329. Statement by Secretary of Defense Brown1

Mr. President, Mrs. Marcos, Cabinet Members, and Distinguished Guests

I am delighted that General David Jones, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is representing me at this ceremony initiating the implementation of the January 7 agreement between our two Governments amending the 1947 Military Bases Agreement.

When the Military Bases Agreement first entered into effect on March 26, 1947, the situation in Asia and the world was vastly different; so, too, was the base agreement. Since 1947, it has been amended over forty times. Often the changes have been minor. Occasionally they have been major. Never have they been as far-reaching or as far-sighted as the amendment currently being implemented. The amendment we are today implementing expresses in a tangible way America’s recognition that Philippine sovereignty extends over the bases. It reflects our common understanding that continued US use of the Philippine bases [Page 1061] contributes to the mutual benefit of both countries. It includes—for the first time—a provision for review of the agreement on a regular basis to ensure that it will continue to reflect the regional situation and our respective national requirements. And it provides for the return to the Philippines of extensive lands and waters previously controlled by the United States.

The relationship between the United States and the Philippines is marked by vitality, stability and flexibility. It was tempered in the fires of World War II and has been tested many times since then. It has met every test successfully and in every case has emerged stronger than before. The amendment being implemented today is symbolic of the strength of our relationship. It proves our two countries’ ability to maintain a mutual security relationship which meets the needs of today and can evolve to meet those of tomorrow.

I am confident that the implementation of the amendment will proceed with the same spirit of cooperation, friendship and understanding which characterized its negotiation.

Harold Brown
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330–82–0205, 20, [untitled]. No classification marking. Sent from Slocombe to Brown with a request from Murphy that Brown send a statement to be read at the flag raising ceremony at Clark Air Base on February 16. (Ibid.)