Top military and government officials meet in Mukden, Manchukuo in late 1936 to discuss the forthcoming
war with the Chinese, Americans, Netherlands and French. The Emperor of Japan and others had developed
a plan to finance the expansion of their military and to construct the ships, planes and other military hardware
that would be required in ordered to implement their plans.
In December 1937 Japan had openly declared war on China and had surrounded the Chinese Capitol of
Nanking. Prince Chichibu, the younger brother of Emperor Hirohito had been selected to head the ultra secret
treasure recovery team. The Prime Minister, Prince Asaka had come from the Emperor with instructions to
fully implement the plan. This led to the Rape of Nanking and the death of 300,000 Chinese civilians and
military. Many had been tortured to reveal the locations of treasures and summarily executed. This secret
team was given a code name of the Golden Lily after a poem the Emperor had once written. 6000 metric tons
of gold were recovered from Nanking alone plus silver and precious stones. It was a good beginning and
acted as a training ground for the secret team. Emperor Hirohito was pleased.
Brief of Chapters 3 - 4
Winston Churchill, the wartime Prime Minister of Great Britain, met with Lord Beaverbrook in July 1940.
France had just fallen to Hitler's blitzkreig. The Germans had amassed their troops in the ports of France
ready to cross the English Channel and invade Britain. Churchill had learned that the French had transferred
their national treasures to French Indochina just before they had signed an armistice with the Germans. He
had also learned from the Queen of The Netherlands that they had moved their treasures to the Dutch East
Indies. He and the King of England decided to move the British treasures to the supposedly safe island
fortress of Singapore off the southern tip of the Malay peninsula.
A year later Japan had sunk most of the American Pacific fleet with a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. By early
January 1942 Japan's victories had been nothing short of miraculous. Guam and Wake lands had fallen.
Japan had assimilated Thailand and the northern part of French Indochina. The Japanese had launched a
vigorous invasion of the Philippine Islands and were pushing the Americans into a final defensive position on
Bataan. Her armies were fighting their way down the Malay Peninsula approaching Singapore. Although the
Japanese were encountering little resistance they were greatly outnumbered by the British and Indian troops.
In China, Japan had taken most of the major port cities and on Christmas Day 1941, had forced the British
into surrendering Hong Kong. The Golden Lily team had been greatly expanded to handle these rapidly
changing situations. It is fair to say that they were actually overwhelmed.
Emperor Hirohito had requested Prince Chichibu to fly to Hanoi in French Indochina to meet with his younger
brother Prince Mikasa. The Japanese secret police had learned that France had sent their National
But, where were they hidden? Prince Chichibu had ordered the torture of the Bankers and former Diplomats
in order to find out. They learned the treasure had been sent to Saigon by rail just before the Japanese troops
had moved into Hanoi. The treasure had been hidden in the ruins of an ancient temple at the en of track. The
excitement of this recovery was only overshadowed by later events.
Brief of Chapters 5 - 6
The fortress of Singapore fell to General Yamashita and with General MacArthur being ordered out of the
Philippines, the last American and Filipino troops on Bataan and Corregidor surrendered to General Homma.
The infamous Death March began. The Japanese victories on all fronts were extremely heady. They began to
believe in their own invincibility. Burma was now in Japanese hands and invasion plans had been drawn up
for a move into Northern Australia. Asia and Southeast Asia and most of the Islands in the Pacific were as
good as theirs.
Prince Chichibu in Singapore was elated when his team found the treasures of Britain stored in the banks.
The collection of wealth throughout the conquered lands continued. With over 5000 years of Asia's antiquity to
pillage, the amounts collected were astronomical. Far surpassing what was thought to be the total amount of
gold ever mined throughout history. With Shanghai in their hands the Golden Lily team found themselves
stretched to the limit in keeping up with the collection and melting down of the precious metals.
Another surprise experienced by Prince Chichibu was the discovery that the Dutch had moved their treasures
to Batavia in the Netherlands East Indies. Now, not only did Japan have the wealth of the Asian continent, but
they were rewarded with much of the European treasures as well. Hitler's loss was Japan's gain.
Japan's luck had begun to run out by May 1942. Their first setback was the Battle of the Coral Sea where the
Allies had forced Japan to turn back her invasion fleet which they had planned to land in New Guinea. The
following month they suffered a further major setback with the Battle of Midway where Japan lost four of her
front line fleet carriers and the cream of her trained aviators. These were the same ships and pilots that had
attacked Pearl Harbor five months earlier. In August 1942 the Americans landed an invasion force on
Guadalcanal. Japan tried for months to dislodge the stubborn American Marines but eventually had to
concede this unknown but important island base. After that Japan could never again launch another major
offensive anywhere. The war would continue for another three years while the Japanese slowly lost the lands
that they had conquered. Japan's dream was over and their nightmare had begun.
By mid-1942 American submarines and aircraft had begun to take a serious toll on Japanese shipping.
Prince Chichibu could no longer send the many tons of treasure back to Japan with any guarantee that it
would get there and not end up on the bottom of the ocean floor. Actually he had to revise his thinking about
where to send the treasures after the Midway fiasco. Following a meeting with his brother, the Emperor, it
was decided that the treasures should be hidden in the Philippine Islands. Why the Philippines? Because
Japan was certain that they would end up with these islands during surrender negotiations with the Allies.
Also, it was the shortest distance from Hong Kong and Singapore where the material was being processed.
Prince Chichibu had begun shipping material to the Philippines even before this decision was made. It was
originally intended to be sent on to Japan in returning war ships. The Prince was still nervous about these
shipments even after the decision was made. He commandeered four large freighters and had them painted
all white with a red cross on their sides. These were "hospital" ships which he loaded with the many
treasures. To be absolutely sure that even these ships were not molested he announced their movement on a
clear radio channel so that the Americans would know their times of departure and their courses.
Chapters 7 - 8
Prince Chichibu had moved his Headquarters to Manila in the Philippines. He had entrusted his younger
brother Prince Mikasa and his cousin Prince Asaka to continue the collection of the treasures. Before he left
he had begun to cut up the many golden pagodas and Buddhas which were being melted down and poured
into 75 kilo bars. This amassing of the treasures would continue until Japan ultimately surrendered.
Prince Chichibu was now faced with new challenges. Where and how to hide the treasures so that they could
not be accidentally discovered after the war. The Prince was not as certain as his brother, the Emperor, that
Japan would end up with the Philippine Islands following their defeat. He decided that these treasures would
have to be hidden in deep, well engineered tunnel systems. He had no experience in mining and basically that
was what was going to be required.
Major Nakasone was the only member of the Golden Lily team who had any mining background. He had
studied mining engineering but never had any on the job training. He sent for him anyway. In the meantime he
askedThe Emperor for help and he responded by having someone locate twenty experience men in
underground excavation in Japan who were quickly sent to the Philippines. If the Prince needed more
workers, he would have to get them from the Filipinos. In addition the Emperor had remindedChichibu that the
POWs of the Americans and the British contained a lot of engineering experts especially those who served in
Manpower was the least of his problems. There were thousands of POWs who the Japanese considered
expendable. If that wasn't enough then there were millions of Filipino males that could be used. As soon as
hereceived his experts he immediately began work in a dozen locations. While this was going on the treasure
ships were arriving weekly and their precious cargo had been added to the other treasure already stored in
heavily guarded warehouses. There were other problems; the movementof the cargo from the ships to the
warehouses attracted a lot of attention. Chichibu decided to construct an underground tunnel system from the
piers to the warehouses which were in the capture American base named Fort McKinley. Eventually this
tunnel would branch out under Manila and run for 35 miles. The entrance was in Intermuras, the ancient walled
city of the Spaniards, which was near the docks. It terminated at MacArthur's headquarters in Fort McKinley.
Prince Chichibu had to make some other major decisions. Why not hide all the treasure in one large location?
The Emperor had answered that question. Security!!! Too many people who had worked on the location
would know where it was, also if someone should accidentally find the location all would be lost. Early on the
Prince had made the decision that except for a few foreign engineers the entire work force would have to be
exterminated. The next question was where could this work be done where the local population would not be
aware of what was going on there. Japanese military bases were perfect. Only the military had access to
them and most bases had POW camps nearby. Prince Chichibu visualized that when the Americans returned
to recapture the Philippines that there would be massive bombings. The map makers needed permanent
landmarks in order to relocate these sites after the war. The Americans had shown in Europe that they would
avoid bombing historical buildings. The four hundred year old historical Spanish Churches and fortifications
were perfect. But just to make sure he would house American POWs in them. Mainly women and children. He
would then arrange for clear radio communications to announce this fact. It worked, the Americans spared
Major Nakasone was at Fort Santiago, a 16th century Spanish fortification, collecting slave labors from the
Kempeitai Headquarter's dungeons and torture chambers. One of the physically strong Filipino's he selected
was Leopoldo Giga. Nakasone knew a Colonel Kantaro Giga who was one of his instructors at the military
academy. Out of curiosity he decided to personally interview Giga. He found him an intelligent, 28 year old,
who spoke fluent Japanese. He also learned he was a nephew of his academy instructor. Giga's father was
the brother of the instructor who was a minor diplomat who had been attached to the Japanese Embassy in
the Philippines 1913. Giga's mother had met the Diplomat and had become his common-law wife. Another
advantage that Nakasone found in Giga was that he spoke two of the main dialects of the Filipino people.
