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.)