796.00/3–2550: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Philippines 1

secret   urgent

471. Ur 658 Mar 2.2 Immed fol tel is text proposed statement Dept considering releasing to press subject White House approval upon which your comment as to text and recommendation as to timing requested.3 You may in your discretion convey to Pres Quirino as much of this tel as you deem useful. Dept greatly regrets necessity this statement particularly in view his request to Pres Truman last fall that nothing be said publicly.4 On other hand Dept has been increasingly concerned and amazed at repeated statements in Manila press suggesting that guerrilla recognition question may still be susceptible of discussion and negot. Dept particularly concerned over activities this question of Pres Quirino’s brother, Judge Antonio Quirino, and especially his wholly unwarranted attacks upon you.

Dept on May 11, 1949 sent to Amb Elizalde copy ltr addressed to Dept by Secy Army dated Apr 21, 1949 in which Secy Royall said “The Dept of the Army considers that the recognition program has [Page 1423] been properly terminated and that recognition claims have been accorded due and careful consideration in all cases.”5 Dept of course assumed Phil Emb Washington brought this note to attn appropriate Phil authorities. Furthermore Pres Truman on Aug 9 informed Pres Quirino definitely that question recognition was closed as far as US was concerned. In view these unequivocal statements and particularly the fact decision on guerrilla recognition taken before you even apptd Amb to Phils, Dept is at loss understand continued public agitation this question and attacks upon you. In view apparent reluctance of PhilGovt to clarify this situation US Govt regretfully compelled make public statement to protect its own position as well as that of its Amb to Phil.

For your info Dept has recently reed two notes from Phil Amb Washington requesting re-opening guerrilla recognition and additional veterans educational benefits. Amb has been informed Dept considers both questions closed.6

  1. In a memorandum of March 17 to the Secretary of State, not printed, recommending approval in draft of the telegram printed here, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs Butterworth pointed out that President Quirino “for his own political reasons” continued to imply publicly that the Philippine guerrilla recognition question was not closed, that various organized guerrilla groups in the Philippines continued to insist that there was a chance of reopening the question, that various kinds of “rackets” had developed around the problem, and that President Quirino’s brother had strongly attacked Ambassador Cowen as an obstacle in the matter and demanded his recall. Butterworth’s memorandum continued:

    “Public agitation has reached the point where I believe it is necessary for the Department to issue a statement clarifying once and for all publicly the position of the American Government and defending the position of Ambassador Cowen who had nothing to do with this decision which was made before he was even nominated as Ambassador to the Philippines.” (796.00/3–1750)

    The source text is signed by Secretary of State Acheson.

  2. Ante, p. 1416.
  3. Telegram 472 under reference here is not printed nor is the text of the proposed statement. The substance of this proposed statement Was subsequently incorporated in Secretary of State Acheson’s letter of April 28 to Governor Manuel Quenco of Cebu, printed in the Department of State Bulletin, May 22, 1950, p. 820.
  4. Regarding President Truman’s meeting with President Quirino on August 9, 1949, under reference here, see footnote 4 to the note of March 13 from the Secretary of State to Ambassador Elizalde, supra.
  5. Neither the communication to Ambassador Elizalde referred to here nor Secretary of the Army Royall’s quoted letter are printed.
  6. See the Secretary of State’s note of March 13 to Ambassador Elizalde, supra.