475. Telegram From the Embassy in Thailand to the Department of State1

130. In private conversation with General Phao last night, he asked me abruptly if I would like to have him start a revolution, said coup party was very dissatisfied with Phibun. His only explanation was that Thailand should become a full democracy which he indicated was in line with US objectives.2 Phao implied that move of some sort to oust Phibun was imminent and that he (Phao) had strong backing to remove or replace Phibun.

I told Phao emphatically that my recent advice to him, with reference to the possibility of coup within the Army and its serious implications, held good in this instance. I also said that, as one friend to another, I really doubted that he wanted the burdens of prime ministership and believed he preferred role of king maker to king; that I frankly did not think he was now qualified for job. I emphasized that US Government supported present Thai Government and its recognised [Page 828] head; that, while internal politics a Thai affair, if government reconstituted by force US would have to reconsider its relationship with Thai Government and that US strongly supports goal of democracy but coup would be poor start; moreover, that Thailand probably not yet ready for full democracy which should be developed gradually.3

Phao obviously had been drinking and was in jovial mood, but did not appear to be joking. He took my remarks with good grace. It may be that he is again trying his tactics out on me for size. We have very little indication from other sources that trouble is brewing at the moment. …

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 792.00/7–1455. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution.
  2. According to the analysis of Embassy officials in Bangkok, as outlined in despatch 81, August 9, Phao’s suggestion came as a consequence of a serious political crisis in Thailand in June in which Phao failed in an attempt to secure the dismissal of Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Sarit Thanarat. (Ibid., 792.00/8–955)
  3. In telegram 167 to Bangkok, July 15, the Department of State concurred that “ouster Phibun detrimental this time particularly on heels recent successful US visit.” (Ibid., 792.00/7–1455)