330. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1
- Appointment With Ambassador William McC. Blair, Jr.
You have agreed to receive Ambassador Blair, Chief of Mission at Manila, at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, May 12.
This additional information concerns the two matters that he may wish to raise with you: the timing of President Marcos’ State Visit; and the status of Philippine Senate action on the Vietnam Aid Bill.
Marcos has informed Blair that he feels there should be fairly clear “areas of agreement” between the two Governments before he undertakes the State Visit. He is also worried that too early a visit following Philippine legislative approval of the Vietnam Aid Bill might cause him trouble at home. He is inclined toward an end of August date, which would also enable him to accept an invitation to address the American Legion convention. But he wishes Blair to test the atmosphere here on whether tangible results might be possible by then on the economic and military aid requests that he is attaching to the visit.
State considers it important to our future economic relations that his State Visit result in meaningful exchange of views and hopefully some measure of agreement on such major issues as post-1974 US investment in the Philippines, impact of the Retail Trade Nationalization Law, and US aid in Philippine economic development. However, we will not be prepared to reach these “areas of agreement” until much later this year after more extensive economic dialogue. State, accordingly, would prefer the visit in late October or November.2
Aid to Vietnam Bill
State believes final Philippine Senate action is now anticipated at the end of this week, with perhaps no more than five negative votes. One possible ramification is a proviso that Marcos consult with Congress before sending troops. We are assured, however, that this is only a gesture designed to satisfy the sensitivities of Senators who might otherwise find it difficult to vote for the bill.[Page 730]
President Marcos’ brother-in-law, whom I saw, believes it will be much closer, but will pass.
Ambassador Blair’s Future Assignment
Secretary Rusk at one time suggested that Ambassador Blair be considered for one of the positions in the Department now vacant. However, no further consideration is being given to this suggestion because:
- Ambassador Blair will not have completed the normal tour of two years until next December.
- Ambassador Blair has let it be known that he prefers to remain in the field and that, after his completion of his tour in the Philippines, he would like to have another Ambassadorial assignment in preference to a Washington post.