Lot 56D527


Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy to the Consultant ( Allison ) at the Malacanan Palace, 10:45 a. m.

Participants: President Quirino
Ambassador Dulles
Ambassador Cowen
Felino Neri, Acting Foreign Minister
Colonel C. S. Babcock, United States Army2
John M. Allison

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In this connection Mr. Dulles outlined the importance to the future containment of Communism in the Pacific, of the maintenance of the integrity of the island chain extending from the Aleutians through Japan, the Ryukyus, Formosa, the Philippines down to Australia and New Zealand. It is possible, he stated, that some form of security arrangement should be developed among these island regions and perhaps Indonesia should also be included. In view of the recent visit to Manila of the President of Indonesia, Mr. Dulles asked President Quirino’s opinion as to whether or not Indonesia would wish to take part in any possible security arrangement. According to President Quirino, Indonesia will be slow to make a definite commitment to the cause of the anti-Communist world. It is still greatly influenced by the position being taken by India. However, President Quirino believed that in the end the Indonesians would side with the free world and stated that he had told President Sukarno in strong terms that it was not possible to be neutral and that Indonesia sooner or later would have to choose. President Quirino expressed the opinion that President Sukarno was not taking a strong enough position of leadership [Page 153] in the foreign affairs of his country and that he was too dependent upon the advice of his ministers. He pointed out that President Sukarno had been unwilling to go ahead and sign with President Quirino a commercial treaty until he had consulted his foreign minister and, in President Quirino’s opinion, this demonstrated a lack of force and determination and too great a subservience to the views of his cabinet. However, President Quirino went on to say that he had liked President Sukarno personally, that he believed he was in fact anti-Communist and that he was certain that in the final analysis he would be found on our side.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

President Quirino then reverted to the question of a Pacific security arrangement and asked Mr. Dulles to expound on what the United States ideas were in this regard. Mr. Dulles pointed out that the press both in the United States and the Far East seemed to have much more definite ideas than he did and that the United States at this moment had no specific proposal of its own to advance. The United States was prepared nevertheless to listen sympathetically to any proposals the countries most directly concerned might wish to make and Mr. Dulles anticipated that when he arrived in Australia and New Zealand3 he would receive suggestions from those Governments. Mr. Dulles explained that in our opinion the problems connected with the security of the island chain which had been mentioned earlier were ones which could most easily be solved by sea and air power which the United States possessed in large degree and that these problems were different from those which would be posed by any security arrangement involving the mainland of Asia. In the opinion of the United States the two problems should be kept separately. President Quirino referred to his efforts at creating understanding among the nations of Southeast Asia and the Pacific and spoke of the Baguio Conference4 which he had initiated. He felt that the most important results had been in the economic and cultural field and that it was in these fields that first progress should be made but it might not be necessary to take military steps at present. Mr. Dulles said that the situation probably was one which called for both types of activity to go hand” in hand and that unfortunately we could not [Page 154] ignore at present the military aspects of the problem. President Quirino had no specific proposals to make at the time other than to indicate the definite interest of the Philippines in some form of Pacific security pact.

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  1. The remainder of this memorandum is printed on p. 880.
  2. Colonel Babcock had been detailed to Mr. Dulles’ staff in September 1950, for reasons described in the memorandum by Mr. Allison to the Secretary, September 4, printed in Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vi, p. 1290.
  3. The Dulles Mission was in New Zealand February 19–21. In a memorandum of his conversation held January 24 with G. It. Laking, Counselor of the Embassy of New Zealand, Mr. Johnson stated that the former had transmitted New Zealand’s invitation to the Department that day. He continued in part: “Mr. Laking stated that even though the official talks with New Zealand and Australia might be held jointly in Australia, it might be valuable for Mr. Dulles to visit New Zealand as it would give him an opportunity to talk with other members of the Government and would have a valuable effect on public opinion.” (Lot54D423)
  4. For documentation regarding the Baguio Conference of May 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. vi, pp. 85 ff.