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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Johnson Administration > Volume XXVI
Foreign Relations 1964-1968, Volume XXVI, Indonesia; Malaysia-Singapore; Philippines  
Released by the Office of the Historian

Documents 294-318


294. Editorial Note

On January 13, 1964, at 1:11 p.m., President Johnson telephoned his Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, McGeorge Bundy, and asked his opinion of appointing the former Governor of New Jersey, John Meyner, as Ambassador to the Philippines. The President and Bundy discussed Meyner's qualifications. The President then asked: "How sensitive is the Philippines post?" McGeorge Bundy replied:

"Very. But the principal thing in the Philippines is to establish a working personal relationship with Macapagal. Professional staff can be provided underneath it. That is where Stevenson has failed, and where I think Meyner would have a much better chance for success. He is temperamentally much more an outgoing man than his father-in-law [current Ambassador William E. Stevenson was Meyner's father-in-law]."

Bundy and the President next discussed the possible reaction to Meyner's appointment. Bundy promised to "take a temperature" reading at the Department of State "in an innocent way." The President warned him not to mention Meyner's name to anybody because he was "just so damned afraid it will be in the paper." (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of Telephone Conversation between the President and McGeorge Bundy, F64.05, Side B, PNO/3) William McCormack Blair, Jr. was appointed Ambassador to the Philippines on June 8, 1964.


295. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, July 9, 1964, 5:40 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 17-1 PHIL-US. Confidential. Drafted by Barnett and approved by the White House on July 15. The meeting was held at the White House.

Philippine Contribution to Defense of Viet-Nam Discussed at Ambassador Ledesma's Presentation of Credentials

The President
His Excellency Oscar Ledesma, Ambassador of the Philippines
Angier Biddle Duke, Chief of Protocol
Robert W. Barnett, Deputy Assistant Secretary, FE

At 5:40, July 9, Mr. Duke escorted Ambassador Ledesma into President Johnson's office for presentation of credentials. The President greeted Ambassador Ledesma warmly and the Ambassador said he was under instructions to make two points. He brought, he said, from President Macapagal an expression of satisfaction at the warm relations which existed between the Philippines and the United States. He said that President Macapagal was most grateful for President Johnson's invitation to visit the United States and hoped to accept this invitation as soon as possible./2/ Ambassador Ledesma then stated that the Philippine Government had just decided to enlarge its assistance program for South Viet-Nam and to appropriate over 900,000 pesos for that purpose. President Johnson asked what projects were to be financed. Ambassador Ledesma mentioned psychological warfare specialists, medical teams, and community development teams. The President said that he was glad that the Philippines would be "showing its flag" and inquired how many persons would be involved in the programs. Ambassador Ledesma said that he would inform the President as soon as he could determine the numbers.

/2/On July 28 Thomson informed McGeorge Bundy that "a Macapagal visit involves certain problems: his 1962 visit was canceled at the time of the war damage ruckus; his opponents are critical of his recent foreign wanderings; and he has publicly announced that he doesn't plan to come to the U.S. before the elections. The Philippine desk is very hesitant to propose a pre-election visit." Komer wrote the following note on the memorandum: "I've told Marshall Green to generate for OK here a cordial invite to Macapagal for October, unless strong reasons why not. But he, like yours truly, can't see what this does for LBJ." (Memorandum from Thomson to Bundy, July 28; Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. I, 11/63-11/64)

Pictures were taken and the meeting terminated.


296. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson/1/


Washington, October 2, 1964.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 7 PHIL. Secret. Drafted by Ballantyne and cleared by Green, Barnett, Cuthell, and Miller; also cleared with DOD/OSD/ISA, AID, Commerce, L/FE/SPA, and E/OR and E/AN.

October 5-7, 1964

Your Meetings with President Macapagal/2/

/2/In telegram 394 from Manila, September 11, the Embassy provided its view of what a Macapagal visit to Washington should accomplish. In general, the Embassy suggested, it was "an opportunity for the two Presidents to know each other better," to reaffirm their countries' close relationship, and to demonstrate to the world, especially the rest of Asia, their identity of interests. (Ibid.)

A. President Macapagal

Macapagal is both pro-American and a Philippine nationalist.

At 54, he has led his country for almost three years during which he has shown greater interest in regional and international affairs than any of his predecessors. He has supported us in the important areas (operation of our bases in the Philippines, Vietnam) but at times his nationalism has led him to follow less constructive lines (his earlier Indonesian policy, claim to Sabah or North Borneo). In the past year, he has shown considerably more responsibility than in his first years in office.

He has been only moderately successful with his domestic programs, which emphasize economic and social reform, and he must cope with an uncooperative Congress, resistance from powerful vested interests and poor public support.

Of very humble origin, he is extremely sensitive and prestige conscious and is not particularly warm or genial. His wife wields considerable influence over him.

He visited the United States as Vice President in 1960. You met him in 1961 on your world trip and at President Kennedy's funeral. Mrs. Macapagal was here last month to place their daughter, Gloria, (17) in Georgetown University.

B. His Objectives

1. To establish for domestic Philippine consumption that he is a close friend of, well regarded by, and an equal partner with the United States President. To bear this out, he requires some tangible signs of our trust and esteem. He will attach importance to the commitment from us to supply P.L. 480 rice next year.

2. To reiterate his support for United States policies in Asia and to volunteer new support.

3. To explain his disillusion and apprehension regarding Sukarno and obtain increased military assistance to bolster Philippine southern defenses against potential Indonesian subversion.

C. Our Objectives

1. To reassure him as to our policies, purposes and determination.

2. To promote close U.S.-Philippine cooperation in defense and world affairs, especially toward Communist China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos.

3. To express our concern over the threat to established American investment in the Philippines posed by the Retail Trade Nationalization Law.

4. To indicate explicitly our commendation for Philippine efforts to introduce social reform in their society. To suggest discreetly our friendship for Macapagal.

D. Major Topics of Your Talks Are Expected To Be:

1. Vietnam

A memorandum on this subject will be submitted separately./3/

/3/Not found.

2. Indonesia and Military Assistance

Macapagal may stress the Philippines has recently undergone a dramatic shift in attitude toward Indonesia and describe the importance he attaches to increasing Philippine military strength in Mindanao, the large southern island, to discourage known Indonesian penetration. He may ask for a sizeable increase in our military assistance program to support his southern defenses.

You should express our concern regarding Indonesian expansionism, and note our efforts to restrain Sukarno and the determination of the British to retaliate if mainland Malaysia is again attacked. Our bilateral defense agreement with the Philippines serves to insulate the Philippines from overt attack from Indonesia, and we agree the Philippines should improve their military posture in the south to withstand and control subversion. His defense advisers are in touch with ours on this and we are prepared to re-examine the existing military assistance program and consider specific Philippine suggestions or requests. We would be interested in knowing what the chances are of increased Philippine budgetary support for its armed forces.

3. Malaysia

Macapagal may explain his latest efforts to resolve the dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia through the medium of an Afro-Asian Conciliation Commission, and describe his claim to Sabah (or North Borneo).

You should express appreciation for his efforts and the hope the Philippines will soon restore diplomatic relations with Malaysia. You should also mention that the Malaysians will understandably insist that attacks against them cease and Indonesian guerrillas be withdrawn before they accept the Afro-Asian Conciliation Commission. Suggest you not comment on the North Borneo claim, a dispute between two of our friends.

4. United States-Philippine Relations

a) Rice

Macapagal will raise his need for P.L. 480 rice.

You should reply that despite limited availabilities of rice, we are prepared, on the basis of Philippine need, to extend to him in 1965 100,000 tons of rice under P.L. 480, Title I, on same basis as the 1964 transaction except for certain minor changes (such as in the handling of freight charges) required by recent legislation.

b) Operation of Our Military Bases

Macapagal may suggest a revision of the military base agreement be undertaken quietly, through diplomatic channels.

You should tell him that we are prepared to consider this suggestion and that we are making every effort to assure that he is informed regarding the use of our bases in this critical period.

c) Civil Aviation

Macapagal may express both concern over this and the hope that Philippine Air Lines be permitted to fly a route from Manila through Tokyo to California or Seattle.

You should state that we share Macapagal's concern over the unresolved aviation problems between our two countries and we are prepared to sit down with the Philippines to negotiate. If agreement could be reached on general principles (on rates, capacities and undertakings not to apply unilateral restrictions) and if a Manila-Tokyo-Seattle route--in addition to the route currently operated by Philippine Air Lines--is acceptable to the Filipinos, we believe a successful negotiation is possible.

d) Sugar

Macapagal may ask for a larger sugar quota.

You should be noncommittal, noting congressional legislation is required.

e) Veterans Claims; Omnibus Claims

Macapagal may propose a Joint Committee to look into the level of payment of veteran benefits. You should discourage him if he specifically mentions the Omnibus Claims. (FYI: We would not get congressional support for these, particularly after the history of the War Damage legislation.)

f) Special Fund for Education

Macapagal may propose that the fund be used in support of the training aspects of the land reform program.

You should explain that the full amount of this fund will not be known until the end of the year and express your interest in having it used in the Philippines for projects which will reflect credit on both Presidents--who are specifically responsible for it--and which will leave a lasting mark on Philippine society. We are prepared to examine a proposal that the fund be used to support training in land reform and perhaps devote a portion of the fund to this purpose.

You should also note that we would welcome Philippine suggestions as to how expenditures under the fund can be audited so as to satisfy the reasonable interest of both the Philippine and American Congresses.

g) Threat to American Investment from Retail Trade Nationalization Law

(You should raise this if Macapagal does not.)

You should observe that American marketing operations in the Philippines are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars and express your appreciation for his personal efforts to prevent the Retail Trade Nationalization Act from interfering with them. You should also state for the record our concern regarding this continuing threat to long-established United States business operations in the Philippines posed by the application of this legislation, and our confidence that the Philippine Government will abide by its long-standing commitments to us. It would be politically difficult for the Executive Branch to sponsor any major legislation favorable to the Philippines (sugar, coconut oil) in the United States Congress until this problem is resolved. We hope that this matter will soon be resolved so that it will not disrupt the mutually beneficial trading relations between our countries.

h) Laurel-Langley Agreement (also known as the U.S.-Philippine Trade Agreement of 1955)/4/

/4/Signed in Washington on September 6, 1955. (6 UST 2981)

Macapagal may raise this and give Philippine views regarding its future and a possible extension.

You should note the importance this agreement has to commercial relations between the two countries, mention you are aware a possible renegotiation of the Agreement has been considered by various groups in the United States and the Philippines. The matter needs further study before we can take a position, but we are always willing to discuss with his representatives any proposals they wish to make.

I am prepared to brief you further on this visit at your convenience, perhaps on Saturday.

Dean Rusk/5/

/5/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


297. Note From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, October 2, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Macapagal Visit, 1964. Secret.


I'm getting cold feet about helicopter deal./2/ Original estimate given us of $20,000 was very austere. To plush up one like Sukarno's could cost over $100,000. Moreover, Fils know two choppers are included in MAP for anti-smuggling operations; ergo, we might have to replace the plush job to a tune of $350,000. DOD thinks this would probably be necessary, State pooh-poohs it.

