811B.001 Quezon, Manuel/1–1942

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

About five o’clock on Saturday afternoon, at the request of Assistant Secretary of War McCloy,17 Colonel Tate18 came over to see me. He showed me the cablegrams exchanged between the War Department and General MacArthur nearly two weeks ago, at which time the possible evacuation of President Quezon had been discussed.19 MacArthur recommended against it very strongly, chiefly on the ground that it might impair the fighting strength and spirit of the Filipino troops. Nevertheless, Colonel Tate said, the War Department had raised the question again with General Marshall20 and had prepared a brief cable to General MacArthur, resubmitting the situation.

On Sunday morning while I was with the Secretary, General Marshall telephoned. He said that after considering the matter he was unwilling to raise the question of evacuation of Quezon again with MacArthur. His reasons for this were substantially the same as those set out by MacArthur in reply to the previous inquiry on the same point. Briefly, he considered that the relationship of the American to the Filipino troops and the entire situation was such as to make it unwise to raise the question again.

He asked whether this was in accord with the President’s directive. I told him that the President had left the estimation of chances and military problems entirely to him and presumably the War Department, and thought the President did not wish to try to control his judgment. The President had merely said that if chances were even or [Page 888] better, he was very anxious something should be done; if not, it could not be attempted.

A[dolf] A. B[erle], Jr.
  1. John J. McCloy.
  2. Col. Ralph H. Tate, Executive Officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War.
  3. See Department of the Army, The Fall of the Philippines, by Louis Morton (Washington, 1953), p. 239.
  4. Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army.