February 1943
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Jan   Mar »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728

Month February 1943

February 25, 1943

Peace and order in Vizcaya continue to be good so the Japanese Army’s total strength is now reduced to Bn. size. The American POWs are all transferred to Cabanatuan Camp. Meanwhile, the two Grla. Companies of Capt. Aban in Bagabag and Capt. Asuncion in Solano continue with their every Saturday Taisho program taught by Japanese Army instructors that gave them reason to assemble and conduct their close order and extended drills after. These Companies secretly under my command are about ready for future operations and are adhering from standing instructions on training, intelligence collections, laying low and awaiting orders. I am happy that latest scuttlebutts indicate Japanese advances towards Australia was stopped when Guadalcanal was taken back by the US Marines and the airfield there can be used now against the major Japanese Base in Rabaul.

It is gratifying to note that the 14th Inf. Grlas. was the first guerilla unit to contact Gen. MacArthur in Corregidor late Jan. 1942 through the effort of my classmate, Lt. Ed Navarro who took his transceiver all the way from Camp Allen to Kiangan, then to Bayombong during their retreat. This transceiver was used to send messages to USAFFE HQ by the 14th Inf. Grlas. but was lost after Col. Nakar was captured. Lately, I learned another PMA Classmate, Capt. Amos Francia Signal O. of Panay Grlas. under Col Peralta, through his ability and resourcefulness, was also able to fix a radio transmitter in their mountain hideout and able to contact SWPA HQ of Gen.MacArthur late last month. Francia is not only a classmate but also a blood relative and fellow Bulakeño.

Advertisements

February 25, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Quezon says that when he first came to Washington as Resident Commissioner he, like most Filipinos, believed that when they saw an American man and woman out driving together, whom they knew not to be married to one another, they were sexually intimate. This was the old Spanish idea. But when he got to Washington and made friends with American girls, he soon found out the truth as to our views on the sexes–he was delighted, and when he went back to the Philippines, he convinced them as to the real American situation in these matters.

This conversation arose from an amusing incident–he was at his desk writing a letter to a well-known Washington hostess–a widow, but still young. She had recently entertained him in her house at a diner a deux. This was the first and only time they had met, and she terrified him by stories of the spying of the various secret services which, apparently, has always gone on in Washington. She told how, during the last war, she had warned Bernard Baruch, then a most important official, that she knew there were six police dictaphones in “his” house. He thought the statement ridiculous, but went home, made a search and found six of them–two under his bed! He was so furious that he went at once to President Wilson and resigned his office. The President finally calmed him down. Well, this lady, in return for some orchids which Quezon had sent her after the dinner, wrote him a rather empresse letter–a little coy and pleasantly familiar. He was struggling with his English vocabulary in writing his reply and asked me to help him. I read his letter and told him that it wouldn’t do at all–his phrase: “I was to find that, as the Spanish say, you carry your heart in your hand”–I protested that it was dangerous for a statesman to write such a letter–if a third party found it, use might be made of it. He jumped as if he had been shot–he was only trying to be polite. He explained that the phrase above quoted meant in Spanish only “sincere” or “virtuous” but I again objected that in English “virtue” meant not the old Latin sense of the word, but only referred to sex! He was horrified, entirely rewrote the letter in uncompromising phrases and thanked me rather effusively for saving him. He made a great story for his family out of this!

Quezon, Andres Soriano, Secretary of Finance and myself in conversation. More talk on news from the Philippines, which comes from Colonel Peralta, chief of guerrillas in Panay, through MacArthur in Australia, from time to time, and also, in bits, from returned travelers like Consul Willoquet, etc.

George Vargas, altho head of the government commission under the Japanese is not trusted by them. He is always attended by Japanese “aide-de-camp” when he goes out; Japanese officers live in his house. His wife confessed to Willoquet who saw her alone, that they are not free agents.

