363. Telegram From the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State0

665. Embtel 630; Deptel 599.1Mutuc who has been designated by Macapagal for liaison with Embassy during period preceding inauguration [Page 789] informed me today that Macapagal expects special US representative at inauguration December 30 and hopes US will agree send one. I attempted discourage invitation but according Mutuc President-elect could not be dissuaded. Not only does Macapagal desire have special representative from US but he feels that absence of such representative will be misunderstood by Phil public in view of his announced policy of close association with US and presence special representative at Garcia’s inauguration 1957. I suggested to Mutuc there were other ways correcting any public misinterpretation such as warm message from President Kennedy, reference to close relations, high esteem, etc. when new Ambassador presents credentials, but he did not think this would satisfy Macapagal. Told Mutuc I would cable Department but that in view of our policy I was not at all sure we would send special representative and added that in meantime I hoped President-elect would not make any public statement on this subject which might make our respective positions difficult should US not send special representative.

I recommend strongly that if Ambassador not scheduled arrive prior December 30 we send special representative for inauguration. Macapagal is close friend of US and is strongly committed to close relations with US. Special representative, especially if well known person, would be reassuring to Macapagal personally and would be boost US-Phil relations. Absence such representative with US represented only by Chargé might be misunderstood not only by public and press but by Macapagal himself. I realize time is short and date of inauguration somewhat inconvenient but hope arrangements can be made to reply favorably to Macapagal’s invitation.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 796.11/12–1261. Confidential; Priority.
  2. In telegram 630 from Manila, December 5, the Embassy asked for the Department’s thinking on designating a special representative to attend the inauguration of Macapagal. In telegram 599, also December 5, the Department stated that the U.S. Chief of the Mission would attend as it was not U.S. policy to send special envoys to inaugurations. (Both ibid., 796.11/12–561)
  3. In a handwritten note to McGeorge Bundy, December 14, Harriman agreed with White House interest in sending a special envoy to the inauguration, but noted that Chester Bowles was not free to go and he saw “no point in picking Robert Murphy.” Harriman suggested a number of candidates: Governor Pat Brown, Senator William Fulbright, Congressman Stuart Symington, Senator Albert Gore, or Walt Rostow. Bowles and Murphy were the two names formally suggested to the White House in a memorandum from Battle to Dungan on December 15. “(Attached note to memorandum from Dungan to Battle, December 13, and memorandum from Battle to Dungan, December 15; ibid., 796.11/12–1361 and 796.11/12–1561)

    The special representative choosen to attend the inauguration was Robert B. Meyner, Governor of New Jersey. Meyner, the son-in-law of the newly-appointed Ambassador to the Philippines, William E. Stevenson, was asked to deliver congratulatory messages from President Kennedy to President Macapagal and Vice President Pelaez. (Telegrams 662 and 698 to Manila, December 20 and 28; ibid., 796.11/12–2061 and 796.11/12–2661)