No. 308
The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Foster)

top secret

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I refer to the Department’s letter of January 8, 1952 which concurred with the draft letter,2 prepared by the Department of Defense, to the President requesting his approval of the diversion of $5 million from a special fund which was established with the President’s approval in May 1951 to insure the continued pay and maintenance of the Philippine Armed Forces.

Subsequent to this concurrence the American Embassy in Manila advised the Department that President Elpidio Quirino had proposed that any savings, roughly estimated at $1.2 million, which might be made in the Philippine military budget as a result of the special $5 million American grant be used to purchase loose unsurrendered firearms in the Philippines. The purchase of loose firearms is an important part of the Philippine Government’s pacification program. As you will recall, substantial stores of arms and ammunition were abandoned by the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines following the termination of hostilities against Japan. Much of this equipment continues to find its way into undesirable hands and to be used against the Philippine Government, not only by scattered individuals, but also by the Huks. The United States has consistently encouraged the Philippines to remove these arms from uncontrolled circulation by any means available.

The American Embassy in Manila has recommended approval of this request by President Quirino and the Department concurs.

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It is suggested that favorable action on this proposal be expedited since the Philippine Government is most anxious to liquidate the Huk military problem as quickly as possible, by taking advantage of the impressive gains it has made against the Huks during the past year.3

Sincerely yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
Livingston T. Merchant
Special Assistant to the Secretary for Mutual Security Affairs
  1. Neither printed.
  2. On Feb. 25, President Truman approved the proposal for allocation of $3.8 million to augment the Philippine Army and $1.2 million to purchase loose firearms. (796.5/3–352) This information was conveyed informally to Philippine Ambassador Carlos Romulo on the same day and to the Embassy in Manila on Feb. 28. (796.5 MSP/1–1852)