Quezon thinks the Japanese have disposed of Manuel Roxas by a feigned airplane accident. Soriano thinks that they have taken him to Japan to hold as a hostage. When Quezon was in the tunnel at Corregidor, he thought he was dying, and wanted to go back to Malacañan. Roxas begged him not to do so. Later when the time came for Quezon to leave Corregidor to join to MacArthur in Australia (an event which was not then anticipated), Manuel Roxas begged him with tears in his eyes not to go from Corregidor. He exhorted him to “think of your fame.” Roxas followed Quezon to Dumaguete, and went with him to Mindanao, though he did not wish to leave Wainwright at Corregidor. Refused to leave Mindanao and joined General Sharp’s forces there. Sharp was ordered by Wainwright from Corregidor, when the latter fell, to surrender explaining that the Japanese would not give any terms to those on Corregidor unless all the military forces in the Islands also surrendered themselves. So, to save the men and women on Corregidor, Sharp and Roxas came in and gave themselves up to the nearest Japanese command. (NOTE–later–Roxas and Commander Worcester, U.S.N.R. fled to the mountains of Bukidnon). General Paulino Santos and Guingona, [who were not in the army, are in Mindanao. They have “gone over” to the Japanese.] Quezon says that Guingona was with him when Vargas’ co-operation with the Japanese was mentioned in Quezon’s presence, and, as Quezon says, when he heard no adverse comment upon Vargas’ action, being a “bright fellow” (Q.), Guingona followed suit. Quezon expressed a desire to know what Guingona had done with the four million pesos of Philippine currency he took to Mindanao to pay the army there–“if he kept it for himself…” I protested vigorously that nobody who knew Guingona could believe such a thing possible. Quezon agreed. “But,” I said “I have now heard you say twice that–if he kept it for himself.” Finally we agreed that he had probably burned the money, as his instructions required.

Soriano asked if he could bring the Spanish Cabinet Minister of War (Bergdorfer?), who is now in Washington, to call on Quezon tomorrow morning? Soriano said B. was an anti-Nazi, and had remarked that Quezon’s fame was now great in Spain. Quezon replied that he could squeeze in a half-hour for the call from B. “which should be long enough if I don’t start making speeches–which I always do!”

It appears that Justice Frank Murphy presented to Roosevelt the plan for the recent announcement that Roosevelt has already recognized the Philippines as possessing the attributes of an independent nation by putting Quezon on the Pacific War Council and asking him to sign the United Nations declaration. Murphy then told Roosevelt quite heatedly that he disapproved the decision to make Hitler the No. 1 enemy, and concentrate on him to the disadvantage of the Pacific area. Roosevelt took Murphy’s objections in good temper and told Murphy to “cool off.”

Somehow, the conversation turned back to Dr. Dominador Gomez. Quezon described him as a pure Malay type, but very big and a tremendous orator in the Spanish style, who swayed his audiences as he pleased. He had been a colonel in the Spanish Army. Was elected in 1907 as a delegate to the First Philippine Assembly. The election was declared void by the Assembly because there was no proof that Gomez was a Philippine citizen. Another election, and Gomez was returned by an even larger majority amid tumults and mob fighting. So they let him in!

When Quezon was Resident Commissioner in Washington he had occasion to make some uncomplimentary remark about Gomez. Quezon, traveling homewards, got to Shanghai on the steamer where he received a letter from Gomez challenging him to a duel. On arrival in Manila Quezon received a visit from the famous Colonel Blanco, also formerly a colonel in the Spanish Army in the Philippines and founder of the Macabebe Scouts, who appeared as Gomez’s second to challenge Quezon and asking who his second would be. Quezon replied: “I shall appoint no second. I do not wish to fight a duel with Dr. Gomez. But you may tell him this: ‘I give him leave to shoot me any time he sees me. Also tell him that any time he comes within one metre of me, I shall immediately shoot him.'” Shortly afterwards, Quezon attended a burial in Manila. With him were his cousin Miss Aurora Aragon–now Mrs. Quezon and Mary Buencamino. They knew about the challenge and were horrified to see Dominador Gomez standing near Quezon and all the more so since Gomez had his hand in his side pocket! Mrs. Buencamino slipped right behind Gomez and stood there to grab his arm, but Quezon pushed right in front of him to look down into the grave. Gomez drew out his hand from his pocket, but produced only a pocket handkerchief to mop his face!

Quezon then told of his marriage to Miss Aragon in Hong Kong in 1919. I (the present writer) was on the Ocean (Pacific) en route for New York when I received a radio from Quezon. “Married Hong Kong.” I went down to Dr. Oñate’s cabin to wake him, and demanded that he should tell me who Quezon had married. He was afraid to commit himself and it was a half-hour before I could get out of him the guess that it was Quezon’s cousin, Miss Aurora Aragon.

The marriage was secretly decided on when Quezon and Miss Aragon were in Hong Kong. Quezon sent his a.d.c. to the American Consul and requested that he should ask the Governor to waive the required 10 days residence, which was done. When the guests and the principals had met in rickshaws at the civil marriage bureau, Quezon turned to Luis Yancko and said: “Do you know why we are gathered here? I am going to be married right now!” Yancko’s mouth fell open with surprise and he stammered “but to whom?” Quezon replied: “To this young lady who stands beside me.” “But, but that’s impossible” said Yancko (meaning because they were within the degrees of relationship prohibited by the Church). “Impossible–how do you mean?” “Well” said Yancko “not impossible but improbable!”

