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Digital National Security Archive (DNSA): The Philippines: U.S. Policy During the Marcos Years, 1965–1986

About this Collection

Presenting a case study of U.S. policy towards a third world ally, this collection documents the often conflicting interests which arose between the U.S. and President Marcos. Events covered include the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr.; the rise of Communist and Muslims insurgencies during the 1970s and 1980s; the emergence of a small, but vocal, opposition movement in the United States; and Marcos' fall in 1986.

Research Value of the Collection

The Philippines document set provides a superb case study of United States policy toward a Third World country that it deems politically, economically and strategically vital. These documents trace the evolution of these often competing interests through the 20-year rule of the charismatic, politically saavy, yet ruthless Mr. Marcos.

For example, the Philippines collection provides an unprecedented portrait of:

  • The Nixon Administration's knowledge of Mr. Marcos's intentions to declare martial law in 1972.
  • Carter Administration officials, in their dealings with Philippine authorities, juggling Washington's widely-touted commitment to the promotion of human rights in U.S. foreign policy with its determination to reach a military bases agreement and to maintain a strategic presence in Southeast Asia in the aftermath of the Vietnam war.
  • Reagan Administration officials attempting to come to grips with the future of U.S. relations with a friendly Third World government whose popular support had begun to erode, especially in the wake of the August 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino, Jr.
  • The growth of political opposition to the Marcos government and efforts by Manila to curb the activities of Mr. Marcos's vocal and influential opponents in the United States.
  • The growth of the Philippine armed forces, as well as the communist and Muslim insurgencies, following the declaration of martial law in 1972.