September 1936
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Month September 1936

September 29, 1936

At Malacañan, Kiko was introduced to the President in his office–which was formerly the bedroom where Kiko was born–Quezon was very cordial to him and had delightful manners with the boy; showed him about the Palace, and I myself was intrigued by all the recent improvements. The fill is completed on the riverside–to be made into lawn only, with no buildings; the water front opposite is to be a private golf course for Malacañan with a little ferry across the river.

At luncheon, Quezon talked of his recent stiff remarks to the Assembly on their proposal to abolish the salary of Ruiz, Director of Posts,–which, he believes, was really an invasion of the constitutional privileges of the Executive.

The President reported that he had just been talking on the radio-phone with Hausserman, in the United States, who predicted Roosevelt’s re-election, though the Digest polls were favourable to Landon. I asked him about the change of sentiment in America as to the Philippines. He replied that he was like a man in charge of a vessel during a typhoon:–he had nothing to do but to stick to the helm and be prepared for every emergency, and he didn’t want to be caught “snoring.” He agreed that the ten year term for the Commonwealth before independence was just as likely to be shortened as to be lengthened.

He told me he had arranged for Hartendorp’s paper a subsidy of 300 pesos a month, and was ready to go to 500 pesos; remarked that Hartendorp had behaved so much like a man when he was “fired” at Malacañan.

He then went back to the Wood administration, and said that General Frank McCoy was the only able man around Wood. He had been put there by the Forbes crowd to outwit him, (Quezon) but he had won most of the deals. McCoy wanted later to be commanding General of the Philippines, and he (Quezon) had blocked it. I laughed and remarked that he must have selected all the recent commanding generals here himself; –none of them were too bright. Quezon actually looked slightly confused for a moment, then broke out in a story of the selection of T. Roosevelt as Governor General. Hurley (the Secretary of War) told Quezon that Hoover wanted to placate the Progressive element in the Republican party, so wished to make “T.R. Jr.” Governor General here. Hurley asked Quezon to meet “T.R. Jr.”–which he did, then went to see Hurley who enquired what Quezon thought. “You told me, Mr. Secretary that the people of Puerto Rico all liked ‘T.R. Jr.'”–“yes”–“Well then they must be very far behind the people of the Philippines in modern thought.” Hurley laughed and Quezon told him to give him one month in the Philippines before “T.R.” came, and he would make it all right for him. But he warned Hurley that the members of the Cabinet would size up a Governor General in fifteen minutes. When he arrived at Manila, “T.R. Jr.” was only a Mabuhay man. How mistaken “T.R. Jr.” was in writing that letter of advice to his son, (remarked Quezon)–in which he cautioned him against accepting a commission in the army as that career was only suited to the less intelligent mind! Quezon said Governor General Davis had really made no impression out here; he had previously been Secretary of War and really didn’t want to come here–had wished instead to be Ambassador to France or to England.

Quezon told me he would revise the terms of the close season for snipe shooting whenever I wished,–adding: “I never pay much attention to what those Ph.D. men in the Bureau of Science say.”

I remarked that Kiko, having been born here, could, upon reaching the age of 21, choose whether he wished to be an American or a Philippine citizen–in which respect he had a wider choice than myself. Quezon at once said he would put a resolution thru the Assembly conferring citizenship on me; he had looked up the power in the constitution and found it there.

We had many laughs together and a really happy luncheon. He was pleased with Foster’s recent interview, especially his remark; “Up to this point President Quezon didn’t seem to think there was anything he couldn’t do.”

September 28, 1936

Quezon telephoned me himself asking me to bring my son Kiko out to luncheon.

September 26, 1936

Record of yesterday’s (Friday) one hour press conference–(not intended to be published verbatim, because the President answers all questions like a “good fellow” without having to consider the effects on the public). He is, however, quoted as being in favour of woman’s suffrage, adding: “my friends might say that the President changes his mind, but when I change my mind I have a reason for it.” This reminds me of my attempt last winter to persuade him to have a regular series of office appointments, not more than fifteen minutes each, and not to spend so interminably long a time listening to certain talkative men, by which process he dislocates his whole program. His reply to me then was: “When I give a long interview it is because it is important.” What he meant, I think, is that it was politically important to him to give up his time to that individual.

