241. Telegram From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State 1

Secto 161/3504. Memorandum of Conversation: FM Romulo (Philippines) Part II of III: Military Situation in Philippines and Viet-Nam; October 13, 1971, 5:00 pm: 35 A Waldorf.

[Page 513]
Participants: Philippines—FM Romulo, PermRep Reyes; US— The Secretary, Mr. Murphy (reporting officer).
Summary: Romulo said there were some subversive demonstrations in the Philippines and the Philippine Army needs US support on training and equipment. The Secretary said the military situation in Viet-Nam is good and even the other side must acknowledge it. End summary.
Asked about the situation in the Philippines, Romulo said there had been several subversive demonstrations including a recent bombing of an electric plant, and that those responsible are Maoists. Consequently, he said, it is against President Marcos’ inner convictions to vote for the entry of PRC into the UN. The Secretary observed that US-Philippine relations were excellent, and Romulo said much credit should be given to Ambassador Byroade, who was the best US Ambassador the Philippines had had, and enjoys the respect and confidence of both the President and himself. The Secretary stated that things looked good in Viet-Nam at the moment and that although we were disappointed by the Presidential election, because Thieu could have won even with opposition, South Viet-Namese forces were fighting well and US casualties were very low. Romulo asked if South Viet-Nam could handle the military situation by itself if US forces withdrew, including US air forces. The Secretary said that the South Viet-Namese could make it without US ground forces, but the President had not yet decided how long US air power would be used. He said the other side also thinks the South Viet-Namese can do it on their own and that in recent conversations with the Russians they had acknowledged this. Romulo said his country would like to know what plans the US had to train the Philippine Army and what equipment they could get from the US. He remarked that the Philippines was not getting sufficient training or equipment at present. The Secretary asked how many insurgents were active in the Philippines, and Romulo said about 3,000, who were getting their equipment from Viet-Nam. He said President Marcos strongly desires to see his army properly trained and equipped. The Secretary inquired if the Philippine Government was in touch with the US military on this, and Romulo replied that they were, through the Mutual Defense Board. The Secretary promised to look into the matter and discuss it again with Romulo, and Romulo suggested that the Secretary could pass the message through Ambassador Byroade. He commented that the problem of the US surcharge on Philippine sugar seems to be solved now, and said much of the credit for that belongs to Ambassador Byroade.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 PHIL. Secret. Received at 2210Z. Repeated to Manila and Saigon. Part II of III. Part I on the issue of Chinese representation in the United States and Part II on Nixon’s proposed trips to Beijing and Moscow are ibid.