414. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Thailand 0
28. Ambassador and Country Team are authorized (1) present following proposals to Prime Minister and RTG in appropriate manner;1 (2) express President’s sincere appreciation of Prime Minister’s cordial message of June 4;2 and (3) indicate President’s personal interest in moving forward rapidly to develop well-conceived, soundly based joint Thai-US effort to assist Thailand remain strong and free and to develop its great potentialities.[Page 875]
Central objective of US policy in Thailand is to assist RTG to increase national capability to (1) defend Thailand’s independence and sovereignty against Communist aggression, infiltration, insurgency, or subversion; (2) increase safety, stability, and economic status of strategically important northeast, with particular emphasis on greater anti-guerrilla capabilities; (3) vitalize management, organization, and planning in civilian and military fields; and of major long range importance (4) accelerate development of Thai assets and resources for self-sustaining economic and social growth.
In working toward this objective, USG desires assure RTG of our deep interest in continued independence of Thailand, our readiness to honor our treaty commitments, and our willingness to consider, now, new measures of common sacrifice to help allay growing concern of Thai people for security of their borders. In principle we are prepared fully to back concept of special guerrilla warfare deterrent program emphasizing northeast. We now urgently required detailed jointly agreed operating program to integrate required military and non-military measures.
In light Vice President’s and Country Team’s recommendations and above objectives, approval in principle given following general approach intended assist Thailand increase its capabilities and reduce its vulnerabilities. Basic premise is to help Thais to help themselves and not to substitute our leadership, action, or resources for theirs. Specific US actions under this approach are dependent on further staffing and recommendations by Country Team and Washington agencies and are contingent on adequate supporting action by RTG. No specific decisions made re funding aspects, which are subject to appropriation of funds by Congress and to recommendations from agencies concerned, but you are authorized outline to Prime Minister following general areas in which US is prepared contribute towards increased financial outlays required under this approach.
A. Security Reinforcement Measures
Support of current military programs to continue with adjustments as appropriate to increase responsiveness to existing threat and most probable area contingencies.
Following additional measures, approved as necessary to preserve security and stability of Thailand: support requirements now being studied by DOD to develop specific and detailed instructions. DOD will transmit definitive guidance concerning these measures by 10 July 61.
Increase capabilities of Royal Thai Armed Forces to
conduct counter-guerrilla operations by:
- Effective organization to insure integrated coordinated operations by all security forces and agencies.
- Activation of additional mobile units suitable for counter-guerrilla operations.
- Provision of additional communications equipment needed to coordinate and control operations of security forces.
- Provision of aircraft to improve reconnaissance capabilities and mobility of security forces.
- Support measures to improve intelligence capability of security forces.
- Increased emphasis and support of civic action programs.
- Provision matériel and, training to improve capabilities of security forces to detect and respond to infiltration across land, sea, or river frontiers.
- Consideration of advisability extending MAP matériel and training support to police or security forces other than armed forces.
Increase general combat potential of Royal Thai
Armed Forces by:
- Modest increase in manning level of selected units during peacetime.
- Provide equipment for agreed increase.
- Re-evaluate current reserve system.
- Activate units required to provide balanced logistical support.
- Intensify military and security training tailored to local conditions and threats.
- Eliminate non-essential units.
- Manpower and Budgetary Implications
Recognize that increase in manning level selected units and activation additional units requires about 25,000 personnel. US prepared examine with RTG extent to which this requirement could be met by reassignment of personnel from less essential units. Recognize any increase in total manpower will have budgetary implications. Determination of US action relative to these implications must be based on overall examination of Thailand’s use of available resources (See paragraph D below).
B. Provision of Equipment for Pilot Project for Remote Areas Program (will be subject of separate [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] message).
C. Socio-Economic Program
- US is prepared to explore with RTG requirements and techniques for accelerated improvement of Thai economic planning capabilities to enable Thailand to qualify for long term development loan commitments which may become possible under multi-year authority Administration is now seeking from Congress. Fundamental concept and legislative history of AID require that recipient countries have comprehensive development plan, including specific goals, specific projects implementing these goals, appropriate national economic policies, and plans for financing approved program comprising both external and domestic financial requirements.
- Pending preparation overall plan, development loans continue to be available for technically sound, high-priority projects where other external financing not available and where self-help criteria are met. To assist Thailand to qualify for project loans from IBRD, AID or other sources, US is prepared offer assistance in engineering and feasibility surveys for promising activities. As an earnest of our intent to assist Thailand to obtain loans for high priority development projects, the RTG should be informed that we have expedited approval and agreed to provide financing from FY 1961 rather than FY 1962 funds for seven new feasibility and engineering surveys of promising, high priority projects in Thailand. Rather than to wait for the appropriation of FY 1962 funds, we are making available at once a total of $585,000 to finance these surveys, of which $275,000 represents a dollar grant additional to the $19.5 million of grant defense support previously provided to Thailand in FY 1961. The balance of the additional FY 1961 assistance will be provided in the form of $310,000 equivalent in baht generated by previous programs. (Details have been provided to USOM Bangkok.) These surveys cover projects of estimated potential cost of $200 million. We understand the IBRD regards several of the projects to be surveyed as most promising and may wish to consider loans for them. Additionally of course we are awaiting the outcome of final engineering studies for 3 irrigation dams in North and Northeast Thailand and of a feasibility survey for Chumporn Nakorn Srithmarij highway in Southern Thailand.