Instead of making him a slave laborer he assigned him to his staff. Giga came to the attention of Prince
Chichibu who had him commissioned as a sub-lieutenant in the Imperial Army. He was sent to Japan to
attend schooling on tunneling and inventorying the treasure. He returned a Captain and worked on most of the
Prince Chichibu was in Nueva Vizcaya in early 1942. He was examining a major excavation outside of the
town of Bambang. He and his staff had a young Filipino boy who had come down with a fever and had died.
He had been a houseboy who did the laundry of the Prince and his staff as well as kept their boots and other
equipment cleaned and polished. He sent his aide out to locate a replacement. The Aide came back with a
14 year old uneducated farm boy whose name was Benjamin Valmores. During the next three and a half
years Valmores traveled with the Prince to many of the sites. He learned Japanese and a smattering of
English. He was never allowed to go down into the tunnels, but he watched them being constructed and filled
with the treasures. He and Giga would survive the war.
As the war reached its inevitable climax in early 1945 the Japanese were receiving more treasure than they
could prepare sites for in which to hide it. Their warships became useless due to the American air-
superiority, so they loaded them with these newly arrived treasures and pretended they were being sent back
to Japan. Instead the Japanese deliberately sank or scuttled these ships and machine-gunned their own men
so that the ships would go down in predetermined locations and no witnesses would be alive to to tell the tale.
There were thirteen of these planned sinkings. Some of these went down in Manila Bay; others were sunk in
not to deep Philippine Waters throughout the archipelago.
The bloody war was over. The hopes of Emperor Hirohito and others to force the Americans to agree to a
treaty that would allow Japan to keep some of the lands they had taken by conquest had been shattered.
Theyhad planned the final battle that they were certain would cause the Americans over a million casualties
when they invaded the Japanese home islands. The two atomic bombs and Russia's invasion of Manchuria in
an attempt to annex some of Japan's conquered lands had cause the Emperor to agree to an unconditional
surrender. Now the conquerors wanted to bring to justice those who were responsible for the many atrocities.
Over 4000 war criminals were charged. Of these 2400 received a prison sentence of three years or more and
809 were ultimately hung.
General Yamashita was put on trial for war crimes on October 29, 1945. General MacArthur organized this
"trial" if anyone could call it a trial. It was a kangaroo court and the verdict to hang Yamashita was the worst
American travesty of justice. Yamashita was not guilty of any of the charges brought against him. This was
widely known at the time of the trail and history has since vindicated the General who was known as The Tiger
of Malaya. In spite of this he was hung on February 23, 1946. The U.S. Supreme Court had reviewed the case
and shamelessly approved the kangaroo's court verdict.
Historians have excused MacArthur's actions by saying that Yamashita had embarrassed him by putting up a
vigorous defense of the Philippines and didn't surrender until the Emperor had ordered him to do so. They
also justify his action as trying to rejuvenate the image of Emperor Hirohito who he felt was needed in order to
put through the reforms he had envisioned for Japan. Both of these reasons were probably true, but
MacArthur learned after the trial that the Yamashita verdict was a mistake.
The OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of today's CIA) had been interviewing all of the
Japanese Pows. One of the operatives was Severino Santa Romana. A Filipino who spoke Japanese. He
had interrogated Major Kijomi Kashii who had been General Yamashita's personal driver. In tracing
Yamashita's movements, the Major recounted having taken him to several locations where massive
underground excavations were taking place. While the General was touring the site he learned from a
Captain of the security force that the excavation was not a fortification but a secret depository for treasures
collected in other conquered lands. This was the first time the Americans had any hint of these secret
Santa Romana had the Major carefully draw the exact locations of these two sites. He also arranged to keep
the Major from other POW's so he could extract further information. He notified his superior who thought the
information was important enough to send a written report to OSS Headquarters in Washington, DC. The
report crossed the desk of William Donavan, known as "Wild Bill" who was the Director of the OSS. Donavan
found the report intriguing and cabled Santa Romana's superior requesting that he be sent out to the two sites
and personally inspect them. Santa Romana did as ordered only to find out that the maps were not accurate.
There were no signs of any excavations. Had the Major lied? He rushed back to confront him, but when he got
to the prison he found that the Major had committed suicide with a butter knife he had stolen from the
prisoners mess hall. He quickly notified Washington.
Donavan was not prepared to dismiss the report as false. There was another witness, General Yamashita
who was awaiting the review of the Supreme Court. He had discussed this with the President, Harry Truman,
and had been ordered to send the information to General MacArthur with a suggestion that the General look
into it. MacArthur didn't believe the report and ordered one of his aides to pick up Santa Romana and go
interview Yamashita personally. When confronted with the question the wily General just smiled. When
MacArthur learned this he changed his mind. Perhaps there was something to this after all. But, how to get
Yamashita to talk? He was about to be hung and MacArthur wasn't one of his favorite people.
MacArthur knew that the only way Yamashita would talk would be if he was ordered to do so by his Emperor.
MacArthur's headquarters was now in Tokyo so the General decided to put the question to Hirohito. At first
Hirohito pretended he didn't know what MacArthur was talking about. Then he thought about it and decided
that Yamashita knew very little about the activities of the Golden Lily team, and if he did know about two sites,
why not tell MacArthur. With the loss of two sites he might gain some concessions. He might be able to save
Yamashita and at the same time negotiate some of the wealth for Japan. He wrote a letter which was
hand-delivered to the imprisoned General asking him to cooperate. The more the Emperor thought about it,
the better the plan looked. For one thing it would signify that there were only two sites where this treasure was
stored should that question ever come up. He knew there were 172 major sites in the Philippines. He
rationalized that the loss of two of these sites would be insignificant, especially if he could gain some other
General Yamashita received the personal letter from the Emperor. He was torn between duty and using this
situation to obtain a reprieve of his death sentence. He advised Santa Romana and MacArthur's aide that
washis decision. The aide lied to Yamashita by saying that MacArthur did not have the authority to commute
the sentence, but that he might agree to sharing some of this wealth with Yamashita's family so that they
would live comfortably after he was gone. Sensing that was all he wasgoing to get he said he would
cooperate only if the Emperor assured him he had that agreement in writing.
While this was going on MacArthur was getting pressure from the Emperor who was now asking for 50% of
the treasure. Japan's cities were in ruins and this money would help rebuild them. MacArthur sent both
requests to Donovan who discussed it with the President. At this point no one knew if the treasures even
existed or how much was in the two sites, if it were true. Truman was deeply involved with many problems in
Europe caused by the Russians. He flipped the matter back to Donovan and told him: "You handle it." With
Truman's seemingly indifference, Donovan rejected the Emperor's request and cut his percentage to 20%.
He told MacArthur to have the OSS take possession of the remaining 80% and they would decided what to
do with it later. Donovan promptly forgot about it. MacArthur did not forget and these chapters will explain how
it was finally divided. Under Santa Romana's direction both treasure sites were found and after two years of
digging, billions of dollars in gold were removed. The sites were real all right. This would greatly affect future
Ferdinand Marcos was born on September 9, 1917 in Sarrat, Illocos Norte. His father, Mariano Marcos, had
been a provincial Congressman since the 1920's. Ferdinand entered law school in 1935. That same year a
bitter political rival of his father was murdered. The young Marcos and his uncle Pio Marcos were the prime
suspects. Three years after the murder Ferdy as he was called and his uncle were arrested and charged with
the murder. Pio got off, but Ferdinand was convicted for the murder. Because of his young age he was only
given a 10 year prison term. After a year in prison where he finished his studies he passed the bar
examination. He was an attorney. For some unexplained reason President Quezon issued a pardon for
Marcos. Also, for some unknown reason Marcos refused it. Instead he wrote his own appeal to the Supreme
Court. He admitted that he did shoot the political foe of his father but now claimed it was self-defense.
The dead politician had been shot in the back through a window in his house late at night. He was hardly a
threat to Ferdinand. Still in late 1940 the Philippine Supreme Court reversed the conviction
supportingMarcos's claim that it was self-defense. Marcos was released from prison. Obviously the fix was in
at the highest level. He then opened his law practice in Laoag near his home. In April 1945 with General
Yamashita and his troops retreating to the northern highlands of Luzon, Mariano Marcos, Ferdinand's father
was arrested by American-ledGuerrillas. He was convicted as a Japanese collaborator and executed in a
bizarre manner. He was tied to four carabaos (large water buffaloes) which literally tore him limb from limb.
The pieces were hung in a tree to rot.
In later years Marcos would cause various writers to portray him as the greatest Philippine war hero. In reality
there is ample evidence to prove that he, like his father, was a "makapili", a collaborator workingfor Colonel
Arika, the Kempeitai Commander in Manila. He was also a black marketeer. Just before the war was over
Ferdinand was arrested for operating a black market. He talked his way out of jail by claiming he was raising
money for the Guerrillas. After his release the Guerrilla headquarters claimed he was not working for them
and ordered his execution. By then he was hiding out up north and was never brought to justice.
