US stored nukes in Philippines under Marcos–Bayan
The United States government secretly stored nuclear weapons in the Philippines during the Marcos dictatorship, according to the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
Citing a declassified “Top Secret” document issued in 1969 by the US State Department, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was “informed of the storage of nuclear weapons in the Philippines—presumably in the former US bases at Clark and Subic—as early as 1966.”
The document was posted by the independent National Security Archive, which is based at the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
The Inquirer tried but failed to get a reaction from the US Embassy in Manila on Bayan’s disclosures.
The State Department memo said “divulgence of the fact that nuclear weapons are stored in the Philippines, and have been there for many years without prior consultation with the Philippine government, would greatly jeopardize US-Philippine relations, particularly on the eve of presidential elections scheduled on Oct. 11.”
The memo had been issued in response to a US Senate inquiry into Central Intelligence Agency operations in Laos and the storage of nuclear weapons in different parts of the world.
The document sought to provide instructions on how to deal with questions of nuclear weapons storage and what to do if sensitive information on such weapons in the Philippines would be divulged to the public.
A National Security Archive report, meanwhile, said that “from the 1950s through the early 1990s, the US government deployed nuclear weapons around the world, from the North Atlantic and Western Europe to South Korea, the Philippines and the Western Pacific.”
The report was based on a State Department document called “Draft Compendium of Nuclear Weapons Arrangements,” prepared in October 1968 by the agency’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs.
“Reflecting the East-West tensions of that period, the Pentagon deployed nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons outside the continental United States, with many of them (over 7,000) in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Europe. The deployments of nuclear weapons reflected US and Nato war plans at the time, as well as the conviction of US government officials that the deployments would demonstrate the US commitment to the security of alliance partners around the world,” the report said.
The same report noted that “the problem of overseas nuclear weapons deployment is not simply a matter of formerly restricted data. US government agencies have claimed that declassifying the information will compromise war plans still in effect, but that claim seems weak because deployments by themselves cannot demonstrate how the military plans to use any given weapons system.”
“Another claim is that disclosure will harm ongoing diplomatic relations with countries that have hosted US nuclear weapons… Plainly declassifying information on the Cold War deployments is a complex problem, but the US public deserves something more reasonable than the current blanket policy of secrecy,” it added.
Reyes assailed what he called the United States’ “nuclear hypocrisy.”
“The US acts as if they are concerned with the proliferation of nuclear weapons while, on the other hand, it retains the world’s biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons… It acts as if it is concerned with nuclear weapons entering the Philippines while in the past, it stored nuclear weapons here without informing our government,” he said in a statement.
According to Reyes, “this chapter of our history should be revisited and the US should be called to task for its act of deception.”
He pointed out that under the Visiting Forces Agreement, “Philippine authorities have no way of determining if US warships entering the country are carrying nuclear weapons.”
He said Philippine authorities are prohibited from inspecting US ships.
He noted that the $26-million nuclear radiation detection facility which the US has set up in the Port of Manila “does not apply to US warships that freely enter the Philippines under the past and present administrations”.
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