President Truman to the President of the Republic of the Philippines (Quirino)1

My Dear Mr. President: I was most pleased to learn from Ambassador Cowen that on May 27 of this year you expressed to him your readiness to receive an American Economic Mission2 Since your conversation with Secretary Acheson and me during your brief visit to the United States last February, the American Government has continued to take an active interest in the problems of the Philippines. As I assured you in February, we desire to give help in any feasible and practicable way. At the time of our last meeting you suggested to me the possibility of a United States Economic Survey Mission which might go to the Philippines to examine the entire economic situation, to make recommendations and to advise the Philippine Government in working out a program which the United States Government might consider in its efforts to assist the Philippines. As you will recall, I said that I was most interested in the project and that we would give it sympathetic consideration.

Subsequent to your return to Manila I had received reports that you had been debating in your own mind whether this Mission should not be a Joint Philippine-American undertaking.3 I am, therefore, most pleased to learn that on May 27 you told Ambassador Cowen of your readiness to accept an American Mission, because as you are aware, the United States Government is firmly convinced that an American Mission will be most conducive to mutually satisfactory [Page 1459] results. I would under no circumstances have wanted to embarrass you in any way by sending out an American Mission if you had had any mental reservation or doubts about the question. In view of the wide public interest in the matter I do believe now that it would 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 Philippine citizens to study the present Philippine economic situation. The United States Government would, of course, hope and expect to receive the fullest cooperation of all Filipinos who are concerned about the problems of their country, and particularly of any group especially designated by you for this purpose. Without such cooperation no American Mission, of course, could be expected to produce a program and suggestions which would be helpful to the Philippines or susceptible of consideration by the United States.

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 of assuring you that this Government has no desire or intention to insist on such a mission, or to embarrass you in connection with it. I would be most happy to have your present views on this question.

I was delighted to learn from Ambassador Cowen that you have recovered sufficiently from the effects of your recent operation to enable you to resume your difficult tasks, and I trust that your recovery will continue satisfactorily.

Sincerely yours,

Harry S. Truman
  1. The text of this letter was approved by President Truman during his meeting with Secretary of State Acheson on June 1; see footnote 1 to the Secretary’s memorandum to the President, supra. This text was transmitted in telegram 992, June 5, to Manila, not printed, with instructions that it be delivered with the expectation of a written reply. Telegram 992 also indicated that the Department of State was prepared to move at once with the establishment of an economic mission if President Quirino’s reply was satisfactory (896.00/6–550). The signed original letter from President Truman was transmitted as an enclosure to instruction 104, June 8, to Manila, not printed (896.00/6–850). Ambassador Cowen delivered this letter to Philippine Foreign Secretary Romulo on June 7.
  2. See footnote 2 to telegram 934, May 26, to Manila, p. 1453.
  3. In his telegrams 1655, June 7, 1667, June 8, and 1697, June 11, from Manila, none printed, Ambassador Cowen reported that Foreign Secretary Romulo requested either that this sentence be deleted from the letter as delivered to President Quirino or that the sentence be deleted from the letter at the time it was made public (896.00/6–750, 896.00/6–850, 896.00/6–1150). Telegram 1018, June 9, to Manila, not printed, stated that the Department of State was unable to agree to such a deletion. The telegram added that the sentence had been deliberately inserted in the letter in order to avoid any possibility that President Quirino at some later date might be able for his own purposes to allege a misunderstanding or lack of understanding on the question of a joint mission (896.00/6–850).