297. Note From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


I’m getting cold feet about helicopter deal.2 Original estimate given us of $20,000 was very austere. To plush up one like Sukarno’s could cost over $100,000. Moreover, Fils know two choppers are included in MAP for anti-smuggling operations; ergo, we might have to replace the plush job to a tune of $350,000. DOD thinks this would probably be necessary, State pooh-poohs it.

Half a million for a present would still be useful if we got a quid pro quo. But we are becoming less enamored of Macapagal’s grand proposal. He requires Congressional OK to send troops out of country and opposition is about as strong as he is.

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Have we said anything to the President yet?3 Bear in mind that while chopper will make visit much more friendly, we won’t be able to parley it directly for any increased help.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Macapagal Visit, 1964. Secret.
  2. In a September 28 memorandum from Read to McGeorge Bundy, the Department of State recommended that one of the helicopters due to be delivered to the Philippines under the Military Assistance Program could be “plushed up” at the cost of $20,000 and serve as an executive helicopter for President Macapagal who had indicated a desire for such an aircraft. The Department noted that the United States had given one to Sukarno, and in this instance, it would be in appreciation of “our real friends.” The memorandum also recommended that Johnson accompany Macapagal to the Tomb of the Unknowns and John F. Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 PHIL)
  3. To this question Bundy wrote in the margin: “No.”
  4. Bundy wrote the following note at the end of the memorandum: “O.K. Cool off chopper.”