892.01/12–3044: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China ( Hurley )

54. Reurtel 2086, December 30. The Department feels that no action should be taken at this time which might imply support of any particular Thai group as opposed to any other Thai group in connection with any plans for the establishment of a Free Thai Government-in-exile or any similar political movement. For our policy in regard to Thailand see Department’s 373, March 23, 1944,5 to which should be added that this Government does not recognize the lawfulness of transfers under Japanese pressure of territories from Indochina, Malaya and Burma to Thailand,6 and agrees that they must be restored, without prejudice however to the presentation by any nation of claims for border adjustments or territorial transfers in accordance with orderly and peaceful procedures.

When you meet the Thai officials in question please endeavor to learn their purpose, their authority, and whether any messages they carry are for the Chinese, British or us alone, or for all three powers.

With regard to your reply to the Foreign Office, we rely on your judgment and discretion in the light of the foregoing policy instructions, of the background information below, and of our understanding that OSS7 is anxious that these groups proceed as promptly as possible to Washington, to which the Department has no objection. For your information only, General Donovan8 will arrive in Chungking in about 10 days. He is fully familiar with this situation, and the Department desires that you give him such assistance as you deem appropriate.

For your background information: a suggested establishment of a Free Thai Government-in-exile in India was disapproved by the British Foreign Office, and the British in their political warfare have forbidden the use of the term “Free Thai”. British attitude toward Thailand is different from ours partly because a state of war exists between Great Britain and Thailand whereas we have not declared [Page 1242] war on Thailand.9 Mr. Eden10 has indicated that the British want to see the restoration of Thailand after the war as a free, sovereign and independent state, subject only to its acceptance of such special arrangements for security or economic collaboration as may be judged necessary within an international system. In this connection he made special reference to the Kra Isthmus.11

It is known that some Thai about 2 years ago desired to establish a Free Thai Government-in-exile in Chungking. It is reported that the Chinese wished to have such a government established which they could dominate, but that the Thai in question left China and other Thai who later were approached by the Chinese refused.

The Regent’s12 half brother, the Thai Minister at Stockholm,13 has transmitted a communication believed to be authentic from the Regent to the Thai Minister at Washington requesting him to form a Free Thai Government-in-exile in Washington. The Minister at Washington has told us that he disapproves of this move as futile and illegal but is seeking more information.14

In your discretion you might inform the Thai officials that the Thai Minister believes that at least the civil group should come to Washington promptly for consultation, and that this Government does not object.

Stettinius
  1. Not printed; it gave the substance of a note handed on March 20, 1944, to the British Ambassador, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. v, p. 1313.
  2. For French Indochina-Thailand border dispute, see indexes, ibid., 1941, vol. iv, p. 1041, and ibid., vol. v, p. 934; for texts of convention of peace between France and Thailand and its protocol, and French-Japanese and French-Japanese-Thai protocols, all signed at Tokyo, May 9, 1941, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxliv, pp. 800, 802, and 805. The cessions of Indochinese territory comprised parts of Laos and Cambodia. On August 20, 1943, the Japanese Government, by treaty, transferred to Thailand the four Malay states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, and Trengganu and the Shan States of Kengtung and Mong Pan in Burma.
  3. Office of Strategic Services.
  4. Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan, Director of the Office of Strategic Services.
  5. For documentation on these subjects, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, pp. 913 ff.
  6. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  7. For Mr. Eden’s views on these matters, see airgrams A–1085, September 5, 1944, and A–1404, November 24, 1944, from London, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. v, pp. 1316 and 1319, respectively.
  8. Nai Pridi Phanomyong, also known as Luang Pradist Manudharm.
  9. Arthakitti Phanomyong.
  10. See memorandum of December 12, 1944, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Southwest Pacific Affairs, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. v, p. 1320.