The Secretary of War (Stimson) to President Truman 41

Dear Mr. President: For the “full and mutual protection” of the Philippines area after independence is granted, close cooperation by the Filipinos with United States military forces will be required. With such cooperation, United States military responsibilities should be limited to those which are beyond the capabilities of the Filipinos. Since the Filipinos will probably be unable to provide substantial air and naval forces and will require a number of years to develop their ground forces, the United States should be prepared to meet requirements for air and naval forces and, initially, to provide nearly all ground forces. In order to proceed with detailed discussions and staff studies, it is most desirable that agreement in principle be obtained to the points set forth in the attached tab.42

According to the plan envisaged by the attached principles, major air centers in Central Luzon and Northern Mindanao-, with rings of outlying fighter fields, will be the basis for the United States Army military security system for the Philippines. In addition, staging and mounting bases, and ground garrison installations to protect air bases, harbor entrances, and other critical points will be required. It is contemplated that the Filipinos will take over a large proportion of the ground responsibilities as the military effectiveness of their forces increases.

In accordance with the foregoing, a constant screening of United States base sites should release to the Filipinos sites as they become surplus to United States needs. As they gain in effectiveness, the Filipino forces should be accorded increasing participation in the use of certain United States bases. The detailed Army base requirements should be worked out in military staff conversations and detailed surveys conducted by General MacArthur.43 Damage or destruction incurred during the war and base construction now or to be carried out may influence the choice of sites to be retained in the base system. Pending the screening mentioned above, base sites as indicated in the attached statement of principles should be retained.

In addition to sites which can now be specified, certain others will need to be designated and acquired in the future. These would include sites necessitated by changes in the art of war, sites of historical [Page 1207] significance, sites developed for the operations of the current war, and United States military cemeteries. Some of the sites may be acquired in exchange for those already held.

For effective use of the above bases, necessary agreements should be concluded on principles relating to freedom of movement, communication and operation of our military forces in the area. Firm agreement should be reached on the basic principle of cooperation of United States and Filipino forces and integration of their military plans.

It should be agreed that no nation, other than the United States or the Philippines, should be permitted to establish or make use of any bases in the Philippines without the prior agreement of both the United States and the Philippines.

It is recommended that principles substantially as those in the attached statement be included in any preliminary agreement as to military rights in the Philippines.

Respectfully yours,

Henry L. Stimson
  1. Copy transmitted to the Acting Secretary of State by the Secretary of War May 11, 1945.
  2. Not printed; it was substantially the same as the preliminary statement agreed to on May 14, 1945, by President Truman and President Osmeña, p. 1208. Appended was a listing of 12 bases to be retained which were the same as those agreed to on May 14.
  3. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Commander of United States Army Forces in the Far East.