August 1936
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Month August 1936

August 25, 1936

As Quezon was about to start for Iloilo I asked his secretary, Vargas, to secure me an interview with the President as I wished to present my resignation as Adviser, to enter into business. I knew that with this, (to Vargas), delightful reason, I should (for the first time) get an immediate appointment. Quezon was very cordial, and asked me what I wished. I told him that ever since he had hinted to me in the South that I should settle down in the Philippines for good and go into investments, I had been opening lines of enquiry and that it was “like pulling the string of a shower-bath.” He then remarked that he had expected to keep me as an adviser all through his presidency, and I remarked that I had supposed my appointment had been for only one year. He replied that if I really wished it, he would accept it, provided my resignation was not for dissatisfaction. I said that if things had sometimes not gone as I might have wished, it was too small a matter for comment. I told him of my admiration and friendship for him, and we parted the best of friends. In response to my subsequent letter of resignation, he later wrote as follows:

Malacañan Palace
Manila

August 27, 1936

Dear Governor Harrison:

In reply to your letter of August 25, 1936, submitting your resignation as Adviser to the President, as you are desirous of entering the Board of Directors of several of the newly forming business Corporations in the Philippines, I beg to advise you that I accept, with great regret, your resignation effective at the close of business, August 31, 1936.

Your wealth of experience in Government administration and your enthusiasm and faith in our efforts have enabled you to assist most effectively in the delicate and important tasks given you which included Government reorganization, and having finished your major assignments, to retain you longer in the service would be at too great a sacrifice on your part, and I feel it would not be fair.

I wish to take advantage of this opportunity to state that when I asked you to serve in the capacity of Adviser for the Government of the Commonwealth, it was not only my object to secure the services of a man whose knowledge and experience in government would be of immense value to my administration, but also to give public recognition of the unexcelled contribution you have rendered to the cause of good government in general and Filipino self-government in particular. I dare say that the existence of the Government of the Commonwealth today and the certainty of the establishment of the Philippine Republic nine years hence have both been made possible because of what you have done as Governor General of the Philippines. Despite what your detractors have written and said of your administration, I confidently believe that History will yet do you justice.

I wish you success in your new ventures and I hope this means that you have decided to cast in your lot with us.

Need I say that our last association has given me a lot of pleasure?

Always your friend and admirer,
Manuel L. Quezon

Nothing could have been handsomer, nor more characteristically generous than this.

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August 24, 1936

Quezon’s banquet for General MacArthur of 144 guests at one table in the central hall in Malacañan. Army, Navy, Consular Corps, Committees of Assembly, Church pundits, etc., etc. Probably the most brilliant and dramatic dinner party ever given in the Palace. The purpose of the evening’s ceremony was to confer an appointment as Field Marshal on MacArthur with the presentation of a gold baton. Quezon’s address opened with an account of his first visit to Malacañan in 1900 as a prisoner of war, he having been sent through the lines by General Mascardo of the Filipino insurrectionary forces from Zambales to ascertain whether General Aguinaldo was really a prisoner of war. The story was well and dramatically told–thus furnishing an excellent introduction to the son:–MacArthur’s address was carefully prepared and was eloquently delivered. He was covered with orders and decorations. His speech was all about preparedness. When he had finished, the Japanese Consul General who sat next to me whispered: “it is the same speech the Japanese Generals make before the Diet when they want more money for the Army!” He (Uchiyama) talked that evening more openly and frankly about Japan that one expects from one of their officials. Told me of recent nationalization of all water power in Japan; also of the new rule requiring old men to vacate the public service and in business as well;–in the latter they must now retire at the age of 55 unless they are Directors, when they can go on to 60. Youth insists on taking control. Pensioners get one third of their former salary.

Uchiyama had originally set up the first Japanese Legation in Havana;–he commented that Cuba under the Platt Amendment was much like the Philippine Commonwealth now.

Later, Quezon invited MacArthur and his staff, Cavender, Jim Ross and myself to stay on in his office, and we talked until one o’clock. MacArthur and I were urging Quezon to influence the Bulletin to stop its campaign in the United States in derogation of the Philippines. MacArthur says that news from the Philippines, manufactured by the Bulletin and by Walter Robb is published as facts by the Associated Press and the United Press etc., without verification–the only place in the world where this is possible! MacArthur also discussed the influence of Stanley Hornbeck in the State Department, who for fifteen years has directed “Far Eastern Affairs,” and is strong for America’s withdrawal from the Pacific.

