345. Letter From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Davis) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson)1

Dear Mr. Robertson : Reference is made to your letter of February 15, 1955, to Secretary Wilson concerning pending negotiations with the Philippines to satisfy certain military base requirements.2

We have been keenly aware that discussions to date have not prospered, and consider that some means must be found to satisfy our requirements as soon as possible. The solution adopted should be fair and equitable both to the United States and to the Philippines.

As noted in your letter, the areas which are surplus to our needs are of considerable value, particularly the lands comprising Fort McKinley. As you know, the United States acquired title to this property by direct purchase from the individual private owners. Therefore, it is felt that real estate which is surplus to our needs should not be relinquished without adequate return. It is further considered [Page 585] that any solution adopted now should not prejudice the U.S. position on title to the lands which we now occupy and will retain.

A careful review of your letter indicates that the foregoing considerations can be accommodated within the framework of your proposals. Subject to such accommodation, we therefore concur in the Department of State’s proposed suggestions to be used during Secretary Dulles’ discussions with Ambassador Spruance and President Magsaysay.

If this proposal is acceptable to the Philippine Government, it should be possible for our Embassy to start formal negotiations in the very near future. We would like in this connection to offer the services of Rear Admiral Goodwin, U.S. Navy, Commander, Philippine Command, U.S., as Defense adviser to Ambassador Spruance during these negotiations, which we hope can be pursued to a conclusion as rapidly as possible.

Sincerely yours,

A.C. Davis
Vice Admiral US. Navy
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 711.56396/2–1855. Secret.
  2. In this letter, Robertson urged Secretary of Defense Wilson to concur with a Department of State proposal to reopen military base negotiations with the Philippines in order to improve the American base system in that country. (Ibid., 711.56396/2–1555) The wording of the letter closely followed that of Robertson’s memorandum to Dulles, Supra .