the greatest President next to Lincoln. Quezon remarked to me that he thought he was the worst “not even except Harding.” He described a visit with Osmeña to Coolidge in the White House. It was Osmeña’s first President; he bought a suit for the occasion and bowed low when entering the presence. Quezon continued: “After 10 minutes I saw that Sergio was beginning to revise his estimate. This was not one of Coolidge’s best days. He drawled and gulped and nobody could make sense out of anything he said. When we left the White House, Sergio said ‘Chico! Caramba! so that’s a President of the United States.'”
Quezon’s revision of Hare-Hawes-Cutting Bill: The provision of the indefinite retention of the American Army in the Philippines after independence was granted seemed to Quezon to make “independence” (a) futile–for had not the Army “betrayed” an American Governor General? What would they do when a Filipino became the head of state? “Suppose Don Sergio for example were the first President of an independent Philippines, what would happen? Directly after his inauguration he would perhaps wish to rest after the ceremonies and take a drive. He would go to Fort McKinley, outside Manila, and perhaps be halted by a sentry and turned back.”
The provision was moreover (b) dangerous--and would be liable to create incidents between the United States and the Philippines. Moreover, though at the time they naturally did not make this statement, there was the challenge to Japan in the continued presence of the U.S. Army in the Philippines. He thinks this requirement was a product of American imperialism.
So, he wired Osmeña and Roxas in Washington to await his arrival there and added that if they could convince him that the bill was wise, he would support it. This they failed to do. Senator Harry Hawes, one of the joint authors of the act, gave a luncheon for the Philippine delegation at which Joe Robinson, the floor leader of the Senate was present. Having listened to the discussion at the table, Robinson finally said with some show of anger–and he was a man of sudden anger and violence: “I’ve had enough of all this–you can take the law as it is, or leave it.” Quezon rose and said: “Then I’m through, we won’t accept the law.” He left and returned at once to the Philippines. Before Robinson’s death, a little later, the senator paid a handsome tribute to Quezon.
Upon his return to Manila, Quezon got the legislature to reject the law by more than a two-thirds’ vote. He told the caucus that they would have to “get rid” of Osmeña (the Vice President) as head of the senate (sic) and of Roxas as Speaker. There was much hesitation among them since the people were so anxious for independence that there was general support for the law. So Quezon told them: “You leave it to me–the popular support here for Osmeña and Roxas will not last thirty days.” Then Quezon offered his own resignation as President of Senate, which was refused by a large majority. Roxas, that evening, did not wait for the vote; he resigned as Speaker of the House of his own accord. He was “chaired” by the students at the University and said later that “he had fallen from the speakership into the arms of the people.” Quezon commented publicly that when Roxas had fallen into the arms of the students, he had picked out those of a pretty girl in the crowd–Quezon added that he wouldn’t mind that kind of a fall, himself. During the controversy, Quezon made no personal attacks nor reflections on either Osmeña or Roxas. The Hare-Hawes-Cutting law was overwhelmingly rejected by the legislature.
Religious Instruction in the Public Schools: Taft as the first Civil Governor had passed a law permitting this, but it was very ambiguous in its terms, and never put into effect. (N.B. this, and Taft’s visit to the Vatican, plus the “Friar Land Purchases” had a great deal to do with the re-election of Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. I was campaigning on the state ticket in New York in that election and knew of the immense activity–undercover–of the Catholic priests against our ticket headed by Alton B. Parker. F.B.H.)
Quezon says that when Laurel, Roxas and Recto were framing the constitution of the Philippine Commonwealth, Taft’s “religious instruction” proposition was inserted in the articles. The first session of the National Assembly, in the early winter of 1935-6, passed by 90 votes a law to this effect. Quezon vetoed the act on the ground that it was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Avanceña, whose advice he took privately, backed him up, but the act was never re-passed over Quezon’s veto, so never came before the courts. Avanceña went down to his home province of Iloilo to explain this matter to his sisters, who had brought him up and educated him. They had kept a school there since Spanish days, and were intensely religious. Avanceña did not broach the subject to his sisters but went to the priests who were those who “confessed” them, and explained to them the constitutional point. Then, after satisfying them, he arranged with them to come to dinner and to have one of them raise the question quite casually at the table.
Quezon was dictating to Canceran the chapter of his book on his birth and childhood. Great was my surprise at the primitive conditions at Baler 60 years ago: no market–everybody raised, or shot or caught their own food or exchanged their crops for venison and pork. Few shotguns; most of the people were armed only with spears or bow and arrows, etc. He replied: “Inferiority complex of the Filipinos never has permitted them to tell the truth about their primitive conditions in Spanish days. I shall be the first.” (Vivid contrast here with the profusion, extravagance and disregard of expenditure in which he has lived during the Commonwealth; instead of resenting this, the Filipino are probably proud of all this reckless display–I’ve never heard him express the view that anything he wanted was too expensive. F.B.H.)