The Ambassador in Thailand (Stanton) to the Secretary of State
114. Deptel 79, February 4, noon.1 I have given lengthy exposition to Prime Minister2 and Foreign Minister of Department’s reasons recognition Bao Dai and views concerning IC situation. Following is summary their views:
- Prime Minister listened most attentively outline situation IC and particularly to my estimate of danger if IC goes completely Communist now that Ho Chi Minh has aligned himself with Moscow and Peiping. Prime Minister stated in reply he fully aware possibility IC going Communist and danger to Thailand from such development, that Thailand Government has definitely taken decision stand with democracy for freedom and independence, and pursuance that policy he and his government would like recognize Bao Dai since his government anti-Communist. He said nevertheless Thai people were Asiatics and in common with other peoples of Asia, they were desirous of seeing those peoples still under colonial domination achieve real freedom and independence. He emphasized the importance of this consideration in thinking of his government, and pointed out that neither the Thai people nor other peoples of this region were convinced that Bao Dai and his government had real freedom and indepence, nor a large measure of support from the people. He said in these circumstances seemed in best interests Thailand watch developments and delay recognition Bao Dai for time being. In reply my query what he thought should be done insure greater popular support Bao Dai, he replied France must grant full independence or at least issue clear-cut statement indicating further and more complete transfer power and authority to Bao Dai in near future. I discussed separately with him question kingdoms Laos and Cambodia. I pointed out no widespread or active opposition to governments these two states seems to exist, and Laos and Cambodia people are supporting existing governments. I stressed recognition by Thailand these two states, immedately adjacent western frontiers this country, would be great encouragement to them. I pointed out if Communism could be kept out Laos and Cambodia these states might, to some extent at least act as buffer Communist expansion into Thailand. Prime Minister displayed considerable interest this idea but seemed feel recognition Cambodia and Laos tied up with recognition Bao Dai. In conclusion Prime Minister said his Cabinet would give whole problem further careful consideration.
- In long conversation with Foreign Minister he expressed similar views. He spoke very frankly and said thought we and British were making mistake by recognition Bao Dai. He said did not see that our recognition would greatly strengthen Bao Dai unless we and British prepared give military and economic aid sufficient really turn tide inflict crushing defeat on Ho Chi Minh. He reiterated if [Page 725]Bao Dai given full independence and had popular support Thailand would gladly extend recognition as done in case USI.
- From above evident Thai Government still not prepared extend immediate recognition Bao Dai. Thinking of Thai Government and, I believe, other Asian governments predicated on their strong opposition to colonialism, strong desire to see countries of Asia achieve their independence and their skepticism regarding French intentions. On latter point Thailand particularly skeptical, if not suspicious, in view their past bitter experience with French. I feel we must not forget struggle for independence amongst Asian countries represents strong and deep-seated ideal which has profoundly stirred them for many years. To them recognition Bao Dai seems to mean perpetuation colonialism and they therefore exceedingly reluctant to do so even in face Communist threat which looms. In other words to them colonialism is a foe they understand and have sought to vanquish for many years, whereas Communism is foe whose strength and evil influence not fully known or grasped.
Sent Department 114; repeated Saigon unnumbered, Manila unnumbered, Rangoon unnumbered, New Delhi unnumbered. Department pass Paris.