/2/In a September 28 memorandum from Read to McGeorge Bundy, the Department of State recommended that one of the helicopters due to be delivered to the Philippines under the Military Assistance Program could be "plushed up" at the cost of $20,000 and serve as an executive helicopter for President Macapagal who had indicated a desire for such an aircraft. The Department noted that the United States had given one to Sukarno, and in this instance, it would be in appreciation of "our real friends." The memorandum also recommended that Johnson accompany Macapagal to the Tomb of the Unknowns and John F. Kennedy's grave at Arlington National Cemetery. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 7 PHIL)

Half a million for a present would still be useful if we got a quid pro quo. But we are becoming less enamored of Macapagal's grand proposal. He requires Congressional OK to send troops out of country and opposition is about as strong as he is.

Have we said anything to the President yet?/3/ Bear in mind that while chopper will make visit much more friendly, we won't be able to parley it directly for any increased help./4/

/3/To this question Bundy wrote in the margin: "No."

/4/Bundy wrote the following note at the end of the memorandum: "O.K. Cool off chopper."



298. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson/1/

Washington, October 3, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. I, 11/63-11/64. Secret. This memorandum was sent to the White House under an October 3 covering memorandum from Read to Bundy.

Increased Philippine Participation in Viet-Nam

Macapagal's Proposal

On September 22 Macapagal told [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] that he expected to discuss the Viet-Nam situation with you, that he thought it was approaching "desperation," and that he thought part of the trouble might be that the American advisers and military units, being "Westerners and white men," seemed to the Vietnamese little different from the French and are consequently unable to "convey a sense of common purpose to them." He suggested that the 16,000 American soldiers in Viet-Nam be replaced by an equal number of Filipinos and Thais. He recognized that "massive logistic support and ultimate control must remain in American hands." He said he was confident of obtaining Congressional support if Philippine participation were not unilateral but shared with the Thais. Macapagal concluded that he did not wish to seem critical of our present policy and, therefore, wished advice as to whether he should raise the subject with you./2/

/2/[text not declassified]

Our Assessment

We are not sure of Macapagal's motivation in making this offer. We are aware of the shortcomings of the Philippine armed forces, and are doubtful that Macapagal could obtain Congressional backing for a venture of this sort. Nevertheless, we believe that Macapagal's proposal might be developed into real and active Philippine participation in support of the GVN. Macapagal seems to be sincerely concerned about the Viet-Nam situation; we believe that Philippine political leadership could be brought to support a substantially higher level of Philippine involvement, and that the problem is to devise levels and forms of participation which are tenable in terms of Philippine capabilities and acceptable to Philippine public opinion.

Philippine Capabilities

Given the above criteria, we believe the Philippines could produce forces such as the following:

A. Aircraft crews for support of the Viet-Nam Air Force.
B. Special Forces company.
C. Engineer platoons (up to 6).
D. Medical platoons (up to 3).
E. Personnel in such technical fields as signal, ordnance, transportation, and maintenance.
F. Marine/Navy personnel to assist the South Vietnamese in junk fleet training and similar maritime counter-insurgency operations.

We understand that use of any of the foregoing outside the Philippines would require Philippine Congressional authorization. In addition, however, the Philippine Government could produce without specific Congressional authorization (if funds were available):

G. Significantly increased numbers of civilian medical, engineering, and construction personnel and a variety of specialists to work in the civic action field such as agricultural experts. The Philippines could also contribute fertilizer.


1. The current Philippine budget will not cover the increased costs required for these activities. We are sure that Macapagal will expect the United States to provide the necessary financing.

2. We expect that, in addition to requesting us to finance Philippine activities in South Viet-Nam, Macapagal will use his proposal as a point of departure for further requests for significant increases in our MAP aid.

Saigon Reaction

Asked to comment on the Philippine capabilities listed above, Embassy Saigon has replied that any or all would be most welcome and has added that Filipinos already in the country are working out well.

Bangkok Reaction

Embassy Bangkok believes it is most unlikely that the Thai would be willing to go along with Macapagal's proposal. The Embassy believes, however, that the Thai can be encouraged to increase economic aid considerably and, with proper handling, to augment their military assistance somewhat.

Talking Points

We believe Macapagal will be raising his proposal with you, and indeed Ambassador Blair will be suggesting to him that he do so. I suggest that you reply along the following lines:

1. We are delighted that Macapagal agrees with us in his assessment of the importance of Asians helping Asians in Viet-Nam. We have been most impressed by the ability and devotion of the Filipinos already in Viet-Nam. The nature and depth of our commitment in Viet-Nam is such that we cannot, however, take action which appears to constitute American withdrawal or lessening of interest, as this would be misread in Viet-Nam as well as by the Chinese and others.

2. At the same time, we believe the Philippines could make an important contribution by committing Philippine armed forces, in addition to making a significant increase in civilian participation in support of civic action.

3. Work on this should be done very quietly and, if Macapagal agrees in principle, you and he will instruct your representatives to get together to prepare detailed plans. You would hope that the subject could be discussed further at your second meeting.

4. If Macapagal raises the question of United States financing for increased Philippine activities in Viet-Nam or of increased MAP, you should tell him that in principle the United States will be willing to help out with respect to financing the activities in Viet-Nam, but you should give him no encouragement with respect to increased MAP. These subjects should be discussed by your respective staffs in the course of preparing the detailed plans mentioned above.

The Department of Defense concurs in this memorandum./3/

/3/The Joint Chiefs of Staff informed McNamara in JCSM-347-64, October 3, that, "since neither Thailand nor the Philippines has an industrial base, their contributions, especially in economic and social fields, must be largely in terms of personnel and skills." The JCS recommended contributions in civic action and counterinsurgency operations, and noted that both Thailand and the Philippines would regard these contributions as a basis for increases in their U.S. Military Assistance Program. The Joint Chiefs stated that replacement of U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam by Thai and Filipino military personnel was "impractical." (Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff Files, Official File, 9150 (1 Oct 1964))

Dean Rusk


299. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, October 5, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. I, Memos, 11/63-11/64. Secret.

Talking Points for Macapagal. He clearly expects that Vietnam will be uppermost on your mind, and will probably make his offer to help. We want to embrace enthusiastically the idea of more Fil aid, but steer him on to Rusk and McNamara on the more dubious specifics.

Since these people are [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], I'd urge you have at least Bill Bundy or Blair in the room, both to protect your flank and to give us a quick readout for the talks to follow.

1. Vietnam. We're determined to see this through (a firm line will reassure Macapagal). Depth of our commitment is such that we couldn't appear to be pulling out. This would be misread in VN as well as by Chicoms.

2. But we enthusiastically agree that there should be more Asians helping Asians. We're impressed with performance of Fils already there, and would warmly welcome more. The two governments should get together and prepare detailed plans.

3. Indonesia-Malaysia. Flatter Macapagal by frankly asking his advice on how to keep this dispute from blowing up.

4. We appreciate Fil mediation on Malaysia dispute and agree with idea of "Asian" solution. But we can see why Tunku insists Sukarno stop attacks and pull out guerillas first. We hope Fils will restore diplomatic relations with the Tunku. No comment if he brings up Fil claim to N. Borneo.

5. If he switches to Indo threat to Philippines, we think that our bilateral defense agreement and Seventh Fleet will insulate Fils from overt attack. As to subversive threat, we agree Fils should strengthen their defensive posture in South. Let's consult on this, but Fils too must help by more budgetary support for their own forces. We hope to avoid the big new MAP commitment Fils want.

6. Rice. Our supply is limited, but we can provide 100,000 tons on same basis as 1964 except for minor changes required by new PL 480 law (e.g. freight charges).

7. We want to complain about threat to US investment from new Fil Retail Trade Nationalization Law. He's on our side, but should be told that this law jeopardizes long-established US businesses in Philippines. We couldn't get any legislation favorable to Fils through Congress if this is not settled.

8. If he raises our base rights, we'll consider any proposition he has.

9. If he raises new air route, we're prepared to negotiate and think Fils could have a Manila-Tokyo-Seattle route if agreement can be reached on rates, capacities, no unilateral restrictions, etc.

10. On veterans claims, we'll buy a joint committee but want to discourage him on Omnibus Claims.

11. If he wants the special education fund set up under the new War Damage law to be used in his land reform program, we'll look at this carefully. We need suitable auditing procedure to satisfy both Congresses however.

12. If he raises Laurel-Langley trade agreement (parity clause protecting US business operations is now under fire), we're prepared to study any proposals Fils may have.

After the meeting, we have the boat ceremony in Fish Room with press and guests.

R. W. Komer

N.B. Special warmth to this highly sensitive man is as important as what we can give him. With some discreet hints from us, he's going to laud our VN role in speeches here.


300. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, October 5, 1964, 5 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. I, Memos, 11/63-11/64. Secret. Drafted by Bundy and approved by the White House on October 9. According to the President's Daily Diary, Johnson and Macapagal met alone in the President's office in the White House from 5:01 to 5:15 p.m. They were then joined by William Bundy and Ledesma and the meeting lasted until 5:31 p.m. (Ibid.)

1. Philippine Assistance in South Viet-Nam, and Philippine MAP Requirements.
2. Rice.
3. Special Fund for Education
4. Retail Trade Nationalization Act.

The President
President Macapagal of the Philippines
Philippine Ambassador Oscar Ledesma
Mr. William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs

(The two Presidents had had a private conversation before Ambassador Ledesma and Mr. Bundy joined them. Matters of substance discussed in this shorter conversation are believed to have been reviewed in the larger group.)

1. Philippine Assistance in South Viet-Nam, and Philippine MAP Requirements.

President Macapagal stated that the Philippines were ready to send to South Viet-Nam trained personnel in public health, medical, engineering, and military special forces, "as many as useful." In response to Mr. Bundy's inquiry whether the President had any specific number in mind, President Macapagal stated that this should be worked out with the American authorities.

President Macapagal stated that with such increased Philippine participation they would wish to have at least "some sprinkling" of additional Thai participation. He implied that it would be difficult for the Philippines to take these further steps unless another Asian country were participating.

President Johnson responded that this offer would be very sympathetically received and said that an announcement to this effect by the Philippines would be most helpful. President Macapagal agreed to such an announcement (no time specified).

President Macapagal then alluded briefly to the cost of sending these men and then, at more length, to the question of Philippine military assistance needs. President Johnson responded that he had discussed the latter problems with Secretary McNamara, and that Secretary McNamara would be prepared to go into it in detail with President Macapagal in their appointment on the following day./2/ President Johnson stated that "we think we can be helpful", but otherwise left the matter to the discussion with Secretary McNamara.

/2/See Document 301.

2. Rice.

President Macapagal explained the serious Philippine need for rice, and President Johnson immediately responded that we were prepared to furnish 100,000 tons on a mutually agreeable basis. President Macapagal showed clear pleasure at this statement and the matter was left at that.

