Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Adams)67
The Thai Minister called at the Department to keep an appointment with Mr. Hamilton. He had been informed by telephone that Mr. Hamilton would possibly be engaged in a conference which it was necessary for him to attend and that, if so, the Thai Minister would be received by Mr. Adams.
Mr. Adams received the Thai Minister and expressed Mr. Hamilton’s regret that he was unable himself to receive the Thai Minister. The Thai Minister said that he supposed Mr. Adams was acquainted with the purpose of his visit. Mr. Adams replied that he was and proceeded to convey to the Thai Minister the substance of the attached memorandum dated April 10, 194168 containing points which Mr. Hamilton had proposed to include in his conversation with the Thai Minister.
In accordance with Mr. Acheson’s69 suggestion, Mr. Adams added that he was quite sure that the Thai Minister would understand that the facilities of the American iron and steel industries were being extended to the utmost, that our own defense needs must, of course, receive first consideration and that only after those needs and the needs of Governments actively resisting aggression were met would it be possible to consider other requirements and desires.
The Thai Minister expressed his appreciation of the Department’s willingness to receive and consider appeals for rejected applications covering exports from the United States to Thailand. He said that with regard to appeals still to be made, he would have the firms concerned carefully follow the Department’s suggestions in regard to the preparation of new applications. He stated, however, that there was a special case in which appeals had already been filed which he wished to take up, covering 800 tons of 20 pounds rail which were to [Page 130] be used in the construction of a branch line for the transport of sugar cane from sugar plantations in Thailand to the Government mill at Uttaradit. He said that he thought the case was a rather special one because the machinery for the sugar mill had been purchased from the Philippines. The Thai Minister asked whether he might leave with Mr. Adams a note in regard to the matter.70 Mr. Adams said that he would be very glad to pass the note on to the Office of Controls together with a notation of the Minister’s comment.
On the subject of oil, the Thai Minister said that he had attempted to obtain the use of tankers in the United States for the transportation of petroleum products from the United States to Thailand but had failed in his efforts. He said that he desired to ask frankly whether difficulty would be caused if he were to succeed in obtaining one or more tankers of Japanese nationality for the purpose of transporting petroleum products from the United States to Thailand.
Mr. Adams replied that, speaking personally, he thought that so far as commodities not subject to export restrictions were concerned no difficulty would be encountered, but that if commodities involving the need for export licenses were considered, there would naturally arise the question of why, in view of Japan’s known need for tankers for Japan’s own purposes, Japanese interests would inconvenience themselves to the extent of supplying ships for the transportation of petroleum products from the United States to Thailand. The Thai Minister did not pursue the subject of Japanese tankers further.
He thanked Mr. Adams for receiving him and said that he would like to leave a one-page memorandum in regard to Thailand’s oil requirements. Mr. Adams said that he would be glad to have it and reminded the Thai Minister that the Department would be glad to receive and study any further statistical information which the Thai Government might desire to supply. The Thai Minister said that he would endeavor to gather some statistics in regard to past importations and present normal requirements. Mr. Adams referred to that part of the memorandum dealing with diesel oil and asked what the main use in Thailand was for diesel oil. The Thai Minister replied that the locomotives on the Thai railways were diesel locomotives and that the main use was for railway transportation.
(Note) Mr. Coville came in during the conversation and was present during the latter part of it.