I came across a letter that José Laurel, the president of the Philippines when it was under Japanese occupation, wrote to the Japanese consul general in Manila on February 9, 1942, not long after the Japanese invasion.

Laurel was attempting to get back a car that a Japanese officer had commandeered the previous month.


Mr. Jitaro Kihara

Japanese Consul General


My dear Mr. Kihara:

The bearer is my friend, Mr. Nicasio Yatco, whom I am introducing to you. He would like to claim his car which was commandeered in Bulacan, Bulacan, last January 1, 1942 by Colonel Yamaguchi. The make of the car is Packard “6” 5-passenger sedan, motor No. C-43780 with plate No. 1-5332 (Manila). The car is being used by the Colonel in Balintawak. Will you kindly see what you can do for him.

Thanking you for whatever attention you may give to this matter, I am

Sincerely yours,

Jose P. Laurel


A president of a country asking a consul general to get an officer to give back a car. . . that’s a crazy situation. However, when I saw what a Packard 6 looked like, I can definitely understand why Nicasio Yatco would have badly wanted it back. That is a beautiful car.