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

464. Deptels 452, 531.2 I am satisfied from previous conversations with Magsaysay that September 15 and 19 dates would be suitable [Page 601] for him. I am also confident from remarks he has made to me that he is still desirous travel US. I have avoided detailed discussion with him however until I can assure him he will be given type of reception (and aid) he has in mind; he made it clear at beginning that he wished make trip if he can return with grant or loan. As far as mode of travel concerned I consider commercial flight to Honolulu, VIP aircraft there on, would be advantage in present political situation and I am sure Magsaysay would recognize this. Again however I would not discuss such details until I could give definite assurance our readiness furnish Magsaysay what he considers necessary to strengthen domestic position.

I can support request for $10 million for rural development in Philippines although existing plan for CDPC does not embrace all possible projects in this area and therefore in its present scope could not effectively utilize this amount.

CDPC designed to generate self-help and more intelligent utilization of available social and technical services as well as promotion democratic process at barrio level. Possibilities development of supplemental projects such as feeder roads, pure water, irrigation, additional cooperatives and warehousing facilities are of course unlimited. Can Magsaysay be assured $10 million will be allotted for program of extra rural development projects this nature? If so believe he would want make visit.

Magsaysay’s present American orientation is based entirely on objective defeating Communism. US present interest is in having him defeat Communism by putting democracy into action, by improving living standards of lowest income group or those who live on farms and in barrios. At present moment the wisdom of his choice of a hard-hitting pro-Democratic anti-Communist political program is being challenged. He feels he must seek and should have every right expect our support in helping him electrify barrio portion of the nation into action by making it possible for him to announce a dramatic program of rural reconstruction. Magsaysay has the friendship of these people but in my opinion this friendship has to be stimulated and reactivated now and then. I am convinced that $10 million could very fruitfully be spent in rural rehabilitation, not necessarily in one year but over a longer period of time and with ICA being given the responsibility of programming disbursement, etc. This is not an ordinary ICA program however because the political implications of the plan are most important and it would be essential that political potentials be taken into full consideration in any implementation of the project.

Our position with Magsaysay is such that when he is in a fight in favor of democracy and against Communism we must give him all support. Whether we or he thinks Recto is a Communist is immaterial; [Page 602] a victory for Recto is victory for Communist line and would be considered so not only here but throughout the world.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 411.9641/8–1255. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution.
  2. In these telegrams of August 5 and 11, the Department of State informed Ferguson that President Eisenhower would be willing to receive Magsaysay in Denver and sign the Trade Agreement Act on or about September 15. The Philippine President could then meet with Secretary Dulles on September 19 in Washington. (Ibid., 411.9641/8–555 and 411.9641/8–1155, respectively)