13. Memorandum for the Record by the Counselor of the Department of State (MacArthur)1

I had breakfast this morning with General Romulo at his request. He made the following points in the course of our informal discussion:

Regarding the Afro-Asian Conference, General Romulo has been in touch with Mr. Robertson and Mr. Lacy. He said he would need a lot of assistance in terms of papers and ideas and that only the Department of State was in a position to assist him in this regard.2

He believes he will be able to perform a very useful task with other non-Communist delegations and is counting on working closely in this connection with Prince Wan, Mohammed Ali, the Turkish delegation, and some of the Arab delegations. He will take with him to Bandung a very, very small delegation, with no parliamentary representation, since parliamentarians, as he put it, would complicate his task immeasurably.

He said the Indian Ambassador3 called on him a few days ago to enquire whether the report that he was going to represent the Philippines at Bandung was correct. Romulo had replied in the affirmative and as a tactic had said he supposed the Philippine and other like-minded delegations would be heavily out-voted by a combination of Communist and neutralist votes. The Indian Ambassador had replied that he disagreed entirely with Romulo, since the Arab States as well as a number of Asian states were definitely anti-Communist. He [Page 32] thought the Communists would be in a definite minority. The Indian Ambassador said his government was delighted that the Philippines would be represented at Bandung and felt it was useful to have anti-Communist states present as well as the Communists themselves.

General Romulo said that in his judgment it would be the gravest mistake to discuss the Afro-Asian Conference in the eight-power forum at Bangkok. Any such discussion would leak to the press in distorted forms and would be picked up and used by the Communists and neutralists in a way to impair the effectiveness of the Philippine, Thai, and Pakistan representatives at Bandung. Also, no specific mention should be made of the Bandung Conference in the Communiqué from Bangkok, although he agreed that it would be useful indirectly to point to the Bangkok Conference as proof of the fact that there can be cooperation between Asian and Western nations, regardless of color, race, or creed. He said he was particularly concerned about the “color” question in terms of the Bandung Conference.

General Romulo then made reference to the President’s press conference yesterday4 which he had seen repeated over television last night. He said the President’s stance, attitude, and what he said, were superb in terms of world opinion, particularly Asian. He said the President’s air of quiet confidence and the non-provocative nature of his statements inspired confidence in the strength and stability of U.S. leadership and the fact that we would not be provoked by the wild charges of the Communists. He said there had been considerable worry in the Philippines over developments in the Formosa area and that the President’s stance would be very helpful in increasing confidence in the leadership of the United States.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.14–MacA/2–1055. Top Secret. The source text bears the notation “Sec Saw” in O’Connor’s handwriting.
  2. In a memorandum of a conversation held among Romulo, MacArthur, and Lacy on February 18, Lacy stated that he had given Romulo a paper on “U.S. policy in the Philippines from 1899 to 1955 which General Romulo had requested and proposed to use as source material at Bandung. General Romulo considered it satisfactory and hoped that material on other issues to arise at Bandung would be similarly prepared.” (Ibid., 670.901/2–1855)

    In a memorandum of a telephone conversation held with Romulo on February 21, Lacy stated that he had promised Romulo “counter resolutions” to resolutions on colonialism and the admission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, which Romulo anticipated would be offered at Bandung. (Ibid., 670.901/2–2155)

    None of the papers mentioned in these two conversations has been found in Department of State files.

  3. G.L. Mehta.
  4. For a complete transcript of the President’s news conference held February 9, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955, p. 33.