396.1 LO/5–550: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Preparatory Meetings to the Secretary of State

Secto 136. Following is agreed tripartite minute on specific fields common endeavor in SEA:

“The tripartite subcommittee has examined question of closer collaboration in the area and suggests that following, while by no means exhaustive, are certain measures which might be jointly taken by governments France, US, and UK:

A. Arms smuggling.

It is recognized that there is a considerable amount of arms smuggling taking place in SEA and that these arms are being supplied to subversive movements throughout the area. Thailand is believed to be one of focal points for this arms traffic; for example arms are known to be smuggled over Thailand-Cambodian border into Indochina for use by Vietminh forces.

It is, therefore, suggested that French, US, and UK Ambassadors Bangkok should be instructed meet together to discuss ways and means influencing Thailand Government to exercise stricter control over the smuggling of arms into and out of Thailand.

Inasmuch as Philippines are a recognized source of smuggled arms, which find their way to Thailand and other destinations (e.g. Malaya and Indonesia), USDel has recommended to Department State that an approach might be made through the diplomatic channel to Philippine Government on subject.

Subcommittee also suggests three governments should give further consideration to general problem checking illicit arms traffic in SEA.

B. Coordination of policy in regard to publicity.

In view common threat to area from subversive movements led by local CP’s and revolutionary propaganda they issuing in accordance general line given out by Moscow, subcommittee suggests three governments should seek coordinate their policy on exposing and combating Communist propaganda through consultation between their authorities in area.

It is recognized there is much material provided by captured documents which could be used to good purpose for exposing aims and designs Communists. Subcommittee suggests representatives of three [Page 948] powers in area consult together with view to making best use this material.”1

Sent Department Secto 136; repeated Paris 746.

  1. This minute and the paper transmitted in Secto 135, May 4, p. 943, were combined as minutes 2 and 1, respectively, in the report of Subcommittee C on Southeast Asia. Together with a preamble explaining French reservations on minute 1 and the attitude of the British and French concerning a three-power declaration on Southeast Asia, these minutes were submitted to the tripartite plenary as TRI/P/21. The plenary meeting on May 6 discussed TRI/P/21 and agreed on its texts with a revision of paragraph 3 of minute 1 and subject to French reservations on paragraphs 7 and 8, and with minutes 1 and 2 combined into a single minute. TRI/P/21, renumbered as MIN/TRI/P/9, was then submitted to the Foreign Ministers who discussed it at their fifth meeting on May 13. For a report on this meeting, see Secto 246, May 13, p. 1052.