One of the stories that Marcos liked to tell was that while he was on a one man patrol for the Americans he
ran across a Japanese patrol which he attacked and singlehanded killed with his rifle and bolo. He was
supposedly shot in the leg and pried the bullet out with his knife. While looking in the Japanese pack mule for
something to bandage his wound with he found three gold bars. The bars were too heavy to carry with his
wounded leg so he buried them by a tree and clearly marked the tree so he could return to claim them. Was
this true? There was no evidence of this new found wealth immediately following the war. He became a
Marcos, like his father, won a seat in Congress from the same district in 1950. He had kept his law office in
Ilocos Norte and when not in Manila he would take a few cases to keep in touch with his voters. In the spring
of 1952 two laborers came to him and asked his help in collecting their pay from two ex-Imperial Army
veterans. They claimed they were hired to dig a deep pit near the old military base and had uncovered a lot of
gold bars. Instead of paying them the Japanese had run them off at gun point. Marcos went with them and
they sneaked up on the excavation. Marcos saw the two Japanese hauling gold bars up from the pit and
struggling to load them on the back of a truck. Marcos toldthe laborers to wait there while he went to get help.
Marcos returned within an hour with two men. All three were armed with rifles and hand guns. Without fanfare
the three armed men took up positions and on command shot and killed the two Japanese and two other
Filipinos who were in their camp. Then without flinching they shot the two laborers.
Marcos and his two friends removed the rest of the gold bars from the pit and finished loading them on the
truck. The total weight of the bars was over two tons. The truck sagged on its springs. He then had his friends
collect the bodies and drop them down the pit. The rest of the day was spent by the three men filling the pit in
order to hide bodies. When it was about a meter from the top Marcos dispatched his two friends with a hand
gun and rolled them into the pit. He finished filling the pit and cut down branches which he spread around to
hide the activity. Marcos now knew these treasure rumors were true. It was the beginning of his nearly
forty-year quest for the rest of the treasure. A year laterMarcos married Imelda Romualdez and thus was
formed the beginning of the conjugal dictatorship.
During the next five years Marcos would discreetly ask Japanese businessmen and politicians about the
treasure "rumors". They all denied having any knowledge. President Quirino had fanned these rumors
byemploying an American-born Japanese whose name was Minoru Fukumitsu.Fukumitsu who had
interviewed many of the war criminals after the war claimed he had obtained a map which showed a major
treasure site. Quirino had him dig a number of sites but he came up with nothing. Yearslater the truth of these
digs would come out. The Philippine newspapers at the time made a big joke out of the whole thing. Marcos
befriended Fukumitsu. It was the beginning of a long relationship.
In 1965 Marcos using gold, guns, and goons won the election and becamethe President of the Philippines.
Now he had the resources of the entire Country that he could use in his quest for more of the treasure.
Another event that greatly affected him was to learn that Imelda's biological father was supposed to be
Severino Santa Romana, the same OSS operative who worked with Yamashita. Santa Romana would later
share the information of the earlier successes with him and eventually disclose where that treasure was still
In 1969, having sent one of his military officers to Tokyo he learned there was a large treasure site under the
main flag pole of Camp Aquinaldo. The Camp had been a headquarters of the Kempeitai during
theoccupation. Using his Presidential Security force and other soldiers heexcavated the site. Before the end
of the year he was able to recover over two thousand metric tons of gold and a lot of precious stones. He was
a very wealthy man. He and Imelda flaunted that fact and in 1970 Cosmopolitan Magazine wrote an article
saying he was the wealthiest man in Asia. The outcry that followed caused him to admit to the press that he
was a very wealthy man because he had recovered "Yamashita's" treasure. In truth Yamashita had nothing to
do with it.
Marcos would later regret that admission. He immediately suppressed the newspaper stories and stopped
the story from going out on the news services. Even so it was leaked and he was beset with the claims of
many countries that were the victims of the Japanese. The World Court in 1945 had passed a law that any
stolen war treasures would be returned to the countries they were stolen from. This moratorium would not
expire until 1985. Turning this gold into cash became a tremendous problem. It would haunt him for the next
In late 1974 Marcos was in Cancun, Mexico attending a Developing Nations meeting. During a break he was
talking to the President of Costa Rica, Jose Figueroa, about the development of mining in their countries.
Figueroa told Marcos that he had been trying to get a Nevada miner to set up a refinery in his country, but the
miner refused all of his offers. He gave Marcos the name of Jack Carter and told him if he could convince
Carter to come to the Philippines he could help rejuvenate his moribund mining industry. Carter, from Reno,
Nevada, had developed some refining techniques that could get more gold out of a ton of ore than the present
technology. This news set off bells in Marcos' head. Perhaps Carter would be the answer to his gold problem.
By December 1974, Jack Carter had had a varied background. He was headstrong and at the age of thirteen
had run away from a wealthy uncle who had become his guardian after his mother's death. He appeared older
than he was. He hitchhiked to San Francisco from Ohio. Flat broke and in a strange town, he enrolled himself
in high school and found a job as a soda jerk for a candy company. During the next 20 years he graduated
from high school where he had risen to the rank of full colonel in the Junior ROTC, and had joined the
California National Guard where he was a sergeant in the 159th Infantry. He joined the regular army and won
his parachute and glider wings in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was honorably discharged in 1950 a few
months before the outbreak of the Korean war.
Carter went to work for a San Francisco bank as a teller trainee and rapidly earned promotion. He had a
brilliant banking career but resigned after 10-1/2 years. He went to work for Kaiser Aluminum where he rose
to President of their consumer finance division. He became disenchanted with the gray flannel suit world and
resigned. During his 16 years in the banking field he spent all of his spare time on weekends and vacations in
the Mother Lode mining towns in California and Arizona. He was fascinated with the history and with mining.
He gained most of his mining experience from books and from befriending old time miners. He had recently
married and decided to move to Reno where he could be closer to the mines. Instead of going back into
banking he sold cars so that he would have more free time to wander around the many ghost towns in the
During a deer hunt he discovered a rich outcrop of ore which he recognized as gold and platinum. Since there
was not supposed to be any platinum in the US, he was forced to set up his own mining and refining facilities.
This required him to become an expert on the chemistry of platinum and ultimately he developed new
processes that greatly enhanced the yield of the extraction of all of these precious metals. By December
1974 he had constructed four plants for the refining of the metals from his mines. He was in the process of
building the fifth and final plant to complete his process. When Marcos had a representative contact Carter he
was really busy. He rejected the offers from Marcos's representative and from a personal phone call from the
President. He was flattered bythe attention of the President of the Philippines who wanted him to come there
as his guest and make him a business proposal, but that did not sway him.
Marcos would not take no for an answer and sent his representative to make an unannounced visit to Carter
in his offices in Sparks outside of Reno. At first the offer was to have Carter remelt a number of gold bars that
Marcos had, but when the quantities reached 500 tons per week, Carter became suspicious. Why not do that
in the Philippines? Eventually he was told the source of the gold and the reasons Marcos needed Carterto do
it. Carter didn't believe the story, but after three trips from the Marcos representative and dozens of phone
calls he agreed to go to the Philippines if for no other reason than to get rid of the pest. It was supposed to be
a three day trip. It lasted much longer.
When Carter arrived at the airport in Manila he was met by an entourage of a dozen members of Marcos's
treasure team. This group consisted of an ambassador, a retired general, two full colonels, a doctor, and two
Filipinos who were introduced to him as the eyewitnesses. The rest of the group was made up of members of
the Presidential Security Force. Carter was given the VIP treatment and was shuffled past customs and
passport stations. One of the colonels was in charge of Imelda Marcos's personal security and was an aide to
General Ver. While waiting for his baggage he was told that we was expected to stay at the Presidential
Palace. Carter did not like this because he knew that he would need to be in constant contact with his
companies in the states and felt that the Palace would be too confining. He chose a hotel that was near the
palace. The colonel got clearance for this change and arranged for the hotel.
During the next four weeks Carter was given a dog and pony show which was unprecedented. There were
daily meetings and he was taken to over thirty sites. He reviewed the maps and had many hours of
conversations with the eyewitnesses. Every minute of his day and most of his eveningswere taken up with
these activities. He had many meetings with General Ver and lengthily meetings at the Palace with Marcos.
He went fishing and water skiing with the President. He was invited for an overnight cruise with Marcos and
was taken to the Summer Palace opposite Corregidor. There he was shown a golden buddha and a room full
of gold bars which were stacked floor to ceiling in a large room under the summer palace. He was looking at
billions of dollars worth of gold which convinced Carter that the treasure stories were true.
These weeks for Carter were very heady. They were, he thought, the greatest adventure of his life. He was
wrong, it was only the beginning of a 21 year nightmare. Marcos had made three requests of Carter: 1) His
treasure team had recently acquired the Japanese treasure maps. He wanted to check their authenticity. He
had already agreed to allow the team to recover the treasure buried in the old air-vent of Fort Santiago, but
first he wanted to check a water site. He supplied Carter with a PT boat and the necessary underwater divers
and equipment and wanted him to locate one of the sunken ships. This would prove not only the maps, but
also the memory of the eyewitnesses. Carter complied and on the first day out on the boat he found the
sunken heavy cruiser Nachi. The divers came up with the ships' bell and a handful of silver coins that were in a
barge that the ship was towing. With hundreds of sunken ships in the area to choose from this was positive
proof that both were accurate. 2) He had a problem with the Ambassador being in the group and asked
Carter to take over the leadership of his treasure team which he had named the LEBER group. 3) He also
nsisted that Carter build a refinery on land that he would provide to handle the processing of the gold he
already possessed as well as the new gold that the group would recover. This last request was a problem for
Before Carter had left the sunken cruiser Nachi he had attached a buoy to the ship with a cable. When he
returned the next day he found the buoy had been removed. He had to find the ship a second time. The
second buoy was cut again. Marcos claimed that Japanese salvage companies were in the area and must
be responsible. He later learned that Marcos had ordered the buoys cut to keep the Leber group from making
an immediate recovery. Marcos suggested that Carter find another land site that he guaranteed him he could
start after he returned from the States. Marcos wanted the refractory furnaces in Carter's plants to be shipped
to the Philippines immediately. Before Carter left the Philippines President Marcos had the eleven Leber
group members sign an agreement dividing all future recoveries with no Philippine taxes. This meant that
each member was to receive a 1/11th share. Carter was elated when he returned to make those and other
Carter had a lot to do while he was home. He had to dismantle his refractory plant and crate it to be sent by
steamship to the Philippines. This effectively put him out of business in Nevada since he needed those
furnaces to make a saleable product. He had over a hundred employees and the payroll would continue. He
needed money and expenses for his return trip. He also needed financing for the new plant that Marcos
insisted he construct there. He was required to hold a board meeting to get their approval for all of this. He
also was faced with some morality problems with this project. He no longer had any doubts about the reality of
this treasure . He also knew that it was covered with the blood of so many innocent victims.
