351. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Philippines 1

4345. Press stories current in Manila that Trade Agreement legislation encountering growing opposition in US Congress are exaggerated. If you think desirable in order relieve anxiety and tension, you may inform Magsaysay, Chairman and Vice Chairman Philippine Economic Mission, or others legislation proceeding normally. Delay in Ways and Means Committee’s consideration Philippine legislation due Committee’s preoccupation other matters which had priority and not to opposition to Philippine agreement.

There is opposition from tobacco interests and it would be helpful if Philippines could give some reassurance Philippine market for US tobacco will not be entirely lost as result RA 1194.2 Major doubt in Ways and Means Committee however surrounds revised tariff preference schedules which Members generally inclined feel lopsided in favor Philippines. Efforts being made overcome this doubt and Department still believes Congressional action will be favorable.

To support Trade Agreement bill a statement from Ambassador along lines Embtel 31563 but which can be shown textually to Members Congress would be helpful. Statement should emphasize unfortunate effects which rejection of revision by US Congress would have on general relations between US and Philippines. It should not refer to opposition as coming exclusively from tobacco interests. If it [Page 592] could include a reassurance that responsible Filipino leaders disclaim intention seek further renegotiation of tariff schedules during life of Agreement that would help answer one serious question raised in Committee.

Next Committee session on Philippine trade bill probably not before June 13.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 411.9641/6–355. Secret. Drafted in FE/PTN; cleared by PSA, H, and FE; and approved by Langley.
  2. Philippine Republic Act No. 1194 of August 25, 1954, provided that all locally grown and produced Virginia leaf tobacco would be purchased by the Philippine Government. This legislation provided a favorable climate for the growth of a native tobacco industry in the Philippines.
  3. Dated June 3, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 411.9641/6–355)