20. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Thailand 0

1231. Djakarta for info Attorney General and Unger.1 SEATO. In delivering message on postponement SEATO Council Meeting to Foreign Office (see separate tel)2 you should explain that unresolved question voting procedures one of main reasons prompting our proposal. You should then note that we are undertaking to convince Thais change in voting procedure is neither necessary nor desirable. You should not, of course, reveal extent of Secretary’s letter to Thai Foreign Minister or its detailed contents (Deptel 1230)3 but you may draw upon pertinent parts in discussing our view that change voting procedures made unnecessary in satisfaction Thai problem in view our interpretation that each nation has commitment to act individually under Article IV-1 of Treaty regardless of action taken by others.

Regarding postponement Council Meeting, fortunate that scheduling of meeting April 26–28 not yet announced publicly. Announcement [Page 48] of postponement obviously, therefore, should not be volunteered. If press queries or comments nevertheless arise, we propose play issue down to extent possible. We would say that close consultations we have had on continuing basis with our SEATO allies on Laos and Viet-Nam, main problems of Treaty area, and regular meetings Council Reps, make Council Meeting unnecessary at this time when schedules Foreign Ministers already heavily engaged. Regular meetings Council Reps would be stressed. Suggest other Governments follow this line.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 379/2–1662. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Peters; cleared by Rusk, Harriman, Bell, Czyzak, Koren, and James P. Grant, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs; and approved by U. Alexis Johnson. Also sent to Canberra, Karachi, London, Paris, Wellington, and Manila and repeated niact to Djakarta and CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. Robert Kennedy stopped in Bangkok on February 19 during a trip to Indonesia, Japan, Iran, Italy, and West Germany February 12–24. For a record of his discussion with Thai Government officials, see Document 431.
  3. Telegrams containing messages to SEATO members’ Foreign Ministers, all February 16, are in Department of State, Central Files, 379/2–1262.
  4. Document 429.