The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy (Forrestal)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to your letter of April 30, 1945 wherein you stated that it is the view of the Navy Department that negotiations should be initiated immediately with the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines to obtain rights to establish bases in certain areas in the Philippines. You also stated that such rights should include the right to use harbors, to construct shore facilities, including air fields and seaplane ramps and to take such other measures with respect to these areas as their strategic use may require. Several suggested base areas in the Philippines were also listed by you.

Subsequent to the dispatch of your letter, and one of a similar character from the Secretary of War, a “Preliminary Statement of General Principles Pertaining to the United States Military and Naval Base System in the Philippines To Be Used as a Basis for Detailed Discussions and Staff Studies” was drawn up and later agreed to and signed by President Truman and President Osmeña under date of May 14, 1945.

The Department is now pleased to inform you that Judge Francisco Delgado, former Resident Commissioner of the Philippines to the United States and currently acting as a special representative of President Osmeña in the United States, has been directed by President Osmeña to inquire whether this Government is now in a position to undertake negotiations looking to the drawing up of a definitive agreement on the subject of American military and naval bases to be retained in the Philippines after independence. Judge Delgado states that this definitive agreement may include such matters as the exact bases desired, the extent of the areas affected and the nature of the installations required.

You will recall that the Congress has already, in Public Law 380, authorized the President of the United States to proceed with negotiations for the retention of American bases in the Philippines after independence. The Department is also informed now that the Philippine Congress has passed a bill authorizing the President of the Philippines to proceed with negotiations for the retention of American bases in the Philippines.49

The Department of State would be glad to be advised whether your Department believes the time is now opportune for entering into either preliminary or final negotiations on the question of Philippine bases.

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A similar letter on the subject is being addressed to the War Department.50 An early reply would be appreciated.

Sincerely yours,

James F. Byrnes
  1. This was reported by the Consul General at Manila in his despatch 207, July 17 (811B.00/7–1745).
  2. September 4, not printed.