792.94/98: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

1578. Mr. R. A. Butler73 sent for Johnson74 this afternoon on instructions of the Foreign Secretary. Mr. Eden mentioned that this would be done when I saw him on Saturday. Mr. Butler’s purpose was admittedly to attempt to reenforce representations which he said had already been made to the Department by Lord Halifax in regard to the situation in Thailand. Mr. Butler said that so far there had not been any definite reply to those. It was frankly admitted that the British interests in Thailand in an immediate sense perfect [sic] to ours and much greater. They are genuinely apprehensive here however that if Thailand falls further into the arms of Japan, the Japanese will acquire bases from which operations could be undertaken against Malaya and Singapore and which would make the defense of that area much more necessary from the British point of view besides offering serious menace to communications through the Straits. The British feel therefore that until it is proved that Thailand is beyond praying for they cannot afford to abandon their efforts to retrieve what has been left by Japanese mediation. They feel that whatever line of action they may now take would be made immensely more effective if they could get some form of sympathetic cooperation in action from the United States. Along certain lines of approach particularly financial assistance they would necessarily require American collaboration and they would have to look to America almost entirely to implement any agreement for furnishing arms to that country.

Mr. Butler also mentioned what he said was the unfortunate circumstance that the British Minister Sir J. Crosby and the American Minister were apparently not on terms of mutual sympathy and confidence. He regretted this as he thought that the British Minister was acting in entire loyalty and that any suspicion of British motives in Thailand was unfounded.

The British therefore would propose to proceed toward Thailand in three stages as follows, these paragraphs being quoted from a brief memorandum furnished by Mr. Butler:

[Here follows text similar to aide-mémoire printed infra.]

[Page 134]

You will probably remember that Ray Stevens,75 now Chairman of the Tariff Commission, was several years advisor to the ex-King of Thailand. He succeeded Sayre.76 He might be helpful.

  1. British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Herschel V. Johnson, Minister Counselor of Embassy in the United Kingdom.
  3. Raymond B. Stevens, Adviser on Foreign Affairs to the Siamese Government, 1926–1935.
  4. Francis B. Sayre, High Commissioner in the Philippines, Adviser on Foreign Affairs to the Siamese Government, 1923–1925.