The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Marshall)1
My Dear Mr. Secretary: The President’s directive of January 10, 19512 to Mr. John Foster Dulles authorized a mutual assistance arrangement among the Pacific Island nations (Australia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Japan, the United States and perhaps Indonesia). It was subsequently agreed to break this arrangement into three parts, one dealing with Australia and New Zealand, another dealing with Japan, and a third dealing with the Philippines.
In the case of Australia and New Zealand there will be the agreed upon Trilateral Security Treaty, and in the case of Japan the agreed upon Bilateral Security Treaty. It was our hope, however, primarily [Page 233] in deference to the views as we understood of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the security arrangement with the Philippines could be kept on a unilateral rather than a bilateral basis.
There has now arisen strong agitation in the Philippines centering around the two points of reparations and security. There are extravagant demands for reparations which cannot be fulfilled and recently the Philippines have also raised the point that the proposed Trilateral Treaty with Australia and New Zealand, and the proposed Bilateral Treaty with Japan represent discriminations against the Philippines, rather than a strengthening of American relations with these countries so as to bring that relationship to a level comparable to that which already exists with the Philippines.
Ambassador Cowen has strongly recommended that Philippine fears and disappointments could be assauged if the public assurances which have been given could be formalized in a simple treaty of alliance and mutual security.
American policy in general approves of Pacific alliances designed to strengthen security in the area and to deter aggression. The Trilateral with Australia and New Zealand and the Bilateral with Japan fit into this pattern and it, therefore, seems to me that a security treaty with the Philippines, in which the Philippine Government expressed a definite interest in an aide-mémoire to our Embassy on July 20,3 would also be appropriate, provided the Philippines accept the basis on which the United States is prepared to conclude peace with Japan.
The Department of State considers that such a treaty with the Philippines should not include any provision for consultation between the United States military establishment and the Philippine military establishment. Moreover, the Department of State is particularly concerned that such a treaty leave undisturbed our present military arrangements in the Philippines which are particularly advantageous to the United States.
In view of the impending signature of the Treaty of Peace with Japan it is imporant, in order to secure the desired objective, that we be in a position promptly to advise the Philippine Government of our readiness to consider making a security treaty with it.
A suggested draft of treaty is enclosed which conforms to these views. I would be grateful to you for the earliest possible expression of views of the Department of Defense, in the first instance upon the principle of putting our security commitment to the Philippines on a treaty basis, and in the second instance, as to the acceptability from a military standpoint of the enclosed draft.
- Letter drafted by Mr. Lacy and Mr. Dulles.↩
- See enclosure 2 (as annotated) to the letter of January 9 from Mr. Acheson to Secretary Marshall, p. 788.↩
- Not printed.↩
This draft of August 1 is identical in substance to a draft by Mr. Melby dated July 30, excepting the omission of the following paragraph from the Preamble: “Taking into account the desire of the Philippines that the public assurances by the United States that any act of aggression against the Philippines would be a direct and immediate threat to the security of the United States and their traditional relations, should receive formal affirmation in a written instrument, and”.
In a memorandum of July 31 to Mr. Melby, Mr. Merchant had commented:
“It seems to me unnecessary and graceless to pin the responsibility for incorporating our assurances in a treaty on the Filipinos, particularly in light of my assumption that it would be a clearly understood quid for the quo of signature to the Japanese peace treaty. Moreover, I wonder if we might not expose the Administration to criticism from hostile Senators who might argue that since this is merely formalization of security assurances given by the President and the Secretary of State, the Administration had in fact already assumed what amounted to a treaty obligation to the Filipinos without securing the advice and counsel of the Senate.” (Draft and memorandum both in Lot 54D423)↩
In a memorandum of August 2 Mr. Battle stated:
“The Secretary told me on his return from the White House that he had left with the President a copy of the letter to General Marshall and a copy of the draft treaty. The Secretary told the President that he thought the President had decided the issue and there probably would be none if the Department of Defense went along with our proposal. The President said that he was for a treaty and saw no arguments against it, but if any issue arose and was brought to him, he would decide it.” (Lot54D444)↩