348. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Philippines1

3370. Your 2383.2 This is a joint State–Defense–FOA message. Funds referred your 23823 being made available for primary purpose of bolstering Philippine contribution common defense effort. Similarly, additional US base requirements designed strengthen common defense contribution US forces in Philippines. Both are urgent and require closest mutual cooperation. While fully appreciating recommendation reftel to which careful consideration has been given, in view of necessity of moving ahead with Philippine defense program we believe release of funds should not be made conditional on satisfactory resolution in base negotiations.

Suggest you point out to Magsaysay necessary interrelation both matters, stressing fact that in obtaining necessary release of funds in question we must emphasize elements of both programs to Congress. You may also wish remind him further US aid in military programs inevitably dependent in large measure on degree to which Philippines cooperate on mutual defense their own country, i.e., establishment US bases which directly contribute to security of Philippines. We believe Magsaysay conversation with Secretary March 24 indicated his understanding importance early solution bases problem through Philippine cooperation in forthcoming negotiations. You should make sure he fully understands need for such action and ask him if he will be ready to start negotiations about May 1.

Detailed comments your 2382 will follow.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 796.5–MSP/3–1155. Secret. Drafted in OSD and FE; cleared in OSD, FOA–Phil, O/FE, and FE; and approved by Day.
  2. In telegram 2383, March 11, Spruance recommended that $9.5 million in aid, which had recently been granted to the Philippines under the Mutual Security Act of 1954, be withheld until Magsaysay satisfactorily settled the base problem. (Ibid., 796.5–MSP/3–1155)
  3. In telegram 2382, March 11, Spruance suggested appropriate projects for the $9.5 million fund and recommended that the United States maintain strict control over dissemination of the aid. (Ibid.)
  4. See footnote 4, Document 346.
  5. Telegram 3608 to Manila, March 28, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 796.5–MSP/3–2855)