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

1176. For the Vice President only from McGeorge Bundy. There are press reports here that you asked Marcos to “immediately” step up his country’s aid to Vietnam.2 It is very important that we avoid all appearances of pressure on Marcos during his inauguration and we hope that you can find a way of setting the press record straight before your departure. We assume Marcos himself was eager to join the statement on this subject which appeared after your meeting with him but it is essential here that there be no appearance of crude U.S. pressure now. Moreover what we hope for from Marcos may be substantially [Page 704]larger than the items discussed in your conversation with him and it is desired here that there be an open track for very serious talks later.

You will know better than we what the exact form of any statement should be. My suggestion is that your farewell comments at the airport you might wish to make it clear that your purpose was to attend the inauguration, to explain U.S. policy of peace, and to ask for nothing, and that what you found is a friend who will make his own decisions as we make ours in the light of interests and purposes of his own people. We believe emphasis on peace would be helpful also to make clear that our trip is major element in President’s far-flung effort to move in that direction.3

Rusk
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 27 VIET S. Secret; Exdis; Flash. Drafted in the White House, cleared by William Bundy, and approved by Read. Repeated to the White House.
  2. In a conversation with McNamara on December 31 at 10:33 a.m., the President expressed concern about Humphrey’s raising the issue of Philippine troops for Vietnam. (Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a telephone conversation between Johnson and McNamara, December 13, 1965, 10:33 a.m., Tape 6512.05, PNO 3)
  3. Humphrey cabled Johnson from Korea that Marcos had inserted the word “immediately” into the statement about Philippine intentions to associate more closely with the “Free World” in the region. Marcos’ press secretary then gave the correspondents the impression that Marcos would ask for immediate Congressional approval for the Philippines’ contingent. Humphrey stated that there was “no conceivable element of pressure” in his talk with Marcos, and both he and Marcos emphasized “our relentless search for, and devotion to peace.” Humphrey promised that he would stress that fact again when providing background to U.S. correspondents traveling with him. (Telegram from Smith to the President, CAP 66008, undated; Johnson Library, National Security File, International Meetings and Travel File, Vice President’s Trip, Far East, 12/27/65)