457. Telegram From the Embassy in Thailand to the Department of State2

1867. Repeated CINCPAC and CINCPAC POLAD by other means. Colonel Chalermchai, FM Sarit’s aide, requested an emergency appointment with me during which he revealed that Marshal Sarit had had a serious attack on Tuesday morning3 at about 0100 with internal hemorrhaging “near the liver”. The doctor fears that as a result of malaria which the FM had when a young man “spleen may be also involved”. All doctors are now agreed that Marshal Sarit must undergo a “major operation” and that best place for this operation is US. Some time ago I told FM Sarit that if he should ever decide he wanted to seek medical advice or treatment abroad I would be very happy to do all in my power to help him make arrangements for medical treatment in US. It is in response to this offer that FM now asks my assistance to arrange for his hospitalization at Walter Reed which he thinks would be best hospital. TG will pay all expenses, including expenses for specialists if they are needed and are brought in. Colonel Chalermchai said that he and one doctor would form an advance party and desired to leave as soon as possible, perhaps between January 5 and 10. FM, his wife, 3 other doctors and small party would leave about middle of January resting 3 or 4 days in London and then going direct to Washington. The advance party will attempt to rent a house near Walter Reed if arrangements can be made for Marshal Sarit to enter Walter Reed.

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Urge that if at all possible FM’s request be granted. Whether he remains in power in Thailand or not,4 our gesture of assistance to him will be appreciated by Thai Army and Thai people generally. Please advise by Niact telegram what reply I may make to Marshal Sarit.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 792.551/12–2657. Confidential; Niact.
  2. December 24.
  3. Sarit held no political position in the Thai Government, but he had been appointed Military Governor of Bangkok by King Bhumibol Adulyadej after the coup of September 16, 1957, which ousted Prime Minister Pibulsonggram. Sarit was considered the power behind both the coup and the successor government of Prime Minister Pote Sarasin.
  4. In telegram 1651 to Bangkok, December 26, the Department informed the Embassy that the Departments of Defense and the Army had approved Sarit’s treatment at Walter Reed Hospital on the terms stated in telegram 1867. (Department of State, Central Files, 792.551/12–2657)