466. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy) to the Secretary of State 2

SUBJECT

  • Proposed Visit of Thai Prime Minister3 to Washington in April

The Thai Ambassador, Pote Sarasin, called4 and informed me that he had received both a telegram and a lengthy phone call from his Prime Minister in Bangkok asking him to arrange with you and the President an appropriate time for him to call upon you in Washington and to return the visit of the Vice President.5

I said that of course we were glad to know that the Prime Minister was thinking of visiting Washington to call upon you and the President but perhaps his purpose might be served by the fact that the Secretary and he would spend some time together in Bangkok in February.

The Ambassador explained that the Prime Minister had not been out of Bangkok for twenty-seven years since his student days in Paris and that he felt it necessary to become familiar at first hand with the governments in Asia and Europe with whom he had aligned himself in the United Nations against Communist aggression. The Ambassador added that the Prime Minister would like to come directly to Washington in early April for a few days visit and then spend several weeks traveling informally to the principal points of interest in the United States. The Ambassador stated this travel [Page 808] would be at Thai expense. He would subsequently visit friendly Asian and European nations.

I said that of course in view of these circumstances we would want to do everything possible to arrange to receive the Prime Minister. In view of the heavy schedule of the President and the Secretary of State the matter of timing is important. Under the circumstances, we have little recourse but to welcome the Prime Minister in view of the reasons given by the Ambassador. A further consideration in favor of the visit is that he would be in Washington probably the first week of April just before the Afro-Asian Conference in Djakarta6 and it might be an excellent opportunity to consult with him as to lines of action which he or his representative might follow to our joint advantage.

Protocol has consulted with the White House and has tentatively earmarked April 6, 7, and 8 as days most suitable in the President’s schedule.

Recommendation:

That you approve the visit of the Thai Prime Minister to Washington for April 6, 7, and 87 and that you initial the attached telegram to Bangkok.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.9211/1–355. Confidential. Drafted by Kenneth P. Landon of PSA.
  2. Field Marshal P. Pibulsonggram (Phibun Songkhram).
  3. Murphy’s conversation on January 4 with Sarasin was recorded in a memorandum by Landon. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.9211/1–355)
  4. Vice President Richard M. Nixon visited Bangkok, October 27–30, 1953, as part of a good will tour of the Far East and South Asia. Extensive documentation regarding the trip is Ibid., 033.1100–NI.
  5. Reference is to the Afro-Asian Conference held at Bandung, Indonesia, April 18–24.
  6. In a memorandum to Murphy, January 12, Dulles indicated that he approved the proposed visit. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.9211/1–1255)

    In telegram 1899 to Bangkok, January 20, Ambassador Peurifoy was authorized to extend an invitation from President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles to Prime Minister Pibulsonggram to visit Washington May 2–4 rather than April 6–8. Peurifoy reported in telegram 1750 from Bangkok, January 26, that he had extended the invitation and Pibulsonggram had accepted. (Ibid., 033.9211/1–1555 and 033.9211/1–2655)