350. Telegram From the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State1

3141. Embtel 3122, May 31.2 After careful consideration Laurel–Langley Agreement, I recommend strong effort be made convince Congress essentiality that agreement be approved despite difficulties of US tobacco industry.3 We shall continue support efforts tobacco industry retain fair share Phil market. However, approval Laurel–Langley Agreement of such importance to strengthening Phil economy and promotion good Phil-US relations that highly unfavorable consequences would certainly result unless agreement approved.

In my opinion, failure approve Laurel–Langley Agreement would be interpreted by Filipino people as evidence US more interested placating domestic US tobacco industry than strengthening Phil economy. Magsaysay would accordingly be driven either to attacking US or to facing serious domestic political difficulties by charge he is US puppet. Either result would play into hands of Communists in Phils and throughout Far East.

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I have no sympathy with those Filipinos who have been attacking and threatening US Congress, merely because Congress has been giving Laurel–Langley Agreement full consideration it properly should receive. However, such attacks are merely evidence of the political immaturity of certain Filipinos and it would be unwarranted assume they represent views of Phil people. In any case, importance of approving Laurel–Langley Agreement is such that US must not allow itself become unduly irritated by such attacks.

Ferguson
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 411.9641/6–155. Secret.
  2. Telegram 3122 reported that the Philippine Government was delaying consideration of the revised trade agreement act pending action of the U.S. Congress. (Ibid., 411.9641/5–3155)
  3. The American tobacco industry feared that a combination of Philippine quota restrictions and import duties would adversely affect the entry of American tobacco into the Philippines market. This view is summarized in a letter from Senator A. Willis Robertson of Virginia to the Secretary of State, May 24, not printed. (Ibid., 411.9641/5–2455)