792.5 MSP/5–253: Telegram

No. 389
The Ambassador in Thailand (Stanton) to the Department of State


2176. This is joint State/MAAG. Pass to Defense. Prime Minister in conversation yesterday made urgent request not only for MDAP equipment needed to arm nine regimental combat teams which as Department knows programmed FY 50 but made strongest possible plea for immediate delivery additional ammunition for weapons already supplied. He stressed that careful review by his senior army officers disclosed Thai army only has sufficient small arms ammunition 4 days under actual combat.

Prime Minister asked me inform US Government this critical shortage of ammunition and convey his earnest hope that in view gravity situation facing Thailand a 60 days supply small arms ammunition could be rushed to Thailand. I have discussed matter with chief MAAG and his officers who confirm Thai arms stocks of ammunition are totally inadequate and ammunition thus far furnished with MDAP equipment has been scarcely sufficient for training purposes. Chief MAAG and I feel that for political and military reasons we should act immediately on Prime Minister’s request. I need hardly add that to refuse at this critical juncture would shake Thai Government and people’s faith and confidence in us.

We are encouraged by Deptel 2032, April 291 and earnestly hope items urgently required from FY 50–53 programs can be delivered soonest. However, shortage small arms ammunition disclosed by Prime Minister is of such critical importance that chief MAAG and I urge ammunition requirements listed below be given top priority. Training of troops is seriously handicapped as Thai are reluctant to expend any ammunition until combat reserve is received in Thailand. Requirement: To give Thailand sixty days ammunition reserve for defense of position (per paragraph 112 A field manual 101–10 dated August 49) based on weapons programmed through 1953. Ammunition now on hand considered training ammunition. In some cases additional ammunition is required for instance where 56m–24 tanks in Thailand but zero ammunition. Where amount requested below is in excess of that required for defense position for sixty days, the difference represents additional training [Page 664] ammunition to be expedited. Requirements this message follow: [Here follows a list of specific items.] Further request that balance of weapons programmed through 53 be expedited and that any ammunition programmed through 53 but not included above be given priority.

  1. Telegram 2032 indicated that the Department shared the Embassy’s concern regarding the events in Laos and that every effort was being made to expedite delivery of urgently needed items. (792.5 MSP/4–253)