463. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Southeast Asian Affairs (Kocher) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson)1


  • Proposed Call on Field Marshal Sarit

It now appears that Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, Supreme Commander of the Thai Armed Forces will arrive in Washington at 10:30 P.M. January 27. Bushner and possibly myself intend to meet him at the airport. As his trip is unofficial there will be no ceremonies.

A suggested line of non-committal replies to press inquiries has been cleared and sent to ND–Mr. White. The Thai Embassy and Field Marshal Sarit’s Aide have been informed regarding the line we expect to take with the press. The proposed replies to possible press questions are designed to indicate that the primary purpose of Sarit’s trip is for medical treatment. However, we do not want to overplay his illness as play-back in Bangkok newspapers might contribute to instability in Thailand.

At White House request it has been arranged through U–Mr. Reams2 for the U.S. Government to pay Sarit’s expenses at Walter Reed Army Hospital. The White House wishes the State Department to make known to Sarit the President’s desire that the U.S. Government undertake these expenses. The Secretariat has been informed that we would recommend that you or Mr. Jones call on Field Marshal Sarit for this purpose.

It would be highly desirable if you or Mr. Jones could call on Sarit the first day after his arrival, your time and Sarit’s health permitting. The purpose of such a visit would be to indicate the broad interest of the U.S. Government in him by an expression of interest in his health, and to inform him that the U.S. Government, in accordance with the President’s desire, wishes to assume the costs of his hospitalization at Walter Reed Army Hospital and any treatment the hospital may undertake.

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I recommend that you plan to call on Field Marshal Sarit for the purpose indicated above.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 792.5811/1–2758. Confidential. Drafted by Bushner and concurred in by Howard P. Jones, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs.
  2. Robert B. Reams, Special Assistant for Operations in the Office of Under Secretary of State Herter.
  3. Robertson initialed his approval on the source text. An unsigned marginal note on the source text indicates that the call was made at 4:30 p.m. on January 28.