August 21, 1936

Brought home to lunch, Dr. Victor Clark, the economic expert from Washington, who has been here for four months. As we both have been “advisers” of Quezon we chaffed one another about the small amount of “work” given us. I mentioned how I had passed the morning, and he said: “dilute your morning’s work down to 10% and you’ll get mine.” I told him how safe Quezon was on questions of currency and government finance, and that the President was determined to avoid the slightest excise for interference by the High Commissioner. He said he was perfectly satisfied with the financial situation here–except for the stock market boom which he thinks is bound to collapse, and he considers it a menace. He sailed for home the next day.

August 19, 1936

Quezon’s 58th birthday–great animation at Malacañan. The President was in very good form, and enthusiastic in his greeting. Had a talk with Yulo about Philippine citizenship, and he did not seem to have been instructed by Quezon to find a test case. He said Doria would become a Philippine citizen if I did, but would still retain her status as an English subject.

August 18, 1936

I read of a petition by part of the Native officials of the Dutch East Indies to the Volksrad for an autonomous government after ten years! This is one reason why, in my time, I always found the Dutch there (except for Governor General Limburg von Stirum himself) so worried about our plans for Philippine independence.

A. D. Williams came in to consult me about the task just given him by Quezon in a Cabinet meeting, to draft an Executive Order fixing a minimum wage 25% higher than the present average wages paid by the Bureau of Public Works in the different provinces. This order is to apply, of course, only to employes of the government. Quezon said this move was a “matter of conscience” with him. Williams had replied to him that the wages now paid them ranged from 40 centavos a day, in Ilocos to 90 centavos in Davao. He called Quezon’s attention to the fact that many clerical employes of the government received only 20 pesos a month. The President was for raising at once this minimum to 30 pesos, and proposed including the two propositions in one order. Difficulties of Civil Service rules appeared etc.

August 17, 1936

The August 15 edition of La Union reports an intelligent speech by Diputada Dolores Ibarruri in the Cortes in Spain, which makes clear the Civil War in Spain is largely based upon landlord and tenant disputes.

Visited the Survey Board; interesting conference with Don Miguel Unson, who was in one of his more confidential moods. We agreed in sympathizing with Quezon’s rather futile effort to escape from a life-long habit as a partisan politician. He is caught on flypaper, also, with his almost hopeless task of coping with the bureaucracy and with inter-departmental jealousies. His one big mistake was in taking over the Cabinet of his predecessor. If he had chosen as his Cabinet fresh men, infused with the new spirit of the Commonwealth, he might have been able to carry out his plans. “The people think he is strong!” said Unson. He then began on the subject of MacArthur and referred to Quezon’s unshakable confidence in the Marshal: “MacArthur has great prestige to maintain, and he would not do anything to lower it, but people are already laughing at his defense plans–what could we do to prevent Japan from taking Mindanao? A country is not supposed to be conquered until its capital is taken; but the Japanese could say “we don’t want Manila, we only want Mindanao”–as indeed they have done in Manchuria. What we really need here, thinks Unson, is a strong National Police force which could protect the rights of foreigners and avoid international incidents.” (N.B. It does appear that MacArthur’s defense plans refer principally to Luzon.) Unson then told the story of General Alejandrino’s resignation as adviser to the President. He had been studying defense plans since 1914, and was a member of the Council of National Defense when he became an adviser in January last. He prepared a plan for the National Police and had reached a certain point which needed a decision by the President, but his request for an interview was ignored. Se he resigned. Now Quezon has asked him to become once more a member of the Council of National Defense, and he told Unson he was reluctant to accept “because he wished to preserve his independence of thought.”

