S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 124 Series

No. 396
Memorandum by the Ambassador to Thailand (Stanton) to the Director of the Office of Philippine and Southeast Asian Affairs (Bonsal)1

top secret


  • PSB D–23, “U.S. Psychological Strategy with Respect to the Thai People of Southeast Asia.”2

Having perused the above mentioned paper, I would endorse “Phase I”, which proposes in coordination with U.S. military programs, [Page 678] to consolidate Thailand as a secure base, by increasing its strength and making its frontiers more defensible. This, in essence, is what the U.S. Government has been doing in Thailand during the past two and one-half years through the extension of military and economic assistance to Thailand .…

With respect to a military assistance program, I believe that the Thai economy and finances will not support any great increase in the military aid which has been planned and which is now in process of being implemented. Every effort should be made, however, to expedite shipment of military equipment which has been programmed, particularly artillery, and to assign without delay the additional personnel requested by MAAG, Thailand, in order to expedite the training of the Thai Armed Forces. The assistance being extended by our Government to the Thai Police should not be overlooked. To meet the threat to Thailand’s frontiers occasioned by the Communist invasion of Laos, the strength of the Thai Police is being increased by some 5,000 men, .…

With respect to our economic aid, I feel, on the basis of conversations with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and other members of the Cabinet, that the Thai Government does not desire any great increase over and above the level of aid which has been extended during the past two years. In fact, the Thai Government finds the setting aside of counterpart funds a very considerable burden and is an obligation which it would like our Government to waive. I believe, therefore, that it would not be advisable to increase economic aid except for such emergency projects in northeastern Thailand as may be agreed upon. It should be borne in mind that the economic assistance which we have extended to Thailand is not of such a nature as materially to lessen the financial burdens incurred by the Thai Government in connection with expenditures for military purposes. The only exception to the foregoing is the assistance which MSA can give with respect to highways.

The psychological objectives listed under “Phase I” have also received a great deal of attention and through information programs, … the dangers of Communism have been brought home to the Thai people and their will to resist either Communist aggression or Communist blandishments has been stimulated.… there is still much which can be accomplished by the extension of informational activities to the provinces. However, this can only be achieved through an increase of personnel, preferably personnel having at least a basic knowledge of the Thai language, and through increased appropriations.

. . . . . . .

[Page 679]

Let us strengthen Thailand itself in every possible way and thus encourage those friendly people to stand against communism both now and in the future, but let us not embarrass our Thai friends and cause the other nations of South Asia whose friendship we seek, to look askance at us.

  1. Stanton left Bangkok on June 30 to return to the United States in preparation for his retirement from the Foreign Service.
  2. PSB D–23 was a draft of July 2 prepared by the Psychological Strategy Board in response to NSC Action No. 788–b. The final revision of PSB D–23, Sept. 14, is printed in part as Document 403. The various drafts of PSB D–23, together with related material, are in PSB files, lot 62 D 333, file PSB D–23.