July 1936
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Month July 1936

July 24, 1936

Breakfast at Malacañan Palace with the President, Secretary Yulo, Carmona and architect Arellano.

Before the others arrived, I told Quezon how much I approved his appointment of Hermenegildo Cruz as Director of the Bureau of Labour, and the President replied that under the preceding administration Cruz had been “framed,” but that he (Quezon) had then advised him to resign because he had lost the confidence of Governor Murphy.

At the table, the President remarked that he was reading Professor Kirk’s new book on the Philippines, and enjoyed the first chapter so much because of the cynicism with which the author exposes the “cant” of McKinley’s government in pious profession of the “White Man’s Burden.” He added that Governor Forbes had really believed in that cliche. Quezon and I both admitted to one another that we had tried to read Governor Forbes’ book on the Philippines, and had been quite unable to do so.

After lunch, we all went down to Binondo to look at three sites for the proposed new building of the Philippine National Bank. In the business district, the crowds stared at Quezon as if he were royalty!

I enquired as to Quezon’s opinion of the present disorders in Spain. He replied that the Spanish people are not fit for self-government, and have lost the ability to carry on under a constitutional monarchy. “What they need,” he remarked “is five years of a dictatorship.”

To dinner with Colonel Hodsoll at the Manila Club; the first entertainment given by the English since the death of King George V.

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July 8-18, 1936

Ten days of “innocuous desuetude.” There is nothing whatever on my desk, except one paper on a real property assessment in Manila which George Vargas sent me–probably out of kindness!

Since the collapse of the ardent plans Quezon and I shared on his earlier proposed plan for a reform of the agrarian problem, his manner, on the few occasions when I have seen him, has appeared somewhat constrained. Am trying meanwhile through Unson and Benitez to learn what really happened to my Landlord and Tenant bill.

July 9, 1936

One hour with Miguel Unson at the Survey Board, where we went over the ground of my recent conversation with the President concerning the policy of having appointive governors in the Provinces.

Unson next asked my advice as to how he should go about reporting to the President three resolutions of the Survey Board on matters in which Quezon has already acted or formed an intention of doing so, over the heads of Unson and of his other colleagues on the Board, and against Unson’s deepest convictions:

(a)  Salaries in the Bureau of Justice recently fixed by Quezon (a “hot one” just put over by Secretary of Justice Yulo), which deranges the other scales of salaries under the standardization plan;

(b)  Quezon’s reported plan to put the Bureau of Prisons under the Philippine Army (another “hot one”–this time by General Paulino Santos);

(c)  Creation of new machinery for the Moro Province. This is Guingona’s influence, and when Unson had him before the Survey Board, Guingona refused to answer our questions, alleging that he had already taken up the matter with the President and considered it confidential! Unson had then read to Guingona the law requiring all government officials to answer questions of the board, but the latter still refused to reply and stuck to his guns!

Inasmuch as both Quezon and Unson, separately, have previously expressed to me the same ideas as to how to deal with the Moros, viz.: to stop “babying” them and to block their drive for “separation” from the rest of the population of the Philippines, it appears to me that this breach is only one of form, or procedure and not of principle. However, the way of the reformer (Unson) is no path of roses, especially when an equally determined “reformer” (Quezon) is his superior officer, and has already decided things!

Rafferty came in to my office and said he had recently talked with Osmeña, who commented on how much my past and present services were appreciated here, and how well the Assemblymen thought of me. Celestino Rodriguez, (who has never been very pro-American) told Rafferty the same story. These comments came as rather an anti-climax to my scene with Quezon yesterday over the Landlord and Tenant bill.

Rafael Palma next came to see me, happy over an interview held just previously with Quezon, concerning an attempt to introduce religious instruction in the government schools. To Palma’s great delight, the President had told him that, as a leading Mason, he should keep in the background, and must leave to him, Quezon, the duty of putting a stop to the Church’s attempted intrusion into the schools. Palma looks younger, more serene and happier than he has appeared since my return here last Autumn. This man is through and through an ardent patriot and always an upright public servant. He has entirely recovered his former serenity now that he is doing really useful public service, as head of the National Council of Education.

I commented to Palma that I could barely understand the English spoken by the young Filipinos of today. He admitted that their accent is getting worse and worse, and hopes that this may be corrected by the use of gramophones in the schools. He added that it was superhumanly difficult to get a new idea through what he called “The Junta.”

My last caller was “Deacon” Prautch, who wished to talk “Credit Unions.” He has a peculiarity I have never observed in another man:–he not only evades an answer to any direct question, but doesn’t even trouble to reply.

July 8, 1936

Forty minutes with Quezon in his office in the Executive Building. I think he is bothered by the air-conditioning in the Palace. Had not seen him for 18 days, during part of which he had the flu–he looks rather worn and tired, and seemed under somewhat of a nervous strain. Showed me the eight enlarged photographs which he has hung on the walls of this office–Taft, Murphy and I are the three Americans. I then approached the subject of appointive governors; told him the Survey Board was anxious to recommend this to him, but did not wish to embarrass him;–that I thought there would be considerable support for it in the Assembly. Also, I advanced Miguel Unson’s project for a Provincial Council (of the administrative officials) and an elected provincial board of four. I asked whether it would not be better to combine both into one body? He replied that the whole Cabinet (except Osmeña) was in favour of appointive Governors; when the Americans wished to appear to be bringing self-government to the Filipinos, they gave them elective governors, but gave the latter no power, retaining all authority in the hands of the Governor General and that this move had been a sham. He said he would transmit the Survey Board’s recommendation to the Assembly with the frank comment that he did not need the power of appointment, since he has complete control now, and if the Assembly wanted to introduce more self-government they should take part of it away from him and give it to the governors. However, he stated that only the United States and Mexico and a few other countries had elected Governors (n.b. there are special historical reasons for this in the United States); that all the other countries had appointive governors–that it was much better administration, and would be no real infringement on democracy.