About the creation of a National Police force, Unson says my suggestion of a Guardia Civil is impracticable (I suppose because of opposition from the Army–plus the matter of cost). Quezon cannot consent to disentangle the Constabulary from the Army but expects to be able to retain direct control of the Constabulary branch of the army himself. His idea is now to put the Municipal police directly under the Constabulary with power to move them from one town to the other etc. This, Unson confesses is a direct invasion of municipal autonomy–“just when we are talking of giving greater autonomy to the municipalities”!–I told him that this, after all, is the English method of government–like “Alice through the Looking Glass”–he laughed and replied “well, we are doing some of it here already.” We then discussed the apparent impossibility of a solution of the problem of the government of the City of Manila. He says an elective Mayor would make it only worse. We agreed upon the hopelessness of the street and traffic problems–he cited what the Chinese have done in Canton and Amoy.

Unson then mentioned Guevara’s opinion that the United States had wanted the creation of an army here. He himself had referred this question to Governor General Murphy, who said “no,” then bit his lips and changed the subject.

August 13-17, 1936

August 15 at Rafferty’s dinner (Grawfus). I sat between Alfonso Sy Cip and Romulo, head of the Herald. Romulo told me of his dramatic defiance of General Wood, when the latter called him on the carpet for the attitude of his paper–(all of which was published in the Herald at the time); of the magnificent impromptu speech by Quezon in defense of my administration at a banker’s dinner in San Francisco. Romulo also said Manuel Roxas is “laying low”; that Quezon was mentioning my name to be first for inscription on the gold plate to be put up at Malacañan (on the first anniversary of the Commonwealth) to commemorate those Americans &c &c–Romulo also remarked: “it would be terrible if the Republicans won the election in the United States.”

Reception at Malacañan this night. As we had dined first at Colonel Garfinkel’s at Fort McKinley, we arrived after the reception line had dissolved and after the Rigodon had been danced. Quezon was in very good form and was pleased to show various improvements he had made in the Palace, which is now lighted by the great chandeliers from the old Ayuntamiento and was cheerfully bright for the first time since the Cimmerian darkness of the Murphy regime. The cabaret downstairs was dreadfully overcrowded. No whiskey was served at the bar. Dancers were streaming with sweat. Traffic, however, was better managed than I have ever seen it, for three different parking places were provided with a telephone to each. The refusal of Quezon to have whiskey and soda served surprised me more than anything I have ever known him to do. It can hardly have been the monastic influence of his predecessor! Anyway it made most of the guests leave early to dash for the Manila Hotel. However, Quezon himself, went to bed at 10:30 so he can’t have cared how early the guests left. Mrs. Quezon appeared, and was very agreeable.

August 16, 1936

Quiet Sunday. The A. D. Williams’ to bridge and dinner. Williams thinks Vargas may be the one who makes it so difficult for the few surviving “palefaces” at Malacañan. He added that they won’t ever use the documents he writes in English, but rewrite them with all the peculiar Filipino phraseology. Williams also said that everything proposed by the Bureau of Public Works was at once resisted by the city government.

August 12, 1936

Talk with A. D. Williams over the building activities of Quezon. Malacañan Palace is never quiet; always, there is hammering and moving of walls etc. It appears that while the President is acting Secretary of Public Works and Communications, Under Secretary Cruz has not a jot of authority, and every single decision of his has to be O.K.’s by Presidential Secretary George Vargas. Thus it is very hard to get things moving. Quezon asked Williams about making Vargas Secretary of this Department and putting Anonas in as Presidential Private Secretary. Williams replied to him that Quezon could not spare Vargas as his own Secretary, and it would be better to make Anonas Secretary of the Department of Public Works.

Williams and I talked of the coal mines at Cebu; the iron fields of Surigao; of the possibility of starting a heavy iron and steel industry here; of smelters for the chromium ore, etc. How wonderful it would be if the National Development Company could at last get started–but fear has always been an anaesthetic to them.

August 11, 1936

Saw Quezon coming out at 9:30 with A.D. Williams, Arellano the architect and Assemblyman Magalona. He called out to me asking me to lunch with him, and a moment later sent a messenger to ask me to join his party. We went down to the Port Area to see the land which Magalona wants to lease for a hotel. Quezon told me it would not compete with the Manila Hotel, since it would be of a different class, and would not be a success anyway –the group of Negros sugar planters represented by Magalona “had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it”; they hoped to construct the hotel in four months to be ready for the coming Eucharistic Congress. Quezon approved the plan “because the government might as well get the income from the rental.” Somebody added that “the Government would probably get the hotel in the end –to use for offices.”

