790.5/2–2352: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Philippines


2609. Urtel 2853, Feb 12.1 Dept most interested in your conversation with Quirino2 about prospects for expanding Pac Pact arrangements and believes this approach by Quirino to you offers some possibilities. You may of course assure Quirino US most pleased with his contd interest in expanding arrangements and that as a matter of gen principle and eventual objective his thinking certainly parallels that of US. US attitude in gen remains as has been explained to Quirino on numerous past occasions, viz. US in principle looks with sympathy on any regional arrangements designed to strengthen security of free world, advance cause of peace, promote gen welfare of peoples concerned and be initiated by those most directly involved. In this sense and on basis of foregoing criteria US wld of course give most serious and sympathetic consideration to any proposals which might be initiated and agreed upon by Asian participants. In absence of such specific proposals US can hardly do more than express approval and sympathy in principle. Quirino may wish, however, to consider whether present is most propitious moment to advance his proposal.

It wld seem preferable to defer consideration of interlocking Jap,3 Austral, NZ, Phil4 security pacts until these arrangements have been ratified and put into effect. Until practical problems arising from such implementation become more apparent through concrete experience any specific consideration of tying them together wld seem to be somewhat academic. Furthermore, it seems probable that countries concerned wld be more favorably disposed toward an expanding system once they have been able to see some practical advantages from agreements already signed. Dept cannot of course presume to speak for Austral and NZ on question interlocking existing security pacts. Urinfo, however, Dept doubts very much either country prepared at this time consider joining in any security arrangement with Jap. Furthermore, as you are aware, UK opposed quadrilateral pact including Philippines on grounds such arrangement wld accentuate problem non-inclusion Brit territories area in security arrangement. Austral and NZ wld be influenced [Page 53] by Brit attitude this matter in considering any Quirino proposal pacts be linked.

Quirino mentions desirability of including Thailand and Indo5 Thailand certainly presents no problem. Present situation in Indo with whose specific problems Quirino undoubtedly aware wld make it extremely questionable whether Indo wld welcome now any such invitation as Quirino envisages. It is to be hoped that developments of next few months will create conditions make Indo more receptive to such proposal. Burma and Indochina are conspicuous by their absence from Quirino’s conversation. Dept wld be interested in knowing reasons behind this omission. Quirino must understand and you shld so state to him that any regional pact which omits Indochina, given the nature of the war now going on there and the consequences for SEA if the Commie forces shld win to say nothing of cost in blood and treasure which the denial of Indochina to Communism is now costing the free world, wld be something less than “moral rearmament”, it wld be meaningless. US now as in the past is bewildered by Phil failure to understand importance and significance of Indochina not only to SEA but also to Phils. If Quirino wishes to cover his skeleton Pac pact proposals with some meat of practical action he cld hardly do better than recognize the Associated States and let the world know they have Phil support. Such action on his part cld well serve to persuade other countries in the area of determination of his intentions.

Please assure Quirino US most gratified for this expression of his views and wld welcome any further thoughts or ideas he may develop on basis foregoing.6

  1. Not printed here. (796.5/2–1252)
  2. Elpidio Quirino, President of the Philippines.
  3. For text of the Security Treaty between the United States and Japan, signed at San Francisco Sept. 8, 1951, see 3 UST (pt. 3) 3329.
  4. For text of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Philippines, signed at Washington Aug. 30, 1951, see 3 UST (pt. 3) 3937.
  5. Indonesia.
  6. In telegram 3186 from Manila, Mar. 12, the Embassy reported that the Philippine Government had been informed of U.S. policy on this matter along the lines set forth above. (790.5/3–1252) The text of telegram 2609 was also repeated to U.S. officials at other posts in response to inquiries regarding the Department of State position with regard to an expanded Pacific alliance system, most notably in A–214 to Saigon, Mar. 22, and A–270 to Singapore, June 13. (790.5/3–2252 and 790.5/61352, respectively)