481. Letter From the Director of the Office of Philippine and Southeast Asian Affairs (Young) to the Regional Director, Far East, of the International Cooperation Administration (Moyer)1

Dear Ray : As you know, there have been repeated complaints over the last few months by officials of the Thai Government regarding “slowness” in implementing the construction program being financed by U.S. aid funds (Bangkok’s Telegram No. 3083, June 15, 1955; Bangkok’s Despatch No. 1, July 1, 1955, enclosing a memorandum handed by the Thai Government to Senator Dirksen; Bangkok’s Telegram No. 1048, October 11, 19552). According to the latest message, the Thai Prime Minister told Anschuetz 3 that skepticism was developing among some Cabinet members regarding American intentions with respect to aid to Thailand.

We are rather concerned about the political implications of this situation. The Embassy has reported that delays in execution of the construction projects have led to a considerable loss of American prestige. We are afraid that this might adversely affect the Thai attitude toward SEATO just at a time when we are trying to invigorate that organization.

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We, therefore, hope that ICA will give a high priority to the construction projects for which it is responsible, particularly those relating to the Northeast Highway and the Expanded Highway Aid Program.4 If contracts committing the available funds for those projects could be concluded in time to take advantage for construction of the dry season starting in November, 1955, we believe the political effect in Thailand would be salutary.

Sincerely yours,

Kenneth T. Young, Jr. 5
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 792.5–MSP/10–3155. Confidential; Official–Informal.
  2. In telegrams 3083 and 1048, the Embassy reported on complaints by Thai political and military leaders concerning the pace of the implementation of various U.S. aid programs in Thailand. (Ibid., 792.5–MSP/6–1555 and 792.5–MSF/10–1155, respectively) Despatch 1 dealt with Senator Everett Dirksen’s visit to Thailand, June 18–22. In the course of his visit, Dirksen discussed the U.S. aid programs in Thailand with General Phao Sriyanon and Marshal Fuen Ronapakas Riddhagni, Thai Air Force Commander, who were sharply critical of the failure of promised American aid to materialize in Thailand. (Ibid., 033.110–DI/7–155)
  3. Norbert L. Anschuetz became Chargé d’Affaires ad interim after the death of Ambassador Peurifoy.
  4. According to a memorandum of a conversation on October 21 among officers of ICA and PSA, including William Stoneman of ICA and Joseph A. Mendenhall of PSA, construction costs on the Northeast Highway were running about three times the original estimates. With respect to the Expanded Highway Aid Program, a total of $14 million had been allocated for highway improvements in various parts of Thailand, but ICA had not yet invited bids on the work as of October 1955. (Department of State, Central Files, 792.5–MSP/10–2155)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.