Quezon next said that when Weldon Jones had lunch with him recently, the latter suggested that the High Commissioner would be pleased to know that the President had recommended the abolition of the Belo fund–that Murphy had wanted this done. Quezon appears to have flared up at this and asked: “Why did Murphy use the Belo fund for two and one-half years as Governor General and then want it taken away from his successor?” Quezon then added: “Murphy is an Irishman.” He explained that the Belo fund had been first given to Governor General Stimson, who took over when Wood had completely disorganized this government with his “Cavalry Cabinet.” The Governor General’s office was then out of touch with the natural channels of administration. But the Belo fund had served its purpose long ago, and Quezon wished to regularize appropriation laws by abolishing the fund after he had completely organized his government structure. Weldon Jones answered that Murphy had told him he had taken up this matter with Quezon en route to Hong Kong, but the President replied that Murphy had never mentioned it. It appears that Murphy had suggested it to Secretary Yulo, but Yulo says nobody would dare to take it up with Quezon!

The President then told me that if Murphy does not come back he will advise the appointment of Jones as High Commissioner. He thinks Jones has plenty of brains and good judgment. (n.b. it appears from this involved story that Quezon is intensely resentful of anything being carried on behind his back which affects his powers or privileges).

As I was leaving, I asked the President whether he had struck a snag in the Landlord and Tenant act? He said: “yes, I had been intending to talk to you about that–it is a bad law.” I supposed I looked very blank for he went on to say there are no teeth in the law “and what we need in this country is teeth.” I asked him whether he had read my original bill which, upon his instructions, I took to Diokno for advice as counsel to the government corporations. He said “No”! I told him it was attached to Diokno’s version of the bill when I handed it to him, and that it contained all the teeth of Gladstone’s Irish Land Laws, and that Diokno had modified it by including some of the provisions of the existing Civil Code–which, instead, might well have been amended this was intended to meet the objections of both Diokno and Yulo that we could not “impair the obligation of contracts.” “That,” said the President, “is what spoiled the bill.” He then left me and, carrying the bill, went into the adjoining room, where the Cabinet was in session behind closed doors. After some ten minutes he came back, closing the door again, and stood before me with his shoulders thrown back in the characteristic stance of an Ilongot warrior (a nation in the Luzon mountains from which his own mother had sprung). Waving the bill again he said: “Governor, this is a bad bill.” I replied, “No! Mr. President, that is a good bill, but it has one all-important defect in the eyes of those to whom you may just now have shown it–there are too many representatives of the Caciques among them–nearly all those who have been called on to pass upon it, except you and myself, are members of, or representatives of the great landowning caste.” Quezon seemed somewhat impatient and high-strung, so I excused myself and left him.

So ended a chapter, so far as I was concerned, and the pity of it is that our ardent wish to cut out of the life of this country the cancer which is eating at the provinces has gone glimmering! There was not even a suggestion from the President of having the bill amended again, or reframed, as so many of the bills are before passage into law. I see that my hopes of evolving a yeoman stock of small landowners in place of the existing feudal system in the country districts is dished. When I reflect that Quezon himself, a few short months ago, had first suggested to me the Irish Land Laws as a model for the Philippines, and how ardently he himself had wished for that reform, I wish I knew what influences had meanwhile so powerfully turned him to the “right about”! Later that day, A. D. Williams, the American he constantly on all of his manifold building and construction enterprises, and who is probably more frequently at his side than any other of my fellow countrymen, told me that “a prominent Nueva Ecija landowner,” whom we all know well, probably killed the bill. If that is correct, Quezon’s attitude before me this morning was a simply superb display of his histrionic talents!

At all events, I now feel that my usefulness to him has been impaired, and I shall await a suitable opportunity to resign my post.

July 3-7, 1936

Politically, a dull period; I did not see Quezon and talked with him only once on the telephone when I invited him to come to our dance at Parañaque. Doria and I have spent the time at bridge, golf, dancing, dining out and the cinema. The newspapers have been uninspiring, containing chiefly flaring headlines about Murphy in the United States,–asking whether he is to be a candidate for Governor of Michigan, or will come back here instead as High Commissioner. His attitude appears to be that of “Richard Yea and Nay.”

July 1, 1936

At the very last moment before his authority to act under the reorganization act lapsed, and without further action by the Assembly, Quezon signed the recommendations of the Government Survey Board dealing with the transfer of Provincial and Municipal Treasurers from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Finance; also that transferring the collection of the radio fees from the Post Office to Treasurers; moreover, practically all of our recommendations removing routine functions from the Bureau of Science and transferring same to the School of Hygiene, Bureau of Health and Bureau of Plant Industry were approved. This leaves the Bureau of Science with little else than research work (which was our main objective) and the Division of Mines. The way is now open for organizing it as a Bureau of Industrial Science as we wished. There will be “wailing and gnashing of teeth” in the Bureau of Science. I wrote Quezon a note congratulating him on his decision in this matter, and advising him to make a layman–administrator as head of the Bureau of Science. It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to get this through the legislature–the scientists confuse them so, and have such a network of friendship and influence. No howl in the newspapers yet. I suppose the Bureau of Science people are stunned.