300. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • 1. Philippine Assistance in South Viet-Nam, and Philippine MAP Requirements.
  • 2. Rice.
  • 3. Special Fund for Education
  • 4. Retail Trade Nationalization Act.


  • The President
  • President Macapagal of the Philippines
  • Philippine Ambassador Oscar Ledesma
  • Mr. William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs

(The two Presidents had had a private conversation before Ambassador Ledesma and Mr. Bundy joined them. Matters of substance discussed in this shorter conversation are believed to have been reviewed in the larger group.)

1. Philippine Assistance in South Viet-Nam, and Philippine MAP Requirements.

President Macapagal stated that the Philippines were ready to send to South Viet-Nam trained personnel in public health, medical, engineering, and military special forces, “as many as useful.” In response to Mr. Bundy’s inquiry whether the President had any specific number in mind, President Macapagal stated that this should be worked out with the American authorities.

President Macapagal stated that with such increased Philippine participation they would wish to have at least “some sprinkling” of additional Thai participation. He implied that it would be difficult for the Philippines to take these further steps unless another Asian country were participating.

President Johnson responded that this offer would be very sympathetically received and said that an announcement to this effect by the Philippines would be most helpful. President Macapagal agreed to such an announcement (no time specified).

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President Macapagal then alluded briefly to the cost of sending these men and then, at more length, to the question of Philippine military assistance needs. President Johnson responded that he had discussed the latter problems with Secretary McNamara, and that Secretary McNamara would be prepared to go into it in detail with President Macapagal in their appointment on the following day.2 President Johnson stated that “we think we can be helpful”, but otherwise left the matter to the discussion with Secretary McNamara.

2. Rice.

President Macapagal explained the serious Philippine need for rice, and President Johnson immediately responded that we were prepared to furnish 100,000 tons on a mutually agreeable basis. President Macapagal showed clear pleasure at this statement and the matter was left at that.

3. Special Fund for Education.

President Macapagal alluded to the $25 million that might be available for educational purposes from war damage claims. President Johnson immediately responded that we were prepared to have a joint commission look into this matter and see what uses could be developed.

At a later point in the conversation, President Macapagal came back to the importance of his land reform program and his hope that the US could be directly associated with it through the use of the fund in connection with land reform. During this discussion, he also alluded very favorably to the US treatment of the Philippines in contrast to the treatment of other countries by their colonial powers.

4. Retail Trade Nationalization Act.

President Johnson raised this issue and indicated that it was causing serious problems for American businessmen and for future American business in the Philippines.

President Macapagal responded that he had done his best, and certified the necessary legal cases to the courts. He said that his main problem was that the Senate was controlled by the opposing party, and that he must therefore simply campaign just as hard as he could to get a friendly Senate and Congress in the 1965 elections. He expressed confidence that his own campaigning ability could produce a successful outcome at that time.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. I, Memos, 11/63–11/64. Secret. Drafted by Bundy and approved by the White House on October 9. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Johnson and Macapagal met alone in the President’s office in the White House from 5:01 to 5:15 p.m. They were then joined by William Bundy and Ledesma and the meeting lasted until 5:31 p.m. (Ibid.)
  2. See Document 301.