811.24596/1–2747: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Philippines (McNutt) to the Secretary of State


157. Following is revised portion of President’s speech dealing with military negotiations as scheduled to be delivered today:

“We are, as you know, in the midst of negotiations for an agreement for bases for the mutual protection of the Philippines and the United States. Actually, such an agreement is only an implementation of the commitments and agreements made between the Philippine and United States Governments during the war and immediately thereafter. In these commitments and agreements the Philippine Congress has fully concurred. The exact location of the bases and other military establishments to be maintained here by the United States has been engaging the concentrated attention of the officials of both Governments. I am able to report to you that the United States Government has shown every disposition to consider our wishes in this matter. It has in no instance been arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable in the location of the base sites.

Recently the American Government showed extreme anxiety regarding press reports that fundamental relations between the Philippines and the United States were being endangered by the presence of American troops here. It is my judgment that those press reports were largely inaccurate. Partly as a consequence of these reports the United States recently expressed herself as perfectly willing to withdraw all military forces from the Philippines, unless we desired otherwise. America, however, recognized her basic commitment to underwrite the security of the Philippines, in accordance with our wishes. When I advised the American Government that the Philippine Congress by [Page 1104] unanimous resolution had agreed to the establishment of American bases here, and that the Filipino people desired the retention of these bases, it was decided to carry out the original program. To test the validity of this assurance that I had given, I polled the people in several of the base areas, notably in Guiuan and in Stotsenberg, as to whether they wished the bases to stay. In Guiuan there was a unanimous and full-throated expression of approval. It was the same everywhere I asked. I am informed that this is the sentiment of the people of Olongapo, and Cavite and elsewhere.

I have been entirely motivated in these decisions and attitudes by a determination that we must not be left undefended. I cannot, in good conscience, overlook the absolute necessity of guaranteeing our security by every and all means available to us. In this troubled and critical period of world history to do otherwise would be to betray our sacred trust.

The establishment of these bases, not for aggression but for, defense, will guarantee our own safety and advance the cause of world peace and security, which is the aim of the United Nations.

Present plans, however, provide a much less ambitious schedule of bases than was originally contemplated. I believe that the views of our negotiators will be met; the basic guarantee of Philippine security remains.

Since the matter of the conduct of American troops here became of general concern, conditions have rapidly improved to a point where these troops and forces have again become welcome guests in our land. For this, we must thank both the diplomatic representative of the United States in Philippines and Major-General George Moore,11 whose prompt and energetic actions resulted in a speedy elimination of the causes of difficulties that had existed. Our relations with the United States Army today are satisfactory. The Army and all its personnel are assisting us in every possible way. With few isolated and probably inevitable exceptions, the American troops are conducting themselves in a manner that reflects credit and honor upon the United States Government. The same, of course, also holds true for the United States Navy through the splendid cooperation of Admiral Good.12 I expect that the base agreement will be signed within a short time. I will then report upon it to the Congress.

Immediately following the signature of the base agreement, I shall undertake to reach an agreement with American authorities on a broad military assistance program, in accordance with the terms of the authorization by the United States Congress. This agreement will provide:

The United States will send a military mission to advise our Army and Navy in their organization and training;
The United States Army will provide our forces with assistance and cooperation during the next 5 years;
The United States Navy will turn over to us 84 ships for our off-shore patrol, some of which will be available for use as light-house [Page 1105] tenders and customs and immigration patrol boats. Among these ships will be a number of cargo vessels which will enable us to supply our forces stationed on our various islands. While not being used for these purposes, these vessels will be available for the hauling of critical cargo for government purposes. I do not know what we would do, how we could prevent illegal immigration and smuggling, and other illegal practices if these ships were not being made available to us. The United States Navy has but recently completed preliminary training of our off-shore patrol personnel to take over, maintain and operate these vessels.”

  1. Commander, Philippines-Ryukyus Command, United States Army.
  2. Rear Adm. Howard Harrison Good, Commander, United States Naval Forces in the Philippines.