Yancko gave them a beautiful wedding breakfast at the leading Hong Kong hotel.

At lunch today Mrs. Quezon and General Valdes were describing the discomforts of life in the tunnel at Corregidor. Mrs. Quezon got tired of waiting in line before support to get her shower, so she would wait until 2 a.m. and bathe then. Soon others discovered the way, and they began standing in line in the middle of the night. No curtain hung on the alcove which contained the shower. After the heavy bombings, the water main was broken, and for two weeks they had not only to bathe in salt water, but also to cook their rice and make their coffee in salt water, which entirely upset their stomachs.

Colonel Velasquez, a West Pointer, who was in the front lines at Bataan and Corregidor, was recently at the military school at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he says he made himself rather unpopular when the meals were discussed by saying: “Sometimes we may have to go hungry for a long time.” Velasquez told me he thought a campaign like that in Tunisia was necessary to harden the American troops, who were now overfed and thinking and talking all the time about their three big meals a day. He said he thought our American troops were pampered.

Quezon has started work again on his book. Has rewritten the foreword. Warner Bros have offered to make a film of it. Much talk with Bernstein about terms and arrangements. Quezon does not think that Morgan Shuster has been careful enough in editing the English of his ms. He evidently wishes to be thought letter-perfect in English. He says he now wants to finish the book–can’t do it in Washington–too many interruptions. Requests me to go off with him for 20-30 days and work with him on the book.

February 21-23, 1943

Shoreham Hotel.

Summary of events here during my two weeks of absence:

The letter Quezon was drafting when I left, in which he asked the President’s support for a joint resolution of Congress declaring the Philippines “are and of right ought to be free and independent” was never sent. Instead he saw the President just back from his trip to the Casablanca Conference. Result was that the State Department sent him a memorandum that the appointment of Quezon to the Pacific War Council and his being asked to sign the United Nations Declaration was the equivalent of recognition by the American President of the Philippines as an independent nation. Obviously, they decided that the proposed Congressional joint resolution would be ridiculed by the Japanese when they were in occupation of the Islands. Legally the President has no power to free the Islands while they are still–nominally, at least,–a possession of the United States. But Quezon seems to be satisfied with the decision. (At least, it is a suspension of the constitution of the Commonwealth, and as such, leaves Quezon in command as head of that State until further constitutional action is taken, and thus averts the succession of Osmena to the Presidency of the Commonwealth on November 15th next. This, I believe, the President of the United States has a legal right to do).

Quezon’s radio address given out by the Office of War Information on February 20th, dealing with the announcement of this decision, was really excellent.

In part he said:

“Assuming that tomorrow Japan was to declare the Philippines an independent nation, what would that mean? It would merely mean that the Philippines would be another ‘Manchukuo’–a government without rights, without powers, without authority. A government charged only with the duty to obey the dictates of the Japanese rulers. After the tragic end of Korea’s independence, in utter disregard of a solemn pledge to respect it, it would be worse than folly to rely on any promise by the Japanese Government. . . . President Roosevelt has, in effect, already given the Philippines recognition as an independent nation. On my arrival in Washington, he rendered me honours due only to the heads of independent governments. . . . He has recognized our right to take part in the Pacific War Council, with Great Britain, China, the Netherlands and the self-governing Dominions of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The President of the United States himself presides over the Council table. . . . In the name of the Philippines, I am a signatory to the Atlantic Charter. We are one of the United Nations. Our independence is already a reality. . . .”

This was broadcast using short wave facilities of the Office of War Information for the Philippines and other parts of the world.

Quezon asked me to read over the papers in the proposed contract to film his book, which Warner Bros’ offer–Morgan Shuster advises him to get a “radio lawyer” to protect his interests, and points out that the form of contract only guarantees that the “basic story” shall be under his control; that it would thus be possible for the movie company to present Quezon’s personality and his life story in a manner derogatory to his dignity. Probably Shuster’s anxiety is well founded; no doubt he welcomes a prospect of getting Quezon to finish his book, but his first concern is to protect him.

Quezon’s comment to me was: “How could I sign the contract when I haven’t finished my book?” I told him Shuster could finish the small remaining part for him. He said: “No–I’ll do it myself.”

