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

2723. Your 2832.2 General Erskine who returning to Washington shortly has provided us advance written summary his extended talks with Sarit.3 Sarit said by his wife to work until 3 am frequently and Erskine indicates Sarit’s recovery appears excellent. During Erskine visit Lieutenant Generals Poch and Chitti, Air Vice Marshal Chalermkiat and Chatchai called on Sarit.

Sarit expressed following views to Erskine:

Thailand needs overall plan for industrial and economic development (revealed no concept of what such plan should be);
Aid projects for Bangkok psychologically important and more economic aid for Thailand essential;
Meeting with President4 will strengthen Sarit at home (emphasized necessity for Presidential approval of expanded aid program for Thailand);
Desires agreement “top” level US officials to specific amount US funds to be used at his discretion (also desires US-subsidized pro-Government newspaper);
Plans invite US firms to invest in Thailand (questionnaire requests firms to indicate plans for gradual turnover of ownership to Thai individuals, companies or Government);
Intends assign liaison officer (probably Chalermchai) as “accredited” personal representative and courier Washington;
Recognizes that trade with ChiComs through Hong Kong is subsidizing pro-Communist newspapers Bangkok;
Mentioned advice to NSP about alertness to Communism (this included in projected message to NSP translated for Erskine);
Affirmed he would never permit Pridi to return as long as he in power (but made contradictory statement re recognition of Communist China).

In connection desire for Bangkok projects Sarit suggested possibility use ship-borne electric generator and Army field water supply units to meet urgent need for power and water. (Erskine pointed out difficulties in latter proposal.)

Pouching copy Erskine summary.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 792.551/4–3058. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Bushner and approved by Kocher.
  2. Document 467.
  3. A copy of General Erskine’s report, dated April 22, on his meetings with Sarit in Florida is in Department of State, Central Files, 611.92/4–2258. The meetings took place on April 18, 19, 21, and 22.
  4. See Document 474.