Quezon talked of getting rid of the San Miguel Brewery as a neighbour of Malacañan Palace, and making government offices there, so that he could house all the bureaus under the control of the President in one group around him: Civil Service, Auditor, Budget Office &c. Apparently, he contemplates exchanging the Government Ice Plant (now leased for 120,000 pesos a year to San Miguel Brewery and assessed as worth 1,200,000) for the brewery buildings next to Malacañan.

Quezon also told us that Cuenco had been to see him asking his aid in getting the Assembly to modify the new inheritance tax law so as to exempt bequests for religious and educational purposes. Maximo Kalaw, the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee had then come to ask him to oppose this change. Quezon is opposed anyway –says the Government is spending a very great deal of money anyway on educational and charitable programs. The papers carry an item of another decision backed by Quezon to insist on the payment of certain taxes by the Church. It is possible he feels restless now over his re-conversion to the Church made when he was so ill in California several years ago. He is, I think, irked both by that and the partial restriction of his mental liberty. If so, the Church had won a Pyrrhic victory in restoring him to its bosom! I remember how at the time of my appointment as Governor General, the question was “why not send a Catholic to a Catholic country?” and the reply was “The Church doesn’t want a Catholic as Governor General –they had one in Governor General Smith, and he was so impartial in his relation to the Church that he leaned over backward!”

On our return to Malacañan, the President and I went to his office and I told him I wished to ask him about three points he had suggested to me as to my future relations out here!

(1) He had said I had better stay on out here for the rest of my life (giving complimentary reasons) –“not of course always in the Government –but as an investor” –I now was asked to become a director of a company about to be launched. He properly replied it would not be suitable “so long as I was at Malacañan”– of course he “had no objection to my making investments here.” (I passed up for the moment the plan I am forming to get out of the government service). Then Quezon asked me what was the second question?

(2) I raised again his suggestion that I should collaborate with him in a history of the Governors General since my time. His face lit up with this. I said we should not wait, but “strike while the iron’s hot.” He agreed, and advocated my seeing him three times a week, either while driving around or in Malacañan, adding “I like your company, and I think you like mine.” “The way not to write a biography is to sit down to it, because then one often misses the important points.” My third question.

(3) Was whether he had consulted Secretary Yulo as to Americans taking up Philippine citizenship. He jumped and said: “By Jove, I had forgotten that” and sent for Yulo immediately.

Then he went into the matter of his relations with  Murphy, saying “Murphy is a man who avoids facing a difficult situation –especially with a determined man like myself. If he ever comes back here he will not dare to try to run the government. I would rather have Weldon Jones here –he is clever, wise, and modest. I consulted him about that part of my message to the Assembly denouncing the withholding of the excise taxes in the United States –and he was very helpful.”

Quezon then gave me a copy of his letter of November 2, ’35 to Murphy opposing a “definition by the Secretary of War of the duties and privileges of the High Commissioner” and stating forcibly the constitutional rights of the new Commonwealth. Murphy never replied to this. The President went on to discuss the powers of inspection of the High Commissioner into the offices of the government, which are very broad. Said he had drawn up an authorization for all bureaus and offices to give information upon request by the High Commissioner, but on advice of Yulo he had withheld this. However, the only two matters on which information has not been furnished are: (a) the Philippine National Bank, which refused “in spite of my orders to furnish a copy of their minutes to the High Commissioner and I did not press them further” and (b) as to the Belo Fund. Murphy came to see him with a demand for the list of payments in the Belo Fund, and Quezon told him he could see it himself, but he would not turn it over to the High Commissioner’s office. He told Murphy: ” The powers of inspection of your office are based on the responsibility of the United States to make sure that Philippine finances are kept sound. How could the authorized expenditure of my 250,000 Belo Fund affect the general financial position? If this, however, is mere curiosity, or is an attempt to show that I have not administered the fund honestly and legally, –I resent it.” Murphy returned to the enquiry later, but got no further. Quezon went on the steamer as far as Hong Kong with Murphy who then never raised the question, but en route to Shanghai he gave Yulo a letter on the point, saying he need not put it on the record if it was thought unwise. Yulo never gave this letter to Quezon. Then, the President continued: “I would rather deal with a man who came out in the open like Stimson –who was a savage, but not one who fought from ambush– he was out on the open road always ready for a scrap. He was brutal –I never knew a man so well brought up who was so rough. Once during Stimson’s administration as Governor General, Don Miguel Unson came to me and said he would have to resign as acting Secretary of Finance. I persuaded him not to resign and then told Stimson, who replied: ‘I have tried to be careful with the Filipinos and especially with Unson –I didn’t know I was rough!'”

