694.001/8–1152: Telegram

No. 310
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Philippines


453. Dept wld also have preferred not to exchange ratifications of Mutual Defense Treaty1 until the Phil Senate had given its concurrence to Jap Peace Treaty. As practical matter, however, and as pointed out by Embtel 420 of Aug 11, 1952,2 this not feasible, as a refusal to exchange ratifications wld give Nacionalista senators unparalleled opportunity to make this a polit issue. They undoubtedly wld allege that US was trying to exert pressure in an internal matter, that Quirino Admin was being punished for not being able to deliver on “the package deal”, that US was much more concerned about Jap than Phils, that US did not intend to defend Phils and that it must consequently adopt a neutral position, that this clearly demonstrated that ANZUS was attempt by the “whites” to dictate policy in the Pac and that Phils was now being definitely excluded. Such a propaganda barrage might seriously weaken the Quirino Admin and might render futile any further efforts it might make to secure Senate concurrence to Jap Peace Treaty. Accordingly the Amb is instructed to proceed with the exchange of ratifications and in private conversation with Quirino and Elizalde3 review US position along these lines:

“There was a clear understanding between our two Govts concerning interdependence between this Treaty and Jap Peace Treaty. This understanding was explicitly expressed in a ltr to Amb Romulo, then Secy Fon Affairs, from Dean Rusk, then Asst Sec State, dated Aug 29, 1951, as follows:

‘In connection with the Mutual Defense Treaty which we are about to sign I want to confirm to you our understanding that there is an interdependence between this Treaty and the contemplated [Page 495] Jap Peace Treaty in the sense that it is assumed that both of us will sign and ratify both Treaties.’4

“Although it wld be justifiable to postpone action on Mutual Defense Treaty until such time as Phil Senate votes on Jap Peace Treaty, we regard as of highest importance strengthening of treaty fabric of peace in Pac. Since Mutual Defense treaty is one of its cornerstones, we are proceeding with exchange of ratifications without delay.”

The Dept is not planning to give exchange of ratifications any particular publicity. It will be remembered, however, that Admin in its presentation to Senate of US of “Jap Peace Treaty and Other Treaties Relating to Security in the Pac” pointed out that Mutual Defense Treaty “presupposed the ratification of the Jap Peace Treaty by the US and the Republic of the Phils”. (Annex 4 of Mr. Dulles’ ltr of Jan. 7, 1952, to the Secy.)5 Only if press shld seize upon this point will Secy in press conference make a statement, which wld be along these lines:

“Like the treaty between Austral, NZ, and the US, the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Phils and the US forms a vital step in the treaty fabric of peace in the Pac. At the time of the conclusion of these treaties it was understood that they were part and parcel of the Jap peace settlement and the related treaty program for creating peace and security in the Western Pac area and presupposed the ratification of the Jap Peace Treaty by all parties to the security treaties. That understanding, which still exists, was intended to make clear that the re-establishment of relations with Jap was a prerequisite to the bldg of a more comprehensive system of regional security in the Pac area. Although Pres Quirino has strong recommended approval of the Jap Peace Treaty, the Phil Senate has not yet voted on whether or not to give its concurrence to the Treaty. The US however does not wish that there shld exist any doubt as to the validity of its intent to regard aggression against the Phils as a threat to its own peace and safety. For that reason we are proceeding with the exchange of ratifications.”

If at the time of the exchange of ratifications the Amb believes it wise to make a public statement, he is authorized to make this or a similar statement. Full text shld be telegraphed to the Dept.6

Timing of notification of US readiness to exchange ratifications left to discretion of Amb who might consider it desirable to show [Page 496] no haste in view package deal. ANZUS furor, and Phil slowness in settling tax questions relating military bases.7

Any comments Emb may wish make wld be appreciated.

  1. The United States–Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty was signed on Aug. 30, 1951, and entered into force on Aug. 27, 1952; for text, see TIAS No. 2529; printed in 3 UST 3497. For related documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vi, Part 1, pp. 132 ff.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Philippine Foreign Secretary Joaquin M. Elizalde.
  4. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vi, Part 1, p. 250.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Ambassador Spruance forwarded to the Department the text of a statement which he intended to make on the exchange of ratifications. It followed the lines set forth in the paragraph quoted above. (Telegram 566, Aug. 23; 796.5/8–2352)
  7. The exchange of ratifications took place on Aug. 27, on which date the treaty entered into force.