June 3, 1933
With the Quezon missioners in Washington
By James G. Wingo
Free Press Correspondent in Washington
All signs pointed to reconciliation as Quezon and Osmeña-Roxas factions met in Washington
Who said there was such a thing as a Quezon-Osmeña squabble going on? You said it—and you and you and you. And I said it.
But brothers and sisters, you ought to have seen these two illustrious sons of our beloved Islas Filipinas get off the train from New York one beautiful and very springy evening at Washington’s Union Station. All smiles and arm in arm these two men, whose political exploits have featured the history of their country for the last 25 years, responded to the warm greetings of about 50 of their compatriots residing in the great capital city by waving their grey fedoras over their rapidly greying heads.
Manuel Quezon, well-protected by a heavy grey overcoat, braved the extended hands of his countrymen and pumped heartily every one that blocked his path. Sergio Osmeña did likewise. But while Quezon’s face flushed with excitement, Osmeña’s registered his usual nonchalance and self-control.
Osmeña went to Paris with the determination to bring back to Washington a pleasant, untruculent, placated, open-minded Quezon. He appeared to have succeeded.
However, every member of the Quezon party, during those few exciting hours after their arrival, denied that there had been any compromise which might be feared by Elpidio Quirino or Benigno Aquino. But it can be truthfully said that a Quezon much tamer and much less melodramatic than we had expected dropped into our midst.
The prepared statement he handed out to ship reporters who met the Ile de France in New York was indeed a very tame one, a most non-committal conglomeration of words. Anybody who had not read Mr. Quezon’s declarations in Manila could not possibly tell from that Ile de France statement where the renowned Filipino leader himself stood on the Hare-act, that piece of legislation recently passed by Congress which prompted him to visit Washington at a most unpropitious time.
However, a dispatch broadcast by the Universal Service, a press service owned by William Randolph Hearst, said that Quezon had stated that he would head a campaign against the bill unless the economic provisions of the independence bill were altered.
As soon as Missioner Quezon and his party reached Washington on April 24 he told everybody how badly he felt about the stories published by all the New York papers. At his suite at the Willard Hotel an excited but still eloquent Quezon wanted Harry W. Frantz of the United Press, the only newspaperman besides your Washington operative who met the mission at the Union Station, to understand clearly that he had been misquoted.
Senator Osmeña and the well-known newspaper editor Carlos P. Romulo also privately scored the inaccurate American newspapermen. Mr. Romulo, a valuable member of the Quezon mission, says that he was at the senate president’s side when he gave the interview to the New York reporters and he believe that they deliberately misquoted the Filipino leader.
What we who do not know much about the intricacies of missioneering can not understand is why Mr. Quezon, Mr. Osmeña, Mr. Romulo and others were so unduly perturbed by the stories in the New York papers when really what they attributed to the Philippine senate president is practically the same as the Quezon pronunciamientos in Manila.
As far as the Washington papers were concerned, the Quezon party did not have any reason to kick. On the day following the new missioners’ arrival, the Washington Post buried on page 2 a 59-word item furnished by the United Press, evidently written by Frantz, stating merely that Mr. Quezon and his party had arrived in Washington the previous night “to seek modification in the terms of the Philippine independence act.” Hearst’s Washington Herald, his Times, Scripps-Howard’s News and the Evening Star said absolutely nothing.
However, a few hours before the Quezon mission arrived in Washington, the News published an editorial attacking vigorously the Hare act and urging President Roosevelt to grant representative conference to the newly-arrived Filipinos. On that same day the New York Herald Tribune had an editorial praising Mr. Quezon highly although granting that “as a politician, Mr. Quezon naturally does not say all that he thinks and feels on all occasions.” The Herald Tribune urged him to come out clear on the independence act.
But in spite of all the perturbations caused them by the New York papers, the Quezon missioners were very glad to reach Washington and unaware that the first engagement of what was expected to be a great political war had been won by one Sergio Osmeña. The Quezon missioners had all gained weight. Mr. Quezon’s health showed amazing improvement. And they were all eager to find what’s what on this independence bill.