London told Cuisia that he was referring to a specific 1986 polygraph examination he conducted on a Filipino that required an interpreter, and that he regretted using that as an example, Cato said. The ambassador wanted to know why an interpreter was needed since the Phillipines is the world’s third-largest English speaking country, and London said he did not recall since it was so long ago, he said.
Hansen has said that no transcript or recording exists of the remarks, which were made months ago in a conference room at an Iowa State Patrol post in Des Moines.
The Philippine embassy in Washington and its consulate in Chicago expressed interest in the remark after learning about it earlier Friday through news reports.
The diplomatic dustup comes after Branstad’s administration has taken steps to improve Iowa’s relationship with the Philippines.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds led a trade mission to the Philippines and Vietnam from Feb. 22 to March 2, saying she wanted to help the state increase exports of Iowa pork and other products to growing markets in Southeast Asia and help Iowa companies expand there. The trade group visited Manila, among other places, and met with government officials and business leaders. Comprised of more than 7,000 islands, the Phillipines has a population of roughly 98 million.
Branstad’s aides have not returned multiple inquiries about the matter this week.