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


  • Suggested Reply to President Macapagal’s letter of February 12, 1963

In his February 12 letter to the President,1Macapagal asked for increased and accelerated military assistance to all four of the Philippine services (Army, Navy, Air Force and Constabulary) totaling, according to Department of Defense estimates, approximately $100 million.

Macapagal’s involvement in this matter probably comes as a result of his concern over developments in Indonesia, to follow-up Secretary of National Defense Peralta’s request along similar lines made in early February during a Washington visit, and perhaps as a straw in the wind to determine the degree of cordiality in US-Philippine relations following our open divergence on the Malaysia issue.

Tentative study by Defense of Macapagal’s request indicates that this level of assistance is neither justified by any increased threat to the Philippines nor digestible by the country’s military establishment as it now stands. The Philippines needs both to reform its armed forces and to increase its defense appropriations to make them fully effective. Defense Department officials made this clear to Secretary Peralta during his visit.

We suggest that the President’s reply reflect these considerations, and also cover the following points:

That reductions in our military assistance appropriations on a world-wide basis are likely. (In this connection we could point to the heavy burden we have been carrying and draw Macapagal’s attention to the fact that in Vietnam and Thailand, contrary to his criticism of US policies as not being sufficiently strong, the US is carrying almost the entire load of foreign assistance.)
That, being linked to the Philippines in a mutual defense treaty, we are pledged to its defense and consequently intimately concerned with its security.
That we were encouraged by indications that the Philippines plans to improve its support for and the efficiency of its military establishment.
That we will be studying his request for accelerated assistance and be in touch with him through Ambassador Stevenson.

A proposed reply is enclosed.2

Walter Lubkeman3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15–1 PHIL. Secret. Drafted by Ballantyne; cleared by Bell, Barnett, Rice, Colonel William B. Robinson of the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, and Harriman; and cleared in draft by Martin M. Tank, Director of the Military Assistance Division of AID, William Bundy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and Admiral Riley, Chief of the Joint Staff of the JCS.
  2. The February 12 letter is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Philippines, General, 1/63–4/63.
  3. See footnote 1, Document 378.
  4. Lubkeman signed for Brubeck above Brubeck’s typed signature.