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.”

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