At Shoreham Hotel with Quezon whom I had not seen for at least two months–he looked pale and weaker. Told me he had been in bed for a long time, that for a while he could not walk, and I saw a wheel chair in Canceran’s office. As the conversation developed, he showed his usual animation and the colour came back to his cheeks.
I asked him again about the killing of Manuel Roxas and Jose Abad Santos by the Japanese. He said Manuel Roxas had not been killed but was still fighting in the mountains (of Mindanao?). Jose Abad Santos who had (deliberately) missed the last plane from Cebu had been caught there by the Japanese and had been shot. I asked him why? He could not explain but remarked “He left Corregidor in my party.” Said he would have been a really great Chief Justice, but could never have been President because he had no executive ability.
He said he doubted whether the Japanese would ever have been inclined to attack the Philippines if it had not been for the presence of the United States there. Doubts now whether the Japanese would even allow moderate self-government to the Filipinos. Thinks however that the war is already as good as won, since the crushing defeat which Rommel suffered in Africa this week. As soon as Germany cracks, England and the United States can defeat the Japanese. Then he said to me: “We shall be back in the Philippines in 1944.”
Meanwhile, he said, it would make no difference if the Japanese won the battle of the Solomons, occupied Australia–or even India. Added they will have to be completely knocked out–will never give up. I pointed out how prudent the Japanese Government had been in giving up their spoils after three previously successful wars, when called on to do so by the Concert of Powers. He stated that this was because of their long-range planning, and that now they had attained their real objective, they would never back down. They must be smashed.
He then launched into a half-hour’s panegyric of the English. He had always been very anti-English before, and had denounced them savagely on his arrival in Washington for their collapse in Singapore. He now says that when it comes to their own real interests, such as the defense of England or of Egypt, nobody can fight more stubbornly than the English–he praised particularly their stand in front of Alexandria when they had already lost all their new material to Rommel. Previously he had always hated Churchill as an “arrogant imperialist” but now admits that he is a typical John Bull and is the man of the day. Continued with a vivid tribute to Queen Elizabeth in overthrowing the Spanish and French powers.
Was not much inclined to discuss last week’s overwhelming Republic gain in the elections in the United States. Remarked that his friend Justice Frankfurter had been “very silly–he is so ardently pro-English”–but did not explain what he meant.
Afternoon game of bridge during which he coughed frequently. Was due to entertain Justice Frank Murphy alone at dinner–explaining to me that there were certain subjects he wished Murphy to discuss with President Roosevelt. But just as Murphy arrived, Quezon was taken by a very severe fit of asthma, and doctors scurried in to attend him. He went to bed after an injection. Murphy was much worried, as indeed we all were.
Murphy and I talked together for 3/4 hour. Extremely interesting conversation about the election, and causes thereof.