Another, and certainly important part of the Friday press conference dealt with the length of time for the existence of the Commonwealth. He said (without quotation marks): That his program of government presupposes the execution of the Tydings-McDuffie independence plan and that public affairs here were being so run that if Congress should decide to give independence tomorrow or say within five years from today, the Islands would be prepared to assume full control and responsibility for the government without any hitch. Then he was quoted as follows: “I have no doubt that many Filipinos want the Commonwealth to continue. Professor Kirk in a recent book answers the question intelligently. I do not believe that the average Filipino is for the continuation of the Commonwealth after the transition period has elapsed. The majority of the people are for terminating the Commonwealth. The protectorate plan is entirely out of the question because it is not understood and accepted in the United States. We are ready for independence in five years, even tomorrow, if Congress should decide to give it. I am preparing this government for that.”

September 24, 1936

Arrival of my son Kiko who was born here in Malacañan Palace on February 7, 1921, and left with me when he was five weeks old. Now he comes alone from England.

September 21, 1936

Return to Manila of Quintin Paredes, Resident Commissioner to the United States, who is reported as wishing to resign. He states the difficulties he has encountered in America, and still hopes for the payment of the Philippine Government of the excise tax and the gold devaluation fund. He says there is very little understanding in the United States as to the Philippine situation. False reports, he states, are sent by “some journalists” in Manila and printed by the United States press without verification. (Aimed at the Bulletin assassins). No reference to this statement was printed on September 22, in the Bulletin nor in the Tribune. This corroborates what General MacArthur told Quezon in our recent meeting. Paredes says: “Information now current in the United States is that the Commonwealth Government is very extravagant in its expenses, and that our system of education has been wrecked. Some correspondents here in the Islands have sent this misinformation to the United States with the apparent purpose of discrediting the new government.” (This is the same campaign which was daily directed for years from here against my administration. The Filipinos of twenty years ago paid no attention to it when aimed at me;–indeed seemed to believe it, if not to enjoy it!)

The exodus of government officials to enter business continues–some of their best men are leaving office.

Flare-up in Baguio recently where Quezon went to attend the commencement exercises of the Officers Training Corps. The members of the Assembly present at this commencement left the reception because their Speaker was not “recognized.” (A great deal of antagonism against the new Army and its officers exists in the Legislature.) It is hard work for Quezon to keep the boat from rocking. He is staking all on the new army.

September 15, 1936

Quezon asks the Assembly to permit the recall of the “Chinese book-keeping” bill, as he will not veto it if passed, but asks that the Chinese be given a term (2-3 years?) to prepare!! This is a bill already mentioned in the preceding pages of this diary, which requires Chinese in the Philippines to keep their accounts for tax inspection in English, Spanish or a native dialect. The Herald, Tribune and Bulletin commend his action editorially. As this is the law for which he and I fought so hard nearly twenty years ago, and the unconstitutionality of which as declared by the United States Supreme Court caused Quezon to denounce savagely to me only three months ago the legal decisions of both Chief Justice Taft and Justice Johnson,–that is, to say the least, a most extraordinary reversal on Quezon’s part. The power to make this law is now said to be existent under the new Commonwealth constitution. It is very sad for me to see him jettison one of the principles which he held most ardently. He now gives somewhat the appearance of a man riding a bucking broncho–not of a leader.

September 4, 1936

After luncheon at Malacañan, Quezon took Ross and me into his office and read us a long letter from a young Filipina girl who had been one of the summa cum laude students whom he had congratulated at the recent University of the Philippines commencement. He had met her again on the steamer on his last trip to Iloilo and since then has been conducting a sentimental, (tho innocent!) correspondence with her. He seemed struck with amazement at her independence of view, lack of respect for his position, distrust of politicians and freedom of thought. She even used that phrase “corrupting the youth” (for which Socrates was condemned) about one of her University Professors who had been discharged from the faculty for teaching the students to think for themselves. Quezon exclaimed many times how the Filipina had changed since he was young. I told him my own daughters made me understand this, and he was lucky to find out by chance what the young people of his country are thinking. I have never seen him more absorbed. A few days later I sat next but one to him at the funeral ceremonies for poor Trinidad. In middle-age, the sudden death of one of the group sobers up all the rest of us. Quezon looked very shocked. He came in barong tagalog, while all the rest of us were formally dressed. At the coffin afterwards, Quezon was quite noticeably jostled–for once, he was not the first person in the room. Visit to Osmeña’s home on his birthday–talk with Rafael Palma &c.