Appendix V: Aide memoire

Appendix V


The Secretary of Foreign Affairs, referring to the reported agreement that has been reached in London between the Prime Minister of Malaya and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for the establishment of a Federation of Greater Malaysia, expresses to the Malayan Ambassador satisfaction over this development insofar as it represents a step forward in the direction of increased cooperation and unity among Asian peoples. He is of the belief that this step would ultimately lead to a broader integration of the Malay peoples in the cultural, economic and political fields, as envisaged by President Diosdado Macapagal in his historic declaration of July 27, 1962 advocating the establishment of a Malayan Confederation.

As regards, however, the particular case of North Borneo, which is one of the territories proposed for inclusion in the Federation of Greater Malaysia, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs draws the attention of the Malayan Ambassador to the Philippine claim to this territory. This claim is based on the fact that the North Borneo territory belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu, that Britain occupies the territory by the terms of a lease which in no way entitles the British Government to claim ownership or sovereignty over the territory or to transfer it to any other entity whatsoever.

This claim was embodied in a note which was handed by the Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs to the British Ambassador in Manila on June 22, 1962. In that note the Philippine Government suggested that the dispute over the status of North Borneo be resolved by peaceful means through conversations to be undertaken in London or in Manila between representatives of the two governments.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs recalls that in a talk which he had with the Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya in Cameron Highlands in April 1962, at which the Philippine claim to North Borneo was mentioned, the latter stated that it had better be presented as soon as possible to the United Kingdom. He made it clear that he would welcome the inclusion of North Borneo in the Federation of Greater Malaysia only “on a clean slate.” This assurance given by the Prime Minister of Malaya was received with appreciation as indicating the desire of the Federation Government not to become involved in the dispute which concerns only Britain and the Philippines, and as proof of the relations of close friendship and fraternal understanding existing between Malaya and the Philippines.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs accordingly expresses a certain misgiving over the possibility that the agreement signed in London according to which North Borneo would be integrated into the Federation of Greater Malaysia, might have taken no account of the existence of the Philippine claim to the territory as well as of the existence of a dispute between Britain and the Philippines over the status of this territory.

He also notes that there appears to be a certain inconsistency between the agreement in London and the assurance given by the Prime Minister of the Federation to the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs, during the conversation in Kuala Lumpur already referred to.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs expresses the hope that the signing of the agreement in London for the establishment of a Greater Federation of Malaysia does not constitute, on the part of the Government of the Federation of Malaya, a desire or intention to ignore the Philippine claim to North Borneo of which it is fully aware.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs requests the Malayan Ambassador to convey to his Government these views and considerations of the Philippine Government as well as the hope that the actions and decisions of his Government in regard to the disputed territory of North Borneo will in no way affect adversely the fraternal relations existing between the two countries as evidenced by the strong support they have given to ASA.

Manila, August 2, 1962.

Source: Philippine Claim to North Borneo (Sabah), Vol. II