896.00/5–2650: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Philippines


934. In connection Economic Mission Dept is considering Pres Truman send fol ltr to Pres Quirino:1

“My dear Mr. Pres: I was delighted to learn from Amb Cowen that you have recovered from the effects of ur recent operation and have fully resumed ur activities.

Since your conversation with Secy Acheson and me during ur brief visit to the US in Feb of this year, this Govt has continued to take an active interest in the problems of ur Country and as I assured you in Feb we are anxious to be of help in any feasible and practicable way. You will recall that at our conference you suggested to me the possibility of a US Econ Survey Mission which might go to the Phils to examine the entire econ situation, to make recommendations and to advise the PhilGovt in devising a program which the US Govt might consider helping the Phils to implement. I informed you that I was most interested in this suggestion and that we wld give it deep and sympathetic consideration. It was agreed at that time that the best way to proceed on this matter was through consultation between you and Amb Cowen in Manila.

While this Govt has continued to give this matter further study to the extent possible, actual implementation of the proposal which had received considerable publicity has been unfortunately delayed. It is my understanding that you have been reluctant to proceed because you felt that it would be preferable to have a joint Phil-Amer Mission; although, for reasons which have been explained to you, the US Govt does not believe that such a mission would be fruitful. I wld under no circumstances want to embarrass you in any way by sending such a mission at this time if you had any mental reservations or doubts about the question, but in view of the long period which has elapsed, and the public interest in the matter, I do believe it wld be desirable either to proceed with the Mission or to decide to abandon the plan for the time being.

I understand that you have already appointed a group of Phil citizens to study the pres Phil economic situation. This Govt wld of course hope and expect to receive the fullest coop of all Filipinos concerned about the situation, and particularly of any group specially designated for the purpose by you, otherwise the work of the Amer Mission wld be fruitless. The success of any venture such as this, of course, depends in large measure upon the coop and good faith of all concerned.

[Page 1453]

This letter, therefore, is merely a reiteration of my previously expressed willingness to proceed with the formation of such a mission if it is still desired by you. I also wish, however, to take this opportunity to assure you that this Govt has no desire or intention to insist on such a mission or to embarrass you in connection with it. I wld be very happy to have your present views on this question. Very sincerely yours.”

Ur comments urgently requested. The Dept wld not expect to give any publicity this ltr and the mission until after a reply had been received from Quirino.2

  1. Telegram 933, May 26, to Manila, not printed, explained the purpose of the proposed letter from President Truman to President Quirino quoted here as follows:

    “Purpose of this letter is to put Quirino in a spot where he will have to accept Mission on our terms or else withdraw entirely from the proposal and bear the onus for the failure of the Mission to materialize. Letter is also designed to prepare the public record in the event such should be necessary. Before actual delivery of letter Dept would propose to brief members of House Senate Foreign Relations Comites on situation in the Philippines and how we are attempting to remedy situation” (896.00/5–2650).

  2. In his telegram 1562, May 29, from Manila, not printed, Ambassador Cowen reported that he saw President Quirino at Baguio on May 27 at which time Quirino confirmed his willingness, indicated earlier that same day by Philippine Secretary of Finance Pedrosa, to receive a United States economic mission. Cowen recommended that in view of the developments, the proposed letter to Quirino quoted here be modified (896.00/5–2950). For the text of President Truman’s letter of June 1 to Quirino, see p. 1458.