796.5 MSP/9–1352: Telegram

No. 314
The Ambassador in the Philippines (Spruance) to the Department of State


789. Sept. 12. Re Deptel 617, Sept. 4. Emb entertains serious doubts as to desirability Romulo’s suggestions cited in reftel.

It appears highly unlikely that Australia or New Zealand would agree to such an arrangement, although Emb not of course in possession Dept’s1 to this point.
Embassy does not believe that Romulo’s proposals would lead to emergence of an SEA convocation of states. It is highly unlikely that the SEA States on the mainland or Indonesia would be attracted to an association which included Japan, Philippines, US, Australia or New Zealand. As we have stated previously Embassy strongly favors the development of an SEA reg arrangement. It does not appear that Romulo’s proposal would contribute to such a development. We believe that an SEA agreement must be wholly Asian, indigenously motivated, and must be preceded by ratification of the Japanese peace treaty and recognition by the Philippines of the Associated States. These steps, it appears to us, should be followed by some regional grouping which would include the Philippines, Thailand, Malaya and the Associated States and subsequently Burma and Indonesia.
From the point of view of either para 1 or 2 above the problem of the part to be played by Taipei remains unresolved. We inclined to believe that problem of Nationalist China would be less difficult if regional grouping included only SEA and not US, Australia, New Zealand.

Emb recognizes above suggestions do not solve problem raised by Embassy its No. 647, of August 29 and 651, September 2.2 However, Elizalde told me today that he had no present plans to visit the US as he was too busy and that Quirino would not let him go. It is our view that implementation Philippine-US defense treaty should be considered completely apart from problem SEA unity and not drawn into one package as Romulo proposal seems to imply. My conversation with Elizalde leads me to believe that question of implementation not immediately pressing as Embassy [Page 505] feared last week. However, Embassy will continue to examine this question in light of local developments.3

  1. A notation on the source text indicates an apparent omission at this point.
  2. See footnotes 1, 4, and 5, Document 311.
  3. The Department of State replied on Sept. 15, as follows:

    “Dept agrees with position taken para 4 ur 789 that implementation Philippine-US Defense Treaty shld be considered completely apart from problem SEA unity. Dept suggests it might be helpful in present situation if forthcoming visit of Allison (now scheduled arrive Manila about Sept 30; exact date to follow) cld be interpreted by Filipinos as step in consultation under terms Philippine-US Defense Treaty. Allison was present at ANZUS Council mtg and wld be able give Phil officials complete fill-in on that mtg. Your comments requested and any suggestions you may wish give as to appropriate type of publicity to achieve desired purpose.” (Telegram 734; 796.5 MSP/9–1352)