During his many meetings with General Ver and Marcos he was questioned repeatedly for his opinion on how
to turn this gold into cash without upsetting the world gold market. The very fact that this gold existed was
enough to drop the price of gold in the market with substantial side-effects. With China's population
numbering a billion people who were economically depressed he was positive that the possibility of China
invading the Philippines to take this treasure was a reality. Look what they did in Korea for far less a motive.
In his mind it could cause World War III. Marcos had told Carter that the gold he had already recovered was
more than he could ever spend even if he lavishly showered it on the Filipino population. He didn't want to
recover any more of these sites until this distribution problem was solved. Carter was given that problem to
Carter knew that Marcos was serious about this problem and he agreed with his assessment of the danger.
Carter had to have a viable solution before he returned to the Philippines and he had less than a month to
solve it. He sought the advice of a powerful, somewhat right-wing, organization. This included some extremely
wealthy members and American politicians. They provided the capital he needed to dismantle his plant and
to keep the company alive while he was overseas. They also guaranteed to advance the money required to
build the refinery in the Philippines that Marcos had insisted upon. In a meeting with a U.S.Senator and other
top members of this organization Carter explained the world-wide disposition problem. They had a solution.
The organization controlled a number of banks in the US and Canada with affiliates in Europe. They
guaranteed Carter that they could legally handle 1000 metric tons of gold a month and none of it would go into
the world market. For all of these services Carter had to sign a contract that gave the organization 25% of any
profits he would receive under the Marcos agreement. Carter had no choice for without this plan he knew
Marcos would be hesitant to allow any further recoveries.
Carter's return to the Philippines was full of great expectations. He had located the Nachi and could now
recover the treasure from the ship and the barge. He had engineered the recovery of the treasure in the
hidden air vent in Fort Santiago. Both of these were short term projects. He would have unlimited wealth
within the month. He was embarking on a great adventure. This anticipated wealth was not important to him
personally, but it would give him the means to accomplish all of the things that he had planned. He was met at
the airport by all the members of the Leber Group. Like his first trip he chose the hotel over the palace.
President Marcos and General Ver were in China and Carter had to wait their return for the first meeting
where he had expected to tell the President about the fool-proof program he had negotiated. He used this
time to prepare security plans and make arrangements for the necessary men and equipment to be able to
do the projects.
It was two weeks before he met with General Ver at the Palace. President Marcos was tied up with accepting
a new Ambassador from Romania. Ver said that he had met with the President earlier and had prepared a
number of questions for Carter. There was also some major changes.Carter's furnaces and other plant
equipment were scheduled to arrive aboard the ship in ten days. Ver said Marcos didn't want to wait for the
new plant to be built in order to start using them. There were some empty buildings next to the Malacanang
Palace. He wanted Carter to set the furnaces up there. it was a safe place because the Presidential Security
barracks were right next door. Carter agreed and said he would bring over his partner and chief engineer to
help set it up. Marcos also wanted Carter to submit the plans to construct the new refinery and to coordinate
that with Jose Campos, the Chairman of United Drug Companywhich was the largest pharmaceutical firm in
Asia. United would providethe land in the Free Trade Zone at Bataan.
The General was elated with the sale plan that Carter outlined for him. He said it was perfect and that Marcos
would be pleased. He emphasized the need to start re-melting the bars immediately. Ver told Carter that
there was a basement vault under the Palace which was full of gold bars. More than he had shown Carter on
his first trip. The General could see that Carter found this hard to believe so he offered to take him downstairs
when the meeting was over. Ver continued by asking Carter what he planned to do with the errant
Ambassador. He repeated that the President wanted him liminated. Carter remembered the first meeting
with Marcos where it was clear that Marcos wanted the ambassador killed. Carter had told the President that
there must be another way. Ver gave Carter a way to save the Ambassador, but if he failed, the matter was
no longer in his hands. Carter agreed to try, but if he did fail, he made up his mind that he would have to give
up this dream and leave the Philippines. He was not going to be a part of murder, even indirectly. The whole
incident made him nervous.
This meeting with Ver was very long. The General had saved the bad news for last. He announced that the
Leber group was not going to be able to work on the cruiser Nachi until later. The excuse offered by Ver was
that the Japanese Ambassador had recently visited the Philippines and asked Marcos for permission to
remove their war dead from the many sunken ships so that they could be properly buried in Japan. Marcos
knew that wasn't the real reason; they were after the gold. If Carter was seen out in the bay removing things
from the Nachi, then Marcos would be in trouble with the Japanese. Ver asked Carter to understand and
promised him that the President would let him recover that at a later date..
That bad news wasn't all. Ver told Carter that the Leber group could not do the Fort Santiago site either until
the President had time to meet with the head of the National Historical Society. The ancient Spanish fort was
a major tourist attraction and they objected to its' temporary closing for this "restoration" project. This was
devastating to Carter. He had planned on both of these sites being recovered within thirty days of his arrival.
He let Ver know of his displeasure and said that if he had known that he never would have dismantled his
refractory plant. He couldn't tell Ver that he only had a limited amount of money and that these delays would
create major problems for him in the States.
He did tell Ver that this was going to require him to go home. The General said that the President didn't want
that. Ver said he should set up the furnaces when they arrived and start processing Marcos's gold. Carter was
to receive $5 for every ounce he re-melted. The President also told the General to request Carter to find
another site which he could start excavating immediately. There was one condition. This new site had to be
out in the jungle somewhere, away from any towns or buildings. This eliminated all of the easy to recover sites
in and around Manila. The meeting over, Carter returned to his hotel to tell the Leber group members, who
were waiting to learn what was happening, but first Ver took him to the large room in the basement. What
Carter saw was mind boggling.
The Leber group members were understandably disappointed, but quickly showed enthusiasm over the
green light which was to start another site right away. Carter pretended the same enthusiasm, but later he and
his partner discussed the realities of their problem. They would have to lay off most of their employees
stateside and cut back on all expenses. Even that could only buy them a few weeks.
Well that could turn around if they could get the furnaces set up and working. In the meantime they had to
locate the new site. The next ten days they travelled all over Northern Luzon, rejecting most of the sites they
looked at for one reason or the other. There was one site in the four hundred year old San Augustin Church. It
was easy to do and the Catholic Fathers were anxious for it to be done. President Marcos rejected it. Too
many people would know about it and he didn't trust the Fathers.
The site that Carter selected was 38 miles south of Manila. It was three miles from the nearest small town of
Teresa. During the war the area had been a major Japanese encampment and a POW camp. It was a tent
city and no buildings remained. The Japanese had constructed a huge underground tunnel system. The
openings to the tunnels were well hidden and the jungle had reclaimed the area. Some of the markers had
been destroyed by stone cutters, but enough remained to pinpoint the site. It had several drawbacks. It was a
long way from Manila and was a logistical nightmare which caused many delays. By using an exposed airvent
Carter was able to locate the center of the tunnel. According to the map the top of the tunnel was 90 feet from
the surface. Digging started as soon as Carter could mobilize the equipment and the manpower. Marcos
provided the laborers who had all been screened by the Presidential Security force. They were experienced
and worked for a construction firm owned by a golf partner of Marcos. The President insisted that once
exposed to the site the workers could not leave until the project was completed. Temporary shelters and
cooking facilities had to be erected.
Marcos had assigned only one sergeant from the Presidential Security to guard the site. He was heavily
armed but General Ver required that he not wear his uniform. The idea was to not draw attention to their
activities. The cover story was that the Americans were conducting soil tests for a proposed sub-division.
There were farmers passing near the site who could see the digging. The lone guard kept them from getting
too inquisitive. The Americans with their white skins had to keep hidden behind a bamboo fence.
The digging was agonizingly slow. What impressed the Americans was the accuracy of the maps. At different
depths they were to reach a layer of glass, charcoal, and crossed bamboo. At the lower depths they were to
find finger bones and human skulls. They did, and it was very disquieting. It even shocked the workers who
were very superstitious. it took two months to reach the top of the concrete and steel tunnel. This was 85 feet
down from the surface. The Americans were very excited. Using jackhammers they cut through three feet of
concrete. Once they broke through they expected to be able to drop into the tunnel and walk to the treasure
which was loaded onto 23 large military trucks sealed in the tunnel with the gold. Disaster struck the minute
they broke through the concrete ceiling. The workmen began dropping like flies and the odor coming from the
tunnel closed for over forty years pole-axed the Americans on the surface. In the tunnel the workers couldn't
smell it, but once it mixed with air the stench of decayed flesh was overwhelming. There were 1200 POW's
and Filipino's buried alive by the Japanese with this treasure. The entombed bodies as they decayed created
methane gas. Half the crew were hospitalized. It took a week for the gases to dissipate and even then the
workers in the shaft needed to wear gas masks.
