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U.S. Holding Marcos Papers, Other Items, Officials Report

March 01, 1986|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — Potentially sensitive documents detailing the business operations of exiled Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos and his associates are being held after they were discovered on a military plane that carried their possessions to Hawaii, government sources said Friday.

Marcos and his entourage of nearly 80 people and their possessions were brought from Manila to Honolulu on U.S. military transport planes as part of the arrangement for Marcos to leave the Philippines on Tuesday without a potentially deadly clash.

Senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III, met at the White House on Friday to discuss handling of the records and large amounts of Philippine currency, American dollars and gold jewelry found on the plane.

The meeting reportedly resulted in a shift in the U.S. approach to Marcos' possessions.

Officials had said earlier that the Administration would follow U.S. law in admitting Marcos to Hawaii. But Friday they said they would abide also by Philippine and international law on the question of Marcos' possessions.

A senior official said that the possessions probably will be tied up in courtroom battles for some time. The official said that the Administration wanted to ensure that decisions about their distribution would be handled by courts and that the possessions would not be turned over unilaterally to Marcos and his associates.

Sources said the business documents could be significant because they could figure in investigations into alleged kickbacks to Philippine military officials who handled U.S. aid.

Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III said Friday in Dallas that Marcos has apparently violated no U.S. laws on entering the country.

"At this stage, it appears . . . that all the requirements of the law--the reporting of the property being brought into the country by Mr. Marcos and the other customs requirements--are being observed," he said.

However, Philippine law bars transfer of the Philippine peso from the country. Administration sources said the Marcos group's possessions included 22 crates of Philippine pesos worth almost $1.2 million and boxes of gold jewelry. The containers bore no name tags, and Customs Service spokesman Dennis Murphy said the material is being catalogued.

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