Memorandum of Conversation, by the
Officer in Charge of Thai and Malayan Affairs (Landon)
- United States Assistance to Thailand.
- The Secretary of State
- The Under Secretary of State
- His Excellency, Pote Sarasin, Ambassador of Thailand
- Mr. Landon—PSA
The Secretary invited the Thailand Ambassador, Pote Sarasin, to call in order to inform him of various actions and views arrived at in the U.S. Government subsequent to receiving the information and comments of the Ambassador on May 5. The Secretary handed the Ambassador an Aide-Mémoire 1 indicating that small arms ammunition requested by the Thai Government was already enroute; that the U.S. Government was prepared to send a high ranking officer with a special accompanying Mission to become Chief of MAAG; that if the Thai Government was agreeable to such appointment it would be expected that such officer would receive complete cooperation from the Thai Government and Thai military authorities comparable to the cooperation granted to such officer and Mission in Greece during its period of crisis when the U.S. officer acted as extraordinary Adviser whose opinion carried great weight and who had a seat on the Supreme Council: that it would appear to be advantageous from the Thai viewpoint to bring before the United Nations the threat to the security of Thailand posed by the approach of Viet Minh forces through Laos, as consideration of the problem in the United Nations would lead to fuller appreciation in the Free World of the desirability of rendering assistance to Thailand and would help discourage Viet Minh aggression. The Aide-Mémoire went on to suggest that Thailand might wish to ask the Security Council under Articles 34 and 35 of the Charter to find that the situation along its northeastern frontiers endangered international peace and security and that one line of action might be to request the appointment of a Sub-committee of the Peace Observation Commission which would send observers to border areas of Thailand to report on activities which might threaten Thai independence or territorial integrity.[Page 672]
The Secretary emphasized the importance of prompt action by Thailand not only to protect itself within its own borders but to bring the matter before the United Nations as he believed that the maximum benefits might be derived by such action. He explained that the proposal to send a high ranking U.S. officer to become Chief of MAAG would be valuable only if he were given the utmost cooperation and if he were included in all high military planning in connection with the current crisis. He pointed out that the United States Armed Forces have highly capable combat officers who have had wide experience during World War II and in Korea and that the advice of such an officer could be invaluable. The Secretary added that from reports given him it appeared that the Thai Armed Forces were capable of handling the situation which appears to be developing and that our hope would be that the high ranking U.S. officer would be in a position to provide expert advice drawn from his actual combat experience which would make Thai Armed Forces most efficient.
Regarding the shipment of small arms ammunition, the Ambassador was informed that certain categories of light ammunition were already in the air and should be in Bangkok within 48 hours; that other categories were already being loaded on ship in the Pacific Area and should arrive within a week and that other heavier categories would follow promptly. Reference was made to urgently needed military items for the Army, Navy and Air Force which had also been requested and the Ambassador was informed that many of these items were already being prepared for shipment.
The Ambassador appeared moved by the Secretary’s remarks and said that his Government deeply appreciated such rapid consideration of its problems; that he had already asked his Government its views on the possible designation of a high ranking U.S. military officer as Chief of MAAG and the desirability of raising the question of Thailand’s danger in the United Nations. He added that he felt confident his Government would welcome a high ranking U.S. military officer as Chief of MAAG, and that Thai officials at the United Nations were already drafting necessary materials to be used as soon as instructed by Bangkok.2[Page 673]
The Secretary concluded by remarking that he wanted the world to know that a democratic free nation such as the United States could act quickly to assist a friendly government against unjustified aggression.
- The aide-mémoire, not printed, was attached to the source text.↩
An aide-mémoire of May 19 from the Thai Embassy stated that the Thai Government welcomed the assignment of a high-ranking military officer as head of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group with a special accompanying mission, that a special committee would be created in the Ministry of Defense for the purpose of consulting with the General, and that the Thai Government was considering bringing the matter of the invasion of Laos before the United Nations. (792.5/5–1953)
For further documentation relating to the proposed Thai appeal to the United Nations, which was not made in 1953, see vol. xiii, Part 1, pp. 555 ff.↩