The tunnels were not open. The Japanese had back filled them by bulldozing dirt and bodies into them. The
bones removed created a large mound. It was grisly work. On July 4, 1975 the foreman came running up to
Carter and very excitingly told him the workers had hit metal. Carter ordered all the workers out of the tunnel
and had himself lowered into the shaft. Using a flashlight he saw the nose of a 1000 pound aerial bomb
standing on end. The workers using a jackhammer had just missed the detonator by two inches. He also saw
a large curved piece of rusty metal which he further exposed with a shovel to reveal the fender of a truck.
Eureka!!! He had found it.
The 1000 pound bombs were clearly shown on the map. There were eight of them scattered throughout the
tunnels and rigged to the trucks. They were packed in cosmolene grease and were very much "live". Carter
had known they were there and had arranged with General Ver to have a demolition team come in to defuse
them. There was no telephone anywhere near the site and he had been instructed to notify the Area
Commander the minute they had reached the target. The Americans were very excited, but did as they were
ordered. They drove to the nearest military base. It was early in the morning and the Colonel had not yet
gotten out of bed. Once awake he radioed the General and was ordered to bring the Americans to his house.
In the meantime he said he had deployed a full company to secure the site and make sure that no workers
were allowed to leave.
General Cannu was the Area Commander and his house was 45 miles away from the base. When Carter and
his partner arrived they were greeted with the same excitement that they had brought with them. The General
immediately got on the phone and called General Ver. Carter told Ver what he had found and requested the
demolition team be sent immediately. Ver was equally excited and told the Americans to go back to their
hotel and he would send a car for them. He assured Carter that the demolition team was on the way and that
the site was secure. It was still before noon and they did as requested and returned to their hotel to wait. It
was a long day. With adrenaline pumping they paced their rooms until late in the afternoon when Colonel
Luchica, the Generals aide, called and said to be downstairs in an hour and a car would be waiting for them
to be bring them to the palace. Carter was a little surprised that the Colonel was somewhat sedate on the
phone, but decided he may not have been told by Ver that they had reached the target.
General Ver's big dark blue Mercedes was waiting for them. The driver and Lieutenant Saprosantos were in
civilian clothes. Carter and his partner settled in the back seat eagerly awaiting their reception at the Palace.
The driver was taking a different route and Carter mentioned that this wasn't the way to the Palace.
Saprosantos said that the plans had been changed, the meeting was to take place at a secret spot. Carter
watched the driver turn into Fort Bonafacio and drive up to the iron gates of the American cemetary where
there were acres of white crosses of the war dead. The guards at the gate opened it to admit the Mercedes.
Carter looked at his partner and they both whispered that something was wrong. When the car stopped near
the circular memorial Carter saw Colonel Lachica and his aide Major Olivas. He was still nervous, but he
decided that Ver and the President were in another car and planned to meet them there. But, why such an
The two Americans were not long in finding out. As the Colonel approached the car he drew a US Army .45
Colt from his belt. He took Carter by the arm and led him from the driveway to a clump of rhododendron
bushes. Carter could see his partner being led to other bushes 50 yards away by the Major, who also had his
gun drawn. Once inside the bushes he was taken to a freshly dug four foot hole. The Colonel put the gun
behind his ear and said that he was sorry, but his orders must be carried out. Carter thought the Colonel was
his friend, but he could tell that this was no joke. Trying to regain his dignity he calmly said that the Colonel
could pull the trigger, but if he did he would be laying next to Carter in a few days. The Colonel asked him
what he meant and Carter said that only he had the maps to the 172 treasure sites and if he was killed
Marcos would never be able to recover anyother sites. The Colonel lowered the gun and yelled to the Major
something in Tagalog. He was then led back to the monument and seated on a marble bench. He couldn't
see his partner, but he didn't hear a shot.
Colonel Lachica called over two burly guards also in civilian clothes. He spoke to them in tagalog and one of
them drew a pistol. Carter saw the Colonel walk over to a military jeep and get on the radio. He couldn't hear
what was being said. It was a long conversation and ended with the Colonel saying, "yes sir," in English. He
came back to Carter and sat down on the bench. He told Carter that they would have to wait. Carter knew
why, they were checking with Colonel Villacrusis to see if he had the maps and they were going to search all
of their rooms at the hotel. If they found the maps he would be back at that hole fertilizing the bushes. Carter
asked about his partner and the Colonel said he was all right. It was a long wait. An eternity to Carter under
the circumstances. The Colonel would get up from time to time and talk on the radio.
At one point the Colonel returned and asked Carter if he he knew about an article that appeared in the
Washington Post written by Jack Anderson which said that Marcos and several Americans were digging
Japanese war treasures in the Santa Maria mountains. He accused Carter or his people of leaking the story.
Carter denied any knowledge and assured him that his people were not at fault. In his heart he knew this was
true since his people would not have put them at risk. It was well after dark when the Colonel was called to the
jeep to answer a radio call. He had a long conversation and finally returned and said he was very sorry for all
of this. Carter could return to the hotel and General Ver would meet with him tomorrow. His partner joined him
and they were driven back to the hotel. It wasn't until they were safe in his room that he and his partner were
able to relax somewhat. Their rooms had been thoroughly searched and all papers and pictures that were in
them had been taken. Carter ran to his hiding place and breathed a sigh of relief. The maps were still there.
Had they found them he and his partner wouldn't be. They had to get rid of them.
Later that evening Carter and his partner burned the wax coated maps in a hibachi that they had on the
outside balcony of their conference room. They scattered the ashes in the breeze from the 10th floor during
thedark hours of the morning. They could not relax even when this was done. Carter had sent a coded telex to
his office asking that they telex him right back requesting he come home for an annual stockholder's meeting.
He never mentioned the cemetery incident for fear that Marcos was monitoring his communications and might
have broken his code. Coming back to his room he was followed by a military type wearing civilian clothes
who had gotten on the elevator with him. Carter saw the handle of a gun in his waist band. The man got off
first and opened a door near Carter's room. Carter looked in and saw a dozen men and several rifles leaning
against the bed. He scurried to his room and closed the door. He called his partner to warn him. There was
no sleep for Carter or his partner that night.
The requested telex from his office was delivered to his room in the morning. He placed a call to General Ver.
His aide said he was out of town and transferred the call to Colonel Lachica. Carter told the Colonel that he
and his partner had to go home for a week and read the phoney telex to him. Carter assured the Colonel he
would be back and to prove it he was going to keep his rooms and leave all of his clothes and equipment
behind. There was no mention of the night before, but Carter sensed that the Colonel was hesitant. He finally
said that the General was with the President in Baguio and he would have to radio them for permission.
Carter didn't wait, he called the airport and made reservations with United Airlines, an American carrier, for
the evening flight. He and his partner packed some light bags leaving everything else behind.
The Colonel called back and said the General had said it was okay providing that Carter kept his hotel rooms
and promised to be back in a week. Carter and his partner rushed to the airport hours ahead of the
scheduled flight. While packing Carter had told his partner to pack only one small bag that could be carried on
board the airplane. He was afraid that someone might slip some drug, guns, or other contraband into them
and that would give them an excuse to detain them. At the airport they stood over their bags for the same
reason. Once on board the airplane they were still tense until the plane began making speed down the
runway. Just before takeoff, the pilot cut back the power and taxied back to the gate. Carter and his partner
were sure it was because of them. The cabin door opened and two uniformed Majors and a Colonel entered.
The stewardess paged Jack Carter to the open door. Carter approached and the Colonel said he was
required to search his baggage.
Carter, who was in First Class, summoned false courage and made a scene. He refused to let them search
his on board luggage stating that customs had already examined it. He also said he was an American citizen
on an American plane with legal exit permits. The Colonel hesitated and finally called someone on the hand
held radio he was carrying. The conversation was in Tagalog and ended with a "yes, Sir". He then told Carter
he could return to his seat. Carter and his partner did not breathe again until the plane was airborne and then
not until they were well over the Pacific.
President Marcos remained the dictator of the Philippines for another eleven years. By all rights Carter's role
in this treasure should have ended with his escaping from the Islands with his life. It would have, except
months earlier Carter and his partner had photographed all of the maps with both a polaroid and a 35mm
camera. These pictures were sent home along with hundreds of crucial documents. There was no threat to
Carter at the time but he wanted to have the pictures to work with whenhe returned home, and anyway they
were taking up too much space in his room. Now, having burned the originals, these photographs were the
only copies of the maps that existed. He carefully hid them when he finally arrived back in Nevada.
Carter and his partner came home to a living hell. They had gambled everything on the promises of Marcos.
They were broke and their business was destroyed. Later they would learn that Marcos had a lot to do with
this even while they were still digging at the Teresa site. Marcos made many attempts to entice Carter to
return to the Philippines saying that "all is well". From the Ambassador he learned that Marcos had recovered
$6 billion from the cruiser Nachi and had already brought up $8 billion in gold from the Teresa site. This was
when gold was selling for $38 an ounce. Carter knew from the maps that there was a lot more in both sites.
