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

4066. Your 2922.2 In discussion with Magsaysay and such other Filipinos as you desire you may make following points:

US has obligations in respect defense Philippines against Communist aggression by Mutual Defense Treaty and Manila Pact. See specifically Secretary’s statement at MDT Council meeting in Manila September 4, 1954.3
US has similar obligations in respect defense Taiwan and Penghu by treaty with China and in respect resistance Communist aggression in treaty area covered by Manila Pact (our 37084).
Our ability fulfill these obligations partly contingent on strength our bases system in Philippines.
Changed military needs now require adjustment in land areas contained in 1947 agreement. Primary purpose forthcoming negotiations is secure rights of use for US to areas which will permit development bases system of maximum strength.
We do not desire revise bases agreement with Philippines, do not require change in nature of rights granted in agreement, do not and have never asserted or hinted at sovereign control over any part of territory of Philippine Republic.
We do desire and need rights of use as provided in agreement in such new areas as will permit us to carry out our defense obligations.

We will develop and man these areas entirely at our expense. We believe Philippines can and should assume relatively limited burden of assuming all costs of making available land to be discussed in these negotiations and in such future negotiations as changing military needs may require.

If you wish you may point out that Philippine unwillingness assume cost providing land and thus contributing own defense might have serious repercussions US public and Congressional opinion affecting future US aid (our 33705).

We will be willing release our claim to ownership and right of use to areas no longer needed. Sale some such areas by Philippines would produce substantial revenues for Philippine Government.
If title question arises, you may anticipate a) we will not ask title to lands to be acquired b) we will not raise or ask Philippine recognition our title claims to retained areas, pointing out that our claims do not affect our use rights, which covered by 1947 agreement, and do not affect sovereignty.
Areas to be acquired involve primarily enlargement Subie, adjustment other existing areas and acquisition number fighter dispersal fields and air warning sites.

Formal instructions will be forwarded soonest.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 711.56396/5–655. Secret. Drafted in PSA; approved in draft by OSD and L/FE and in final form by William J. Sebald.
  2. In telegram 2922, May 6, Homer Ferguson, the new Ambassador to the Philippines, noted the growing hostility in that country to the United States due to the highly-emotional military base issue. He recommended that the Department of State revise its terms of reference for the upcoming military base negotiations so that talks with Philippine leaders could begin as soon as possible. (Ibid.) Ferguson, formerly a Senator from Michigan, was appointed Ambassador on March 22 and presented his credentials on April 12.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. XII, Part 2, p. 628.
  4. Dated April 14, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 793.00/4–655)
  5. Supra.