March 12, 1943

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!

June 11, 1936

Arrived early in Jolo. The party went off to tour the island, while Quezon took me swimming to a beach half an hour by motor from Jolo, an ideal strand and cool crystal water. This is the only proper swimming place we have yet found. We were followed by Major Gallardo and six soldiers, who were posted at sharpest attention facing back from the beach on to the jungle. There have been three killings this week in Jolo–one of a soldier by a juramentado. Quezon found the water rather too cold, but was exhilarated by the spur of it. We were taken there by a Spanish mestizo formerly in government service in Manila who now owns the electric light plant in Jolo. The President introduced him as the “Rockefeller of Jolo” and said to him: “you have made millions out of the Moros”–to which he replied: “no Sir! out of the cristianos, because the Moros go to bed immediately after dinner!” Quezon roared, and said: “Now this man is a friend of mine.”

We talked of General Wood, and Quezon said: “When I write my history of his administration here people will say I was prejudiced, but Wood wished to sell the whole Philippines. He was also so anxious to make friends with the Moros that he told the Constabulary not to shoot at them”–“the result was that a few years ago the Moros massacred nearly a whole company of Constabulary here in Jolo, and killed all the officers; the only survivors were those who were the fastest runners”–“I do not feel any rancour against General Wood, only pity.”

The Sultan of Sulu has just died, and the question of the perpetuation of the “Sultanate” is raised. His brother is the claimant tho his niece Dayang-Dayang wishes to be Sultan. Quezon says she is, by far, the ablest of the Moros, and is married to Datu Umbra. (I remember her telling me 20 years ago how she had fought against the American army in the trenches at the battle of Bud Daho.) The Mohammedan law, so far as I know, does not permit of a woman being Sultan, but anyhow the late Sultan surrendered a large part of his political sovereignty to General Bliss in 1903 (?) and finally to Carpenter in 1915. “Much greater surrender of rights to Carpenter” said Quezon. He told me Governor Fort of Jolo wished the government to select the Sultan, but Guingona stopped his making this blunder before it was too late. There is to be a conference at 10 a.m. today to settle this question; Quezon said he would recognize the Sultan only as the religious head. I asked him whether it would not be easier to do as the English and Dutch do? “No! not at the expense of good government. My first thought is always of that.” (An excellent and characteristic bit of philosophy).

He is now talking confidentially with Mrs. Rogers (a German mestiza who is the wife of a former Governor of Jolo, and is the source of much of his information here). I heard him say: “If you were a man, I would make you Governor of Jolo.” I asked Mrs Rogers if there were any dances at Jolo? “No! only killings.”

Quezon told me that Osmeña made a speech during the late political campaign denouncing him for his fight against Governor General Wood, and stating that he (Osmeña) had only taken part “as a matter of discipline.” Quezon remarked: “I was very glad to learn this–they were scared.” To my question, he said “I forced the Cabinet to resign.”

I told Quezon that the closest parallel to his constructive work was that of Mustapha Kemal in Turkey, who has given perhaps the best example today of government work in modernizing and organizing an Asiatic race. He replied: ”Yes! he is more like me than anybody else.” He has evidently been studying Kemal’s career. Quezon added: “the chief difference between us is the religious one–he is a Mohammedan and I a Christian.” I remarked that Kemal had separated Church and State. “Yes, but the religious difference between us, however superficial the religion of each of us, permits him a different behaviour. We both love to gamble, but I refrain from doing so–Kemal seeks his excitement, when government affairs are quiet, in the underworld, drinking with the lowest men and frequenting the coarsest women.” I remarked: “Well, Kemal is not a gentleman.” Quezon replied “Neither am I,–I come from the common people.” He went on to say that Kemal, like himself had an “unbalanced nervous character,” but while Kemal satisfied his tendencies in abovementioned ways, Quezon restrained himself. He agreed with my remark that he (Quezon) would not be so well if he did not have all these troubles and excitements of political life with which to contend.

The President then talked of the Philippine Army. I said that if they had not taken away from us the National Guard which he and I organized in 1917-18 (Air Corps and submarine also) we would be better off here now. “Yes,” he replied, “our work would now be partly accomplished.” We spoke of the parade on the Luneta in which I led the National Guard division in review before him. Quezon said “Wasn’t that splendid! I want you and myself to review at least one hundred thousand Filipino soldiers before the end of my administration; many of our rich people here don’t want to pay for protection! But this will cure the inferiority complex of the Filipinos.” He spoke of the fine soldiers now here on the wharf, and we agreed that these fellows were “killers.”

There has been only one typhoon in Jolo in 80 years–that of 1932, which took off most of the roofs in the town.

I asked him (Quezon) again about the 5 torpedo boat vessels he has ordered from Italy, and he said they were exceedingly fast and quite cheap, adding: “these are the boats with which Mussolini scared the British Navy out of the Mediterranean.”

Bridge in p.m.; at night a ball in the Park pavilion in Zamboanga. I went with Osmeña. Major General Holbrook was there, having brought three planes down from Manila. The steamer sailed early in the morning for Manila direct, cutting out the Culion (leper colony) part of the program because many of the Assemblymen are prone to seasickness.

April 5, 1936

Arrived at 1 p.m. at Iligan, but such a heavy sea was running we could not land at the pier. All were greatly disappointed not to go up to Dansalan, being anxious to be on the scene of last week’s fighting. Quezon talked a little of the Moros. He has given the Constabulary an absolutely free hand in dealing with them–they are to be petted no longer. He will not listen to their interminable and childish speeches, and does not receive their delegations which come to Manila; says he is going to stop the pension paid the Sultan of Sulu (tho fixed by treaty) because he will not recognize his claim to sovereignty. Says he will make the husband (now Assemblyman) of the Princess Dayang-Dayang Governor of Jolo, since he knows that she will govern the island well. The general disposition is to cease pampering the Moros. Quezon will stop the annual subsidy paid to bring important Moros to Manila.

We lay off Kolumbugan (lumber) settlement for some hours, but there is no road from there to Iligan, so we went back at 10 p.m. to see if we could land–no luck–so off to Zamboanga and Jolo.

January 3, 1936

Nothing doing at office; Quezon sick in Malacañan –should return to Baguio. Garfinkel said Quezon had a “heavy night” at the Casino Español –but Quezon does not drink. Food causes his upsets. Saw Vamenta formerly Attorney of Department of Mindanao and Sulu; he told me Osmeña was anxious to do something for Governor Frank Carpenter who is now in a soldiers home in Massachusetts. Said when the Sultan of Sulu signed the treaty with us renouncing his rights of sovereignty (in my time) Carpenter had told him (Vamenta) that if they were Englishmen their future would be assured, but that “republics were ungrateful” &c.

P.M. Golf at Caloocan with Doria. Talked with Consul General Blunt who commented on Quezon’s quickness of thought and decision –said Quezon was so reasonable –he could even take another’s opinion.