376. Memorandum From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0

[Here follow 2 paragraphs on the Dutch complaint to the NATO Council about West New Guinea.]


I have had talks with Averell [less than 1 line of source text not declassified on the Macapagal problem most recently exemplified by the Philippine President’s speech on September 4th.1

We [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] agree that no United States representative is really getting through to Macapagal, [1-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]. Averell’s guess is that Ambassador Stevenson has simply not been able to establish a continuous working relationship with Macapagal. There are probably three principal reasons for this: first—a mechanical one—is that Macapagal has been relatively inaccessible to the Ambassador. The second is that the Vice President and Foreign Minister Pelaez, with whom we do have fairly close contacts, for obvious reasons, is not on the same political wave length as the President. Faced with these two difficulties, it is possible that our Ambassador simply has not shown the vigorous imagination necessary in the situation.

Averell is acutely aware of the problem and has written several letters to Stevenson, trying to stimulate more effective activity.

Stevenson is having lunch with Macapagal today to go over the problems of our relationship, especially in light of the recent speech, and has been called home by Averell for consultation on September 17th. Averell points out that you cannot take Stevenson by the scruff of the neck, but he does plan to explore the problems in Manila in some detail.

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Averell tells me that he got good results from Macapagal when he took up the question of the impounded American tobacco last March.2Averell feels therefore that the problem is by no means insoluble, and is quite prepared to take on the problem himself if that appears necessary after his talks with Stevenson.

[Here follows 1 paragraph on counterinsurgency in South Vietnam.]

Michael V. Forrestal3
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memos, Forrestal, 6/62–10/62. Secret.
  2. In this speech, Macapagal indicated that Philippine policy toward Communism was different from U.S. policy in that the Philippines refused to have relations with Communist states. He believed “American leadership” was not as effective as it could be in combating Communism because it relied more on material power and less on “spiritual and ideological weapons.” Macapagal noted that the United States, despite generous foreign aid, was unpopular in recipient nations because of its lack of attention to spiritual and ideological values. (Telegram 325 from Manila, September 5; Department of State, Central Files, 796.11/9–562)
  3. In 1961, certain U.S. Congressmen from tobacco-producing areas worked out an informal arrangement with the Garcia administration to import American tobacco. American exporters shipped seven million pounds to the Philippines, but on January 17, 1962, Macapagal ordered Philippines customs officials to seize the tobacco on the grounds it was illegally imported. The exporters went to the Philippines court to prevent the seizure. On January 25, Harriman and Romulo met to discuss the problem. The Macapagal administration considered the importation to be illegal, but in light of the fact that the American companies thought they were operating in good faith, it was prepared to allow the tobacco to be released provided it did not reenter the Philippines. Macapagal also promised a new agreement that would allow importation of U.S. tobacco for blending purposes. (Memorandum from Peterson to Harriman, January 25, and letter from Romulo to Harriman, January 31; ibid., FE/Philippines Files: Lot 64 D 523, Tobacco, 6–A.8 and Tobacco Letters)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.