320. Telegram From the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Smith) to President Johnson in Texas1
CAP 65968. Eyes only to President Johnson from Vice President Humphrey.2 White House pass eyes only to Secretary Rusk. No distribution except eyes only Secretary Rusk. Interim report meetings Prime Minister Sato and President Marcos.
[Here follows an account of Vice President Humphrey’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Sato.]
2. Philippines discussion3
Marcos’ response on discussion additional commitments South Vietnam strongly encouraging. Providing US can help in equipping at least one engineering construction battalion plus supporting forces, Marcos virtually assured battalion and supporting forces could be sent. His primary interests are modernization of his armed forces, especially outfitting seven engineering construction battalions, plus using Filipino skilled labor pool for South Vietnam housing needs.
I assured Marcos our closest cooperation, and that if he had the will we would find the means. He said he has the will and that “we will place ourselves squarely in the fight against Communism.” Believe intensive discussions can commence immediately to work out details. However, Marcos obviously has ticklish Parliamentary situation in getting authority for combatant forces to South Vietnam through Senate. He appears optimistic and will proceed to seek Congressional approval.
I had frank discussion with him regarding importance of maintenance of military equipment. His response was he has been appalled at previous administration’s record in this respect and said any equipment will be maintained.
Marcos suggested Philippine housing program for Vietnam. I suggested US will be more interested when Phil more committed to struggle in South Vietnam. Pointed out that Korea had combat division in Viet and thereby had claim on US procurement opportunities. Marcos [Page 703]understood. Following meeting Marcos PressSec released statement indicating strong consideration being given by Marcos to troop commitment and his plans to take matter to Phil Congress.
Marcos is strong, confident and competent. Clearly a good bet as a reliable friend of the US and has potential to become strong leader in Asian world. He is responsive to plain friendly direct talk and I would encourage invitation to visit you latter part of 1966.
Ambassador Blair and I had very private discussion with Marcos and his FonMin concerning your special instructions regarding bombing, Rome and Warsaw.
During visit Manila have stressed importance of Asian friends speaking up on danger of Communist aggression to them. Held such discussions with FonMin Thanat of Thailand and Genl Pham Xuan Chieu of Vietnam’s Armed Forces Council.
Will prepare more details these and subsequent discussions immediately upon return Washington. Summary of discussions in Taipeh and Seoul will be cabled immediately direct to you.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, International Meetings and Travel File, Vice President’s Trip, Far East, 12/27/65. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Also sent for information to Bill Moyers.↩
- Humphrey was attending Marcos’ inauguration.↩
- A memorandum of conversation of this meeting, apparently prepared by Valenti, is in the Johnson Library, Office of the President Files, Valenti, Jack, Memoranda of Conversation, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, Korea, 12/65–1/66. According to this memorandum, the meeting took place in the Presidential Palace in Manila and lasted from 11:50 a.m. to 1 p.m. Humphrey’s own brief summary of his discussion with Marcos is ibid., National Security File, Name File, Vice President, Vol. I.↩