796.5/10–1052: Telegram

No. 315
The Ambassador in Burma (Sebald) to the Department of State1


584. From Allison. Re Manila’s 1074 to Dept.2 Believe purpose Secretary’s statement to Romulo as outlined Deptel 978 to Manila3 misunderstood by Embassy Manila. Seriously question whether any substantive talks re defense can be held with Quirino although general nature of problem might be outlined by Radford in much same manner he did at Aug meeting ANZUS council. Main purpose of Manila meeting, as I see it is to assuage fears Filipinos that matters of moment to them being decided without their being given opportunity present their views.

Agree it would serve useful purpose and remove possible local political taint if leaders Nationalista Party invited to any formal [Page 506] talks. While I do not envisage anything in nature of a “conference” taking place, suggest it might be useful request Quirino to set up one formal meeting to which Nationalista leaders be invited. At such meeting Foster and Radford could give general statement re defense problems SEA and I could give report my visits to other SEA countries. Filipino leaders would then be asked to give their ideas and express their fears. Believe one day or half day spent in this fashion would have beneficial effect. Any other talks Foster and party wish to have with Filipinos could be on informal basis and without publicity.

If Dept agrees and obtains concurrence of Foster with above suggestions, request Manila be informed and message repeated to me at Djakarta where I arrive night Oct 13. Am meeting Admiral Radford Hong Kong Oct 23 and at his invitation will accompany him Manila Oct 24, so I can brief him on latest Washington thinking this matter.4

  1. Repeated to Manila.
  2. In telegram 1074, Oct. 9, Ambassador Spruance objected to not being consulted in advance concerning a decision to agree to the Philippine requests for bilateral talks in late October. He also suggested that, in order to lift the upcoming conference above the level of Philippine politics, where its subject matter was then an important issue, President Quirino be requested to invite leaders of the Nacionalista party to participate. (102.202/10–952)
  3. Telegram 978, Oct. 7, informed the Embassy in Manila and Allison, then in Bangkok, of Ambassador Romulo’s call on Secretary Acheson that same day when he complained about Philippine exclusion from the five-power talks. Acheson pointed out that an invitation to the Philippines would have necessitated invitations to the Associated States, Burma, and Thailand, possibly endangering the productivity of the conference. Romulo had been assuaged by Acheson’s observation that the visit of Foster, Allison, Nash, and Radford to Manila would provide a chance to review all subjects of mutual interest. Romulo then indicated that he would so inform President Quirino and an announcement would be made in Manila of the forthcoming visit. (796.5/10–752)
  4. On Oct. 11, the Department agreed with Allison’s “excellent” suggestions and indicated that Foster concurred. (Telegram 554 to Djakarta, repeated to Manila as 1030; 796.5/10–1052)