Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks During Ceremonies at the Battle Site at Corregidor, the Philippines.

October 26, 1966

President and Mrs. Marcos, ladies and gentlemen:

On behalf of the American people, I accept this bell from the Houston with great gratitude and appreciation to you, President Marcos, not only for this thoughtful symbolic act of yours but for the great contributions that you made to preserving freedom in our land and yours.

I am grateful to you for these scrolls that you have presented to me. I shall place one as directed and retain one among my treasured possessions.

When I accepted President Marcos' invitation to visit the Republic of the Philippines, I did so with a very eager heart.

Not only did I especially want to meet with your President and the other leaders of free Asia whom he brought together here in consultation, but I also wanted to convey to the Philippine people the very deep sentiments of affection and respect that the American people entertain for them.

What American can forget the names Bataan and Corregidor?

We think of them as defeats.

But in a more fundamental sense they were victories--because they symbolized the end of the age-old alignment in Asia of white Europeans against the indigenous population.

In those dark days, American and Filipino soldiers fought--and they died--shoulder to shoulder against a common foe.

The Philippine people rejected the view that the United States was just another white colonial power. They gave their dedication and their blood in the cause of freedom.

Let me be quite candid this afternoon about this. We Americans--in the temporary flush of expansionism--did for a time flirt with the folly of colonial power.

Yet deep within the American character-as your great President Marcos so magnanimously stated in his address to our American Congress just 6 weeks ago--there is a rejection of hypocrisy. There is a compelling affirmation of the equality of justice.

We have never abandoned the revolutionary principles of our Declaration of Independence.

Brave Filipinos--like your great President Ferdinand Marcos--risked their lives in a thousand glorious enterprises for the common cause during World War II. They demonstrated not only their sense of comradeship, but their recognition that the United States, whatever its aims in the past, shared their aspirations for a free, democratic, and proudly Philippine nationhood. They knew that the American people were not capable of moral double-bookkeeping.

Since that time their faith has been vindicated. The Republic of the Philippines stands today as an example to the entire world of what a free nation can accomplish.

As President of the United States, I have been the guest of your Government at a momentous gathering of sovereign states who share certain values and certain dreams.

We are in Manila not to create any leagues or pacts, but as a fellowship of Pacific powers-in both the geographic and ethical senses of the word "Pacific."

Our immediate concern is the war in Vietnam, where we have all agreed--and we reiterated it with great determination only yesterday--that a terrorist, Communist insurgency sponsored and buttressed by the Hanoi Government shall not destroy the independence of Vietnam.

The Philippine people, who were racked by a similar armed assault on their sovereignty by the Huks, will recognize the full dimensions of these problems and the nature of the response that must be mounted.

You, above all, need no advice on how insurgency should be mastered. You know, as we do, that while arms alone never carry the day, there is no possibility of success without strength.

Indeed, your contribution to the defense of South Vietnam has 2,000 of your Filipino citizens laboring at the arduous task of community development, of providing medical and social services to the brave and long-suffering Vietnamese people.

But beyond the struggle in Vietnam, you have a wider work to do for peace in the world.

You have retained an Asian identity without rejecting Western values. You have accepted your past--and thus you will play a major role in future relations between our two great cultures. Self-confident, certain of your own destiny, you can speak with the clear voice of understanding to both our peoples.

It was 8 years ago that I authored the legislation that was designed to bring the East and the West better relations. We set up--across a long bridge, then, of 2,500 miles out into the Pacific--the East-West Institute at Honolulu in Hawaii.

This morning, with great pride, I saw the fruits of the great efforts of Dean Rusk, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the Philippine Government, and President and Mrs. Marcos in doing what we are doing to provide food for Asia. I look to the future with great hope to see those plans realized.

At Corregidor--the shrine of Philippine-American bravery and sacrifice--I wanted while I was here to pay tribute to the dead and to the living, who are today carrying on their ideals and building the new freedom for which they gave their lives.

Yesterday we pledged ourselves to provide the essentials that are necessary to maintain a defense against aggression in this area of the world. Yesterday we rededicated and re-resolved to spend our efforts and our talent to fighting a war against hunger, poverty, disease, and ignorance--against the ancient enemies of mankind.

We pledged ourselves to find the root causes of war and to defeat them. And under the great leadership of this young man who distinguished himself in war and is now leading in the march for peace, we shall succeed.

Note: The President spoke at 2 p.m. at Corregidor.
In his opening words he referred to President and Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks During Ceremonies at the Battle Site at Corregidor, the Philippines. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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