426. Memorandum for the Record0


  • Minutes of Special Group (CI) Meeting, 1 February 1962


  • General Taylor, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Gilpatric, Major General Parker, and Mr. Helms
  • Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Bundy, Governor Harriman, and Rear Admiral Heinz were present for Items 1 and 2

[Here follows item 1, in which Hilsman briefed the group on his trip to Vietnam. Hilsman’s report, February 2, is printed in volume II, pages 7390.]

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2. Thailand

Mr. Johnson gave a comprehensive report on conditions in Thailand, with specific reference to the insurgency problem. He concluded that there is a broad political problem and also one of economic development; however, the threat of insurgency is a potential rather than an actual one. The U.S. program now projected would appear to present a workable long-term solution, while the special situation in the Northeast requires some shorter-term actions, a number of which are already in motion.

He touched particularly on Thailand’s fears about SEATO and its uneasy relations with Cambodia. He pointed out that the country is basically stable and fiscally fairly conservative. He noted that the area in the Northeast, and to a lesser extent in the North and in the South, present a possible threat of insurgency. The Northeast is an area which traditionally has supported radicals. It has been generally neglected, and has a lower standard of living than the rest of the country. There is a sizeable number of refugees from Viet-Nam there, who are strongly oriented toward the Communists. Mr. Johnson urged that a positive rather than a repressive approach be taken toward this area. He also noted that conditions in the Northern area could become serious if Communists take over control there, and that the principal problem at this time is communications between that part of the country and the central government. As to the South, he pointed to the problem of a sizeable Malay population which has not been integrated.

He also referred to the Young plan of June 1961 and to the Bowen report.1 He said that it is hoped that these will serve as a basis for a coordinated program with the Thais.

In summing up, Mr. Johnson cited the following major projects which are either underway or programmed:

Reorient efforts of the Thai military forces toward the internal security situation;
Reequip and strengthen the border police;
New roads;
Irrigation projects;
Political communications programs (USIA);
A telecommunications network.

Mr. Hamilton emphasized the fact that Thailand is a promising country for AID programs, particularly because of the cooperative attitude of certain Thai officials and their ability to assure security of financial commitments.

[1 paragraph (2 lines of source text) not declassified]

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Governor Harriman expanded on Mr. Johnson’s remarks about SEATO, with specific reference to the veto or abstention problem. Admiral Heinz presented figures on training in U.S. schools and in Thailand.

The Chairman suggested that Ambassador Young be told about the existence of the Special Group (CI) and that he be asked whether he is satisfied that enough is being done or is being planned by the U.S. to cope with the problems of Thailand related to insurgency. He suggested that the Ambassador be asked whether the Group can be helpful in any way and that any comments he might wish to make should be solicited.

[Here follows item 3, unrelated to Thailand.]

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, NSC: Special Group (CI) Mtgs, 6/61–10/62. No classification marking. Drafted by Thomas A. Parrott, the Special Group’s Secretary.
  2. See Documents 412 and 416.