796.551/3–2850: Telegram

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

secret

889. Deptel 471 and 472, March 20.1 During interview with President Quirino evening March 26 I conveyed to him highlights reference telegram 471 and suggested rather than have Department make release of type contemplated he might prefer himself issue statement that Philippine Government had been advised that US decision on closing guerrilla recognition question had been reaffirmed and that Philippine Government had accepted that decision.

Quirino replied that he could issue no such statement. I then warned him US Government might feel compelled reveal he was August 9, 1949 told by President Truman US did not propose reopen the question.2 Quirino then asserted he had never asked President Truman that question be reopened, but merely told him the matter was a very hot political question and requested that it be left open until after the Philippine Presidential elections. Quirino seized and shook me by the arms, wept, and said, “You are a great nation and if you think it necessary to embarrass me you may do what you will with me.”

I would appreciate matter of issuance statement be left in abeyance [Page 1428]until my return Washington April 3.3 If it is decided at that time statement should be issued would suggest only minor alterations which from vantage point Manila we think might contribute to its being fully understood and accepted by Philippine people, including the thousands who undeniably have come to feel they personally have been unfairly dealt with so far as recognition their role in liberation concerned. Statement with Embassy’s suggested revisions contained immediately following telegram.4

Cowen
  1. Telegram 471 is printed on p. 1422. Regarding telegram 472, see footnote 3 thereto.
  2. Regarding President Truman’s meeting with President Quirino under reference here, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 597.
  3. Ambassador Cowen departed from Manila for the United States by airplane on March 28 in order to deal with personal affairs in connection with the death of his mother. He also intended to confer with officers of the Department of State.
  4. Telegram 890 under reference here is not printed. Regarding the ultimate form of the proposed statement, see footnote 3 to telegram 471, p. 1422.