T H E   P H I L I P P I N E S
The Philippines: The Marcos 
T H E   M A R C O S  Y E A R S

Photo: Speaking at a celebration marking the third anniversary of the imposition of martial law, President Ferdinand E. Marcos pledges to root out corruption within his government (UPI/Bettmann Newsphotos).

Marcos' Rise and Fall

His rise to absolute power, the corrupt practices within his administration and the ignoble demise of Ferdinand E. Marcos continue to elicit garish political and personal scandal. The National Security Archive's Philippines collection documents the often conflicting interests which arose between the U.S. and the Marcos presidency; it is a quintessential case study of U.S policy towards a strategic Third World ally.

The Philippines: U.S. Policy During the Marcos Years, 1965-1986
Focus of the Collection

The Philippines document collection contains over 23,000 pages only recently made available to the public. It provides a primary source for the analysis of U.S. policy toward the Philippines during the 20-year rule of Ferdinand E. Marcos. The bulk of the collection is composed of documents produced between late 1965, when Marcos ran successfully for his first term as President of the Philippines, and the evening hours of February 25, 1986, when Marcos, his wife Imelda, and their 60-member entourage fled the grounds of the Presidential palace in Manila for exile in Hawaii. Relevant legal papers, including the 1986 indictment filed against the Marcoses in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, complete the set.

Access to Critical Events Describing U.S.-Philippines Relations

Critical events in the period include the creation--with the covert support of the Johnson administration--of a Philippine civic action group to send to Vietnam; state visits to the United States by President and Mrs. Marcos in 1966 and 1982; the imposition of martial law in September 1972; the assassination of opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. in August 1983 and the subsequent reshaping of U.S. policy toward the Philippines; the emergence of "crony capitalism" during the 1970s; visits to the Philippines by Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford in 1966, 1969 and 1975, respectively; the rise of Communist and Muslim insurgencies during the 1970s and 1980s; the emergence following the imposition of martial law of a small, albeit vocal and influential, opposition movement in the United States; and a series of elections culminating in the fraudulent one in 1986 that led to Marcos's demise

Unprecedented Indexing Makes Every Document Accessible

The Archive prepares extensive, printed finding aids for its collections. The Guide contains an events chronology, glossaries of key individuals, organizations, events, legal terms and acronyms, a selected bibliography of relevant secondary sources and a document catalog. The catalog, organized chronologically, provides bibliographic information about the documents and lists all the indexing phrases generated for each. This facilitates browsing through the document collection and allows researchers to preview key details within documents before perusing the microfiche. The Index contains rich contextual references to subjects, individuals and organizations. The detail provided in each allows researchers to pinpoint relevant documents in particular areas of study.

Primary Source Materials Facilitate In-depth Research

The Philippines document set provides a quintessential case study of U.S. policy towards a strategic Third World ally. In these primary source documents--many recently obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests--researchers will find a wealth of information covering research topics including:

  • Myriad interactions among U.S. officials and Philippine leaders on human rights issues
  • The Office of Public Safety Police training programs
  • U.S. assessments of leftist and Muslim guerrilla strength and objectives
  • Inroads into the Philippine economy by the Marcoses and their close supporters
  • Debate within the U.S. government over the value of support for loans to the Philippines from international financial institutions
  • The Philippines as a test case for U.S. involvement with a regime whose popular support was eroding
  • Coverage of individuals, movements and ideas that continue to figure prominently in the Philippines

  • The Collection Will Be a Necessity For:

  • Scholars of U.S. government and international relations
  • Specialists in East Asian and Third World affairs
  • Librarians and bibliographers
  • Investigative reporters
  • Development aid specialists
  • Government and business consultants
  • Concerned citizens

  • Documents in the Collection Include:

  • Cables
  • Briefing Papers
  • Memoranda
  • Hearing Testimony
  • Reports
  • Airgrams
  • Statements
  • Presidential Findings
  • Press Briefings
  • Court Records
  • Internal Papers
  • Diplomatic Calendars
  • Intelligence Reports
  • Foreign Press Reports

  • Previously Unpublished Documents Originate From:

  • Department of State
  • U.S. Congress
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • General Accounting Office
  • The White House
  • National Security Council
  • Department of Justice
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of the Treasury

  • Sample Document Titles



    The Philippines: U.S. Policy During the Marcos Years, 1965-1986


    Reproduces on microfiche over 23,000 pages of documents recording U.S. policy toward the Philippines during the 20-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos.

    Arrangement and Access:

    They are arranged chronologically. For ease of use, the unique identification numbers assigned to documents are printed in eye-legible type at the top right hand corner of the microfiche strip.


    Documents are reproduced on silver halide positive-reading microfiche at a nominal reduction of 24x in envelopes. They are archivally permanent and conform to NMA and BSI standards. Any microfiche found to be physically substandard will be replaced free of charge.


    A printed guide and index accompanies the microfiche collection. Volume I contains an events chronology, glossaries of names and organizations, a bibliography of secondary sources and a chronological listing of documents. Volume ll is an index providing in-depth, document-level access to subjects, individuals and organizations.

    Date of Publication:

    December 1990

    Orders and Inquiries:

    The Philippines Editorial Board

  • Robin Broad, Assistant Professor School of International Service The American University
  • Michael Cullinane, Program Officer Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies University of Michigan
  • Richard Kessler, Staff Assistant Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate
  • Alfred W. McCoy, Professor, Department of History University of Wisconsin
  • James Putzel St. Anthony's College, University of Oxford
  • National Security Archive Project Staff

    Praise for The Philippines: The Marcos Years

    "The National Security Archive represents an idea that is so obvious--once you think of it--that it instantly makes the transition from novelty to necessity. The desirability of collecting in one location all the declassified and unclassified documentation on U.S. foreign policy is so compelling that we are certain to ask ourselves very soon how we managed to get along without it. . .All of us who have a professional interest in contemporary security and foreign policy issues can only rejoice at the appearance of this new institutional resource."

    Gary Sick
    Adjunct Professor of Middle East Politics
    Columbia University

    Return to National Security Archive Microfiche Sets.