24. Telegram From the Delegation at the SEATO Council Meeting to the Department of State1

Secto 19. Pass OSD. From Hensel. Information copies to CINCPAC Admin, JCS, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps. At three hour meeting of the military advisers to the Council of The Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty was held this afternoon. Final report2 will be forthcoming tomorrow, but this message contains all salient points.

The US representative, Admiral Stump, led off by suggesting an early conference between representatives of the respective national staff explore an agreed agenda and make appropriate recommendations to the military advisers. He indicated that these staff officers might consider terms of reference, procedural arrangements intelligence survey, allied course of action and arrangements for safeguarding classified information (detailed agenda follows).3 Admiral Stump expressed his opinion that military arrangements should be informal, flexible and based upon full utilization of national staffs.

Before taking up the agenda suggested by the US the military advisers decided discuss organizational arrangements. Pakistan proposed the establishment in Bangkok of a military advisory group which should provide military staff assistance to the Council representatives and act as a secretariat or liaison group for the military advisers. After some discussion this was amended in accordance with a US proposal, supported by the UK and New Zealand, that these officers should perform only liaison functions behalf of the military advisers and should not serve as planners or staff officers to the permanent political representatives. The Philippines accepted this position but proposed in addition a study on the need for a permanent organization of staff planners (see agenda). It was finally concluded that: (a) liaison officers should be stationed in Bangkok with the Thai representative [Page 55] serving as a point of contact; (b) the military advisers and staff planners would meet from time to time in various places; (c) these places would normally be within the Manila Pact area but could be outside if it desired. The initial meeting of the staff planners is tentatively scheduled for 18 April in Manila and the first meeting of the military advisers will follow within four to seven weeks at Bangkok.

The agenda for the first conference of staff planners follows, with those countries having special responsibilities for the preparation of particular items listed in parentheses after each item. All items except (g) proposed by Australia and (h) proposed by Philippines were on US suggested agenda.

Draft terms of reference and rules of procedure for staff planners and military representatives (Australia and Pakistan).
Measures increase security classified information (US).
Intelligence survey selected areas (all).
Priority listing of courses of action or capabilities to counter Communist aggression (US).
Military participation in combatting Communist subversion (Philippines).
Methods for improving defensive effectiveness in treaty areas through mutual aid and self-help (UK).
Communications and communications security in Southeast Asia area (Australia and France).
Possible need for a permanent military planning group (all).

French representative pointed out that while Indochina should be given special attention, the French forces therein were not obligated to SEATO. Other than this, there were no comments of note, and the meeting was distinguished by lack pressure for formal organizational arrangements which had been anticipated.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–BA/2–2455. Secret.
  2. This report is extensively quoted in Secto 29 from Bangkok, February 25, not printed. (Ibid., 396.1–BA/2–2555)
  3. Also in Secto 29, as part of the report.