387. Memorandum From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy0

[Here follows information on Japan, Taiwan, and Korea with annotated comments by McGeorge Bundy.)

[Page 826]


The principal current problem with the Philippines is the War Damage Bill, which is still hung up in Congressional bickering over whether the money should be paid to the Philippine Government or directly to the claimants. This matter should be resolved in the near future; but with the legislative jam in Congress, it could be delayed long enough to arouse bitterness.1

Another potential trouble spot, not only with the Philippines but also with Indonesia and Malaya, is the proposed Federation of Malaysia. In the past two weeks prospects appear to have brightened considerably for a peaceful attitude by Indonesia and the Philippines toward the formation of the Federation, which is scheduled for August 31st of this year. There is at least an even chance, however, that tempers may flare again as the date approaches. The result would be less serious in the Philippines than in the other two countries.

Senatorial elections are scheduled in the Philippines for November 1963 with the result that you will be arriving there in the midst of the campaign. There is an even split in the Senate between the Government and the opposition (12 to 12). Since most of Macapagal’s economic program has been held up by the Philippine Congress, he will be campaigning actively. Your visit will, however, probably be considered by him as a definite plus factor.

[Here follows information on Indonesia, Malaya, and Australia.]

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Trips and Conferences Series, President’s Proposed Trip to the Far East, 3/63–6/63. Secret. A note on the source text indicates that the memorandum was part of the President’s June 15–16 weekend reading.
  2. On July 3, Forrestal briefed the President on the fate of the amendment to the War Damage Bill as follows:

    “With considerable difficulty a compromise was worked out between the warring conferees of the House and Senate on the Philippine War Damage Bill. The conference has accepted paying all claims of $25,000 or under and putting the rest of the money in a fund in the U.S. Treasury to be spent, subject to your agreement and that of President Macapagal, on educational exchange and educational programs. Despite the fact that this sum of money is rather large in light of the purposes (it might be as much as $30 million), State believes that the disappointment in the Philippines can be held within reason.” (Ibid., National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memos, Forrestal, 11/62–11/63)