3. Special Fund for Education.

President Macapagal alluded to the $25 million that might be available for educational purposes from war damage claims. President Johnson immediately responded that we were prepared to have a joint commission look into this matter and see what uses could be developed.

At a later point in the conversation, President Macapagal came back to the importance of his land reform program and his hope that the US could be directly associated with it through the use of the fund in connection with land reform. During this discussion, he also alluded very favorably to the US treatment of the Philippines in contrast to the treatment of other countries by their colonial powers.

4. Retail Trade Nationalization Act.

President Johnson raised this issue and indicated that it was causing serious problems for American businessmen and for future American business in the Philippines.

President Macapagal responded that he had done his best, and certified the necessary legal cases to the courts. He said that his main problem was that the Senate was controlled by the opposing party, and that he must therefore simply campaign just as hard as he could to get a friendly Senate and Congress in the 1965 elections. He expressed confidence that his own campaigning ability could produce a successful outcome at that time.


301. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, October 6, 1964, 9:15 a.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL PHIL-US. Secret. Drafted by Blair. The meeting was held at Blair House.

Secretary McNamara and President Macapagal's Conversation


Diosdado P. Macapagal, President of the Philippines
Mauro Mendez, Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Rufino Hechanova, Secretary of Finance
Oscar Ledesma, Ambassador
Brig. General Ismael Lapus, Philippine Armed Forces Attaché

United States
Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense
Rear Admiral W. F. Schlech, Jr., American Military Aide to the President of the Philippines
William McC. Blair, Jr., American Ambassador to the Philippines

In response to a question from Secretary McNamara on Viet-Nam, President Macapagal said that he first sensed that something was wrong back in 1960. He said that he detected that the efforts of the Vietnamese Government lacked the support of the people. "When the people are not behind the effort, it is bound to collapse," he said. The President suggested that more participation by Filipinos "and perhaps by Thais" would be useful. "We are nervous ourselves," he said. "We are in danger too if anything happens." With Indonesia headed the way she is, the President said that it was time that the Filipinos shifted their defenses southward. He said this is already under way and that they were using the increase in smuggling as an excuse for the shift.

Secretary McNamara said that he was seriously concerned by the level of the Filipino defense budget. Macapagal replied saying, "It is my peculiar misfortune to be the first President in our history working with an opposition congress." The Secretary said, "I speak of this reluctantly because your strength depends upon your economic growth. I realize you have internal political problems but the dangers ahead are too great for you to keep your defense efforts at such a low level." The President replied, "We are studying the situation and I may call a special session of Congress to augment our military preparations." The President said that the purpose of calling the special session would be to increase revenues both for defense and for schools, and he suggested that even if Congress is controlled by the opposition, it would find it difficult to oppose these measures.

At this point Secretary Hechanova interrupted to say there had been a restoration of earlier cuts in the defense budget. Secretary McNamara said that this was a good first step but inadequate in and of itself. Secretary McNamara then asked the President what size force he had in mind when he talked about an increase in Filipino participation in the war in Viet-Nam. The President turned to General Lapus who gave the figure of between 1,000 and 1,200--"a battalion combat team," he said. President Macapagal commented that he thought the Filipinos could be most useful in terms of technical assistance and civil action groups. He said that the Vietnamese are weary after 20 years of war and that France had not given them enough "technical know-how." The President pointed out that there exists a school of public administration at the University of the Philippines. He said that "We can live with the natives but it will be difficult for Filipinos to do it alone." "Perhaps," he said, "a sprinkling of Thais is needed." When asked by the Secretary as to whether he felt the Thais would be receptive to this idea, he answered in the affirmative saying that "if Viet-Nam falls, the Thais will be next."

Secretary McNamara said that "We would be delighted to join with your staff" in studying both the possibility of an increased Filipino participation in Viet-Nam and the shifting of Philippine defense to the south./2/ When asked by the Secretary whether he had any views on the Vietnamese desire to expand the war, the President said, "I am not a military man but you will have to cut the supply routes if you want to win."

/2/Secretary of Finance Hechanova discussed the projected shift in Philippine defense posture with Assistant Secretary of Defense McNaughton at the Pentagon, on October 2. Hechanova stated that the highest levels of the Philippine Government had decided that a major threat to the Philippines came from Indonesia in addition to the previously recognized threat of China. The Philippine Government was planning to move military forces south under the guise of anti-smuggling operations. Hechanova also pointed out the danger of subversion in the southern Philippines because of Mindanao's close religious and cultural ties to Indonesia. This was the reason for Philippine claims to North Borneo now that the British were leaving. (Memorandum of conversation, October 2; Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 68 A 306, Philippines, 320.2--702)

The Secretary said, "We will set up a joint study to see what can be done. If you raise your budget, we will do what we can to supplement it. We are limited in what we can do but we will study it." Secretary McNamara stated that perhaps what is needed most by the Filipinos is a counter-insurgency force to deal with infiltration from the south.

President Macapagal talked for awhile on the threat of Communist China and pointed out that all of the Asian countries are fearful of Red China. He then said, "I do not know if you have written off Indonesia" and went on to say that he felt every effort should be made to make sure that Indonesia will not be lost to the Communists. The President said that the poverty of the Indonesian people was so bad that "I doubt if in the long run Indonesia can be a real threat." The Secretary said that the United States certainly had not written off Indonesia. The President said that both China and the Soviet Union were trying to keep Indonesia from moving to the other side and pointed out that "since we are neighbors to Indonesia, we can talk to them." He said that Sukarno agreed with him that China was a grave threat and said that if only the West could come up with some role for Indonesia to play which would at the same time give Sukarno a chance to help his people, "this might do it."/3/

/3/At 10 a.m. Macapagal met with Rusk to discuss the Indonesian-Malaysian dispute and Philippines-Malaysia relations. Accounts of these discussions are in three memoranda of conversation, all October 6. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 INDON-MALAYSIA and POL PHIL-MALAYSIA) Macapagal also met with McCone at Blair House at 3 p.m. They primarily discussed events in Vietnam and and the Indonesia-Malaysia dispute. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. I, Memos, 11/63-11/64)


302. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, October 6, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. VII, Oct.-Dec., 1964. Secret. There is an indication on the memorandum that the President saw it.

Chief Macapagal business this afternoon is attached communiqué,/2/ now approved by Macapagal. At Fil request, it's long and meaty, with many details befitting our "special relationship": (1) reaffirmation of SEATO commitments and defense in SEA; (2) study of mutual security needs; (3) joint commission on veterans' claims; (4) our support of land reform; (5) we'll plan together on using joint fund for education; (6) our interest in rural electrification; (7) new PL 480 rice; (8) our stand on new Fil retail trade law, etc. We're happy with it.

/2/Not attached; for text of the communiqué, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 946-949.

Macapagal told McNamara that he thought it worthwhile to gamble on keeping Sukarno from going East--but Sukarno needed some kind of "golden bridge" (i.e. aid) to justify his climbing down on Malaysia issue./3/ For Vietnam he mentioned a battalion of troops (1200), but a lot of staff work is needed yet. We don't see much meaningful short term input. Bob said we'd find some way to help the Fils re-orient their defenses to the south, and beef up their military budget. Any increases in our MAP would depend on their increasing too.

/3/See Document 301.

Most of Macapagal-Rusk talk/4/ was on Malaysia and Sukarno. This time our friend stressed his disillusionment with the Bung, so Rusk suggested that restoring Fil-Malay relations would be a good signal.

/4/See footnote 3, Document 301.

Macapagal's noon Press Club talk (attached)/5/ was helpful on Vietnam.

/5/Not attached.

Talking points. You might hit the following for emphasis:/6/

/6/Johnson met Macapagal on the White House grounds at 5:30 p.m. and walked with him to the Cabinet Room where they stayed until 5:42 p.m. They attempted to go to the President's office, but could not because television crews were still there clearing away their equipment. The two Presidents then went to the Fish Room and into the lobby of the White House. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) No record of their discussion has been found.

1. Visit most helpful from your viewpoint. We rely on our Fil friends to advise us on Southeast Asia.

2. We're delighted that Fils want to help out more in Vietnam. We'll be in touch on staff level as soon as possible.

3. Since Malaysia-Indonesia wasn't highlighted in your talk yesterday/7/ (it was with Rusk and McNamara), you might ask for any final words of advice.

/7/See Document 300.

4. We'll keep trying to forestall an Indo-Malaysia blow-up, but hope Fils will patch things up with Malays, as a warning to Sukarno.

5. Wish him pleasant US trip (his path crosses yours 11 October in Frisco).

R. W. Komer


303. Memorandum of Conversation/1/


Washington, January 21, 1965, 10:50-11:40 a.m.

/1/Source: Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff Files, Official File, 9155.3 (22 Jan 1965). Confidential. Drafted by Captain Neill on January 22 and approved by Solbert on January 27. The meeting was held in McNaughton's office.

Philippine Participation--Free World Assistance to South Vietnam


Philippine Side
Secretary of Finance--Rufino G. Hechanova
Philippine Ambassador to the United States--Oscar Ledesma

United States Side
Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA)--John T. McNaughton
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA)--Peter Solbert
Director, Far East Region (ISA)--Rear Admiral F. J. Blouin (USN)
Assistant to Director, FER (ISA)--Captain D. T. Neill (USN)

Financial Support for Philippine Free World Assistance to South Vietnam

Mr. Hechanova stated that the Philippine contingent would be trained and ready to go to South Vietnam in March or early April. He further indicated that his news media contained some disturbing reports to the effect that the Korean contingent proposed for Vietnam would be U.S. sponsored mercenaries. In an effort to avoid similar charges levied against the U.S. and the Philippine Governments, the Minister of Defense, Peralta, had instructed Mr. Hechanova to request a lump sum grant in advance to the Government of the Philippines, and that the GOP would request an appropriation of an equivalent amount of pesos from their own sources to support the 2500-man contingent to South Vietnam. (The implication is that the Philippine appropriation would not be acted upon, but serve as a cover.)

Mr. Hechanova stated that financial assistance for the Philippine internal propaganda campaign to sell to the Philippine public the concept of armed forces assistance to South Vietnam would also come out of the advance grant.

Mr. Hechanova relayed Mr. Peralta's opposition to any moves to reduce the present and proposed Philippine level of per diem ($15 per day for field grade officers, $12 for company grade, and $8 for enlisted men). Mr. McNaughton reminded Mr. Hechanova that U.S. representatives in Manila are in the process of negotiating with the Philippine Defense Secretary, Mr. Peralta, on the method of U.S. financial support, and that the per diem question was also under consideration, but that a decision could not be made until we received a report from our representatives on these negotiations. Mr. McNaughton also indicated that we wished to be fair in the question of per diem pay. Mr. Hechanova rationalized that the per diem level was based on the precedent set with the medical and psy-operations teams of 34 Philippine personnel presently in Vietnam.

