482. Memorandum From the Director of Central Intelligence (Dulles) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Radford)1
In accordance with our recent conversation, I am setting forth below the following data on Thailand.
… the American embassy … sources in Bangkok have recently reported several indications that the Thai government may be reassessing its anti-Communist outlook.2
. . . . . . .
- Prince Wan, the Thai foreign minister, is reported to be increasingly optimistic about the prospects for regularizing relations [Page 841] with Peiping. Other Thai officials have referred to Thailand’s “independent” foreign policy, and elements of the controlled press have been urging the government to be less adamantly anti-Communist. In recent months Bangkok authorities have also tolerated the formation of political parties whose programs have been avowedly neutralist.
- There are, in addition, signs of the Thai becoming increasingly attracted to trade with Communist China. Indirect trade through Macao and Hong Kong is already being carried on without governmental interference, and pressure is building up for direct trade in non-strategic goods. The acting foreign minister3 has been quoted as saying that direct trade with Communist China would be more profitable than the present indirect trade, and newspapers owned by Generals Phao and Sarit have also advocated such trade.
There are also indications that the USSR and Communist China are actively encouraging Thai neutrality. …
. . . . . . .
- In view of the current popularization of “relaxation of tensions,” some readjustment of Thai policies would be in keeping with Thailand’s historical practice of “bending with the wind.” Thai leaders may also wish to demonstrate that they are independent in the “spirit of Bandung.”
- Despite the temptations of neutralism, there appears to be little reason to believe that an abrupt or major change in Thailand’s pro-Western orientation is imminent. American aid and the Manila Pact are still regarded by the Phibun regime as the chief guarantees of Thailand’s security, and Bangkok is actively soliciting the one and promoting the other.
- Source: Department of State, FE/SEA Files: Lot 59 D 369, Neutralism 1955. Secret. A copy was sent to Robertson.↩
- Despatch 290 from Bangkok, November 25, contains a full assessment of Embassy reporting relating to “indications of a relaxation by the Thai Government of its anti-Communist posture.” (Ibid., Central Files, 792.00/11–2555)↩
- Worakan Bancha.↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