Later, at luncheon with Quezon and Aldanese, I opened the conversation by saying I had seen in the papers that he is interested in the Leyte Rock Asphalt dispute with the Bureau of Public Works. That this was not my business, but I had the papers on my desk and here they were –the latest statements from A.D. Williams and Claude Russell. He said at once “I am in favour of A.D.” –(so sounds the death knell of an infant Philippine industry!). He went on to say that Claude Russell had lost the government a lot of money as head of the defunct coal company (no doubt he did, but this valuable coal is now about to “come home to roost”). He added that General Wood came out here breathing fire and promising to “take the Government out of business,” but the only business they should properly have relinquished was that of coal, and: “Wood kept hold of this company for two years after we tried to close it up, because Russell kept flattering him.” He then went on about Wood. I told of the day in November 1920 when the news of Harding’s election as President had been received here. At the moment, I was driving up to Malacañan with Quezon and Osmeña and one of them said: “This means either Wood or Forbes.” “How did you come to prophecy Wood?” I asked. Quezon replied: “We didn’t select Wood; he was chosen because he was a defeated candidate for the Presidency and Harding didn’t want him around. I had first known Harding when he was a Senator, and asked him later in the White House why he had sent Wood to the Philippines. Harding replied: ‘Because the people of the Philippines asked for him.’ ‘Why, Mr. President, no reputable Filipino would ask for a man who had insulted them as the Wood-Forbes Report did.'” (Quezon found there a telegram prepared by Fairchild and Cotterman! I asked if any Filipino had signed it and he said “perhaps Aguinaldo.”) “But,” added President Harding, “Wood will stay there only a year, for the University of Pennsylvania has elected him Chancellor, and will hold it open for a year.” Quezon thereafter started back to Manila and meanwhile the Legislature had passed a resolution offering co-operation to Wood. Quezon was angry about this. He told Osmeña they ought to fight, but Osmeña was for compromise. During the first year, the Legislature passed every bill requested by Wood. At the end of the year, Harding wired Wood that he was unwilling to impose on his sacrifice any longer, but Wood replied that his work here was unfinished. “No gentleman,” remarked Quezon, “would reply in that way to the President’s suggestion.” The Chancellorship of the University of Pennsylvania was then given to another, and Wood remained as Governor General for some six more years until his death. Both men present at this lunch said that Wood had employed every effort to investigate them. Aldanese added that he was not aware that for two months, four army secret service men had been raking everywhere for his “graft” because he wore a diamond ring and was building a house. They examined all the banks in Manila for proof of his supposed wrong-doing. Then Wood congratulated him (Aldanese) “because there was nothing against him.” Quezon said they had made a search for his “five millions” which were, they concluded “probably in Spain”!! George Fairchild, who was a traitor to Quezon (and to me) in every other respect, said at that time in a conference with Wood, that Quezon never had been a grafter. Fairchild ought to know, because when my administration had helped him to start his sugar central at San Jose, Mindoro, George had offered him 600,000 pesos of the stock which Quezon refused. Fairchild then gave some of this stock to his lawyers: Jim Ross, who kept his (and lost) and his partner Ham Lawrence, who sold his (and gained).

Quezon then told of the special election for senator of Ramon Fernandez over Sumulong. He said that one day at lunch at Malacañan he told Wood that the contest was not between those two candidates, but it was Wood vs. Quezon and that he (Quezon) would beat him in every precinct. Wood (who had a sense of humour, as Quezon remarked) smiled and replied that he was afraid that was so. And so it was! Quezon and Aldanese agreed that Wood’s mind had begun to fail when he was here as Governor General.

