187. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Republic of the Philippines
  • James F. Rafferty, Special Assistant, AmEmbassy Manila

I had lunch with President and Mrs. Marcos on Wednesday, April 2. The President was in a jubilant mood. I hadn’t seen him this elated in over six months. He felt his visit was a great success. Also he felt he had outmaneuvered his opponents (Magsaysay and Osmena).

Two important results of the trip according to Marcos were:

He was convinced the U.S. and in particular the CIA was not consorting with his political enemies. I asked him point blank at lunch how his talks with the Director went.2 He answered that he was convinced that there was no effort on CIA’s part to undermine him. On the contrary he seemed to feel that he had the support of the Nixon administration. (Whether this present feeling that the U.S. is not working against him will continue when he returns to the political jungle of Manila remains to be seen.)
He said he had an excellent talk with President Nixon.3 He said he advised President Nixon to use him in Asia and if he (Nixon) ever wanted to have an “Asian opinion” President Nixon could quietly check with him. At this point he indicated his severe displeasure with President Johnson’s statement about him (Marcos) “that he (Marcos) was his right arm in Asia.” Marcos said he was “still trying to live this statement down with his fellow Asians.”

Marcos said he discussed Laurel–Langley with President Nixon. Marcos asked the President to extend these economic privileges beyond the expiration of Laurel–Langley. If these privileges were not [Page 398] extended Marcos believed the Philippine economy would collapse. Marcos stated that President Nixon agreed in principle that these privileges would be extended and that “things could be worked out.”4

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 PHIL. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Rafferty on April 4.
  2. Helms met with President Marcos at the Philippine Embassy on April 1. According to an undated memorandum from the CIA to Richard K. Stuart (INR): “The meeting was arranged at Marcos’ request with the knowledge and assistance of the Department of State.” Marcos had come to the United States to attend President Eisenhower’s funeral. He told Helms “that he had wished to discuss rumors of CIA involvement in internal Philippine affairs. The Director took the occasion to assure Marcos that the CIA was supporting no candidate for President of the Philippines.” (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Philippines 1969, 1970, 1971)
  3. According to an April 7 memorandum from Walsh to Kissinger, to which this memorandum of conversation is attached, Marcos’ meeting with President Nixon “was a private one and we have no U.S. version of the conversation.”
  4. According to a May 6 memorandum from Richard M. Moose of the National Security Council Staff to the State Secretariat, the “President has agreed that we should make sure that President Marcos understands that we have made no commitments to extend the economic preferences of the Laurel–Langley agreement after 1974.” Attached but not printed.