364. Information Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • PHILCAG—and your message to Marcos

Your message to Marcos urging him to stand fast on PHILCAG 2 appears to have served its purpose. Embassy Manila reports that “the President’s letter has served to give Marcos a much needed shot in the arm on PHILCAG, and hopefully he will follow through with a major effort to win the necessary votes for a bill ”which will preserve PHILCAG’s essential integrity.”3

Our Embassy cautions, however, that it will not be easy. Marcos has asked our Embassy to approach three specific senators who have proved unresponsive to Marcos’ efforts. Our Embassy will be doing so in the next several days.4

We left to Marcos the choice of releasing the text of your message to the public and he wants to assess the tactical situation before deciding to use it publicly to counteract the fairly widespread impression in the Philippines that the United States is backing out of its South Vietnamese commitment. If he does choose to release we have asked for 24 hours notice to permit simultaneous release here, if desired.

In sum, the situation on PHILCAG is looking up—but we are not out of the woods yet.

Walt
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Philippines, Vol. IV, Memos 8/67–11/68 [1 of 2]. No classification marking. A note on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
  2. The text was transmitted in telegram 14368 to Manila, April 9. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–3 VIET S)
  3. As reported in telegram 9252 from Manila, April 10. (Ibid.)
  4. Also reported in telegram 9252 from Manila.