347. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Matters of Substance for Your Country Visits

You will be supplied daily with material covering the successive country stops. This will give detail on leading personalities with whom you will be talking, topics that may come up, and suggested positions. This memorandum is a shorter summary, for your personal use, of those key items that may require your personal attention and some review of the detail with me prior to our talks. I have also highlighted sensitive issues that may not be raised in high-level conversations, but of which you should be aware.

This memorandum does not cover the question of your speeches and statements. Drafts of these will reach you through your own staff, on the basis of materials prepared by the Department and your staff.

In looking at each visit, we have all tried to find special topics on which you could make new proposals or offers of assistance that would be consistent with our interests apart from the trip. Items of this sort will appear in the speech material, but by far the most basic issues concern military assistance for Thailand and the question of our rubber stockpile disposal policy for Malaysia. Both of these would be critical in any event at this time, and the handling of them could have a great effect on the atmosphere of your visit to each of these two countries. They are covered in more detail in separate papers sent to you.

I have arranged the material in separate pages for each country.

Dean Rusk 2

[Here follows material on New Zealand and Australia.]

III—PHILIPPINES

The Marcos visit covered all aspects so thoroughly that you should find Marcos quite content with the result and with little on his mind on our bilateral relations. He may raise such topics as delivery time [Page 770]for the engineer construction equipment for the five battalions, and you could simply indicate that this is being pushed forward as hard as possible.

The various loan and PL–480 projects covered in the communiqué with Marcos 3 have all gone along reasonably well.

As to dollar figures, you should be aware that Marcos and his people have put out such figures as “a half billion” as the amount that will be coming to the Philippines as a result of the Marcos visit. This is of course way in excess of the total of approximately $100 million which would be reached by adding every single item on the list—economic aid, military aid, and the first year cost of veterans benefits and the two claims. The Filipinos have latched onto the ultimate actuarial payout on veterans benefits ($425 million by our calculations), and are also inclined to throw in World Bank loans ($40 million) and all their private lending commitments now outstanding. This kind of “numbers game” is regrettably an old Philippine institution. I would recommend that if this subject comes up at any point, you avoid numbers completely and simply say that the undertakings in the communiqué speak for themselves.

[Here follows material on Thailand, Malaysia, and Korea.]

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 PHIL. Secret. President Johnson visited East Asia for 17 days beginning on October 17. The President was in Manila from October 23 to 27 excluding the 1-day surprise trip he made to Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam on October 26.
  2. Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 344.