341. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1


  • New Ideas for U.S.-Philippine Cooperation

You asked Bill Jorden to come up with some new ideas that might be raised with President Marcos. You asked him to staff out further the six ideas he submitted. He has done so.

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The attached memo and attachments cover the ground—including background and recommendations.

In sum, four of the ideas have possibilities; two are non-starters. You will want to consider these in light of the total package of assistance and cooperation that State, AID and Defense are now working up.

I am sending copies of the attached memo to State, AID and Defense so these matters can be considered at the meeting tomorrow on the Marcos visit.2



Memorandum From William J. Jorden of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow)


  • New Ideas for U.S.-Philippine Cooperation

In response to a request from the President,3 I submitted some ideas for new forms of U.S.-Philippine cooperation—ideas the President might want to take up with Marcos during the latter’s visit.

The President expressed interest and asked me to staff out further. Don Ropa and I have done so—consulting with State, AID, NASA, and other interested agencies.

I am attaching separate papers4—including recommendations—on the six ideas.

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To sum up my conclusions:

(1) Filipino Astronaut:

NASA has been trying to find ways to bring foreign nationals into our astronaut program. They see more disadvantages than advantages right now. Among the former are: resentment of other nations; trouble in finding a qualified candidate; let-down if man chosen flunked out, etc.

As an alternative, they propose Philippine participation in satellite, sounding rocket, and ground-based research and applications programs. This would start with a visit of Filipino scientists to NASA.


The President tell Marcos of our desire to encourage Filipino participation in space-associated programs.

If Marcos shows interest, the President could offer NASA cooperation in developing a program.

He could invite Marcos to send a team of Filipino scientists and engineers to come to the U.S. to visit our space facilities. NASA would act as host and would help develop a program, including arrangements for training of young scientists under NASA-sponsored fellowships.

Note the Philippines have plans for a ground monitoring station for weather satellites. The President might encourage them to press forward and possibly ask if Marcos needs additional technical assistance.

(2) Typhoon Damage Control:

A small joint program is feasible, provided it meshes with regional plans being developed by ECAFE and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


The President would advise Marcos of our interest in supporting regional planning in this field under ECAFE/WMO. He could also express interest in a joint U.S.-Philippine typhoon damage control center program.

Specifically, he might propose: (a) a small meteorological training program in the U.S. for selected Filipinos; (b) establishment of a U.S.-Philippine commission to study specific projects; (c) offer to conduct a typhoon modification experiment in the Philippines area in the next year; (d) send a U.S. meteorological team to Manila to make more detailed recommendations.

(3) Regional Military Defense College:

There is an obvious need for a center in Southeast Asia to conduct research and to develop new techniques in the field of countering [Page 752] subversion and promoting democratic political and social development. Ultimately, this could become multinational. At the outset, we should consider plans for a Filipino center—with them in front and us helping.


The President could remind Marcos of the Philippine initiative for a SEATO regional military staff college in 1956. Recall that we opened joint talks with them in 1958, but nothing came of it. Indicate our interest in reopening discussions keyed to the present nature of the Communist threat.

If Marcos was receptive, the President could state his interest in seeing such a Center evolve through Filipino and Asian leadership, with our support.

He could propose a joint panel of Filipinos and Americans to study this proposal and recommend a course of action. Suggest that it be a Filipino-directed enterprise at the outset, with the question of a tie-in with SEATO to be deferred until it was a going concern.

(4) Regional Development Institute:

ECAFE has plans underway for this kind of institute, aiming for a link-up with the Asian Development Bank. The critical need in the Philippines is for a rational approach to their own development process. A national development institute, on the model of Thailand’s National Institute of Development Administration, might be proposed.


The President might express our conviction that development planning can succeed only if it is systematized. He could offer our help in developing such a systematic institutional approach.

If Marcos were interested, the President might suggest the possibility of our support in developing a new institute or in combining existing programs at the University of the Philippines and in Marcos’ executive office, where he has set up a small development group.

If Marcos welcomes help, offer to send a U.S. technical advisory team composed of governmental and foundation experts.

(5) Manila-Tarlac Highway:

This is a non-starter. We gave the Philippines a highway loan in 1959—and got 17 miles of road built. We need better Filipino performance—and a well worked out road development plan—before trying to move on this.

(6) Bridge over the Pasig:

Too low a priority item to draw on scarce Filipino resources at this time. The main traffic problem, as I understand it, concerns rights-of-way, bridge approaches and squatters at key crossings.

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The President might want to raise one or more of the first four items.5

In a sense, these would be dessert which should be looked at in light of what State, AID, Defense and others produce in the form of a main course. If the latter is substantial, we may want to hold off on the above.

State (Bundy) and AID (Poats) are aware of the general content of the above.

Bill Jorden
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. III, Memos, 7/66–7/67 [2 of 2]. Secret.
  2. No record of this meeting has been found.
  3. Jorden and Bromley Smith submitted six ideas to the President on August 23 in a memorandum. The President remarked that they were “Good” and asked that staff studies be prepared in a “Hurry.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. III, Memos, 7/66–7/67 [2 of 2])
  4. Attached but not printed.
  5. On September 14 Rostow recommended that Johnson raise the first four ideas in this memorandum with Marcos. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Marcos Visit Papers, 9/14–16/66)