The President had invited Collector of Customs Aldanese, to lunch in order to discuss measures for increasing the safety at sea on Philippine ships. He said that on a recent trip to Cebu with Osmeña, he had put “Baby” Quezon (his eldest daughter) with a party in one of the ship’s boats, which leaked, and it required two men to keep bailing it out; –then, one after the another two oars broke! Aldanese was told that a committee of naval officers would visit him at Quezon’s request to discuss plans for greater safety. Aldanese said regulations were not observed in ships because the owners pushed the captain to carry more passengers than the law allows to ports where there are no customs officers; he added that the law should be amended to provide for power of suspension of the right to navigate a vessel, so the owners would have to back up the ships’ officers in enforcing regulations. Quezon agreed. They also said that far too many officers are employed on these ships. The President remarked that he would furnish Aldanese with twelve secret service men to travel about and investigate the shipping situation.

August 10, 1936

I asked de Jesus to get me an interview with Quezon.

August 3-9, 1936

On August 3rd the Bulletin carried an article stating that the High Commissioner’s office had turned “thumbs down” on the proposed new bond issue for public works pending in the Assembly. The Herald that afternoon published a very aggressive and powerful statement by Quezon that the High Commissioner’s office had absolutely no legal authority to interfere in the matter of the bond issue, and denouncing the Bulletin etc. I telephoned him that night to congratulate him on his statement. He was pleased, but said he was in bed with a temperature of 102° (probably the result of yesterday’s lechon at the picnic he gave in Laguna Province for the Assembly!); he added: “I was somewhat provoked by the Bulletin’s article.” Subsequently, he told me how the idea had been given to the Assembly thru Cuenco–that the policy of the Bulletin was to be always “throwing bricks” at the Administration; that it was also that paper’s fixed principle to try to make out that the High Commissioners governed the Philippines, (contrary to the provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Act). His vigorous counter-attack threw the Bulletin office into confusion, and Taylor sent Ora Smith to Malacañan to apologize, but he couldn’t see the President because of his illness. Quezon told me “every pain I had in my stomach I laid on the Bulletin.” Weldon Jones came to see him the next day and said “This may cost me my job,” so Quezon sent a letter by Clipper to Murphy stating that Jones was not responsible for the “thumbs down” article; that he was very satisfactory here, and would be the best man for High Commissioner if Murphy did not come back.

On the same day (August 3rd) the Herald printed an article by MacArthur on the defense of the Philippines. It was an extremely able and brilliant analysis of the military problems of this country, and made very convincing reading. Quezon was so much pleased that he proposes to give a banquet in favour of General MacArthur.

Quezon was in Baguio August 5-8, 1936. Jim Ross had dinner with him recently, and the President said that Mrs. Quezon was going away for a year. Jim told him to be careful and to remember “the fierce light which beats upon the throne”!

July 25-August 2, 1936

In Baguio July 25-30, house hunting for next winter. Saw for the first time the interior of several houses there. These Americans may have known how to make money out here, but certainly not how to spend it. Stevenot’s is a really decent little cottage; as also are Stevenson’s and Kingcome’s (two Englishmen). On the whole, there is probably no nation except possibly the Norwegians so totally devoid of taste and comfort in their homes as the Baguio Americans. Perhaps this is due to the “temporary” psychology of those who are making fortunes out of shoes, lumber etc., and are investing nothing in the country, always ready for instant flight when the daily dire prophecies of the Bulletin come true. They have been poised on tiptoe for a dash home every moment for the past 30 years!

Typhoon for two days–temperature 62°. It is more agreeable in Baguio when it is empty. Drive back down the Benguet Cañon with six landslides temporarily blocking the road;–enormous boulders had fallen from the cliffs above. This road should never have been built, since a fraction of the money spent on bridges in the lowlands, and on the old Spanish trail via Naguilian would have served the purpose far better. We built the Naguilian road in 1914 to have an alternative access to Baguio if Benquet road washed out again.

During the week, the Ship of State has lain in the doldrums with sails flapping in idleness. Lots of talk. An effort is being made by Quezon to get his taxation measures through the Assembly. Bombardment of the City Council of Manila by all the papers. The usual suspension and punishment of provincial and municipal officials here and there is going on. Constant press criticism of the number of “advisers” and “technicians” at Malacañan. I must get out of it as gracefully as possible–certainly when my year is up.

Vacation visit of two delegations from Japan have arrived, including eight members of their House of Peers.

Reception at the Swiss Club August 1st on their national holiday; lots of generals present–American and Filipino.