- While we are not able to make a firm commitment in advance of Congressional action on the FY 1962 proposals for foreign assistance, we hope to be able to provide grant funds in FY 1962 to complete the financing of the three major highway projects now underway with US assistance, (i.e. Bangkok–Saraburi, Korat–Nonkai and the Bridge Replacement project). (FYI $11.3 million has been requested from Congress as Supporting Assistance for the above purposes but pending Congressional action on appropriations and decisions as to world-wide funding requirements, no mention should be made to the RTG of the above amount. End FYI.)
- Development grants continue to be available to support soundly-planned, concentrated attack by Thailand on human and institutional development, which in turn will increase Thai capacity to utilize loan assistance. Funds have been requested from the Congress to carry out a development grant program in FY 1962; pending Congressional action, however, we are not able to make a commitment as to the size or nature of the program. (FYI. $4.8 million has been identified as a “continuing cost” estimate. End FYI.) President desires it be stressed with RTG that under new foreign aid concept now being considered by Congress all US assistance (present and future, loan and grant) provided to aid Thailand’s development will be subject to critical review to insure it meets new [Page 878] development aid criteria, e.g., is concentrated on areas highest priority; is based on orderly planning; is of scale required for significant impact and is within Thai and US capabilities.
- US study team has arrived in Thailand in fulfillment of President’s earlier expression of US willingness explore measures to promote economic development and improved mobilization of resources in Thailand. Under Ambassador’s direction and in light new aid concepts, team will undertake such exploration and will review US assistance to Thailand, including specifically such items as (a) Thai self-help actions required; (b) assistance needed in economic planning field; (c) analysis of Thailand’s ability to support additional defense costs; (d) review of long term relationship of increased military program to Thai economic development; (e) community development, including agrimetric centers in border areas, particularly Northeast. In addition team should explore with RTG desirability of joint Thai-US agricultural group to expedite progress of Thai agriculture and educational mission for education reform.
- Peace Corps personnel will be provided as agreed between our governments.
D. Use of Resources
US recognizes that RTG determination to increase both military and development expenditures has serious fiscal implications. US prepared explore these implications with RTG with view develop financial program to maximize utilization available resources in order effectively achieve our joint economic and security objectives.
This process of exploration with RTG should recognize:
- Critical importance to US interests of strengthening Thai confidence that US intends prevent Communist expansion in SEA.
- US intention to meet implications of Vice President’s discussions with RTG.
- Administration’s advice to Congress of present intention to terminate supporting assistance to Thailand by end of FY 1962.
E. Political Communications Program
To encourage isolated provincial people to identify with nation’s interest and to increase popular understanding of nature of subversive threat to Thailand and means to counter it, US is prepared to consider helping Thais develop information operation primarily targeted to Northeast and to strengthen USIS program. Proposed courses of action would be along following lines:
- Establishment and training of small communications task force, possibly including Thai “Peace Corps” drawn from university graduates, to reach village headmen, clergy, educators and other news conveyors.
- Provision of TV receivers for community use.
- Increased support of Thai psywar efforts by providing special materials, translations, and English-teaching programs near military bases.
- Realignment of conventional USIS activities affecting area will include reopening of Ubol Information Center, radio and TV programming, film and publication distribution, exhibits at fairs, educational exchange grants.
- Development of student contact work and increased book translation program to reach university and intellectual groups subject to communist infiltration.
To fullest extent possible, all projects to be seeding-type with view to Thais taking over subsequently.
F. Action by RTG
Approval of foregoing program specifically conditioned on concept that Thailand itself not only desires projects and programs indicated but also provides full evidence this desire by contributions and actions on its own part which are adequate in opinion of Country Team and Washington agencies to warrant matching US contribution.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 792.5–MSP/7–861. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Swezey and Cleveland; cleared by officials in FE, ICA, DOD/ISA, and USIA and by the Deputy Coordinator for Foreign Assistance; and approved by U. Alexis Johnson. Repeated to CINCPAC. On June 30, Rostow sent this telegram and a copy of Robert Johnson’s analysis and critique of the Young report (Document 412) to President Kennedy. (Memorandum from Rostow to Kennedy; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Thailand, Vol. II, 6/61–7/61)↩
- Young gave Sarit a memorandum based on this telegram on July 28. (Despatch 64 from Bangkok, August 4; Department of State, Central Files, 792.5–MSP/8–461)↩
- Not found.↩