203. Backchannel Message From the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Green) to the Ambassador to the Philippines (Byroade)1

35889. For Ambassador from Green.

Department has recently received from the White House for appropriate action a hand-written notation by the President indicating his interest in cutting U.S. personnel on Clark AFB by 50% and overall in the Philippines by 25%. The notation was made on a copy of a study2 which had been submitted to the President showing the distribution of contract employees of the U.S. military bases. It is likely the percentages refer to overall personnel; they might refer only to military personnel. In any event they suggest the order of magnitude of his present thinking.
This raises a point covered in your talk with the President in San Clemente. In reviewing your letter to me of August 21, 1969,3 I note that the President spoke to you among other things of the necessity to cut down the American presence in the Philippines, and that he asked if you could give him a report by January containing your broad recommendations on policy and personnel. I have informed the White House that we would prefer to handle the matter within the overall context of the President’s request to you, of course taking into consideration this indication his current views. It would be particularly useful if you could let us have in regular channels Nodis on a priority basis at least your preliminary views about the desirability of reducing our presence and how this might best be done.4 Of course, you should take into account the feasibility of bringing about these reductions on a phased basis.
We have made some rough calculations here as to the numbers of people involved. Figures available here show a total U.S. American military presence in the Philippines of 50,863 made up of 27,423 military personnel, 1,443 civilians and 21,997 dependents. Of this Clark [Page 432]alone accounts for a total of 32,916 comprising 16,968 military personnel, 737 civilian employees, and 15,211 dependents. From these figures it emerges a 50% cut at Clark would in itself constitute a cut of more than 25% of the total American military presence in the Philippines. We do not have figures available which would show changes either up or down in American military presence since December 31, 1967 which was the eve of the BALPA in Embassy personnel. However, our figures on the Embassy and its component missions show a cut in American personnel from 700 as of December 31, 1967 to an authorized strength of 494 as of December 31, 1969 representing a 29.4% cut.
Your early response to this cable will be invaluable to us in the context of memoranda which we would be preparing here for the White House on this matter.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 556, Country Files, Far East, Philippines, Vol. II. Secret. Drafted by Usher on December 31 and cleared in draft by Moore. The telegram bears no time of transmission. According to a note Byroade wrote at the end of Document 204, “for accountability purposes only” this telegram was assigned the number 35889.
  2. Not found.
  3. Not found.
  4. See Document 204 for Byroade’s response.