Quezon had accepted an invitation to speak on March 19th before the National Republican Club of New York. Now he proposes to go away to “California” for the purpose of “protecting his health”–he would thus break the engagement. I try to persuade him at all costs to keep this date–in view of the growing power of the Republican party, he could not afford for the sake of his country and of himself to break it. He should go there and try to capture the good will of those important men as he did that of the Maryland Bar Association. He seems firmly of the opinion that he can go away on a vacation–is this a result of, or possibly influenced by, his recent conversation with President Roosevelt?

Quezon showed me a letter he was drafting to MacArthur about the management of the guerrilla campaign in the Philippines which is charge of Lt. Col. Peralta. Quezon resented the General’s trying to appoint civilian, as well as military officials–such as Confesor as Governor of Iloilo. Tells MacArthur that the young flying hero Villamor is on his way out there, and should be entrusted with such affairs. That we must be careful not to treat those Filipinos who are co-operating with the Japanese as if they were traitors–that attitude might really make them so. Says that some of those who had entered the enemy’s service helped these two young American officers to get through the Japanese lines and escape in August. The guerrilla depredations on Filipinos living in the towns in the north must be stopped. Many of those who have accepted military service with the Japanese will later use the rifles given them now against the Japanese when we return. Laments the fate of Manuel Roxas in falling into the hands of the Japanese. If they have murdered him for refusal to accept free the Presidency (he refused three times) he adds “I do not know how many generations it will take for our race to produce another Manuel Roxas.” Recommends that Roxas be made a Major General by MacArthur. Says that “Chick” Parsons is the best man to keep the Filipinos in line–he is now on his way back there.

At luncheon Quezon told us he had just received a call from M. Willoquet, French Consul to Manila, who left there last June. He said the Japanese were trying to marry George Vargas’ daughter to one of their army officers.

More about Manuel Roxas. Quezon forbids Bernstein to make public the fact that Roxas is in the hands of the Japanese. If still alive he is being pressed by the Japanese to accept the presidency. To stir up news about him might only result in his death. If he had accepted their invitation to become President of an “independent” Philippines (under the Japanese) this might even now be an accomplished fact. If he persists in his refusal, “he has only done what I wanted him to do–show the Japanese we would have none of them.” Roxas was taken out in an airplane from Mindanao in November; nobody knows where he is now–probably in Fort Santiago. The Japanese have been rounding up schoolteachers who were not conforme and putting them in Fort Santiago, just as the Spanish did–they probably shoot them there.

Quezon announced that Isauro Gabaldon has just died, 74 years of age, and “ten years older than he ever let Sergio and me know–we never understood how his wife (a Tinio) could be so much older than he was.” Upon the death of Tinio, Gabaldon became the “boss” of Nueva Ecija–he ruled by popularity, but Tinio had governed by fear. “He (Gabaldon) split with me on making further terms with the Americans, short of independence, which he thought was guaranteed by the Jones Bill. I had to defeat him first for the Senate and then for the Assembly, but I never attacked him personally, and when I became President of the Commonwealth I went to him and made friends again. The Japanese broadcast his obituary as “one of the most distinguished of the Filipinos.”

Consul Willoquet, who was French Consul at Manila, and was put in prison by the Japanese for being a Gaulliste, was released on threats by de Gaulle of reprisals on the 4,000 Japanese, who are prisoners in North Africa. He says that whereas Vargas could get no favours from the Japanese such as release of a prisoner, it is evident that Aguinaldo is really “sold” to them.

Vargas’ recent speech of February, advising all guerrillas to surrender and come into camp, since they were only delaying the granting of independence, reminds Quezon and Osmeña of similar appeals made by Pardo de Tavera to the insurrectos in 1900, “when I was one of them.”

Willoquet, who saw de Gaulle in London, says the Free French are planning independence for Indo-China.

Office of War Information reports a Japanese broadcast from Manila calling a convention there of all provincial and municipal officials to be addressed first by Vargas and next by the Japanese spokesman. A three point programme: (1) Independence at earliest possible moment. (2) Economic rehabilitation. (3) “Cultural Questions”–such as cutting off completely from the previous regime.

Long discussion on India with Quezon, (Osmeña and Bernstein present). Quezon is considered an authority on this subject. P.M. says he is the man to send there to settle it all. Quezon thinks the Cripps Mission brought about some sort of an agreement with the Indian nationalists, but the Viceroy (Linlithgow) and General Wavell took no part in the discussions. “If Gandhi dies, we may expect a wide-scale revolt.” Quezon thinks the loss of India would finish off for good the whites in the Far East and destroy hope of restitution of the Philippines. That China will then be forces to submit to Japan, since she will be shut off for good. The question is: will the Indian army stand by the English?

