21. Telegram From the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State 1

1071. At 2–1/2 hour breakfast meeting Malacanang this morning Attorney General and President Macapagal agreed on following time table for efforts to get tripartite meetings going.

From Kuala Lumpur Attorney General would proceed Djakarta where Sukarno would instruct cessation military activities Kalimantan. Hope is that by January 29 all such activities including guerrilla activities would have ceased. Attorney General would proceed to Bangkok to fill in Thanat Khoman and suggest that Thanat organize meeting at level of Foreign Minister in Bangkok around February 7.
Bangkok meeting would begin negotiations for later summit meeting and would provide time during which effectiveness of cessation of military action could be verified.
Philippines prefer Thais over Japanese both to organize tripartite meeting at ministerial level and to investigate any alleged military incidents which might occur by either side, although President Macapag- al said he would accede to wishes of other parties if they felt strongly.
Prior to having Attorney General’s report on conversations in Tokyo President Macapagal had already made tentative plans visit Tunku in Phnom Penh and asked whether in Attorney General’s judgment this would be useful. Attorney General replied that only good could come of such meeting provided Philippines had assured themselves that Sukarno was informed and agreed. Macapagal instructed Lopez confirm Sukarno’s agreement such meeting. It was left that Macapagal-Tunku meeting could take place at any time without interfering with tripartite ministerial negotiations. Lopez said that idea of Macapagal-Tunku meeting originated with British Ambassador Addis.
Macapagal asked whether Attorney General should not also try persuade Sukarno suspend political as well as military confrontation since polemics before and during period tripartite meetings could be just as dangerous. Attorney General agreed and also suggested that this should be on Bangkok agenda.
Attorney General briefed Ambassador Addis fully on the above points. Addis seemed most concerned lest British be put into a box on [Page 44]military withdrawals. Attorney General assured him that no proposals had been made regarding withdrawal of troops. Discussions on Tokyo and Manila concerned cessation of military activities only.
Macapagal and Lopez seemed interested in bringing Sihanouk into Malaysia problem and at one point suggested Cambodians as neutral nation to investigate border incidents. They implied Cambodian involvement could be helpful in resolving misunderstandings between US and Cambodia. We replied that Malaysia problem was separate and far more dangerous to stability in Southeast Asia Cambodian-US relations and suggested that two should not be mixed. Lopez said that US-Cambodian impasse over radio broadcast on verge of solution which was especially significant in view of fact that Sihanouk planned to be Kuala Lumpur at same time as Attorney General. Phils obviously interested in starting separate diplomatic “adventure” by engaging Attorney General with Sihanouk during this mission.
Attorney General urgently requested guidance from Department on tactics in Kuala Lumpur in event Sihanouk should request meeting.

Macapagal seemed genuinely pleased with results of Tokyo meeting and with frankness and promptness of consultation with him. Participating in the meeting for the Phils were Macapagal, Lopez, Romulo and Cayco.

Large part of meeting was devoted to explanation by Phils of their view of problems in Southeast Asia and role which they wished to play. Full report on this aspect will follow septel.2

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 US/KENNEDY. Secret; Exdis; Flash. Repeated to Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Bangkok, London, Canberra for Hilsman, and CINCPAC for POLAD. Passed to the White House.
  2. Not further identified.