Executive Secretariat Files: Lot 52D444: Secretary of State’s Memoranda

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State1


Mr. Bell and General Richard Marshall reported to the President on the Philippine Mission.2 They told the President they had made a similar report here in the Department on Saturday and therefore I shall not repeat it.

The points which they made were:

Extreme seriousness of the situation and the need there for a program of say $50 million a year for five years supervised and administered by an American Mission which they thought might require in the neighborhood of 150 to 200 people and which would in effect have to assume direction of most of the Philippine Government activities.
The Huk situation they regarded as most serious and thought that that had to be dealt with by a three point program, the first point being competent and vigorous military action; the second, the social reforms contemplated in the economic report; and the third, the assurance in the Philippines of continued American interest if not direction.

They also reported adversely to any hope that important personages might be changed in the Philippines.

The President was most interested in their report; was horrified at the situation they reported; indicated general agreement with the lines of their thought, and wished the most vigorous possible effort made to act as soon as possible.

The actual report will not reach him for a week or ten days.3

[Dean Acheson]
  1. Secretary of State Acheson met with President Truman on September 11 in one of their frequent meetings to discuss important foreign policy problems. The memorandum printed here covers one of the six subjects discussed by them.
  2. Major General Marshall returned to Washington from Manila on September 5 and Chief of Mission Bell returned on September 8. Bell and Marshall held a series of meetings with Department of State officials and with representatives of other Government agencies on Saturday, September 9. Bell and Marshall apparently conferred with Secretary Acheson on September 11, preceding this meeting. Records of the substance of these other meetings have not been found.
  3. For the final text of the Report of the United States Economic Survey Mission to the Philippines, October 9, see p. 1497.