195. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Under Secretary of State (Richardson)1


  • Revisions in US Military Bases Agreement with the Philippines

The President has expressed the belief that the United States should be prepared to bring the terms of the US Military Bases Agreement in the Philippines into line with the terms under which we occupy bases in other countries,2 in order to eliminate any aspects which may give the Philippines legitimate cause to feel that the US enjoys legal or other advantages which it does not possess elsewhere. It is the President’s understanding that opinion in the Philippines, both official and non-official, is highly sensitive to what are considered to be in-equities, and that US-Philippine relations are rendered more difficult as a result.

The President accordingly has directed that the Under Secretaries’ Committee undertake a review of our treaty and other relationships with the Philippines, and that a negotiating position be drawn up, setting forth the changes needed in our Military Bases Agreement to bring the privileges and immunities enjoyed by the United States concerning base rights in the Philippines down to a level comparable with the rights which we possess in other independent countries where there are US bases. Particular attention should be paid to the questions of length of tenure of bases and procedures for establishing criminal jurisdiction. It is recognized that there are variations in our rights in various countries, but the objective should be to put the Philippines on a most-favored-nation basis.

The President has also directed that the Under Secretaries’ Committee examine the total physical area included within the US bases, and the number of such bases, compared with the facilities available in other countries, note being taken of the different missions of the US [Page 418] bases in different countries. Consideration should be given to the release of land in the Philippines which may be surplus to military needs.

It is intended that when the foregoing studies have been completed, the Department of State will prepare to invite the Government of the Philippines to renegotiate the Military Bases Agreement so as to bring it into line with other US overseas base agreements. This approach to the Philippines should be made within a reasonable time after the forthcoming Philippine elections, but not before them. It is envisaged that the question of the release of land may be dealt with at a later stage of the negotiations in order to permit sufficient time for this particular study to be analyzed in detail. The target date for completion of the land study should be January 1, 1970.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15–4 PHIL–US. Secret.
  2. According to an October 29 memorandum from Cargo to Green and Spiers, this memorandum superseded NSSM 73, Revision of US Military Bases Agreement with the Philippines, “which has been cancelled.” (Ibid.) A copy of NSSM 73 is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, National Security Study Memoranda, Nos. 43–103.