796.00/3–653: Telegram

No. 327
The Ambassador in the Philippines (Spruance) to the Department of State

top secret

2702. Eyes only Allison. Your 2719.1 After thorough discussion of subject with six most interested and concerned it was decided that Lansdale’s return here was still desirable. Direct or indirect contacts with Magsaysay would be kept to absolute minimum and his services for psychological warfare would continue to be made available to new Secretary Defense. It was considered that Lansdale’s experience as Public Information Officer would be most valuable in our relations with press, including the avoidance of unwarranted attacks on United States officials. I hope that his knowledge and experience will be useful in promoting free elections or in warning United States if other plans are being laid. If the foregoing does not work, I shall not hesitate to ask that Lansdale be ordered home.2

  1. Telegram 2719, from Allison to Spruance, Mar. 5, indicated that the Department of State was reconsidering the question of Lansdale’s return to the Philippines in view of the new situation caused by Magsaysay’s resignation. The Department’s inclination was to delay Lansdale’s return at least for the present. The Embassy’s views were requested on this matter and also on Lansdale’s role in making effective a U.S. contribution toward free and fair elections in November.(796.00/3–353)

    Lansdale had returned to the United States in January for discussions with civilian and military officials from whom he wished to secure approval for his plan to safeguard the integrity of the 1953 Philippine elections. No records have been found on these meetings, but see the account given in Edward G. Lansdale, In the Midst of Wars (New York, Harper and Row, 1972), pp. 104–107.

  2. On Mar. 9, the Department of State sent the following reply:

    “Eyes only Spruance from Allison. On basis Embtel 2702 Department has concurred Lansdale return. I particularly agree Lansdale contacts with Magsaysay be kept at absolute minimum and his services for psychological warfare be available to new Secretary Defense.” (Telegram 2780; 796.00/3–653)