Admiral Blouin stated that we were hoping to obtain a reduction on what we consider to be an excessive per diem payment and commented with respect to effect on Koreans and Vietnamese. Mr. Hechanova responded that any reduction would have an adverse effect on the morale of the Philippine military and recruitment of volunteers for Vietnam, stating further that the Philippines has a higher living standard than those other countries of Asia, and that he did not feel it was proper to send the Philippine military to Vietnam with less money than they received at home. Admiral Blouin questioned this statement. Hechanova modified it--Philippine Government could not reduce per diem from that already approved.

Philippine Shopping List

Mr. Hechanova proposed that partial proceeds from PL 480, Title I funds be allocated to the purchase for the Army of additional earth moving and road construction equipment. Along with road construction equipment, they would like to have additional helicopters. The reason for these requests is to expand the road and communication network in Mindanao in an attempt to bring remote areas in better contact with markets, and provide an excuse for Army presence in remote areas through road construction and easier access to those areas for purposes of security. In effect, they would be creating a pre-emptory counter-insurgency effort. He stated that the areas concerned were made up mostly of Moslem communities having an affinity for Indonesia and the GOP would like to get in first in view of the potential Indonesian infiltration and insurgency threat and the possibility of Indonesia going Communist. In this same regard, Mr. Hechanova mentioned that proposals were being developed to obtain finances through the New York money marts for a north to south national railway through the Island of Mindanao. The foregoing efforts are designed to tie together the outlying areas and pave the way for closer government control and influence through economic means.

Reinstatement under MAP of Military POL Support and General Consumable Supplies

In this regard, Mr. Hechanova issued a plea for a return to MAP support of AFP POL and consumables, and to explore the use of some PL 480 proceeds to support armed forces Philippines fuel requirements. Mr. Solbert explained to him that GAO had been pushing the Department of Defense to have the indigenous governments provide the POL support and shoulder the costs of armed forces consumable supplies, for the reason that these functions were considered to be a stimulus to the local economy.

Philippine Defense Budget

Mr. Solbert posed the question of whether funds actually released to the Philippine Department of Defense were measuring up to those authorized and if they were adequate to meet defense expenditures. Mr. Hechanova stated that they were approaching equalization but that a new scheme of submitting budgets to the Philippine Congress would be placed in effect for the first time this year. This formula would involve setting up four major categories of special funds derived from special specific tax revenue bill to be treated as separate budget items placed before the Congress: (1) education; (2) defense; (3) various categorized roadbuilding projects; and (4) medical health. If this improved formula is successful, the special fund for defense would add an additional $40-50 million to the defense budget and he had high hopes that the new formula would be successful and prove palatable to his Congress.

Mr. Solbert stated that he was glad to have the chance to hear the Philippine position first hand. Mr. McNaughton thanked the visitors for a very clear presentation of their problems and stated that the information provided would be very helpful in arriving at a decision on the Country Team assessment of these issues which is expected shortly.


304. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/


Washington, March 13, 1965.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 3717, 381 Philippines. Secret.

Shifting of Philippine Military Defenses to the Southern Islands (S)

1. Reference is made to:

a. A Memorandum for the Record by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), dated 6 October 1964, subject: "McNamara-Macapagal Conversation 6 October 1964 0915-1000 at Blair House,"/2/ which indicated that the United States would join with the Philippines in studying the deployment of Philippine military forces to the southern islands.

/2/Not found. For Ambassador Blair's account of the meeting, see Document 301.

b. A memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), I-28502/64, dated 13 October 1964,/3/ subject: "Visit of President Macapagal--Republic of the Philippines," in which the Joint Chiefs of Staff were requested to implement the agreements reached during the 5-6 October 1964 meeting with President Macapagal.

/3/Not found, but summarized below.

2. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide you with the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on a CINCPAC study, contained in Appendix B hereto,/4/ which outlines steps that the United States might take to assist the Government of the Philippines in shifting its military emphasis to the southern islands in order to:

/4/Appendixes A-C are attached but not printed.

a. Combat existing banditry, lawlessness, and smuggling.

b. Prepare the Government of the Philippines to combat the real and active subversive threats to the southern Philippines from Indonesia.

3. The study recommends:

a. A reorientation of the Philippine Armed Forces to a primary mission involving counterinsurgency and law enforcement within the context of the over-all American security system in the Pacific.

b. That the Philippine military posture should now embrace new measures designed to meet the threat of subversive insurgency in the southern islands.

4. The Joint Chiefs of Staff concur with the basic concepts contained in the study; however, the study envisions a Military Assistance Program (MAP) of approximately $35 million in excess of the current FY 1966-1970 program. Therefore, priorities have been established in the Annex to Appendix B which show those items of equipment selected as the most essential (based on a $10 million MAP increase and spread over five years). These data and the CINCPAC study have previously been made available to the Chief, Joint US Military Advisory Group, Philippines.

5. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are of the opinion that the views of the Country Team in Manila should be obtained regarding the study prior to initiating conversations on the subject with Philippine officials. They are also of the opinion that any increase in US assistance which may be required to shift the Philippine military defenses to the southern islands should be made contingent upon:

a. Reorientation of the Philippine Armed Forces and paramilitary establishments, as necessary, to a primary mission involving counter-insurgency operations.

b. An increase in the Philippine military budget.

c. Securing an arrangement with the Philippine Government whereby any new facilities constructed with US assistance in the southern Philippines would be available to the United States on a joint use basis.

d. Availability of MAP funds in excess of current and projected world-wide programs.

6. Accordingly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that:

a. A memorandum, substantially as contained in Appendix A, together with the study contained in Appendix B, its Annex, and the proposed State-AID-Defense message contained in Appendix C, be forwarded to the Secretary of State requesting his concurrence.

b. Upon receipt of concurrence from the Department of State, the proposed State-AID-Defense message contained in Appendix C be dispatched to the American Embassy in Manila./5/

/5/According to a memorandum from Vance to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, April 5, a "slightly modified version of your proposed joint message" was dispatched to Manila. (Washinton National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 3717, 381 Philippines)

c. Upon receipt of Country Team submissions, the Joint Chiefs of Staff be afforded the opportunity to provide appropriate comments.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

L. J. Kirn/6/
Rear Admiral, USN
Deputy Director, Joint Staff

/6/Printed from a copy that indicates Kirn signed the original.


305. Memorandum From Chester L. Cooper of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, March 29, 1965.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. II, Memos, 6/64-6/66 [1 of 2]. Secret.

Philippine Aid to Vietnam

This is in response to your request to assess the problems in obtaining a substantial ("3-4 division") Philippine force for Vietnam--particularly as these problems relate to the President's role.

Until two weeks ago, two basic difficulties held up any additional manpower contribution: financial arrangements and political considerations. After several months of negotiations, we have arrived at financial arrangements satisfactory to both the Philippine Government and ourselves. Although these arrangements apply specifically to the 34-man civic action team, both State and our Embassy are confident that the precedent will hold for the proposed 2,000-man military Task Force and for any larger force that might be sent.

The political problems pose a more serious obstacle. They relate to Macapagal's election prospects and his need to obtain congressional approval for sending troops abroad. Macapagal's interest in sending troops and his leverage on Congress have been weakened by the deteriorating situation in South Vietnam and by pressures for negotiations both in the US and abroad. There has also been concern that the US will concentrate on fighting from the air and leave the ground war to others--specifically, to Asians. However, our air strikes and the landing of the Marines have had some salutary effects.

In the circumstances, there are no specific US actions which would guarantee the sending of a 2,000-man Task Force, to say nothing of a much larger element. There are two channels of approach, however, which might be helpful:

1. Vietnam Policy: Actions that convince Macapagal in particular and the Filipinos in general of our determination to stay with the fight in Vietnam would allay fears that the Philippine forces might be left out on a limb. For example:

a. A Presidential letter to Macapagal detailing our present thinking on Vietnam, our resolve, and the role to be played by Filipino troops;

b. More US ground forces in South Vietnam, thereby removing grounds for the contention that we are relying largely on airpower and are not exposing our own troops.

2. Philippine Domestic Affairs: US actions which directly or indirectly have the effect of strengthening Macapagal's bid for re-election would increase his willingness to risk the loss of some votes by pressing the proposal to commit troops to Vietnam. While such US actions would broaden his appeal in the provinces, they would tend to set up severe counter-pressures in the Manila area, in the press, and among opposition politicians whose support will be needed to gain approval of the Vietnam venture.

The following possible steps are listed in ascending order of their effectiveness in gaining the Philippine contribution (and in ascending order of identification with Macapagal):

a. Early resolution of outstanding PL 480 negotiations (rice and meat) on terms favorable to the GOP. (We are now moving on the rice.)

b. Resolution of sources of friction that derive from our military bases. We are presently making progress on the criminal jurisdiction article. Conciliation of other issues would be translated into political gains for Macapagal.

c. US agreement to underwrite the costs of improving Philippine defenses in the southern islands.

d. Increased military assistance of a type specifically desired by GOP.

e. Announcement of a dramatic program committing the US to share in underwriting a joint US-Philippine land reform and rural development program in the Philippines (essential to future healthy development of the country)./2/

/2/Bundy wrote the following marginal note at this point: "CLC, does this relate."

f. Announcement of the President's agreement to make a visit to the Philippines prior to the November 1965 election. (This could probably be tied to an undertaking by Macapagal to go forward on the Task Force, might improve its chances of approval in the Philippine Congress, but would deeply interject us into Philippine politics. In the long run, such action would be greatly resented.)


Late Add:

See attached FBIS item reporting Macapagal favoring "military intervention . . . subject to approval of Congress."/3/

/3/Not attached.


306. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) and James C. Thomson, Jr., of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, June 1, 1965.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. II, Memos, 6/64-6/66, [1 of 2]. Secret.

Your meeting with Philippine Ambassador Ledesma, June 2, at 12:45 p.m./2/

/2/The President met Ledesma from 12:56 to 1:05 p.m. The meeting was "Off the Record." (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) The Department of State also sent the White House a briefing paper for this meeting. (Memorandum from Read to Bundy, May 31; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 27-3 VIET)

Ambassador Ledesma's request for an appointment with you comes at a good time for a strong push by you to get Philippine Congressional approval of a 2,000-man Task Force of engineers for Vietnam.

The Ambassador will give you two letters from President Macapagal:/3/ one on sugar legislation (which you need only acknowledge, saying that we will give this matter study; Ledesma expects no discussion on sugar), the other a brief note of thanks for sending Ambassador Lodge to the Philippines.

/3/Dated May 13 and April 29, respectively. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Macapagal Correspondence, 12/63-12/65)

The second letter provides the point of departure for a discussion of the Task Force.

Macapagal offered such a force during his State Visit last October. Since then, after prolonged negotiations, we have come close to our goal: We have worked out a covert U.S. financing arrangement (Note: Ambassador Ledesma does not know about this arrangement and should not know); and the Philippine House of Representatives has approved the proposal for the Task Force by a large majority.

Chief stumbling block now is the Philippine Senate, which is controlled by the Nacionalista Party, Macapagal's opponents in a tough election year. Here we can achieve success only through bi-partisan support for the measure; yet the Nacionalista leadership is so far opposed. (Macapagal needs 13 votes and is sure of only 10.)

