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

1872. Joint State/Defense message.

In order reassure Marcos we are actively moving ahead to meet our commitment on equipping and financing the Phil Engineer Task Force, and that we are responsive to other urgent military requirements [Page 726]he has raised, you may now convey the following to him in the nature of a Status Report:
We wish to reaffirm our commitment (FYI as defined in prior cables end FYI) to equip and support the Philippine Engineer Battalion and security troops for Vietnam. We will be ready to move on these items promptly to mesh with troop arrivals in Vietnam.
We are actively engaged in calculating how best we can shape our response to the President’s needs in field of military and military-related equipment. Assuming dispatch of Phil Task Force to VN, we will be able to provide up to four additional swiftcraft, M–14 rifles and machine guns for one constabulary BCT, and equipment to start bringing three engineer battalions to full strength.
U.S. Defense Department conducting itemized review of these items and of funding and delivery arrangements. These examinations take time, and Marcos should understand that, particularly in view of VN requirements, ultimate deliveries will of necessity be staggered and some probably delayed.
If, as seems probable, Marcos raises question of equipping further engineer battalions, you may tell him that we wish to be forthcoming regarding his civic action project, which we favor in principle, but indicate that our present thinking is along lines para 4(c) in immediately previous telegram.2
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 27 VIET S. Secret. Drafted by Flanegin; cleared by Kattenburg, William C. Hamilton of DOD/ISA, and Moore; and approved by Bundy. Repeated to JCS, CINCPAC, Saigon, COMUSMACV, CHJUSMAGPHIL, CINCPACREPPHIL.
  2. Paragraph 4 (c) of telegram 1871, April 9, reads: “With respect to equipping further engineering battalions, we wish to be forthcoming regarding a project which we favor in principle. But (1) we do not now concur in agreeing to replace Japanese equipment of additional Phase I bns; (2) if Marcos civic action plan effectively implemented, further U.S. investment should take place within normal MAP totals and as result of normal MAP planning and programming procedures; and (3) we would want first to join in conducting a coordinated appraisal of the current mission and structure.” (Ibid.)