491. Memorandum From the Secretary of Defense’s Deputy Assistant for Special Operations (Godel) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Gray)1


  • FY 1957 MDAP Objective for Thailand
This office has noted the findings of the NSC (NSC Action 15272) on the above subject, and specifically has noted that the Planning Board in reviewing NSC 54053 shall in effect review our MDAP commitment to that country.
This office recommended at the time this policy was being considered within the NSC structure that the Department of Defense seek to establish the fact that an extension of the missions of the Thai military forces would almost inevitably lead to virtually irresistible requirements for an expansion in our present MDAP program for that country. It is our understanding that this view was expressed as a part of the Defense position during NSC consideration.

As you are aware, representatives of this office have recently returned from Thailand where they participated in extensive discussions for intelligence purposes with virtually every significant leader in the Thai Government as well as with U.S. officials assigned there. It is considered that the intelligence data obtained may be of value to you and your staff during the forthcoming review called for in NSC Action 1527. The basic facts obtained are as follows:

The 1950–55 MDAP deliveries for Thailand are virtually complete.
The 1956 MDAP program involves only replacement parts and two special grants: one to General Srisdi in the amount of some $27 million and one to General Phao in the amount of some $25 million. The bulk of these funds is committed to economic and defense support projects.
Were is no substantial “hardware” 1956 MDAP program for Thailand and none is contemplated at this time for 1957.
The Thai Government, while it undoubtedly recognizes that its ten regimental combat team and equivalent Air and Navy military structure exceeds the force required to perform the previously agreed MDAP mission of maintaining internal security, also makes it abundantly clear that it could not accept politically an extension of this mission without a commensurate augmentation of its MDAP program.

[Page 867]

This judgment is supported by the fact that even the counterpart support which entails the provision of quarters, vehicles, etc., to our MAAG, is a major political issue within the Thai parliament and has resulted, we understand, in a U.S. decision to undertake this support with U.S. funds.

The Thai Government wishes to propose the following:
  • (1) MDAP support for 18 regimental combat teams, including 3 air-borne battalions.
  • (2) MDAP support for the construction of the Satahip Naval Base.
  • (3) Some method of providing properly operational piston aircraft as a replacement for F8F’s, replacement parts for which are available only through cannibalization which is ineffective and self-defeating.
  • (4) Economic assistance designed to provide an effective base for the maintenance of such forces.
The individual personalities in the Thai Government, including the Prime Minister and the chiefs of the three military services, as well as the “chief of police”, are in the habit of speaking very frankly and on the record honestly to the officials who derived this intelligence data from them.
There is attached4 for your information a proposal on this subject written by General Srisdi and handed personally to a representative of this office. This proposal was given with the understanding that it would be “read’, during one morning and returned that afternoon. General Srisdi requested informal views as to the reception this “dream proposal” would receive if submitted. It was, of course, reproduced and copies left on an “exclusive for” basis with the Chief, MAAG Thailand. The attached copy was brought back to the U.S.
General Srisdi was advised after consultation with the Chief,MAAG, that the proposal was so extreme as to require extensive modification before submission. He was not advised that copies were made.
Your attention is invited, however, to the fact that the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Thai Air Force will visit Washington in June and one or another of the key Army officials will also visit the U.S. Without doubt the matter of increased aid will be raised with you, despite the fact that these visits are “unofficial”.
Furthermore, when the Thai Government learns, as it must, of the expanded role envisioned for its armed forces—whether this information be elicited from our MAAG or through diplomatic channels—a formal request for increased aid, probably a modification of the attached, will be forthcoming.
It would be the judgment of this office that such a request submitted through diplomatic channels will quickly assume the proportions of an “emergency requirement” and that pressures on the U.S. Department of Defense to make an adjustment in its MDAP programs will be considerable.
This information is provided you for your use only with the request that the source and contents of the attachment be protected. It is also requested that the document be returned to this office when it has served its purpose.
If further amplification is desired, this office would be pleased to provide a more extensive oral briefing.
W. H. Godel
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 60 B 1339, 091.3 Thailand 1956. Top Secret.
  2. Regarding NSC Action No. 1527, see footnote 8, Document 488.
  3. See footnote 2, ibid.
  4. Not found attached. Apparent reference to a document found in the same file, entitled “Requirements for Support 1956,” which was prepared in the Thai Ministry of Defense and approved by General Srisdi in November 1955. This proposal outlined support requirements totaling $157,663,642 to “maintain” Thai military forces. It also sketched programs for the expansion of the armed forces of Thailand as well as related industrial and transportation sectors of the Thai economy.