Ambassador Ledesma can help to provide a solution: he is not only a well-respected businessman and very pro-American; he is also a life-long member of the opposition Nacionalista Party. An appeal to him can therefore carry weight not only with Macapagal, but with his own party and its representatives in the Senate.

Talking Points

1. You recall with great warmth Macapagal's support for our Vietnam policies last October and his statement that Filipinos, as Asians, could make an important military and psychological contribution in Vietnam. (We are grateful for the 73 Filipinos--in medical civic action and psychological warfare--already in Vietnam.)

2. You understand Macapagal's desire for Congressional approval of the 2,000-man Task Force.

3. You can assure the Ambassador of our total determination to stay with the job in Vietnam; our determination has been demonstrated anew in our actions since January.

4. You are convinced that early dispatch of the Task Force would hearten the South Vietnamese people, convey a strong warning to the Communists, and disprove American critics who claim that our Vietnam policies lack Asian support.

5. You request that the Ambassador, both as Macapagal's representative and as a respected member of the opposition party, use his influence with both parties in Manila in order to promote bi-partisan support for the Task Force. You understand the difficulties of an election year and a divided Congress; but the need for such a Task Force clearly transcends party rivalries in view of the challenge which confronts us all in Southeast Asia.



307. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, July 7, 1965, 6:15 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. XII, July 1965. Secret.

Macapagal and the 2,000 troops

Macapagal has not succeeded in passing the aid bill necessary to allow him to send the 2000 troops that have been agreed in principle for so long between us. He has now proposed instead that the Filipinos send volunteers and that we pay for them under the table through CIA./2/ We are convinced that paying for volunteers would be a very messy solution and are unanimously and strongly against it. The Filipinos are quite likely to draft the people they want, and call them volunteers, and this is a lousy precedent in the face of what the Chinese have threatened.

/2/See footnote 3, Document 308.

The only way Macapagal could revive his aid bill is by what the Filipinos call "recertification." The attached cable (A)/3/ shows that he has made a decision against any such course for strong election-year reasons. The only thing that could conceivably move him is a direct personal appeal from you, and on the evidence of the attached cable (A) we are not inclined to suggest that you make this effort right now. Instead, we plan to send the draft telegram attached at B./4/

/3/Not attached; this is a reference to telegram 38 from Manila, July 6. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, AID (PHIL) VIET S)

/4/Document 308.

McG. B.

Speak to me

/5/None of the options is checked, but a handwritten note in Komer's hand reads: "President approved--`nothing else he could do'. RWK."


308. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Philippines/1/

Washington, July 7, 1965, 7:10 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. II, Cables, 6/64-6/66. Secret; Immediate; Priority. Drafted by Ballentyne and Cuthell, cleared by William Bundy and Komer, and approved by Rusk.

36. Embtel 44./2/ In light of recent developments we believe it necessary to recognize that Macapagal will not recertify aid to Viet-Nam bill, and that further efforts by us to persuade him to do so will be unproductive. We believe it desirable, therefore, to terminate discussions to this end with Macapagal and other Philippine leaders. We would like to do this with as little contention as possible both because we will be needing cooperative atmosphere in Manila during next few months as Viet-Nam conflict develops and in order not to prejudice what we regard as rather slim chance that he will take action after election.

/2/In telegram 44 from Manila, July 7, Blair reported a conversation with Hechanova who insisted that the Philippines could either send volunteers (in reality, members of the Philippine armed forces) to Vietnam now or wait until after the Presidential election. If Macapagal won, he would call a special session of the Philippine Congress to pass a Vietnam bill. Hechanova stated that he did not understand the U.S. opposition to the volunteer concept. (Ibid.)

Objectives should be to accept present situation, to keep door open for change in GOP position after elections, and to have Macapagal feeling he owes us something and inclined to cooperate with us wherever he can.

We think there are some advantages in using indirect but reliable channel to Macapagal for some if not all of our reaction, but we leave decision in this regard in your hands. Points to be covered in message to him are:

(1) It is up to Macapagal whether he wishes to pursue proposal to send volunteers./3/ As for US role, apart from fact that volunteer project does not meet essential need for GOP endorsement of assistance to GVN, we have carefully considered problems involved in any US financial support for a private fund-raising venture on this scale, and conclude that it simply cannot be done without exposing US hand to degree that would be most damaging both to US interests and to Macapagal himself. Thus, in event GOP decides to go ahead with idea, it must do so on its own as to raising of funds and promotion of project within Philippines. Believe GOP would also find it essential to consult with GVN. FYI: Most that USG could do would be to contribute overseas benefits within SVN on same basis originally agreed for official contingent. End FYI.

/3/In telegram 27 from Manila, July 5, Blair reported that he had spoken with Macapag- al that morning. They first discussed the upcoming Presidential election and Macapagal stated that by hard work and campaigning he believed he had a slight edge over Marcos. He confided to Blair that if President Johnson had visited the Philippines, his reelection would have been assured. Macapagal raised the issue of sending a battalion of engineers to South Vietnam ostensibly funded by public subscription, but actually funded by U.S. sources. (Ibid.) The Department of State responded in telegram 29 to Manila, July 6, that the proposal for volunteers was both "unacceptable and impractical." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 27-3 VIET S)

(2) Without pushing Macapagal into corner, we wish him to understand clearly that we are greatly disappointed by fact that Phil Administration publicly and enthusiastically proposed significant military effort in Viet-Nam and then retreated, which will provide useful propaganda ammunition to those opposed to our Viet-Nam policy both here and abroad.



309. Telegram From the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State/1/

Manila, July 9, 1965, 1332Z.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. II, 6/64-6/66. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Repeated to Saigon. This telegram was passed to the White House where it was retyped and that copy was sent to the President who saw it. (Ibid.)

66. I saw President Macapagal this evening and conveyed to him in detail contents of Deptel 36./2/ I emphasized several times that Washington was both gravely concerned and disappointed that the Vietnam bill had not been pressed. When I had finished the President said that he had further discussions with party leaders since our earlier talks and they had unanimously agreed that it was best to postpone action until after the elections. He reiterated the reasons he had earlier given and assured me that a minimum of one million pesos would be made available to keep the two medical and civic action teams in Vietnam for another year. I told the President that in all frankness I must tell him that I was not convinced that if a determined and bipartisan effort had been made to pass the Vietnam bill it would have passed in close to its present form. The President told me that if the Nacionalistas had been sincere in their desire to support meaningful aid to Vietnam they would have supported the administration's bill. This bill, he said, provided precisely the kind of aid the Government of Vietnam had requested. The President said, "I think I know the Nacionalistas and their motives. Marcos is no leader and he will do what the Lopezes tell him to do." He continued, "If I win, and I am increasingly certain that I will win, I promise, and you can tell Washington this, that I will call a special session of Congress on November 15. If I win by a large majority, I will ask for more than what the present bill calls for (i.e. a battalion of engineers plus security forces). I agreed with Senator Manahan that in addition to this we should send more civic action teams. We need the experience, and if trouble develops with Indonesia we will have to fight the kind of war which is now being fought in Vietnam." "I hope Washington will understand," he said, "that I am sincere; that ever since I was first heard of, I have been known as a friend of democracy and particularly of the US. If the bill I presented had been watered down, the image of the Philippines would have been impaired." I interrupted to tell the President that I felt the reputation of the Philippines would be impaired in any event once it became known that the bill which his administration had publicly and enthusiastically proposed was not going to be approved. The President said that he believed that anyone who understood the workings of democratic governments would appreciate that there are many things that can not be accomplished in the final frenzy of a political campaign. In conclusion, the President said with apparent feeling that he hoped Washington would understand that all that was involved was a temporary delay--less than four months--and that he would still fulfill his commitment. I told the President that we had no alternative but to accept his decision but that the next few months might well be the tough and crucial months--that the US had been carrying a disproportionate share of the burden--that we had reason to believe we could count on the Philippines for meaningful assistance, but that this help had not materialized.

/2/Document 308.

The President assured me this help would be forthcoming and asked again for understanding of the circumstances which had made impossible at this time passage of the administration's bill.



310. Letter From President Macapagal to President Johnson/1/

Manila, July 24, 1965.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Macapagal Correspondence, 12/63-12/65. No classification marking.

Dear Mr. President,

I have asked the good offices of Ambassador Oscar Ledesma to hand you this letter on Philippine assistance to South Vietnam.

The Filipino people and my Administration support the continuing U.S. commitment in the struggle for freedom in Vietnam as a clear proof of American sincerity and interest in this part of the world.

On our part, we shall endeavor to maintain our contribution to freedom in Vietnam.

Last year, the Philippine Congress approved a national policy of helping in the struggle for freedom in Vietnam by the sending of technical aid and personnel to that country and, for which, the Philippine Congress appropriated the amount of peso 1-million.

This year, in our effort to increase our contribution, I sent to our Congress a special message asking for peso 25-million to enable us to increase and broaden our efforts in the form of an engineer battalion with security support made up of 2,000 officers and men. In the closing days of the regular session of Congress, I again expressed my interest in the bill by certifying it to our Congress as urgent. Unfortunately, this bill did not pass Congress in its regular session because of the dominant position of the Opposition leaders; neither was the national budget, so absolutely essential to the conduct of government, approved.

The nature of the composition of our Congress today and the partisan atmosphere prevailing therein have made it difficult, if not impracticable, to secure at this time the necessary authority for the Philippine engineer battalion to Vietnam. The deadlock between the Opposition-dominated Senate and the President is a novel situation in our political experience as part of the growing pains of our democracy.

This is one of the primary issues of the current presidential election campaign, and it is this issue which I trust our people will resolve not only by investing my humble person with a continuing mandate, but also by granting me the necessary legislative support in both chambers of our Congress to enable me to achieve my goals. I therefore look forward to the fruitful outcome of the elections come November and the consequent resolution of this deadlock by our people once and for all.

It is our purpose that even before the new Congress convenes in January, 1966, we shall summon it to a special session at the end of November to ask, among other things, for the necessary authority to increase and broaden the Philippine commitment in the current struggle for freedom in Vietnam, if possible beyond the engineer battalion.

In the meantime, we have hopes of projecting the Philippine commitment in Vietnam. Even in the absence of the necessary appropriations for continuing funds from the Opposition-dominated Philippine Congress, I have directed that our present contingent in Vietnam be maintained.

My conviction that South Vietnam should be supported by freedom-loving peoples from falling to the communists needs no reiteration. I am certain that the Filipino people themselves share and support this policy. The project to increase our participation in the democratic effort in Vietnam has suffered some delay because of the exigencies of the presidential election, but I am confident that after the Filipino political leaders have emerged from their absorption in the current electoral struggle, with our expected victory, the increased participation of our country, side by side with our American allies, in the struggle for human freedom in Vietnam shall proceed with the resounding support of the Filipino people.

The Filipino people share the gratification of other free Asian nations over the firm resolve of your Administration to overcome the communist aggression in South Vietnam. Our people and I personally pray for your success and wish you to know that you are not alone in your great and noble endeavor. All free men the world over are behind you.