Still 1/11th of $14 billion was tempting, but he remembered the .45 pressed behind his ear. He didn't have
enough money for food, but he resisted the temptation. Carter did send a letter to the President demanding
his share. There was no reply. In late 1976 Carter read in the newspaper that the Ambassador who was a
member of the Leber group was giving a speech in Nevada. He decided to confront him and had prepared
another letter for the President this time threatening to go to the press unless Marcos honored his agreement.
The Ambassador refused to talk to him, but he took the letter.
Carter and his partner's woes mounted. They had lost everything including their homes. Marcos agitated their
stockholders and they had lost a civil suit because they did not have the money to put up a defense. They
were indicted for fraud because of the loans they had obtained from the powerful right wing organization. With
no money for a defense and with all of their company records stolen they were forced to plead nolo
contendere to wire fraud. The loans were arranged by telephone. There were other reasons for this plea, his
partner was dying and the court appointed attorney had done nothing to prepare a defense. They were given
probation by a Federal Court. Now, as non-convicted felons their careers were over. They moved to Las
Vegas hoping to start over. Carter went back to selling cars and his partner went on welfare until he died from
a broken heart within two years.
Carter kept track of what was happening in the Philippines as best he could. One day he received a tape of a
phone conversation of two Leber group members discussing a contract that General Ver had made with the
Chicago Mafia for Carter's assassination. Carter took this threat seriously and sought the advice of U.S.
Senator Paul Laxalt. He knew Laxalt since he had been the second in command of his honor guard when
Laxalt was the Governor of Nevada. He had prepared 32 hours of audio tapes including many of the phone
conversations of the various players. He also provided the Senator with over a thousand copies of the
documents that would support the tapes. Laxalt's advice was to go public with the story. He also took the
tapes and documents to the U.S. State Department who told him they knew all about the Carter involvement
with Marcos. The tapes and documents would be later turned over to a Senate subcommittee.
Meanwhile Carter had gone to see Hank Greenspun, the owner of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper. He
brought in Jack Anderson, the syndicatecolumnist of the Washington Post, to investigate the story. After
verifying the tapes and having the signatures on the documents authenticated, both Anderson and the Sun
coordinated in writing a lengthy series of articles which were published on the same day that became a
media frenzy throughout the world. This was in 1978. Marcos was in trouble and denied everything. He
launched a media campaign of his own to counter Carter's story. He also called off the hit squad, but for how
The stories had revealed that Carter had escaped with copies of the maps. Marcos was livid. Colonel
Villacrusis had lied to him in assuring him that he still possessed the maps. When Marcos finally learned the
truth he made many attempts to get Carter to "kiss and make-up". At one point he agreed to send Carter $5
billion worth of gold to Nevada in 747s which would represent Carter's 1/11th share. The planes were loaded
and sent, but at the last minute Marcos diverted them to Zurich. Carter would later learn that Marcos had sent
Carter's share to Hong Kong and had planned to pay him on the same day these stories were printed. Years
later Carter was thankful that he didn't know about this Hong Kong gold for he might have gone to get it and
conveniently been killed in the British Colony. During the next eight years there were other attempts to enlist
Carter. Carter remained steadfast; he insisted on being paid his share first and then he would give Marcos
one map at a time. It never happened. If Carter were to suddenly become very wealthy, the world would know
that the treasure stories were real.
These stories deluged Carter with all of the kooks and wannabes in the world. They were coming out of the
woodwork. He resisted all of their grandiose schemes. There were two incidents that he took seriously. One
involved a son of a famed American aviator and an equally famous astronaut. They had found what they
thought was the location of a sunken Japanese hospital ship, the Awa Maru, which was one of the treasure
ships that was sunk by an American submarine at the end of the war while on its' way to Manila. One
Japanese sailor who had survived the sharks had been rescued and he told of the treasure on board. The
second offer involved the Australian government and a well planned removal of treasures from the Island of
Corregidor. Carter succumbed to this plan and the outcome was a comedy of errors. With his partner dead,
Carter waited patiently until after Marcos was removed from power and was spirited out of the country during
the "People's Revolution" in February 1986.
Marcos was gone and forced to live in Hawaii. By all rights Carter should have been out of the treasure
business. Carter knew that Marcos had left behind a strong group of loyalist and politicians. This was true
even after Aquino became President. Carter was keeping informed of what was happening in the Philippines
through the Movement for the Free Philippines who were a strong anti-Marcos faction. Carter had the
treasure maps but had no plans to use them. At the time he considered personally going back to the Islands
impossible. Suicidal was a better word. Carter was also being informed of events through Jack Anderson
and his reporters. There was a major American historical event which changed all of that.
The US Congress had passed the Boland Agreement which required the CIA to seek their approval for
funding of their covert operations. With so many Congressmen knowledgeable about their operations they
knew that secrecy was impossible. They chose to get their funds from other sources. The result was the
Iran-Contra scandal that led to extensive Congressional hearings. Among those who were required to testify
was Marine Lt. Colonel Oliver North, retired Major General John Singlaub, and Lieutenant General Robert
Schweitzer. The media was having a field day about the illegal sale of arms to Iran. During the second world
war Singlaub had been with the OSS and later was a Section Head of the CIA station in Mukden, Manchuria.
During the Vietnam war he commanded the assassination team known as Operation Phoenix. Schweitzer
was a Deputy Director of the National Security Council and a senior military advisor to President Reagan.
Both of these men had offices in the Pentagon and were members of a high level think-tank made up of other
senior military officers and top politicians known as the Geo-Military Tech.
Prior to Marcos's ouster Jack Anderson had reported to Carter that the CIA had made a deal with the
President and were in the Philippines digging for Japanese buried treasurer A CIA front corporation called
Nippon Star was headed by General Singlaub and was made up of many senior officers, some still on active
duty. Anderson had gone to the Philippines and confirmed that this information was true. The Philippine press
had a media circus over this and Anderson broke the news in the US in his articles. Anderson told Carter that
they were digging at four sites. Carter knew that only one of those sites was real and that was at Mount
Makiling, near the town of Los Banos and the campus of the University of the Philippines. Anderson correctly
assumed that the CIA was going to use these unlimited funds to get around the Boland Agreement. Anderson
also reported that they had an eyewitness and another member of the Leber Group on their payroll. But they
only had the eyewitness memory and not the treasure maps. Carter was confused about the three sites that
were not real.
By January 15, 1987 Carter had become a general manager of a new car dealership in Las Vegas. He
received a phone call in his office from a man who identified himself as Alan Foringer who said he was calling
from an attorney's office in Seattle, Washington. He asked if Carter would meet with him later that day. Carter
asked him what he wanted to talk about and Foringer said he was digging for treasure in the Philippines and
knew that Carter was the key to the success of their venture. Carter wanted more details and when Foringer
said that he was the President of Nippon Star and that General Singlaub was with his group, Carter said that
was a CIA operation and he wanted nothing to do with it. He refused the meeting and hung up. The next
morning just before 9:00 AM two men entered his office. The tall one introduced himself as Alan Foringer.
Carter was angry and told him he that must not hear too good. He was about to throw them out of his office
when Foringer looked at his watch and said that Carter was going to receive a phone call in a few minutes
from a representative of President Reagan. Carter decided to wait.
At exactly 9:00 AM his phone rang and a man identified himself as Lt. General Robert Schweitzer. He said he
was calling at the request of the President. Carter interrupted him and asked where he was calling from. The
General said from his office in the Pentagon. Carter told him he would call him back. He did not ask for the
phone number, instead he called the information operator and got the main number to the Pentagon. He
dialed the number and asked the operator for the office of General Schweitzer. The secretary answered and
when he gave her his name she said the General was expecting his call. The man who answered the phone
was the same voice he had spoken to earlier. The conversation lasted over an hour with the General trying to
convince Carter to join them. Perhaps Carter had seen too many movies about the CIA and he wanted no
part of a CIA operation. The General used every persuasion. It wasn't until the General asked him if he wasn't
a loyal American and if he would not want to help his country that Carter agreed to talk to Foringer and later
with General Singlaub. Schweitzer ended the conversation by saying President Reagan would be pleased
with his decision.
After five days of meetings Foringer and several phone calls with General Singlaub in Manila Carter signed
an agreement with Nippon Star. The computer disk had been prepared by attorneys for the Geo-Military
Tech. Under the agreement Carter was to receive one third of the treasure and he was one of five members
of the management team along with Foringer, Singlaub, and Schweitzer. Nippon Star was also to receive one
third. The remaining third was to go to a secret foundation controlled by the management team that was to be
used "in the interest of promoting and maintaining freedom in other parts of the world." All in all it was
somewhat of a scary document. Singlaub did not attend these meetings since he was busy running the sites
in the Philippines and meeting with Ray Cline, a previous Assistant Director of the CIA and at the time the
head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence, who was in Manila touring the sites and working out
the security. After signing, Singlaub wanted Carter to come to the Philippines to meet with him. Carter
refused, but did agree to meet with all of the management team in Hong Kong. It turned out to be a four day
marathon. Carter recorded the meetings and they were unbelievable. All of a sudden he found himself
discussing the future of the world with people who could influence it. Nothing in his life had prepared him for
this. He liked Singlaub and considered him an American hero, but was concerned with some of the direction
that the meeting had taken.
