Dinner dance at Malacañan for the passengers of the first Pan American Clipper–including Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, the son of a father and mother who had been my childhood friends. The evening was excessively dull.
At his office with the President I told him that one very important feature of the Commonwealth had been the improvement in his health. Pointed to the picture of one year ago showing, Quezon and Murphy, with Secretary of War Dern and Speaker Byrnes–the two latter were now dead. Quezon replied that he was far too busy to die, or to think of death.
Asked him about his new yacht, which is due here at the end of this month. Advised him to anchor out in the bay in her, and he said he would have a 25 knot launch. He must get away; was restless and remarked that he was tired out. He was not going to Baguio, and wanted to take my son Kiko on a provincial trip.
He then called in Osmeña and some sixty members of the Assembly (who were waiting en masse for the appointments of justices of the peace), and the President then administered to me before them the oath as a Philippine citizen. Cordial and good feelings on all sides, and it was a very pleasant and dignified ceremony, befitting the significance of the act. Judge Agra is preparing for me a seat in the Assembly in the next elections!!
Talk with Dr. Otley Beyer. In response to my question as to what it was that the rebellious Sakdalistas really sought, he replied: “to get rid of the whole cacique system.”
State banquet at Malacañan for Lord Rothermere–I doubt whether Quezon understands how to appraise correctly Lord Rothermere’s position in England. The old man made a good show and a witty speech. In his address of welcome, the President made me nervous. He was skating on thin ice, but with his usual skill managed to avoid making a break. The British Consul General Foulds, who sat next to General MacArthur, and hence next but one to Rothermere, told me later that MacArthur had not been taken in for a moment by the guest of honor. Quezon was ill at ease with a “Lord,” and had not been properly coached as to the proper mode of address &c &c. He came up to me when we were all on the balcony after dinner, and whispered: “For God’s sake go and talk to him.” Rothermere was cordial to me because of my long residence at Alness which is near his shoot at Dornoch in Scotland.
Saw Arthur Fischer, Director of Forestry, who described his visit with Quezon yesterday to the Bureau of Science to inaugurate the new totaquina (quinine) factory for the Philippines. Said he had been obliged to fight like a demon to make Director Arguelles co-operate. He also said Quezon’s administration was “patch-work”–i.e., empirical–that the President seemed to be taking up enthusiastically chiefly those matters which came before him and had caught his fancy.
Went with Don Vicente Singson to Malacañan to see Quezon in order to urge a modification of the sales tax law in order to impose only one incidence if the goods are sold in the proposed new produce exchange;–this referred to agricultural products only. Singson did the talking–an excellent statement for about ten minutes. Quezon then called a meeting of the National Economic Council for the next day, at which, eventually, the proposition was adopted. So it passed the Assembly, but was followed by another law organizing a government produce exchange; which was, perhaps, either a trick or bad faith of some sort (Yulo?).
During our interview, Quezon had spoken of the devastations in Nueva Ecija which he had just visited:–he said the stench of decomposition was still in his nostrils. Due to his visit he had been able to stop the survivors from rebuilding in exactly the same exposed spots.
The law passed; meanwhile I heard from the British Consul General in answer to our enquiry that the Foreign Office had replied to him: “You may still regard Mrs. Harrison as a British subject, though lawyers may differ as to this.” (About as direct an answer as the Foreign Office could give!!)
Called up Quezon on the telephone to thank him for his message; he was evidently tired and coughing a good deal; he said the law naturalizing me would pass unanimously as it had passed the caucus–he would not have submitted it otherwise. I told him I took it very seriously–he said he knew that.
The morning papers carried a handsome message from Quezon to the Assembly in the following words:
the President’s message says:
Former Governor General Francis Burton Harrison has expressed to me his desire to become a Filipino Citizen. It appears, however, that under the present Naturalization Law he lacks the required residence to acquire Filipino citizenship.
It is not necessary for me to state that no American has contributed more to the cause of Philippine self-government and independence than the Honorable Francis Burton Harrison and that he deserves the eternal gratitude of our people. I feel that it would be a very gracious act on the part of the National Assembly if it would confer upon former Governor General Harrison Filipino citizenship by a special Act, and I hereby beg to recommend that you present this matter to the Assembly.
Doria and I attended the dance given for the President by the Assembly at the Manila Hotel. Quezon was in full evening dress and was looking very well.