790B.00/9–2851: Telegram

The Chargé in Thailand ( Turner ) to the Secretary of State

secret
priority

765. Eyes only Lacy. I have discussed purport of Deptel 683, September 21, with British Ambassador1 and we have agreed on joint approach Foreign Ministry early next week unless, in light of following, Department instructs otherwise.

British Ambassador stated he received similar instructions about twenty-first; that he had taken occasion to mention matter to Prime Minister while playing golf; that Prime Minister2 had informed him that “matter really up to Americans as everything was being done in conjunction Americans” (his words, as near as I can remember). British Ambassador then said that he personally was somewhat embarrassed at having to participate in such a disingenuous approach; not so much because of the British position but because it would place me in an absurd position and furthermore might lead to real complications if the Thais took the approach seriously. He said that it was probably unnecessary to mention that he had sufficient information to prevent any illusions about the real source of supply of KMT troops in Burma; he mentioned flights of four-motored planes; crashing of helicopters; American Major Stewart3 proceeding on same plane with General Phao4 to north; huge profits made by Phao and probably Prime Minister in opium in return trip of planes from north; said that Burmese and Indians were also fully informed of real circumstances.

He intimated but did not say that his instructions permitted him to withhold approach if I demurred.

I listened carefully to above, but made no comment except to effect that all circumstances must have been considered in Washington before instructions were issued. I did ask British Ambassador why, in view of what he had told me, were British willing to go along with approach and in fact taking initiative. He said reason was that British Foreign Office was anxious do everything possible head off Burmese action in UN.

Turner
  1. The British Ambassador in Thailand was Geoffrey Arnold Wallinger.
  2. The Prime Minister of Thailand was Field Marshal Pibul Songgram.
  3. In telegram 836 from Rangoon, May 19, the Embassy reported that a Major Stewart, supposedly a member of the U.S. Army, was with the KMT troops in northern Burma (690B.93/5–1951). The Department replied in telegram 785 to Rangoon, May 25, that there was no Major Stewart in Southeast Asia at that time. The Department believed that Stewart was a private American citizen employed by a foreign aviation company. (690B.93/5–2551)
  4. General Phao was the Deputy Director of the Thai Police.