Those concerns became alarm when, a few days after the Hong Kong meeting, he received a handwritten
letter from Alan Foringer describing a CIA takeover and the establishment of a new "Military-industrial
complex controlled by us and Daniel Graham of the SDI High Frontier, George Keagan, Chief of U.S.A.F.
Intelligence and Jack Nessey, recently retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff." The matters that needed
to be discussed were:
Strategic Defense Initiatives, Other Space Programs, B-1 Bombers, MX Missiles, etc. and Conventional
Weaponry. This was all out of Carter's league. What followed was right out of the comic books. There were
dozens of high paid military officers over the rank of Colonel, Navy Seals, and politicians all staying in a "safe
house" outside of Manila. The CIA people and the Philippine workers were being harassed by the Russian
KGB who were offering large sums of money for information. They descended on the Philippines in droves
seeking some of this easy money. Carter had to quit his job because keeping up with all of this was too time
Three incidents occurred which dictated Carter's next action. First he had provided Singlaub and Schweitzer
with an easy-to-do site on Corregidor. This was a real site but not a map site. It could be dug in five days.
Elaborate plans were made and a force of thirty men were sent to the island including the armed security.
Nippon Star had a permit to do this site signed by the Office of the President. Digging started and excitement
was high. Singlaub was not present and Schweitzer had gone to Manila to take his place. Singlaub was
testifying at the Iran-Contra Hearings in Washington. After mobilizing this large force they started to dig.
Before they got down four feet a dozen helicopters landed and deployed troops of the Presidential Security
Force. Outnumbered, the guards surrendered and they were driven off the island at gun point. It turned out that
the permits they had obtained were bogus, issued on Presidential stationery and signed by someone who
had no such authority. Carter couldn't believe it.
The second incident was worse. All their radio transmission were scrambled through state of the art
electronics. The descrambler was in the back room of the safe house in Alabang. With no air conditioning the
windows were left open. It turned out that the CIA had rented this house right next door to a KGB safe house.
All the Russians had to do was listen and they knew exactly what was going on. On top of this one of the
housekeepers was listening to the table conversations and reporting to the Russians who were paying her.
Carter would later describe this as a "Katzenjammer Kids" operation. God help our country if the rest of our
country's intelligence was being run this same way. He held back giving them any more information.
The third straw that broke the camel's back was when Carter learned that one of the key motivaters behind
Foringer seeking him out in the first place was the same man who was responsible for his indictment after he
returned from the Philippines with his life. Foringer had called him from his office in Seattle, Washington. This
was that same secret organization that Carter had borrowed money from. They had agreed to finance the CIA
operation, but only if they got Carter, because only he had the maps. That did it, Carter sent General
Schweitzer a letter cancelling the agreement. But, how do you quit the CIA and live? At this point Carter didn't
really care. All of this pressure put him in the hospital near death. He did recover after three serious
operations and the CIA continued to try to get him back. Events quickly moved on.
Alan Foringer and the Nippon Star group continued working in the Philippines for several years. In spite of
Carters warnings that only one site they were working on was real, they continued to throw away time and
money. On the real site they discounted Carters suggestions and hired a so-called eyewitness who Carter
had told them was a fraud. They followed the advice of this "eyewitness" whose name was Peter Lim and
managed to miss the target, which was only a few yards away. With Carter gone the Seattle attorney and his
group withdrew their funding. With no results and with the Geo-Military Tech exposed along with the bad taste
left after the Iran-Contra hearings, the CIA slowly removed their support and tried, unsuccessfully, to resort to
denying their involvement. Foringer, who was a real healthy and robust individual would die under the most
mysterious circumstances. Even after his death members of the group tried to again recruit Carter.
After Carter's cancellation of the Nippon Star agreement he decided to explore the possibility of getting a
legal permit to do a recovery on his own. He went to San Francisco to meet with Alex Esclamado, the
owner-publisher of the Philippine News. Esclamado was the brother-in-law of the Speaker of the House of the
Philippine Congress. Carter knew Esclamado and had met with him many times. He was a pioneer in printing
an anti-Marcos newspaper and had published a 23 part series of the original Carter expose' which ran for
nearly a year. Carter supplied the information, photographs and documents. At the time it did a lot of damage
to Marcos who constantly put his foot in it everytime he tried to deny his participation in the Leber Group. It
was during this meeting that Carter's lower colon exploded with severe pain. Carter ignored the pain and
even ate lunch. Esclamado wanted to take him to a hospital, but he was determine to go home to see his own
doctor. Fortunately his plane was delayed at the airport; he passed out before he boarded it.
He woke up two days later in a South San Francisco hospital. The doctor who had operated on him said that
when they opened him up on the table two other doctors had suggested that they sew him back up. The
peritonitis was too far advanced. One doctor said he looks healthy otherwise, let's clean him up and see how
he responds to antibiotics. It was touch and go. Esclamado and others thought he was dying and arranged for
his brother-in-law, Ramon Mitra, the Speaker of the House, to visit him at the hospital to discuss the maps
and the future benefit they could have for the Philippines. He was also visited by an author who had
interviewed him earlier for a book he was writing about Marcos's gold. The author, Charles McDougald, who
had lived in the Philippines, also thought Carter was dying. McDougald was at the hospital every day trying to
get as much information from Carter as possible. Carter, who was heavily sedated with morphine, hardly
remembered that he was even there, but he must have revealed a lot.
After a month and a half Carter was finally home although bed-ridden and under a nurse's care. He couldn't
walk and was facing another surgery when he was strong enough. McDougald who knew the purpose of
Carter's meeting with Esclamado continued to stay in daily contact by telephone. He had told Carter that he
had a friend who had been the President of the University of the Philippines. He was now President Aguino's
Chairman of the National Security Council and Head of the Crisis Committee. His name was Dr. Emmanuel
Soriano. McDougald had told him all about Carter and the fact that he had been talking to the Speaker,
Ramon Mitra. Mitra was a politically strong opposition candidate for Aquino's presidency. Soriano told
President Aquino about Carter. She had met Carter before her husbands assassination. When McDougald
told Soriano that Carter was going back into surgery and that the chances of his recovery were very slim,
Soriano got the Presidents permission to fly to Las Vegas to meet with him. He was hoping to get Carter to
agree to working with Aquino to recover a treasure site. Soriano told Carter that the President was very
serious about this and had sent him during the height of a serious coup d'etat where he was desperately
needed. Carter was impressed with this and with Soriano.
What follows is too long for this outline. It involves a dig on Corregidor which was aborted because of U.S.
Seabee's; an excavation at Fort Santiago (not the air-vent which Marcos had recovered); a cave-in that killed
two of Carter's workmen due to a Japanese booby-trap; another media frenzy that caused Carter to appear
before the Philippine Senate and the Congress which almost cost Cory Aquino her Presidency; and
Soriano's and McDougald's successful takeover of the Fort Santiago site and Carter's expulsion from the
Philippines. It also includes the theft of another of Carter's sites that he had started at the Bonafacio Bridge
and the successful recovery which was kept from the President and the world. The latter site was financed by
a Las Vegas major illegal drug dealer who was also behind the takeover of Fort Santiago. At this point Carter
was beginning to believe that the ghosts of the many dead had put a curse on this Philippine gold, ala the
curse of King Tut's tomb. In reality Carter knew that what he had been experiencing, even during his first
exposure to this treasure with Marcos, was pure and simple greed. He would learn later that greed certainly
played a big part in it, but the real problem was a lot more sinister and harder to detect.
Carter, knowing that gold fever was going to be a factor, decided that his next hunt was not going to involve a
lot of investors. He entered into a partnership with an Arizona multi-millionaire who agreed to fund the entire
dig. He had two sons who were supposed to help Carter and were willing to get their hands dirty. During
Carter's last trip to the Philippines he had renewed his friendship with Giga and Valmores. He hadn't seen
them in thirteen years. It was a warm reunion. Carter and the two eyewitnesses set out to locate the site they
wanted to do. Carter had insisted that the site be on private land after the fiasco he encountered with the
Government when digging on Federal land. Aquino was still in power. on private land he would not need a
government permit. The World Court's forty year moratorium had expired in 1986 so the war loot would
belong to the owner of the property under Philippine law. Carter wanted to return to the old Teresa site where
Marcos made a recovery. Carter knew there was considerable treasure left in those tunnels. He had
examined them and they were only partially dug. He tried to make a deal with the landowner but he insisted on
50% of the treasure. Carter was thinking only 20% to the landowner. He decided to keep looking.
Ben Valmores told Carter about a major site in the Santa Maria Mountains. It was isolated and was on private
land. Carter did not know this site and in checking his maps he did not have one for that area. Ben solved his
dilemma by producing an original wax map. How could that be? Carter had burned all 172 of the waxed
maps. Valmores told Carter that there had been really 175 maps and that he had kept three of them for his
own personal use. Valmores knew this site well and had been checking on it every three months since the war
to make sure it wasn't being worked on. The map was genuine all right. The distinctive waxing process and
the ancient Japanese characters were drawn by the same cartographer who had drawn the maps he
possessed. More importantly six of the nine landmarks still existed. This was a large site. There were seven
large deposits on the landowner's property. it had been a major Japanese encampment during the war. The
Japanese had called it Little Tokyo. It was the scene of a major battle in 1945 since it controlled all roads
leading east of Manila. There had been only a few survivors and those were not officers.
