Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chargé in Thailand (Turner)

Participants: The Prime Minister of Thailand;
Mr. W. T. Turner, Chargé d’Affaires of Embassy

Subject: Reimbursement by Thai Government of Logistic Support for Troops in Korea

I told the Prime Minister that I wished to place before him, by instruction of my Government, a matter which had previously been discussed with the authorities of the Foreign Ministry and on which there seemed to be little progress being made, namely payment by the Thai Government for equipment, services and supplies furnished by the U.S. Government to the T.E.F. in Korea. I said that the matter had been under discussion since October 12, 1950, when the Foreign Minister had agreed in his note of that date that the Thai Government in principle would undertake reimbursement of these costs, but that since then there had been no substantial action taken towards reimbursement and that our authorities in Washington were concerned because of the lack of such action.

I then outlined to the Prime Minister the successive steps taken in this matter since the receipt of the above-mentioned note of October 12, as follows:

Under date of February 3, 1951, the Embassy addressed a note to the Foreign Office specifying costs of material and logistic support,1 and enclosing draft agreements thereto. Under date of April 12, 1951, the Foreign Ministry addressed a note to the Embassy inquiring whether these costs could be furnished by the U.S. Government under M.D.A.P. Under date of September 22, 1951, the Embassy replied to the Foreign Ministry that the U.S. Government could not accept the [Page 1649] proposal that these costs be charged against M.D.A.P., but in order to lighten the financial burden on the Thai Government, wished to propose that payments of these costs be made in goods, such as rice.2

I stated that since sending the latter note we had been waiting for some response from the Thai Government, and that I had discussed the matter with the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs on November 1 urging that some early action be taken. I said that we were particularly disappointed to note that there was no provision in the Thai budget now under discussion in Parliament for funds for this purpose.

The Prime Minister stated that he thought that his Government was awaiting a definitive statement of the costs of logistic support. I assured him at once that these costs were set forth in detail in Mr. Stanton’s note of February 3. The Prime Minister then remarked on the large sum involved in this matter, and said he was sure that all countries assisting in the U.N. effort in Korea were hoping that the U.S. Government would assume the costs of this military effort. I said that this might be true but that the U.S. Congress and American people were certainly not disposed to accept any such burden; that American people were carrying an extremely heavy load of taxation and that we felt that other countries should assume their proper share of the burden, particularly countries like Thailand which were financially sound and easily able to carry such burdens. I pointed out that in my own case income tax amounted to approximately twenty percent of my salary, and that every American individual was feeling keenly the costs of the U.N. effort and of the various foreign aid programs.

The Prime Minister stated that he would take up the matter with the Foreign Office. He gave me no assurance of any definite effort to effect reimbursement of the above-mentioned costs and was in fact quite non-committal.

William T. Turner
  1. According to despatch 711 from Bangkok, April 17, the sum of $643,000 represented the cost of initial equipment furnished to the Thai troops and $526,000 was the amount for monthly logistic support (795B.5621/4–1751).
  2. The exchange of notes referred to is not here printed.