464. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Thailand1

2141. Sarit’s physicians present at operation February 14 and reportedly highly satisfied, (Aide Chalermchai and Sarit’s son watched operation on color television.) After results Walter Reed examination, but prior operation, one of Thai physicians reportedly told Thai Army Attaché Sarit unlikely live longer than five years.

On contrary Walter Reed doctors advise us impossible predict Sarit’s life expectancy. They consider his condition should be improved by operation and outlook good for immediate future. Experience shows [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] operation extends life expectancy by years.2 Should tend prevent recurrence [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] which could prove fatal. They explain operation a palliative [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].

Walter Reed doctors plan reemphasize frank advice to Sarit re precautions he must follow in future (re consumption alcohol, etc) and are hopeful he will see need for adhering to recommended regimen.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 792.551/2–1758. Confidential; Noforn; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Bushner, cleared in substance with Colonel Voegtly of Walter Reed Army Hospital, and approved by Kocher. Also sent to CINCPAC for POLAD.

    On February 13, Ambassador U. Alexis Johnson who had succeeded Bishop, in telegram 2385, requested daily reports on Sarit’s health which, he reported, “is key factor in current Thai political scene.” (Ibid., 792.551/2–1358)

  2. Telegram 2121 to Bangkok, February 14, summarized the medical evaluation on Sarit [2½ lines of text not declassified]. Sarit’s condition was listed as satisfactory. (Ibid., 792.551/2–1358)