The commanding general Akira Tanaka had died there. Carter knew this was going to be a major excavation.
One that might take a year to reach the first target, that is unless he could convince the landowner to allow him
to use a bulldozer and a clamshell crane.
Carter met the Santa Maria landowner. He was surprised to learn that he knew there were major treasure
sites on his property. He had good reason. His father allowed a team of Japanese in 1948 to dig on his
property under the guise that they were building a shinto shrine and a monument to General Tanaka and his
command. The Japanese worked for over a year and they secured the site with dozens of armed Japanese.
The owner's father was not allowed anywhere near the digging. They used huge cranes and bulldozers. The
Japanese did build the shrine and the monument. Carter knew that could have been accomplished in less
than a month. They were digging for treasure. The shrine was over an actual site so he assumed it was
recovered. The monument was 100 feet away from any site. He guessed that without the maps they didn't
know where else to dig. Carter negotiated a deal with the landowner that gave him four years to recover all of
the remaining sites. The landowner would not let him use heavy equipment nor could he tear up the
landscape. The property was covered with mango, papaya and cashew trees.
By using the map, the landmarks, the foundations of the Japanese buildings, and Valmores's incredible
memory, Carter was able to locate the original filled-in air vent. He confirmed this with electronic instruments.
Valmores had described sitting on the outer steps of a long building with the Prince inside and watching over
two weeks of trucks coming in and the heavy cargos lowered down the shaft. The gold was in iron boxes with
aluminum straps. When they first arrived the Prince had one of the boxes opened. Valmores saw the contents
were gold. He would later estimate that they were 75 kilo bars and that each box contained six bars. No
wonder the Japanese had used a large crane to lower the boxes in the shaft. They weighed over a thousand
pounds. Carter started digging in October 1990 knowing that the monsoon season was only three months
The map showed that the tunnel floor was 55 feet down from the surface. Since the soil was all back-filled he
would need to use heavy timber to shore every inch of the shaft to avoid cave-ins. It was a major construction
project and very expensive. The uprights were 8" x 8" x 12". He used the hardest wood he could find. It had to
be hauled 20 milles from Manila on single lane roads most of which were unpaved. The digging progressed
and artifacts were beginning to surface. A worker found a Japanese whistle and a rusty helmet at the 35'
level. They also ran into tremendous ground water. During the war these tunnels opened onto a rice patty
some 80 feet lower than the tunnel floor. The water had a natural flow, but now it was a problem. They had to
purchase some heavy submersible pumps. The deeper they went the more pumps had to be added. When
they reached the 45' mark the rainy season started and the shaft was flooded right to the top. There was no
way they could continue until next season.
Just before the rainy season Carter experienced more gold fever. This time it was the landowner. Carter had
employed two security guards who were in civilian clothes so as not to attract attention with the nearby
farmers. They were private guards and not military. They were armed with handguns and were there to protect
the Americans from roving bandits and keep the equipment from disappearing. After Carter recovered the
whistle and helmet he showed them to the landowner. It was a mistake. The landowner armed a dozen locals
with heavy weapons and jumped the guards. He ran off all of the workers and claimed all of the equipment as
his own. It was a touchy situation. Carter could hire his own armed men and forcibly take the site back, but
that would be a blood bath. He was in a foreign land and even if he wasn't that type of action was not in his
nature. He hired an attorney and filed criminal complaints against the landowner for illegal possession of
firearms, threatening his workers, and the theft of his equipment. It turned out that the landowner was heavily
into drugs and that his armed men were supplied by the local police chief, who was also supplying him with
his drugs. Carter was happy that the rainy season had started. The tunnels were flooded and the landowner
had no idea where to go from there. It would be three months before that problem was resolved and the
landowner was placed in a detox clinic by other family members to dry out. Carter dropped the charges and
would be allowed to resume work after the rain stopped.
Carter was experiencing other problems. His new partner had a heavy drinking problem. He seldom came to
the site. Carter's problem with it was when he had been drinking his personality changed completely. His two
sons who were there to help him also became a problem. The younger one was stoned on drugs and couldn't
function. Carter requested he be sent home. His partner resented that. The other son was quite a help to
Carter. He would die within two years from lung cancer which probably was caused by the bad air in the
tunnels. He had passed a physical before he came to the Philippines and was dead within months of being
diagnosed with cancer. Carter's partner problems got worse after they were unable to work on the Santa
Maria site. His partner had befriended a Filipino who convinced him that he had a treasure site on his
property in Northern Mindinao. Carter met with him and advised his partner that he didn't believe the story. His
partner insisted that they go and check it out. It was an interesting trip, but ended abruptly when Carter was
threatened with an Uzi machine pistol by this new landowner and a number of guards who turned out to be
military. Carter vowed he would never again find himself looking down the barrel of a gun.
Back in Manila Carter's partner problems exploded. The partner breached his contract and cut off all funding.
He tried to take over the Santa Maria site. They both filed lawsuits against each other. Carter retrieved the
valuable equipment from the site and placed it in storage. Using his own money he paid off all debts and left
the Philippines after securing the excavation by filling it in. It took a year to settle the lawsuits with Carter being
given possession of the site. His partner was out, but Carter did not have the personal funds to finance a
continuation of the Santa Maria dig and that site was so real and so close. Once again Carter was forced to
admit that the phrase "Gold Fever" was not just words but a dangerous phobia. He was reminded of the
Hollywood movie, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre". During the next three years Carter would continue
digging at the Santa Maria site finally isolating the treasure chamber. Gold fever of his associates and their
many attempts to steal the site continued to plague him. Carter was beginning to think that there really was a
curse on this treasure, or on him. He would later find out that it was a far more earthly curse that he was
dealing with and that it was controlled by men, not ghosts.
THE GOLD OF THE SUN
The remainder of the story in brief.
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were indicted by the U.S. Federal Court. Ferdinand would die before the trial
and Imelda would win an acquittal by releasing 72,000 metric tons of gold which were being stored in Fort
Carter would file a lawsuit against the Marcos's claiming $79 Billion as his 1/11th share of the treasure they
owed him under the Leber Group Agreement. He would obtain a default judgement.
Carter who had seen the golden buddha at the summer palace which was recovered by Rogelio Roxas and
stolen by Marcos gave a detailed deposition to attorney's who had sued the Marcos's for its theft. Carter's
video deposition was shown to a Honolulu Federal Court jury and that allowed Roxas's attorney to win a $22
Billion judgement. Roxas had died mysteriously on his way to the trial.
Carter met a middle aged Filipina who had spent years trying to locate him. Her name was Mary Salazar and
she had been, and still was, a trustee for Marcos's treasure. From Salazar Carter was to learn the inside story
of everything that had happened to him and a lot more. Salazar had been present when the treasure was
removed from the Cruiser Nachi and from the Teresa site. She had inventoried it, took pictures of it, and
finally sold it. Salazar had brokered all of the Marcos treasure. She eventually turned over to Carter all of her
files and more importantly the Marcos files. Over 60,000 documents including detailed records of the sales.
These documents would reveal every transaction and the location of the many banks that still held Marcos
The documents also revealed the secret deals with President Reagan, the China Mandate with Mao Tse-tung
where 5000 metric tons of gold were sent to China which was negotiated by President Nixon in exchange for
no further Chinese aggression in Asia, the MacArthur agreement with Yamashita and Emperor Hirohito, the
CIA involvement in the sale of the treasure and the use of U.S. aircraft carriers to transport the tonnage, the
Sicilian Mafia control of the 23 man Umbrella that approved all sales and transfers, the Trilateral control on
Marcos and 2000 foreign and US banks, and a whole lot more.
Salazar detailed how Marcos first wanted to kill Carter and later, after learning he had the maps, to pay
Carter. Marcos had even opened a gold storage account in Carter's name in the Sanwa Bank in Hong Kong
and deposited 2000 metric tons of gold. Carter never knew this because he had gone to the press and the
story was published the same day he was to be notified. Through Salazar, Carter met one of the other Marcos
trustees who added her documents to those Carter already possessed. Carter also met other members of
Marcos's secret gold team who helped fill in the many blanks. The most important thing Carter would learn
was who and what was keeping him from making a recovery.
With this new information Carter had worked out a foolproof system on how to finish his projects and more
importantly how to keep it once it had been recovered. One thing was certain, he could not have another
partner, nor could he have any investors. Carter decided to write a book outlining his experiences and
disclosing the entire Japanese gold story. If he was lucky and the book sold he may have his own money to
go back to the Philippines and write the final chapter to this story. Carter knew that there could not be any final
chapter until all of the sites were recovered. He also knew he wouldn't live long enough for that to happen. By
late 1996 he discovered that old members of the CIA's Nippon Star and several of Marcos's Leber group
members had formed another recovery group, this time to go back to the Teresa site and finish that recovery.
Carter couldn't help but feel that he had come full circle. Somehow he was going to generate the revenues he
needed to once again pursue The Gold of the Sun.
Note by Tony Wells: I had to pleasure of meeting Bob Curtis in Las Vegas several years ago. At that time
we spend several days together whereby he told me in great details all about his past ventures of exactly what
happened to him when he was in the Philippines and working with President Marcos and their 'Yamashita
Treasure' exploits. It was very interesting speaking with Bob, who is now deceased. He was a great guy
whom we will all miss.
THE GOLD OF THE SUN
Written by: Robert Curtis