310. Letter From President Macapagal to President Johnson 1
Dear Mr. President,
I have asked the good offices of Ambassador Oscar Ledesma to hand you this letter on Philippine assistance to South Vietnam.
The Filipino people and my Administration support the continuing U.S. commitment in the struggle for freedom in Vietnam as a clear proof of American sincerity and interest in this part of the world.
On our part, we shall endeavor to maintain our contribution to freedom in Vietnam.
Last year, the Philippine Congress approved a national policy of helping in the struggle for freedom in Vietnam by the sending of technical aid and personnel to that country and, for which, the Philippine Congress appropriated the amount of peso 1-million.
This year, in our effort to increase our contribution, I sent to our Congress a special message asking for peso 25-million to enable us to increase and broaden our efforts in the form of an engineer battalion with security support made up of 2,000 officers and men. In the closing days of the regular session of Congress, I again expressed my interest in the bill by certifying it to our Congress as urgent. Unfortunately, this bill did not pass Congress in its regular session because of the dominant position of the Opposition leaders; neither was the national budget, so absolutely essential to the conduct of government, approved.
The nature of the composition of our Congress today and the partisan atmosphere prevailing therein have made it difficult, if not impracticable, to secure at this time the necessary authority for the Philippine engineer battalion to Vietnam. The deadlock between the Opposition-dominated Senate and the President is a novel situation in our political experience as part of the growing pains of our democracy.
This is one of the primary issues of the current presidential election campaign, and it is this issue which I trust our people will resolve not only by investing my humble person with a continuing mandate, but also by granting me the necessary legislative support in both chambers of our Congress to enable me to achieve my goals. I therefore look forward to the fruitful outcome of the elections come November and the consequent resolution of this deadlock by our people once and for all.[Page 681]
It is our purpose that even before the new Congress convenes in January, 1966, we shall summon it to a special session at the end of November to ask, among other things, for the necessary authority to increase and broaden the Philippine commitment in the current struggle for freedom in Vietnam, if possible beyond the engineer battalion.
In the meantime, we have hopes of projecting the Philippine commitment in Vietnam. Even in the absence of the necessary appropriations for continuing funds from the Opposition-dominated Philippine Congress, I have directed that our present contingent in Vietnam be maintained.
My conviction that South Vietnam should be supported by freedom-loving peoples from falling to the communists needs no reiteration. I am certain that the Filipino people themselves share and support this policy. The project to increase our participation in the democratic effort in Vietnam has suffered some delay because of the exigencies of the presidential election, but I am confident that after the Filipino political leaders have emerged from their absorption in the current electoral struggle, with our expected victory, the increased participation of our country, side by side with our American allies, in the struggle for human freedom in Vietnam shall proceed with the resounding support of the Filipino people.
The Filipino people share the gratification of other free Asian nations over the firm resolve of your Administration to overcome the communist aggression in South Vietnam. Our people and I personally pray for your success and wish you to know that you are not alone in your great and noble endeavor. All free men the world over are behind you.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Macapagal Correspondence, 12/63–12/65. No classification marking.↩