Cold feet, designer, super-toaster, editorials, etc.
By James G. Wingo
Free Press correspondent in Washington
June 1, 1935–THE day before the White House signing of the Philippine constitution Resident Commissioner Francisco Delgado sent his secretary Quintin Paredes, Jr., to shop for “a very good fountain pen” with which President Roosevelt would sign the important document. Paredes showed his boss samples of $50 and $75 pens.
Delgado thought the pens too expensive. Paredes thought they were the kind for posterity. They compromised on a $7 pen.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt sat down at the big table in the cabinet room he saw no pen around. “Where’s the pen?” he asked. “Say, Mac, I want my pen.”
Delgado got cold feet. He didn’t dare offer the pen in his pocket. So Roosevelt signed several copies of the constitution with just one pen, the President’s.
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The fingerprints of these young Filipinos may be discovered on the Philippine government copy of the constitution bearing the signature of President Roosevelt; Guevara’s Secretary Manuel Zamora, who took the accompanying semi-candid snapshots in front of the Executive Office after the signing of the constitution; Delgado’s Secretary Paredes, Diosdado M. Yap, who comprises the entire personnel of the Yap-founded Philippine Information Bureau; Candido Elbo Tobias, another secretary of Resident Commissioner Pedro Guevara.
When Gov. Gen. Frank Murphy went to the photographers’ room he entrusted the important document to Yap. He and the other boys took advantage of the opportunity to have something to do with it. They pressed their finger all over the constitution. Then they took it outside and had their picture taken with the document.
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If Lloyd Taylor had preferred to accept his father’s offer to manage the Manila Daily Bulletin with a salary of P1,000 a month, he would not have drunk lemonade with the First Lady of the United States the other day in the Red Room of the White House. And he would not be the young hat and dress designer who is advertised by big department stores as promising and a discovery. This artist was born of Carson Taylor and his pretty blonde wife in Manila 30 years ago.
Accompanied by the wives of Sen. Key Pittman, Rep. William H. Larrabee, Rep. Richard J. Welch and Commissioner Delgado and by Vicente Villamin, Designer Taylor presented Mrs. Roosevelt with two Easter dresses. Taylor designed the dresses made of Philippine material bought with the contributions of Filipino and American friends of the Filipinos in the United States who appreciated an utterance of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt in a magazine urging the women of America to dedicate some attention to the Philippines, its people and its problems, and the work which the United States has undertaken in the islands. Mr. Villamin was the one who suggested the idea of presenting the dresses to Mrs. Roosevelt. Taylor gave his services free.
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No commercial stunt
Mrs. Roosevelt was very much pleased with the two beautiful dresses, which, according to the designer, could not be duplicated for less than $600. She promised:
“I will wear one of them on the first big occasion.”
Taylor assured Mrs. Roosevelt that the presentation was no commercial stunt.
Not until Mrs. Roosevelt wears one of the dresses will Publisher Taylor be reconciled to the idea that his son, who left the University of Southern California for his own New York Studio, has become a great artist.
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In creating the beige piña dress Taylor took his inspiration for the neckline from the Philippine pañuelo. This neckline gives the draped shawl effect with the point center back nearly to the waistline. The sleeves puff above the elbow, suggesting the Philippine sleeve. The gored skirt is wide, with back fullness, which recalls early Spanish influence. The dress is trimmed with real princess lace, made by the Belgian sisters of the Tondo Convent.
The other dresses, an aquamarine blue jusi, brings out the effect of modern fashion in European gowns popular with young Philippine ladies.
I understand the table Emilio Aguinaldo sent the White House has helped to revive the fashion for Philippine hardwoods here.***
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The Taylor-designed dresses of Mrs. Roosevelt may create a new field for Philippine industry.
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About 49 Washington college students from the Orient—Filipinos, Chinese and Japanese—met one Sunday in a dingy Chinese restaurant for luncheon. The honored guests were Dean Warren Reed West of George Washington University, Gen. Teodoro Sandiko of the last Philippine independence mission to Washington, Tswen-Ling Tsui of the Chinese legation and Kiyoshi K. Kawakami, able Washington correspondent for a Japanese newspaper.
Kawakami, in a long speech, burned the ears of the Chinese as he berated them for their non-cooperation with Japan. He found an affinity of interest, however, among the peoples of the Far East superseding alliances with nations in the West.
“Japan would be the first to sign an agreement neutralizing the Philippines,” he added. Nobody doubted that statement. Every so-called “neutral” territory in the Far East today either belongs to Japan or is under Japanese authority.
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Delgado spoke of Japanese-Filipino and Chinese-Filipino friendships. He recalled his “days of adolescence’ in the United States. He also told the boys how he wooed and won his wife despite great odds.”*
And then he climaxed his speech thus:
“Gentlemen, I want you to stand up and drink with me a toast to President Roosevelt.”**
The boys stood up and picked up their glasses of water. Hardly had they resumed their seats when Delgado declared:
“Please stand up again and drink with me to the health of the Emperor of Japan.”
