353. Memorandum From President Kennedy to His Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0

We have been consistently attacked by the Filipinos for “our failure to stand up to the Communists in Asia.” This seems to be almost a campaign. It was particularly pronounced when Vice President Johnson was there and I notice that another statement is quoted by a Philippine Ambassador to Nationalist China.1 These attacks may be part of a pattern. I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to what counter we could make, whether we could indicate to Romulo, after we had collected all of them, with [sic] out [our] displeasure with them.

I would like to know how many troops the Philippines contributed to the Korean war. My recollection is they offered only 180 to planned 5 [SEATO Plan 5]2 for Laos. I think we should find out (1) why they are making these attacks, and (2) do something about them. The New York Times story about the discontent in Asia3 which mentions particularly Pakistan and Nationalist China, as well as the Philippines doesn’t make as clear as I would like the reason for the Nationalist China and the Pakistan attacks. This is a propaganda war against us and we ought to see how we could make that known. The only one that is somewhat more inexplicable is the Philippines.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Philippines, General, 2/61–7/61. Secret. Bundy wrote the following note in the top margin: “File, done.”
  2. Not further identified.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 405.
  4. ”Doubts About U.S. Increasing in Asia,” The New York Times, July 10, 1961.