483. Telegram From the Embassy in Thailand to the Department of State 1

3330. Course of Sarit negotiations in Washington as reported by Department and by inspired stories in Thai press cause me concern if on conclusion conversations we appear to have turned Sarit away entirely empty-handed. As Department aware, Sarit’s reports to TG have painted highly optimistic picture of probable success his mission. He has also been notably responsive to our representations on his newspapers as well as apparently receptive of foreign investment. While there has been no foundation for Sarit’s optimistic reports they have engaged his public and private prestige to point where complete failure his efforts obtain some increases in US aid would have serious adverse effect on him personally and increase already shaky stability TG. Moreover, leftist elements here will be quick to exploit such failure and as stated Embtel 30562 will become more strident in demanding TG accept Soviet bloc aid. Recent wire service stories from Washington with apparent Department source, indicating additional aid unlikely, have caught Prime Minister at least by surprise. Thanom telling press this contrary assurances he has received from Sarit. Although as reported in Weeka 22,3 Prince Wan has made excellent statement on contemplation no increase in aid level his voice carries very little weight here.

[Page 1018]

As indicated Embtels 3056 and 3148,4 while I cannot conscientiously advocate continue or increase MAP, DS or TC aid on strictly economic or military grounds, particularly in light anticipated DLF approvals, nevertheless I feel it would be most unwise on political grounds permit Sarit talks end on completely negative note. I am fully aware difficulties facing Department in making any commitments involving substantial increase aid (which I not advocate) and also of desirability [omission in the source text] if no commitment whatever possible for any increased aid, in view probable political repercussions if Sarit appears to have been completely rebuffed by US, I urge that prior his departure some form joint press statement be issued which would give appearance modest success of talks. Among points which might be made are following:

Agreement re Communist threat and joint determination continue correct it through SEATO.
Continued US determination assist Thai increase its defensive strength, mentioning in broad terms additional equipment within limits appropriations planned for delivery under FY 58 and 59 MAP program.
US interest in economic welfare and development Thai people and determination continue assist them to maximum extent permitted by available funds and Thai technical capability to utilize. US intention also continue assistance to Northeast including water, agriculture, highways, communications, health and education, specific projects and priorities to be worked out in consultation between technical experts two countries. Mention of Mekong survey to determine possibilities major benefits to Northeast.
Indication favorable consideration being given approval DLF application Bangkok distribution, power and dredge. Dependent Congressional appropriation additional funds, willingness consider DLF application Bangkok water supply and thermal power plant when received. Indication favorable consideration AEDF financing regional telecommunications project.
US recommendation actions to be taken by TG to improve climate for foreign private investment.

I have no way of judging whether foregoing likely satisfy Sarit, who may feel he has to have something “extra”. However, once convinced that whatever package offered is best he can expect, believe he and TG will warmly defend it and play it as diplomatic success for [Page 1019] local consumption. In summary, I support Ambassador Thanat’s plea we find it possible to provide “gesture” to Sarit (Deptel 2944).5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 792.551/5–3158. Confidential.
  2. Document 469.
  3. Reference is to telegram 3332 from Bangkok, June 1. (Department of State, Central Files, 792.00(W)/6–158) According to the telegram, Prince Wan’s statement reportedly warned the Thai against undue expectations and expressed expectation of fair treatment by the United States.
  4. Telegram 3148 from Bangkok, May 9, reported that JUSMAG had advised the Embassy that both the Thai army and air force exceeded JCS force goals and could be reduced in strength by 2,000–3,000 men. Further reorganization and reduction in Thai force strength were envisioned by JUSMAG for the purpose of achieving greater efficiency. (Ibid., 792.5/5–958)
  5. In telegram 2944, May 29, the Department provided the Embassy in Bangkok with a report on the conversation between Thanat and Robertson on May 29 (see supra ). (Department of State, Central Files, 792.5–MSP/5–2958)

    Telegram 2963 to Bangkok, June 3, requested the Embassy’s evaluation of the projects proposed in Sarit’s May 12 memorandum. (Ibid., 792.551/5–3158)