342. Memorandum From the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Stump), to the Chief of Naval Operations (Carney)2


  • U.S. Military Bases in Philippines


  • (a) CINCPAC Secret msg 082215Z of Jan 19553
Reference (a) notes that developments in the Pacific area, particularly the build-up in Communist power since the Korean truce and the Communist victory in Vietnam, have impressed with added urgency the necessity of expediting U.S. military base negotiations in the Philippines.
Unfavorable Philippine public and political opinion has caused an extended delay in these negotiations. In addition to the methods suggested in reference (a),4 a highly effective method of converting such opinion to favor the expeditious granting of additional base areas would be acceptance by the United States of a lease, as distinguished from fee simple title, basis for acquisition of new base areas.
Anti-U.S. public sentiment was incited by assertions that the granting of military bases to the United States impugned Philippine sovereignty. The invalidity of this argument could be much more readily exposed if the United States does not insist upon outright ownership or full title to Philippine land needed for new bases.
Even if it were possible to foresee a need by the United States for military bases in the Philippines nearly a century from now, no land we would then hold in the Philippines could legally be used for military bases after the expiration of the Military Bases Agreement of 1947.5 It is considered undesirable, therefore, to prejudice the urgent interest of the United States in acquiring additional bases areas for essential strategic use in the immediate future by insisting upon fee simple title, when a lease will serve our purposes equally well for nearly the next hundred years. A subsidiary consideration is that presumably a lease of new bases areas for the remainder of the term of the Military Bases Agreement would cost less than fee simple title.
It is recommended, therefore, that the Chief of Naval Operations consider recommending that Ambassador Spruance be so instructed.
Felix B. Stump6
  1. Source: Department of State, SPA Files: Lot 58 D 312, Philippines: Property Rights, Folder 3. Confidential. The means of transmission of this memorandum is not known.
  2. This telegram to the Chief of Naval Operations, January 9, is not printed. (Naval Historical Center, Operational Archives)
  3. Admiral Stump suggested in the telegram that it could be discreetly leaked to Philippine officials that some U.S. Senators might block ratification of the revised U.S.-Philippines Trade Agreement Act unless base rights assurances were forthcoming from the Philippines.
  4. Signed in Manila on March 14, 1947, by U.S. Ambassador Paul V. McNutt and Philippine President Manuel A. Roxas. It provided the United States with 99-year leases on 23 sites within the Philippines to be used as military bases; 16 of the properties were active and the others were held in reserve. The largest of the active military reservations were the airbase complex at Clark Field in Pampanga and the naval base complex in the Subie Bay–Olongapo area in Zambales. (TIAS 1775)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.