369. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Brubeck) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0


  • Macapagal State Visit and Philippine War Damage Bill

On May 9, 1962 the House of Representatives defeated H.R. 8617, to pay $73 million to some 88,000 individual and corporate claimants in the Philippines. On May 14, 1962 President Macapagal announced postponement of his State Visit to the United States, publicly attributing his decision to Philippine popular and Congressional “resentment” over the War Damage Bill disapproval.1 Embassy Manila declares that public opinion opposing the visit and resentful of the United States has been largely brought on by public utterances of Philippine Congressmen and Administration leaders up to and including Vice President Pelaez and President Macapagal.

The Embassy notes that domestic considerations largely influenced Macapagal to take this action, that he did so with little regard for US-Philippine relations, and concludes that in the interests of these relations the dust must be allowed to settle before resuming plans for a State Visit.2

The Department of State agrees with these conclusions and notes further that uncertainties still surrounding prospects for the new Philippine War Damage Bill (H.R. 11721—tentatively scheduled for a vote during the week of June 4) make it unwise at this time to consider reviving the Macapagal State Visit during the period June 17–29.3 A suggested reply, for President Kennedy’s signature, to Macapagal’s letter of May 14 postponing his trip is attached.4 The letter is as warm and friendly as possible under the circumstances, accepts Macapagal’s decision to postpone his visit, notes the difficulty of completing arrangements now for a June [Page 798]visit, and suggests he inform Ambassador Stevenson when he might be able to come again. We cannot, of course, rule out that Macapagal may himself seek to revive the trip as originally scheduled. The attached letter is designed to forestall such action insofar as possible.

Because a mutually acceptable time might not be available until late in the year or until 1963, consideration might be given to other means of indicating our continuing friendliness to the Filipinos. Macapagal reportedly has been invited to receive an honorary degree from the University of Pittsburgh in September. If this unofficial trip materializes, consideration might be given to inviting him to the White House for lunch and a short talk, without prejudice to a later State Visit. The Philippine Congress has indicated a desire to send a goodwill delegation to the United States this year. An invitation might be extended or an exchange of visits arranged on initiative of our Congress.

Andre Navez5
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Philippines, General, 5/62. Confidential. The Department of State copy of this memorandum indicates that it was drafted by McFarland, cleared by Rice, and cleared in draft by Bell, Dutton, and Samuel L. King, Assistant Chief of Protocol for visits and ceremonies. (Department of State, Central Files, 211.9641/5–2362)
  2. Reported in telegram 1350 from Manila, May 14. (Ibid., 796.11/5–1462)
  3. Reported in telegram 1387 from Manila, May 18. (Ibid., 796.11/5–1862)
  4. Stated in part in telegram 1428 to Manila, May 22. (Ibid., 211.9641/5–2262)
  5. The draft letter was attached and was approved with slight revisions that softened the U.S. position on the postponement of the visit. For example, “dismay” became “disappointment.” The text of the letter was sent to Manila as telegram 1446, May 25. (Ibid., 796.11/5–1862)
  6. Navez of S/S signed for Brubeck above Brubeck’s typed signature.