Sincerely yours,

Diosado Macapagal


311. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Philippines/1/

Washington, August 26, 1965, 4:51 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 27-3 VIET S. Confidential; Priority; No Distribution Outside Department; Limdis. Drafted by Robert L. Flanegin of SPA; cleared by Berger and Thomson in draft; and approved by Cuthell.

327. 1. While Macapagal letter of July 24/2/ (pouched Manila Aug 18) seems to provide context within which President can make helpful explanation our rice difficulties while thanking Macapagal for his explanation failure meet Phil Task Force commitment, need Emb judgement on possibility Malacanang will interpret combination of two items in single letter as veiled threat to withhold rice if troops not produced.

/2/Document 310.

2. Text of proposed Presidential reply would be along following lines:

a. "I deeply appreciated your thoughtfulness in apprising me personally of the factors underlying your decision to postpone further efforts to gain legislative approval for a Philippine engineer battalion to serve in Viet-Nam. I am most heartened by your resolution to again seek authority from the Philippine Congress for the battalion, and your decision that the present contingent will remain. As I have written in the past, your support of Free World efforts in South Viet-Nam is of signal importance to us and to the Vietnamese people.

b. "In respect to our common struggle in Viet-Nam, I hope that you will bear with us in a matter which directly affects our mutual interests. Sudden and urgent need has arisen in Viet-Nam for massive supplies of rice to areas temporarily cut off by enemy action from the growing regions. This emergency, unforeseen and highly critical, complicated by our current shipping difficulties, may result in delayed shipments of PL-480 rice to the Philippines. We will, of course, strive to fulfill our rice commitment with all possible speed.

c. "In closing, let me say how moved I was by your personal expressions of support and good wishes. It is my purpose that America's example in the current struggle will prove worthy of your sentiments."

3. If you believe allusion to rice problem in this context undesirable, para 2b above could be omitted. Request reply soonest./3/

/3/In telegram 406 from Manila, August 27, the Embassy stated that it believed that Macapagal would view these two issues in a single letter as "a veiled threat to withhold rice if troops not produced, or possibly a warning that we intended to withhold rice in retaliation for failure to send troops thus far." The Embassy noted that Macapagal was involved in an uncertain election campaign and "fighting hard battle for his political future." In such a highly charged political atmosphere, he might see the issues of troops for Vietnam and P.L. 480 rice only in terms of Philippine domestic policies. The Embassy suggested dropping the issue of rice from the response and trying to work out a compromise on rice shipments with lower level Philippine officials. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 27-3 VIET S) The Department agreed and the letter was sent on September 18 in that form. (Ibid.)



312. Letter From the Administrator of the Agency for International Development (Bell) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (McNaughton)/1/

Washington, September 7, 1965.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 3717, Philippines, 333-381 (381 Philippines). Secret.

Internal Civil Security in the Philippines

Dear John:

A.I.D. is in agreement with Mr. Hoopes that the principal aim of our assistance to the Philippines should be toward internal security. We also agree with the proposal that MAP should be oriented to give greater emphasis to internal security and that very serious efforts should be made to bring the Government of the Philippines to this conclusion.

Enclosed is a paper on "Internal Civil Security in the Philippines"/2/ which was prepared pursuant to our discussions during the recent review of Mr. Hoopes' study./3/ This paper addresses the Philippine internal civil security capability and U.S. assistance in the face of a generalized situation of rising violence and lawlessness which is impeding economic and social development and constitutes a potential basic threat to the stability of the government.

/2/Attached but not printed.

/3/Townsend Hoopes' study, summarized briefly in the preceding paragraph, has not been found.

The Philippine Constabulary (PC), a Philippine Department of Defense agency, is a major internal civil security element which has as its primary function the police duty of preserving peace, law and order. However, the PC lacks suitable equipment, adequate training, and appropriate direction and orientation to carry out this duty. Furthermore the PC is not now receiving and, under present plans, will not receive required U.S. assistance in terms of technical advice, training, or material consistent with its primary role. Although it represents about half the Philippine Department of Defense forces, it receives less than 10 per cent of MAP funds for the Philippines.

Other potentially important elements in the Philippine law enforcement (internal civil security) structure are the nearly 1,400 city and municipal police forces. Currently, they are inadequately supported, their equipment and facilities are poor, pay is below subsistence levels, and political interference is rife. However, little or no U.S. assistance is now being provided or planned for these police forces.

It is clear that (1) there are serious deficiencies in these very large and most important parts of the Philippine law enforcement structure which together constitute the rural civil security forces in the Philippines, and that (2) these parts of the law enforcement structure have not received and, under present plans, will not receive required assistance. As expressed in the National Policy Paper on the Republic of the Philippines, now circulating for final clearance, it seems clear that correcting these deficiencies is very much in the U.S. interest and would be in keeping with U.S. policy.

We believe that greater U.S. assistance, by both A.I.D. and MAP is essential. We propose that A.I.D. and the Department of Defense, with appropriate Department of State consultation, and later the Country Team, jointly prepare terms of reference for discussing this matter with the Government of the Philippines. Briefly, our views are that the Philippine Government should provide substantially increased support and improved leadership for its police forces, and that the United States should offer substantially more police assistance through the A.I.D. Public Safety Program, especially to the Philippine Constabulary. U.S. technical police assistance and police training to the various law enforcement agencies would be centralized under the A.I.D. Public Safety Program. At the same time, commodity assistance to the Philippine Constabulary could be divided, if desired, between A.I.D. and the MAP with the MAP providing military-type equipment and A.I.D. providing police equipment.

As a corollary to these basic improvements, we expect to be discussing with the U.S. A.I.D. Mission the contribution to internal security goals which can be made by improvement in other A.I.D. fields. We believe that there is potential in Public Administration, Food for Peace, the utilization of development loans, possible expansion of the Service Training Center, and the possible development of a barrio digest.

Sincerely yours,



313. Memorandum Prepared for the 303 Committee/1/

Washington, September 13, 1965.

/1/Source: National Security Council, Special Group/303 Committee Files, Subject Files, Philippines. Secret; Eyes Only.

[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Action in the 1965 Philippine Election

1. Summary

Two Philippine reform leaders have requested [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] assistance in the amount of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] for themselves and the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] for the 1965 election. The individuals in question [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] have been guided and influenced by the United States in one way or another through most of their political lives. They have reciprocated by maintaining legislative records consistently in line with United States policy, and political lives outstandingly sympathetic to American objectives./2/

/2/At a meeting on September 8 among CIA, State, and White House officials who discussed this proposal, Cuthell characterized the two [text not declassified] as "nice boys, but perfectly useless." (Memorandum from Stuart to Hughes, September 10; Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Philippines, 1964-1968)

[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] does not wish to underwrite a [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] political party. It is proposed however, that [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] each be provided these individuals and "personal" support for their current election campaigns. The "personal" nature of this highly selective support is an earnest of continuing confidence in the two men as responsible, young political leaders in the country and reflects a distinct reluctance to support disruptive, probably unsuccessful, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] party activity per se. The proposed support in the amount of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] is directed entirely to the future potential represented by these individuals in their continuing role as the nucleus around which a politically attractive reform movement in the Philippines might develop and not to their current [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] party candidacy. Support up to [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] might be required as assistance to two or three other political reformist candidates, without regard to their party affiliations. The proposed financial support can be passed in a secure, non-attributable manner. The estimated cost of this proposal is [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. These funds are available within [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]./3/

/3/At its meeting on September 23, the 303 Committee rejected "the proposed [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] action on Philippines elections on the grounds that, as the proposal itself stated, `the Philippines is not in a crisis area at the moment' and the republic is not threatened directly by a communist takeover." The disapproval, according to the minutes, "is in no way construed as affecting the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] for purposes other than extra support for the current election campaign." (National Security Council, 303 Committee Minutes, 9/23/65)

[Here follow sections 2. Problem, 3. Factors Bearing on the Problem, 4. Coordination, and 5. Recommendation.]


314. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) and James C. Thomson, Jr., of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, September 19, 1965, 12:30 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 4, 9/1/65-9/22/65. No classification marking.

Authorization for Negotiations on Uses of Philippine War Damage Funds

The attached request from the Secretary of State/2/ is an outgrowth of the troublesome Philippine War Damage Legislation of 1962, as amended in August 1963./3/ It is also an outgrowth of your joint communiqué with President Macapagal of October 1964./4/

/2/Not attached and not found.

/3/On August 30, 1962, President Kennedy signed P.L. 87-616, authorizing $73 million for Philippine damages from World War II. The Fulbright-Hays amendment contained in P.L. 88-94, August 12, 1963, earmarked part of this money for educational programs to benefit both the Philippines and the United States. The texts of P.L. 87-616 and P.L. 88-94 are in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 1089-1091 and ibid., 1963, pp. 829-831.

/4/Text ibid., 1964, pp. 946-949. See also Document 302.

In brief, $28 million in War Damage funds have been set aside in the U.S. Treasury as a "Special Fund for Education", to be used to the mutual advantage of the Philippines and the United States. State now asks that you authorize negotiations with the Philippine Government on the uses of this Special Fund.

In addition, the Filipinos came forward last year with a proposal that a portion of this money be devoted to a Land Reform Education program in connection with the implementation of Macapagal's Land Reform Code of 1962./5/ State also asks that you authorize conclusion of an agreement committing us to the support of this program for Land Reform Education through disbursements from the Special Fund for Education.

/5/See Document 300.

These War Damage funds have had a difficult legislative history and have previously caused deep irritations between our two countries (Macapagal cancelled his 1962 State Visit in pique over Congress's failure to pass the War Damage Bill). So our first objective should be to move without unnecessary delay on the uses of the money now that the funds are available. At the same time, we should do all we can to ensure that these funds go to solid, viable projects that can contribute effectively to the Filipino development process. State's terms of reference provide for project-by-project review by Embassy Manila and the relevant U.S. agencies; no funds will be moved from the Treasury until a particular project has been approved; and the Filipinos will issue periodic reports to us on the progress of each project.

Finally, there is a current political angle that we should keep in mind: the Philippine Presidential elections in November. State intends to move with sufficiently "deliberate speed" to avoid any charges, on the one hand, that we are providing goodies for Macapagal to announce on election-eve, and on the other hand, that we are pulling the rug on our commitment to him and thereby supporting his opponent. As matters now stand, it is unlikely that any funds will be actually disbursed to the Philippines before the elections.

State's package makes sense in delivering on a firm U.S. commitment in the context of adequate safeguards. We recommend that you approve the two authorizations./6/

/6/A note on the memorandum indicates that the President approved the two authorizations on September 20.



315. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency/1/

Washington, October 27, 1965.

/1/Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Philippines, 1964-1968. Secret.

The 1965 Philippine Election

Summary: Too Close for Comfort

1. An Analysis of the 1965 Philippines' Presidential Elections/2/ reveals one basic factor (and virtually no others with any certainty), which is that the elections, at this time, are extremely close. Prospects are they will remain close right up to the vote on 9 November. Although manipulation of elections in the Philippines is by no means a new phenomenon, this basic factor, together with other factors which tend to enhance its importance, renders the current elections of much greater interest than is normal, particularly in terms of the various methods to improve their respective positions which either side may resort to. The elections methods employed and the results, especially if close, can be expected to aggravate an already tense situation, in the time remaining prior to, during, and especially, after the elections.