It is understood that Roosevelt reads only the New York Times in the morning and P.M. in the afternoon.

February 20, 1943

This morning, my grla. associates, Col. Ramirez, Capt. Calvo and Mr. Elizalde dropped quietly at my office on their return trip to Manila from Isabela. Elizalde asked me for a list of 14th Inf. officers in hiding because they are in the Japanese wanted list and I gave him the names of Maj. Romulo A. Manriquez ’36, Capt. P. Dumlao, Lt. H. Quines ’42 and Lt. V. dela Cruz. Col. Ramirez greeted his former JO, my Sr. Insp. Sergio Laurente, briefly and after my visitors left, Laurente asked me how I came to know them. I replied that I met them through Manila socialite Ms. Lulu Reyes in my OSP Manila socials. It was then that he opened to me about his pro-American sympathies, how he suffered at the hands of the Japanese after he was surprised with the Japanese landing in Ilocos Sur where he was PC Prov. Comdr. Dec. 10,1941, captured and became the first USAFFE officer to become a POW.

I did not tell my Sr. Inspector that my visitors are my grla. associates but instead recommended that in view of the briefing by Capt. Calvo last Feb 15 and to safeguard prime foodstuff raised locally by the natives for their own welfare, that we prohibit merchants from taking them out in commercial quantity of Vizcaya without permit from our office. Merchants from Manila have recently been purchasing rice by the truckloads due to shortage there. Laurente did not only approve my recommendation but even appointed me Chief, Economic Police for the province. I made a directive to all our detachment commanders accordingly and henceforth, movement of foodstuff in bulk from the province to anywhere outside must have written permits from our HQ.

Meanwhile, the scuttlebutts by Capt. Calvo was confirmed by short wave radio news I heard with Fr. Lambreth’s two night ago. In addition, we also heard about the Council Meeting in Casablanca by US Pres. Roosevelt, Churchill and De Gaulle. The latest one I got was about my OSP Boss Maj. Enrique L. Jurado USNA ’34 who managed to elude the Japanese from Batangas to Romblon and he finally settled in Odiongan before joining the Peralta Grlas. recently in Panay, the very place he wanted our Q-Boats to escape when Bataan was surrendering. Also Col R. Kangleon is building up his grlas. in Leyte and Capt. Pedro Merritt ’34 with my classmate Lt. Ed Soliman ’40 are organizing in Samar. Maj. Inginiero and my classmate Lt. H. Alano ’40 are also busy in Bohol.

February 15, 1943

It is a pleasant surprise for Col. Alfredo Ramirez ’14, Spanish Aviator Capt. Juan Calvo and Don Juan Elizalde to visit me this morning at my BC office in Bayombong and when my Sr. Inspector, Sergio Laurente ’21, saw Col. Ramirez, he was doubly surprised because I learned Laurente was once a junior officer of Ramirez. My visitors are my associates in the 14th Inf. Grlas. under Col. M. P. Enriquez ’34 but Insp. Laurente was unaware of it. I only told him they are my old friends.

Capt. Calvo briefed us on the latest scuttlebutts –prime commodities like rice getting scarser and expensive in Manila because the enemy is living on the fat of the land, the good news in the European, African and Southwest Pacific Fronts. On the African Front, Allied Forces under LtGen. Eisenhower, have established firmly there with Gen. Rommel on the run. Even the Germans that occupied Stalingrad had surrendered to the Russians. And the Japanese had quit on the Solomons. The best news is about the arrival of Major Jesus Villamor via Submarine in Negros from SWPA HQ Australia to contact guerilla units in the Visayas. It seems the tide is now turning in our favor.

February 8, 1943

Cpl. Pablo Naval who left Bayombong last Jan. 27 to deliver my message to Col. Enriquez, my Grla. Boss, returned three days ago telling me his difficulties locating Enriquez hiding in the vicinity of Benguet Mining Co with his staff. He was happy to get my detailed report and send his congratulations for the neighborhood association in Bagabag and Solano being sanctioned by the Japanese Army with the Taisho training as a reason for the assembly of our men for further military training. However, he cautioned me to be careful as the new Kempeitai Counterintelligence of Gen. Baba have been very busy lately. I commended Naval for accomplishing his mission.

Col Enriquez also instructed me to send Lt. Luis Casumpang and six of his EMs who were former members of the Corps of Engineers, to be accompanied by Cpl. Naval to his HQ for Training by Benguet Consolidated Mines in handling explosives for future Sabotage Missions. I instructed Lt. Casumpang accordingly and today, his group of seven accompanied by Naval left Vizcaya for Benguet.