Former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos complained bitterly about his fall from power and his exile here in an emotion-filled telephone conversation with President Reagan, sources familiar with the discussion said today.
Marcos, speaking to Reagan Saturday evening, also said he wants to return to active participation in Philippine politics and was critical of the ability of his successor, Corazon Aquino, to govern, the sources said.
According to a source familiar with the conversation, the Marcos call was a long and agonizing one that was primarily taken up by a talk between Imelda Marcos and First Lady Nancy Reagan. A Honolulu television station, allowed to briefly shoot silent footage of the call, broadcast a segment Saturday night in which Mrs. Marcos was sobbing on the phone to Mrs. Reagan.
In response to questions about the call today, presidential spokesman Larry Speakes issued a statement expressing support for the Aquino government. He would not comment on details of the call, but said Marcos was aware of U.S. support for Aquino.
Meanwhile, as Reagan prepared to depart Hawaii Monday for Indonesia, a potentially embarrassing confrontation was brewing over Indonesian refusal to admit two Australian journalists traveling with Reagan because of Australian press reports critical of President Suharto.
Reagan talked with Marcos after arriving here Saturday on his way to Indonesia and Japan. Marcos is staying at a private residence a few miles from the home of Hawaiian developer Chris Hemmeter, where Reagan is spending the weekend.
According to the source, Marcos "unloaded everything" to Reagan, spilling out frustrations about threatened confiscation of his property, his unsuccessful search for a permanent new home and the ascension of Aquino.
Separately, Marcos revealed similar frustrations today in a telephone call broadcast by loudspeaker to a rally of supporters in Manila. Repeating a theme, Marcos told 12,000 followers gathered at Manila's Rizal Park that he is still the legitimate president of the Philippines and urged them to keep demonstrating peacefully against the Aquino government.
"I am healthy . . . . I am ready to fight," he said. Imelda Marcos, referring to herself as "your first lady," said she and her husband "will do everything" to return to their homeland, the Associated Press reported from Manila.
Reagan's plan to telephone Marcos while in Hawaii had stirred resentment among Aquino supporters, who complained that it seemed to put Aquino and Marcos on the same level.
Reagan called Aquino from the White House last Thursday, his first personal contact with her since she assumed the presidency. White House officials, wanting not to undercut the Aquino government, issued the statement of renewed support for Aquino today after details of the Marcos call began circulating here.
The statement pointed to Reagan's decision to increase U.S. military and economic aid to Manila and vowed support for the "political stability" of the Philippines, saying "in the final analysis, it is up to the Philippine people to determine their future and enforce their will in this regard."
Reagan also suggested today that the world financial community will have to make a commitment to help the troubled Philippine economy. His comments came in written responses to questions from Southeast Asian journalists.
Marcos fled Manila Feb. 26 with help from the United States following a revolt in his government and growing popular unrest after an election that many observers said was marred by serious fraud.
Reagan had supported Marcos for many years, and Speakes said Reagan called him because he is an "old friend and ally" who accepted the transition in Manila in a statesmanlike manner. But Speakes said Reagan does not recognize Marcos as president of the Philippines, as the deposed leader has sometimes called himself.
The informed sources said Reagan offered his personal sympathy to Marcos during the telephone call but made him no promises. Reagan said he would "do what's fair and what the United States had promised" in terms of providing Marcos with safe haven in the United States or helping him settle elsewhere, said one informed source.
Reagan and his aides were said to be irritated by the broadcast on the local television station because he and Marcos had initially agreed to keep the discussion private. Speakes said the broadcast, which showed both Marcos and his wife, was "unexpected."
Meanwhile, the threat of terrorism continued to be a focus of Reagan's trip. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, interviewed on CBS News' "Face the Nation," said the upcoming Tokyo summit of leaders of the industrialized nations would be a "very juicy target" for terrorists and said all precautions are being taken.
Shultz also called for the use of covert action by the United States to bring down Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. "Covert action is something that we need to be using," he said, adding that there are many possibilities, all of which are "certainly intended to be disruptive."
Preparing for a grueling, 14-hour trans-Pacific flight to Indonesia, with a refueling stop in Guam, Reagan relaxed today with a walk on the beach.
Saturday, on his arrival here, Reagan made an unexpected visit to the Kappiolani Women's and Children's Medical Center to see a 13-year-old boy, Randy Raquion, who is dying of leukemia. The sudden stop alarmed some reporters who at first thought that it might mean the president was ill.