/2/In Intelligence Memorandum OCI No. 2343/65, October 28, entitled "Philippine Elections," the CIA described the election campaign, the candidates, and the issues and concluded that as all three Presidential candidates were "Western oriented and pledge to continue close ties with the US and the West." The significance of the elections lay "not so much in who wins, but in whether the winner institutes and pursues a basic socioeconomic reform program. Without reforms, generalized public discontent is likely to increase and the small leftist element in the Philippines will probably grow." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. II, 6/64-6/66, [1 of 2])

2. Some concern has been expressed that if the initial returns are close and subsequent returns do not produce a decisive advantage for one side or the other, a tense situation may develop, with each camp apprehensive that the other may resort to violence to achieve victory. Against this concern it must, however, be noted that the Filipinos have a tendency to over-dramatize situations, and that there can be a gap between threatening words and actual deeds, with potentially explosive situations being resolved peacefully despite the show of force which seems called for out of considerations of pride and prestige. The Embassy is preparing a separate report on this aspect of the elections.

3. At least two other factors give some reason for concern over the elections in general. This is the first time the Filipinos have conducted an election without the direct and at least to some extent, steadying influence of United States involvement; they are on their own and they may be expected to indulge in many more manipulatory tactics than in previous elections since 1949. The other factor of some importance is the Filipino voters' exposure in the provinces and down to the barrio level to more sophisticated mass political media of virtually every type. The effect of mass media on the average Filipino voter is an unknown quantity, but in making the voter himself more sophisticated, however basically good the process, the probable course of the elections becomes even more difficult to interpret.

"The Third Force"

It is generally conceded that Manglapus of the PPP has no chance. Little attention is being given to him, although his down-the-line reform stand has gone over well. Manglapus' strength varies widely in reporting, anywhere from two to seventeen percent. There is no clear data as to whom he has harmed or helped; most observers feel this scale would be about equal. Nevertheless, the outcome of Manglapus, and the rest of the PPP candidates, is worth watching due to the demonstrated appeal during the elections campaign to younger elements in the voting public and as a possible gauge to the future of reform movement in the country.

Vote Prognostications

1. One month prior to the elections, both camps claim ultimate victory; Macapagal by a margin of from 360,000 to 400,000 votes; Marcos' exact plurality claim is not known. All available information at this time indicates that Marcos is leading nationally by from three to five percent. Results of the most recent national Robot-Gallup poll conducted during 10-28 September were as follows:

President Macapagal--39 percent
Senator Marcos--43 percent
Senator Manglapus--9 percent
Don't know or refused to answer--9 percent

The Marcos lead, because of its slender nature, thus raises the distinct probability of increased manipulation tactics by both sides: Marcos to increase his slim lead substantially; and Macapagal not only to catch up, but to greatly strengthen his position to one of as little concern as possible prior to the elections. It is perhaps academic to note that the incumbent has by far superior manipulatory capability than has his opponent, at least if the opponent's position does not become so strong as to become irreversible.

2. Registered voters in the Philippines number somewhere between seven and nine million, with slightly over seven and one half million being the usual figure quoted. It is generally reported that in order to win an opposition candidate must have a lead of from eight to ten percent going into the elections, mainly to take up the slack of expected vote frauds by the incumbent, which, for unclear reasons, can be expected to range between 500,000 and one million votes--any higher figure being considered too dangerous. However questionable such figures may be, the fact remains that Marcos in order to win, and short of a landslide, should have a lead of about ten percent over Macapagal; a lead which he does not now have and probably cannot attain in the face of pressures and capabilities Macapagal can mount before 9 November.

3. An LP official's estimate as of 1 October covering provinces and cities is of considerable interest, particularly since the findings are within .2 percent nationally of other and more recent polls, and since the same official accurately predicted the 1961 results. The official in question is an associate of Speaker Pro Tem Pendatun. A brief summary of his estimates follows:

Nationally--Marcos would receive 3,942,391 to 3,630,297 for Macapagal, or a margin of 312,094.

Provinces--Marcos 3,359,226 to 3,067,085 for Macapagal; a margin of 292,141 for Marcos (Northern Luzon to Marcos by 165,660; Central Luzon to Macapagal by 17,205; Southern Tagalog to Marcos by 149,206; Bicol to Macapagal by 11,156; Eastern Visayas to Marcos by 42,244; Western Visayas to Marcos by 18,637; and Mindanao to Macapagal by 55,225).

Cities--Macapagal would receive in the major cities 124,945 to 110,651 for Marcos, a margin of 14,294 (Luzon to Marcos by 50,891; Visayas to Macapagal by 16,644; and Mindanao to Macapagal by 14,294).

4. The LP Executive Committee, as of 10 October had Macapagal winning by a margin of 360,000. Prognosis was that Macapagal would lose Ilocandia by 200,000; Manila by 60,000; Northern Luzon by 40,000, but win Central Luzon by 170,000, Southern Tagalog by 10,000; Bicol by 40,000; Mindanao by 300,000; and the Visayas by 100,000.

5. A Police Constabulary poll of 10 October found that Macapagal would win the election by a margin of 260,000 to 400,000. It is probable that this poll is the basis for current LP figures in the elections.

Prospects for "HankyPanky"

1. Given past experience both sides will undoubtedly engage in widespread manipulation tactics, including vote frauds, subversion of election officials, stuffing of ballot boxes, votes lost through managed counting, etc. In addition, both sides will use every other means at their disposal to improve their own position. In this context, Macapagal has a clear edge, largely due to the fact that as the incumbent he has a far greater capability. In the past, the AFP and especially the PC have figured prominently in elections to the advantage of the party in power. Although the AFP and the PC have assured the NP that there is no intention of using either in the current elections, it is already apparent this is not the case. The PC is involved in conducting polls on behalf of Macapagal and despite the fact that Malacanang claims otherwise the transfer of some eleven PC officials from areas of Marcos strength in the North to safe areas in the South at this time indicates some degree of political overtone. Minister of Defense Peralta stated to the US Charge d'Affaires some time ago that he would utilize every means at his disposal if necessary. Regarding the AFP, however, Macapagal can be expected to exercise some caution, since Marcos is popular with the military, the majority of whom are Iloconos from the North. Reports also indicate that the government plans to take many popular measures, including tax amnesty, distribution of much needed rice in various regions just prior to the elections, etc., and can probably find many other ways to improve the government's image in such a way as to have considerable impact before 9 November.

2. Regardless of his seemingly better position in terms of manipulation, Macapagal nevertheless has problems. Although he has already used virtually every legal and illegal means to acquire and distribute funds, information indicates there is a serious shortage of money; at least money in the quantity Macapagal may feel is required in the remaining weeks. Macapagal must also make every effort to keep various important supporters behind him, especially in the face of an increase in Marcos' lead, which would carry with it a bandwagon reaction. A case in point would be a switch by Pendatun, which in turn would threaten the Macapagal stronghold in Mindanao. The position of the bloc-voting INK, which claims to be able to deliver between 200,000 and 800,000 votes, is apparently not yet fixed. Latest information from NP sources claim the INK will back Marcos (and Macapagal's running mate Roxas), but there is no certainty that Bishop Manolo of the INK may not opportunistically switch at the last moment. There is little doubt that Macapagal is concerned. Both LP and NP highlevel sources report that Macapagal will have 400,000 fraudulent votes in Cotabato, Surigao, North and South Lanao (all in Mindanao), Cebu, and Iloilo. The same sources claim the NP will have 100,000 fraudulent votes, but no specific region is known.

Possible Trouble and Violence

1. Tension is clearly rising as we enter the last two weeks of election, and tension will continue until the final results are known and accepted. The candidates themselves contribute to fears of violence by charges that opponents are resorting to violent tactics or threatening them. Macapagal alleges Marcos has threatened to shoot Macapagal in the event of an LP victory, and that a "select group" of Nacionalistas have hatched a plan for post election trouble. In view of Peralta's statements to the Charge d'Affaires that he would do whatever was necessary, and in view of Liberal Party intentions as expressed to Embassy officers of manipulating returns in Mindanao, the Macapagal charges may be a smoke screen to hide his own post election intentions.

2. The Nacionalistas are not in a position where they can foment violence or trouble that could not be dealt with by the Constabulary and the Army. Macapagal's capability in fomenting disorder is limited only by pro-Marcos sentiment within the AFP officer corps. Marcos on the other hand could obtain a more sympathetic hearing from the Senate. Marcos has also made a campaign issue of his respect for the Supreme Court in contrast to Macapagal's constant rebuffs by the High Court. It would appear likely that Marcos will take his protests, if any, through the Senate and the Courts. Macapagal's most practical recourse is through manipulation and force majeure.

3. Possible post election difficulties might take one or more of the following forms:

A. Nacionalistas

1. In the event of an early Macapagal lead, the NP would scour the country for evidence of fraud and manipulation which they could utilize for contesting the election in the courts or justifying a refusal to certify results by the Senate.

2. Publicity given to NP proof of fraud, legitimate or manufactured, might well inspire protest rallies which could lead to civil dis- turbances and to further breakdown of law and order.

B. Liberals

1. Unnecessary deputizing of the Constabulary and their pro- administration activities could lead to clashes with local government and police.

2. If Marcos was leading in the early returns, an all out effort might be made to ensure that appropriate late returns from "the birds and trees" of Mindanao would ensure a Macapagal victory.

3. Civil disturbances might result if the administration suspended election reporting by the Philippine Jay Cees and the Philippine News Service in an effort to avoid obvious contradictions in election results.

4. If Macapagal imposed Martial Law to ensure blatantly fraudulent returns or to counter post election moves by the NP, pro-Marcos sentiment within the Armed Forces could even crystallize into a coup d'etat in favor of Marcos.

5. Calling in the military either by Martial Law or extensive deputizing of the Constabulary would only result in a further deterioration of normal law and order in the Philippines.

C. In the event of a closely contested election, which is certain to occasion flagrant vote manipulation by the administration, a growing disillusionment with the democratic process would probably develop. The electorate would become increasingly vulnerable to the appeal of radical alternatives.

4. Despite growing talk of violence and manipulation, the Philippines is generally expected to maintain its reputation for generally orderly and relatively honest elections. General Rigoberto Atienza and Brig General Flaviano Olivares, Armed Forces and PC chiefs, respectively, have pledged honest and orderly elections in a direct meeting with the President of the Nacionalistas Party. However, in view of the probable closeness of the election, the possibility of post election trouble should not be underestimated.

A Pyrrhic Victory?