The boys did the same trick. And then quick-witted Delgado again declared:
“I want you once more to rise and drink with me to the well-being of the President of China.
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After the hurrahs, the banzais and the lin sheis the precedent-breaking Delgado thought there should be mabuhays also. He had already hogged three toasts, but that fact did not deter him from proposing the only one left.
“Gentlemen, I am a politician,” he said. “My guesses are sometimes wrong. I don’t know who will be the first president of the commonwealth, so I will propose a toast to just the Commonwealth of the Philippines.”
Super-toaster Delgado undoubtedly holds the toasting record at a single meal in this country.
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The signing of the constitution of the islands by President Roosevelt was the occasion for the blossoming of the first nationwide crop of editorials on the Philippines since Congress passed the McDuffie-Tydings act. Most of the newspapers believe that the Filipinos are not so eager now for independence as they used to be. They find that realization of the consequences of the loss of the American market and fear of Japanese have sobered the Filipinos and dampened their enthusiasm for separation from the United States. Brief excerpts:
New York Herald Tribune: It is worth noting, at the outset, that President Roosevelt’s counter-signature of the document does not mean or imply, as the Filipinos may think his approval of it. Nor does it commit him to the belief that the document itself is workable or that the experiment which it charters will be a success. In signing it the President simply certified that he found it compatible with the provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie independence act—a measure which provides for the release of Cuban sugar from Philippine competition within the decade and for the release of America at the end of it from the bootless responsibility and risk of guarding a defenseless economic wreck against Asiatic piracy.
Washington Post: Weighing, then, the advantages of complete autonomy against the concomitant loss of American markets together with an increased public budget, the result is not as overwhelming on the side of independence as first impulses might suggest. President McKinley is said to have gone down on his knees to beg for Divine guidance in his decision as to the disposition of the Philippines. He got up to promise them eventual independence. He could not then have conceived of the vast economic implications of his plighted altruism. But today in Manila they have no illusions on this score. And that is why, behind the torchlights and oratory of last week, there stood a far-seeing group that even now is talking earnestly of the future of the Philippines in terms of “dominion government,” perpetual commonwealth status” or “economic partnership with the United States.”
Newark (New Jersey) Evening News: With all the economic and political confusion there is in the world at present, it is safest to regard the next 10 years as a period of experiment, in which the United States, as well as the Filipinos, will need to exercise the greatest wisdom and restraint.
Pasadena (California) Star-News: Experienced observers, among them W. Cameron Forbes, a former governor general of the Philippines, believe it to be quite possible that the Filipinos may request a modification of the independence act, in view of the special dangers that are arising. Mr. Forbes said recently: “I feel, and a great many Americans and Filipinos feel, that the problems that will confront the islands, to go on without their own navy, their own guns and their own trade avenues, are extremely serious.” The responsibility of the United States in this matter is grave, as Mr. Forbes sees it.
Worcester (Massachusetts) Evening Gazette: The purpose of the [Philippine independence] law is to rid us of the islands. But we shall not be rid of them. We are not rid of Cuba. We may talk pious platitudes about non-intervention, but we shall continue to interfere at Havana as long as we have any American money invested in Cuba. The Philippines—when the native politicians fall afoul of each other, or get into a row with Japan—we shall be called upon to help them. It is doubtful that they can maintain a stable government. It is certain that they cannot, if they experience an economic collapse. And, by barring them from or market, we are doing our utmost to ruin them economically.
Chicago Daily News: These are parlous times in the Far East. The American dairy interests and American and Cuban sugar interests, which joined forces with Filipino politicos to sever ties of 35 years, have gone a long way toward accomplishing their none too noble ends. If present plans materialize the Philippines will blossom forth as a sovereign republic at the end of a decade and the United States will cease to have a territorial interest in the troublesome Far East. In some respects the United States may be better off if such a separation takes place. Under certain circumstances it might be better to have the separation completed more quickly and more definitely.
Canton (Ohio) Repository: Apparently, the prospect is pleasing to the majority of Filipinos.
Syracuse (New York) Herald: Public opinion in this country is fully reconciled to the legislation.
Salem (Massachusetts) Evening News: They have agitated for freedom so long that it will be difficult for them to turn back now.
Rochester (New York) Times-Union: The element of danger to the Philippines in a completely independent status lies in the possibility that some power might seize the islands and impose a rule less satisfactory than that of the United States.
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Whatever these newspapers say
***The table also helped to revive the old question about the genuineness of the mahogany from the islands. African mahogany importers and other dealers of mahogany have been insisting that Philippine mahogany, not being real mahogany, must always go under the name “Philippine mahogany.”
**There is no law against toasting the President of the United States any time, anywhere, but tradition and official etiquette have it that he must be toasted only at official or diplomatic dinners or at those of the armed forces of the United States.
*Jose P. Melencio and his wife, the daughter of General Aguinaldo, also love to recall their courtship in their public addresses.