197. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Philippines 1
Washington, November 11, 1969, 2326Z.
190471. Subj: Release of Symington Subcommittee Testimony. Ref: State 189980.2 For Ambassador from Asst Secy Green.
- Long struggle over transcript of Symington Subcommittee hearings on Philippines—in which State and Defense representatives were in almost daily contact with Sub-committee staff—culminated last night (November 10) in hour and half meeting I had with Senator [Page 422] Symington. The Senator accepted the exclusion of considerable additional material from his proposed public edition of the transcript. At the conclusion of our meeting I told him that, with these further exclusions I could say that we had no further objection on national security grounds to the publication of this material. FYI —in making this latter statement we have not indicated that we welcome or approve publication of the remaining material, nor have we even indicated that we do not still regret its publication. If reaction to the publication should require it, we will be in a position to say in fact that we did not approve and that we regret. End FYI .
- The additional material to be excluded from publication was: (a) All references to B–52 flights from Okinawa—of great importance to our relations with Japan. (b) The entire [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] testimony except for one paragraph in which [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] explains that certain information he has provided consists largely of unsupported and unsubstantiated allegations and one paragraph in which [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] gives his description of “an atmosphere of general lawlessness… throughout the area surrounding Clark Air Base.” A total of some 20 pages of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] material will be removed from the published transcript and replaced simply by the notation “20 pages (deleted).” (c) Virtually all of the passages in the testimony of the witnesses which could be embarrasing to them or imperil their effectiveness in performing their official functions in the Philippines. (d) Some remaining passages which were too prematurely revealing of our tentative internal planning for anticipated future developments or contingencies.
- During my meeting with Senator Symington I also pointed out certain statements by the Sub-committee members which would have an adverse impact because they would be deeply resented by Filipinos. I asked that serious consideration be given to deleting these passages. I understand that some of these will be edited at least, but we don’t know what the Sub-committee will finally do about the others.
- Dick Usher will be communicating to you the revised portions and passages of the transcript which now will additionally be excluded. As we have already cabled you, the Senator will delay his release of the transcript for another week, and presumably also his press conference, since his concept of his press conference has been that he would hold it only after the press had had a few days to read the embargoed transcript.