790B.5–MAP/8–2050: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Burma

secret   niact

112. For the Ambassador from Rusk. Re Embtels 103, Aug 18, 113 Aug 19, Singapore’s 136, Aug 20.1

Fundamental to our policy in Burma is prin that we shall not press upon Burmese assistance or advice which is not sought by Burma and cordially received by them. We cannot run slightest risk of any incident which might imply Burma disapproval of MDAP Mission’s visit to Rangoon or of any assistance which US might at any time have in mind.

Under present circumstances, MDAP Mission shld proceed with its plans for countries other than Burma. If there is any substantial change in attitude Rangoon before Mission leaves general area SEA, it might be possible to work in quick last-minute visit Rangoon but present opinion here is that Rangoon is out unless Bur Govt actively and cordially seeks such visit.

You may use ur discretion as to best way to inform Bur Govt of change of Mission’s plans. You shld not fall into any commitment as to later visit. If you need to take matter in stages, you might say casually that Mission was instructed to proceed immed to Bangkok and Manila in connection offer of troop aid to UN forces in Korea made by those countries.

Emb Rangoon will understand that US Military assistance for Burma other than river boats will be delayed indefinitely as result of failure to receive Mission. We do not wish this used as argument to Burmese to receive Mission; this is for info Emb only. There are far too many onerous demands upon US for assistance to permit us to force assistance into unwilling hands. Perhaps Brit Mission must serve as sole channel outside military assistance Burma. River boat aid can proceed without Mission visit Rangoon.

For Melby:2 Request ur mission proceed to next destination on assumption Rangoon cancelled. We shall keep you informed of any change but none is now anticipated here. [Rusk.]

  1. None printed. In the first message the Embassy in Rangoon reported that General Ne Win did not want to stop the visit of the military defense assistance mission to Burma. The second message reported that further evidence suggested that Ne Win was preparing a public rebuff for the mission and advised that the visit be postponed. In the third cable the military assistance mission recommended canceling the visit rather than postponing it. (790B.5–MAP/8–1850 and 1950; 746F.5–MAP/8–2050)
  2. John F. Melby, Chairman of the Joint State–Defense Military Defense Assistance Program Survey Mission.