U.S. to Lead World Effort to Aid Aquino : Shultz Says $2 Billion Is Needed to Help Cope With 'Real Mess'

May 13, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State George P. Shultz, in a shift of emphasis from his remarks of two weeks ago, said today that the Reagan Administration will help lead an international effort to raise $2 billion to assist President Corazon Aquino in coping with "a real mess" in the Philippines.

Shultz, appearing on NBC's "Today" show, said that although the Administration is asking Congress to increase U.S. aid by $150 million this year, "they need more, there is no doubt about it."

He said the United States will try to help raise the $2 billion Aquino has said is needed to repair the economic devastation left by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

"We'll have to try to help them piece it together from various places, other countries, Japan, European countries, Australia . . . and the various international financial institutions," Shultz said.

"We need to help do that and we'd like to get them more money from here, but the congressional picture, or the budget picture, I should say, just doesn't seem to allow that," he said.

No 'Infinite Capacity'

Shultz's emphasis on the need for more aid marked a change from what he said two weeks ago, after he and President Reagan met with Vice President Salvador Laurel in Bali. Obviously annoyed, he told reporters then, "Vice President Laurel, I must say, gave the impression that his needs were infinite, and we don't have infinite capacity to provide money."

But some congressional leaders, alarmed that relations between the Reagan Administration and the new Aquino government are getting off to a tense start, are pushing for more aid and a more friendly stand by Washington.

Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said last week that he hopes that the Administration "will do better in exemplifying our confidence" in Aquino's government. He said Reagan erred in not calling Aquino to congratulate her until nearly six weeks after she took office.

Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House subcommittee on Asian affairs, said in an interview that more aid is needed and that he is studying what levels Congress should consider, even within the rigid budget constraints.

'The Right Kind of Steps'

In a strong statement of support for the Aquino government, Shultz said today that it "inherited a real mess from President Marcos. Their economy is in a lot of trouble. They are taking steps, I think the right kind of steps, to deal with it. But it will take time. They are reforming their military in a way that seems to us to be very much the right way to go about it. So they're trying to correct the problems they inherited, but they are real problems and they do need help."

He said that the $150-million increase in U.S. aid would bring total aid to nearly $500 million, counting money that was programmed for military and economic aid even before Aquino took office.

Meanwhile, the archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Jaime Sin, said in Washington that Marcos has virtually no support left in the Philippines and that at least some of the people demonstrating on his behalf are paid by Marcos' cronies.

Sin also told reporters at a breakfast meeting that with outside support and domestic self-help, Aquino should have the economy "flourishing in three years."

Sin, a strong supporter of Aquino credited with playing a key role in the events that led to Marcos' ouster, said he feels reassured after meeting with Shultz today that "little by little, the support will be given."

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