359. Memorandum From the President’s Military Representative (Taylor) to President Kennedy0

Reference your memorandum to Mr. Bundy of 14 August1 on the matter of increasing the number of Filipino troops available for combat operations in Southeast Asia.

The best estimates are that:

The Philippine Government would probably be in a position to furnish 1500 troops for use in Southeast Asia. Their willingness to actually do so has not been determined.
Any troops allocated would have to undergo some refresher training.
The United States would be asked to re-equip the troops.

While the Task Force agrees that the Philippine Government should be urged to make as large a contribution as possible, an approach to this end should be deferred until the United States has settled more firmly on its intentions in Southeast Asia. Steps could be taken at that time to improve the training and equipment situation of the Philippine units involved.

  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, NSC, T-624–71. Secret.
  2. The President’s memorandum to Bundy, then redirected to Taylor, reminded Bundy and Taylor that the President had suggested increasing the number of Filipino troops in planned SEATO action in Laos to “fill the gap left by the delay in the arrival of Pakistani troops because of the necessity of moving by sea. Suggest we ask the Philippine government to increase the number from 180 to several thousand. I wonder if we could find out what progress is being made on this.” (Ibid.)