336. Memorandum From the Officer in Charge of Philippine Affairs (Kattenburg) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy)1


  • White House Interest in the Success of the Marcos State Visit

FYI: The following is the gist of views expressed by Walt Rostow at a White House meeting on August 11. Mr. Jorden and his staff have told me that it may be interpreted as constituting an emphatic statement of White House interest in the full success of the Marcos state visit. End FYI.

Unique ties and a special relationship continue to bind us to the Republic of the Philippines. At the same time, Marcos and the Filipinos desire to emerge as more than a US favorite, and we too wish to see them as an Asian power in their own right. Marcos has laid his prestige on the line to secure passage of the Philippine aid-to-Viet-Nam bill in a record period of six months, and has done so at some political cost. Two thousand Philippine troops will begin arriving in Viet-Nam in September.
We have the beginnings of a very important administration in the Philippines. The character of the relations we are able to establish with Marcos during his visit will set the tone of our partnership for a long time, and during a critical period, both for us and for the Philippines, in that part of the world.
Marcos is a genuine war hero, a very attractive personality, and a great public speaker. We have in his visit a large amount of capital, centering around the image he can project about Viet-Nam and, as President Johnson has said, about “the vitality of the new Asia.”
Marcos has major problems, including the recent revival of Communist armed activity in Central Luzon, and he needs our help. He is not, and does not want to appear, a mendicant. We want to help him, and we want to develop an assistance package which, while meeting his needs, remains consistent with our desire to emphasize multilateralism in aid to the developing nations and with the new aid techniques we are developing worldwide.
At the head of the list of specific actions we are working on for the visit are: (a) the provision of equipment for five additional Engineer Construction Battalions, bringing the total for delivery to 10;2 (b) settlement of two of the Philippine war claims issues;3 (c) economic assistance activities. The latter bear mainly, at the moment, on our agreeing to finance via project or program loans, or a combination of the two, three major projects in the agricultural field, and our willingness to begin negotiations after the visit on a new PL–480 agreement which may have to include some rice.

Recommendation 4

I recommend:

that you inform the members at the next IRG meeting of the substance of the above as representing your understanding of White House views on the visit, and of our immediate objectives as set forth in paragraph 5.
Alternatively, you may wish to recommend that the Secretary transmit these views and objectives to the members of the SIG at their next meeting, which I understand may take place August 23. If you prefer the second alternative, I will prepare a staff study for the Secretary.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL PHIL–US. Confidential. Kattenburg sent Bundy another memorandum on August 15, entitled “Detailed Status Report on Marcos State Visit, August 15.” (Ibid.)
  2. In a letter to McNamara, August 11, Ball stated: “There is nothing more important to Marcos in connection with his State Visit to Washington September 14–16 than these additional battalions.” (Ibid.)
  3. See Document 338.
  4. There is no indication on the memorandum of Bundy’s approval or disapproval.