796.00/3–250: Telegram

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

confidential

658. In UP report with January 22 Washington dateline Antonio Quirino, brother of President Quirino and chairman of Veterans Screening Board is quoted as saying “Even a final answer of ‘no’ from President Truman would be better than the agony of doubt and hope that many guerrillas are feeling”. February 17 UP report [Page 1417]from New York quotes him as saying $96 million from US Congressional appropriation available in Manila sufficient take care guerrilla claims, but chief opposition comes from Ambassador Myron Cowen who “swore that he would never permit a reopening of the question” (Embtel 118, January 111).

As Department is aware, I have long felt that release of a definitive official statement from Washington is required to disabuse Filipinos of incorrect ideas such as those included in remarks quoted above and to discourage further exploitation of guerrilla recognition question for political and monetary purposes prejudicial Filipino-US relations. Accordingly should appreciate release appropriate statement by NME preferably in name Secretary Johnson designed clarify fact that US guerrilla recognition policy is that of NME and is closed question. I would suggest it include tactful acknowledgment of fact that hundreds thousands Filipinos contributed to liberation their country; that many will in nature circumstances guerrilla warfare never be able prove part they played; that original deadline for acceptance guerrilla claims for recognition was January 31, 1946, but that later in order that all possible claimants could present their claims, the date was extended to March 15, 1946; and that actually it was not until June 30, 1948 when US Department Defense finally closed the question and accepted no more claims. Statement might further say that about one million claims have been scrutinized and that of these more than 260,000 accepted.

Cowen
  1. Not printed, but see footnote 3 to telegram 195, January 17, from Manila, p. 1401.

    In his telegram 742, March 13, from Manila, not printed, Ambassador Cowen reported that the previous day, Judge Quirino, who was Chairman of the Confederation of Filipino Veterans, made a speech to the Supreme Council of that body in which he accused Ambassador Cowen and Ambassador Elizalde of conspiring to block reconsideration of the veterans recognition question. After the speech, the Supreme Council of the Confederation adopted resolutions asking for the recall of both Cowen and Elizalde. At lunch that same day, President Quirino assured Ambassador Cowen that his brother was speaking only for himself and that his speech did not in any way represent the President’s official or personal attitude (103–V A/3–1350).