In the final analysis, and ruling out a bandwagon sweep for Marcos in the last weeks, which seems doubtful, Macapagal may be expected to win the elections. This is not to say that Macapagal will ever feel secure enough not to utilize to the fullest all means at his disposal, which in turn could inevitably increase the tension in the Philippines to the breaking point, during and/or after the elections if the results are close. Marcos probably does not have the capability to match Macapagal and the machine. Regardless of a Macapagal or Marcos win, the Philippines as such, and specifically the Filipinos, stand to gain very little indeed. Interesting as the current elections may be, the principal fact which they point up is a continued deterioration in the Philippines situation. The elections serve to aggravate and perhaps make more readable that situation; there is little chance the results will improve it.


316. Memorandum From the Chief of the Far East, Directorate of Operations (Colby) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy)

Washington, November 1, 1965.

[Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files: Job 78-00061R, Philippines, 1965-1966. Secret. 3 pages of source text not declassified.]


317. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy) to Secretary of State Rusk/1/

Washington, November 5, 1965.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 14 PHIL. Secret. Drafted by Paul M. Kattenburg, Officer in Charge of Philippine Affairs, and Cleared by Cuthell.

Philippine National Elections, Tuesday, November 9, 1965

1. The race for President, opposing Senate President Ferdinand Marcos (Nacionalista) to incumbent President Diosdado Macapagal (Liberal), is extremely close, with the victory margin unlikely to be over 2 to 400,000 votes (3 to 6 percent) of a total expected vote of some 7-7.5 million. (The third-party candidate, Raoul Manglapus (Progressive) is given no real chance of victory, though he may poll close to 20 percent of the total vote.) There is thus a distinct possibility of strong contest of the results by the defeated candidate, and of delay in his concession. Even though there are chances of scattered and perhaps some serious violence and disorder, we believe on balance that the contest will be by and large settled peacefully and probably within a period of one to three weeks after the elections.

2. If Macapagal is re-elected, we can expect him promptly to call a special congressional session to enact the bill to send an engineer task force of some 2500, including security elements, to Viet-Nam. We can also expect continuation of the basically cooperative Philippine attitude in response to our various requests for expanded use of US bases and facilities in support of the Viet-Nam war effort. (For example, we are rapidly building up an important US Air Force facility at Mactan Island, Cebu, on the basis of a combined use arrangement with the Philippine Air Force.) We can further expect to move forward with reasonable speed in the elimination of so-called irritants (military and economic) in US-Philippine relations, and to continue to find the Philippines solidly aligned with Free World purposes and objectives. On the other hand, it is not likely that Macapagal, in his second administration, will make significantly more progress in terms of urgently needed programs of internal development than he did in his first. Internal problems in the Philippines might, consequently, become very acute in the not too distant future.

3. If Marcos wins the Presidency, we will first of all have a difficult lame-duck period of some two months before his inauguration (December 30). It is unlikely that we could make much progress on aid to Viet-Nam during that period, although it could be used to bring Marcos and those likely to emerge as his closest associates more fully aboard than they are now on this question. Marcos can be expected to be generally cooperative in seeking solutions to current Philippine-American problems, and to continue basic Philippine orientation toward Free World purposes and objectives. Nationalist elements around Marcos, however, are likely to make a strong bid for influence in the event of his victory. We might therefore have more difficulties than we would with Macapagal on foreign policy. On the other hand, Marcos and the group around him might be more dynamic and effective in moving the country forward internally.

4. The Vice Presidential election will probably be won by Senator Gerardo Roxas (Liberal), as against his opponents, Senator Fernando Lopez (Nacionalista) and Manuel Manahan (Progressive). The possibility of a Marcos-Roxas Administration therefore distinctly exists. If elected, Roxas might emerge as Foreign Secretary under either Macapagal or Marcos, but the prospect is uncertain. Roxas is an honest and able younger politician and his probable victory is to be welcomed.

5. Although it is difficult to predict which of the two main parties will control Congress, it is likely that the Liberals will emerge with slight majorities. In any case, enough post-electoral defections to the party of the winning President are likely to occur, to give the latter an opportunity to obtain support for his legislative program if he shows the requisite qualities of leadership and determination. This was not always the case during the last two years of the Macapagal Administration.

6. Whoever wins November 9, it will be most important that we get close to the President-elect and contribute in influencing him to take the steps required both to enhance Free World objectives in the area and for forward movement in solving the Philippines' badly neglected internal problems.


318. Telegram From the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State/1/

Manila, November 26, 1965, 1022Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 14 PHIL. Confidential. Repeated to Tokyo, Taipei, Djakarta, Saigon, Kuala Lumpur, Canberra, Wellington, Bangkok, Vientiane, Singapore, and CINCPAC for POLAD.

1004. Post-election analysis--Presidency./2/

/2/The elections were held November 9. In addition to defeating Liberal candidate Macapagal, Marcos also defeated the newly formed Party of Philippine Progress Presidential candidate, Raul Mangalapus. Marcos received 3,816,324 votes, Macapagal received 3,187,752 votes, and Manglapus, 384,564 votes. The Embassy's assessment of the reasons for Marcos' victory is in telegram 949 from Manila, November 19. (Ibid.)

1. With outcome Vice Presidential and Senate contests still undecided, Embassy has been deferring comments on what we may expect from new administration since identity of next Vice President and Senatorial lineup will have bearing on situation. Following observations therefore relate only to significance of Marcos takeover from Macapagal.

2. Most basic consideration is probably that Marcos will be unknown quantity in lonely eminence of Presidency. Whereas both Macapagal and Marcos prize power, former sometimes appeared inept in its use and unsure what he wished to do with it. Marcos appears to measure it carefully and to be very sure of uses to which he puts it. Up to now, basic objective of his harnessing power has of course been to gain the Presidency.

3. What Marcos really believes in, what his goals are, and how he proposes to go about achieving them, are largely matters of conjecture. To some degree, he has been a guerrilla both in war and during the campaign, placing great emphasis on careful planning, systematic intelligence, secrecy, element of surprise and final massive surfacing of his forces at right time. In gaining NP nomination, and in winning Presidency, he displayed remarkable talents in these areas. Now that he has won Presidency, onus will be on him to demonstrate what his basic beliefs and ideas are.

4. He comes to power accompanied by somewhat similar high hopes which accompanied Macapagal's accession in 1961, except that electorate, having been disappointed once again, may now be still more cynical. At same time, pressure on Marcos to produce will be even greater because (1) basic problems of nation have become intensified and (2) he knows he will probably suffer Macapagal's fate in 1969 unless he does get things moving. Good government may therefore be the best politics for him.

5. There are those who assert that era of corruption under Garcia will return in magnified form. A more balanced view would be that Marcos has very considerable potentialities, and that coming years will show whether these potentialities will be exerted for high or sinister purposes. Pres Macapagal recently observed, as earlier reported, that Marcos was brilliant but unscrupulous, but that great responsibility might sober him. Secretary of Defense Peralta's comment was that Marcos would double-cross us if he could and that we should not let him put anything over on us.

6. The assertion, circulated by Macapagal's propaganda machine and widely disseminated by visiting US newspapermen, that Marcos will be much in debt to ex-Pres Garcia, the Lopez interests, the "nationalists" or any other group, appears questionable. He has of course some political debts to discharge, but because of way in which he figuratively seized Nacionalista nomination and then largely single-handedly won election, he will assume Presidency with fewer political drafts on future than probably any of his predecessors.

7. There would appear to be at least some grounds for cautious optimism toward future. Marcos is realist with high awareness of pragmatic and empirical considerations. He weighs and sifts facts carefully, considers numerous angles and acts only after searching consideration and assessment. Once decisions are reached, however, he displays generalship of high order in implementing them.

8. Furthermore, there is some evidence that Marcos is more keenly attuned to needs of country than his critics give him credit for. Woeful conditions throughout nation seem to have had considerable impact on him in his extensive travels in past year. His speeches reflected increasing bitterness, in a manner that seemed to be more than merely campaign oratory, at Macapagal administration's largely ineffectual attempts to improve people's welfare. If theory is correct that Marcos has high absorptive capacity and is greatly influenced by things he is exposed to, then his nationwide observations may serve valuable purpose.

9. Marcos' first preoccupation must inevitably be with domestic affairs in view of facts that government till may be almost empty, that the stability of peso must be defended, and that severe demands are imposed on administration by rapidly growing population. His qualities of decisiveness will promptly be put to test, with some hope that he will get down to deeds rather than words and govern rather than campaign as did Macapagal. Much will depend on caliber of membership his Cabinet, and extent to which he can make them function as a team. Judging by his past performance, it would seem evident that he will be the boss in unmistakable fashion. His knowledge of the Legislative branch, based on service in both houses, and his ability to play role of conciliator and find common denominator, may serve him well. His "ruthlessness" may prove useful in that elements tempted to free-wheel under another kind of leadership may be concerned that there will be retaliation if they get out of line. As former long-time Liberal, Marcos has many friends in opposition party and may have some success in gaining their cooperation on basis that nation needs demand bi-partisan approach.

10. In foreign affairs Marcos may be in very different position of feeling his way for some time. Road to Presidency in Philippines is not via international matters, and Marcos has accordingly not concentrated on these, even though his reading has probably been extensive. He will probably desist from any personal initiatives until he has first got grip on pressing domestic matters. At same time, he may insist on personal direction of important foreign policy matters, especially where actions involve any change of course from those taken by outgoing government. In military field, he may well act as his own Secretary of Defense and will undoubtedly establish closer relations with military than did Macapagal.

11. Sphere of US-Philippine relations will be highly important to Marcos as it was to Macapagal. With his sensitivity to power considerations, Marcos is well aware of US influence and role in Philippines and Southeast Asia. His public attitudes now are Phil nationalism has been a balanced one; Phils should not engage in wanton anti-Americanism but should expect to deal with us on basis of mutual respect. (He feels US and Philippines are "mutually dependent.) His emissaries have given encouraging indications of his desire to get off on right foot with us, and we can perhaps expect a goodwill period of some duration, particularly in dealing with matters on which he is less familiar than we are. He is nevertheless an Oriental who sets great store by friendliness, prestige and face, and it will be in our interest to bear this in mind. Impression we make on him in early months both in Washington and Manila will be of considerable significance. We must be prepared for shakedown period which may last as long as one year, and not look too askance at whatever initiatives may be forthcoming.

12. For his part Marcos may privately be somewhat apprehensive despite his display of external confidence, hoping that he will succeed in making good impression on us. Although he has not questioned its propriety, he is a trifle sensitive as to the apparent intimacy which President Macapagal and his closest associates enjoyed with the US. Since rightly or wrongly he is personally convinced that both on record and in terms of his own attitudes no one is more committed to the US than he, it is in our interest to assure him, as we are doing, of our friendliness and confidence, particularly in the first few months, when he will be attacking pressing domestic problems. We shall not necessarily receive same 100 percent cooperation we had from Macapagal in foreign affairs--although initial indications are encouraging--since we shall now be dealing with much stronger personality who may be less compliant at times but who may also be instrumental in creating a stronger Philippines, which is in our interest. By giving Marcos and his principal advisers maximum exposure to US views and by being as responsive as possible to their approaches, we should have good chance of ensuring that orientation of new administration is largely favorable to US and free world.


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