No. 397
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Thai and Malayan Affairs (Landon)



  • American Ambassador to Bangkok.


  • The Under Secretary of State
  • His Excellency, Pote Sarasin, Ambassador of Thailand
  • Kenneth P. Landon—PSA

The Under Secretary invited the Thai Ambassador to call and referred to a conversation the Ambassador had had with Mr. Matthews1 on Friday2 regarding the designation of General William J. Donovan to be Ambassador to Thailand. The Ambassador was reminded that he had been asked to secure the frank views of his Government on an informal and unofficial basis because of the unusual wartime relationship between General Donovan, in his official capacity, and certain Thai elements who at present are numbered among the political opposition to the present government; that the Ambassador had stated that his Government had no objection to the appointment; that the appointment of General Donovan was far along on its course even to the point where the General had already divested himself of any official relations with his law firm; that it would be very embarrassing at this late date to reconsider the subject and it was hoped that if a full explanation were made to the Prime Minister giving full assurances that General Donovan’s only purpose would be to support the present Government and strengthen it in its anti-Communist stand, that the appointment would be satisfactory to all concerned.

The Ambassador said that it was true his Government, when asked, had replied that it had no objection but that he had received personal letters from high Government officials indicating great [Page 680] concern and he had consequently expressed this concern on his own responsibility and without instructions to Mr. Matthews. There then followed a lengthy discussion regarding the pros and cons of the situation as it now stood, and it was agreed that the appointment should go forward, that the Ambassador would write a personal letter to the Prime Minister conveying the full assurances of the United States Government, that General Donovan, on his part, would make it a point upon arriving in Bangkok to associate himself intimately with the Prime Minister and other high Thai officials and would take care to disassociate himself from any arrangements which might be identified with the political opposition. The discussion closed on a very optimistic note and the hope was expressed on both sides that the appointment would be of great profit in strengthening Thailand’s position to potential Communist aggression.

  1. The conversation was presumably with Deputy Under Secretary H. Freeman Matthews; no record of it has been found in Department of State files.
  2. July 17.