280. Telegram From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Sharp)1

7621. Subject: US-Thai Planning (U). References: a. CINCPAC DTG 100056Z Jul 64; b. JCS 2339/128–3; c. CINCPAC DTG 240300Z Jul 64; d. JCS 6914 DTG 172217Z Jun 64; e. JCS 7084 DTG 252242Z Jun 64.2

  • Part I
    The proposed terms of reference forwarded by reference a have been reviewed and revised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and will be referred to the Secretary of Defense for approval. The revised terms of reference are contained in reference b. They are quoted in Part II below for your advance information in accordance with your request in reference c.
  • Part II. Terms of Reference US-Thai Planning

    • Section I—Preamble
      Thailand and the United States have mutually agreed to the need for bilateral military planning for contingencies of joint interest. As an initial step Thailand and the US will develop a plan for the defense of Thailand as set forth in Section II below. Such defense of Thailand will include military operations to hold the Mekong River Valley and its principal cities and military facilities. The following terms of reference are established for guidance in associated military planning.
    • Section II—Plan for the Defense of Thailand Against Communist Forces in Laos
      The Threat: The plan will be based on defense of Thailand against the communist threat in Laos. The situation envisaged will be beyond that of subversion but less than overt aggression by either Communist China, North Vietnam, or both.
      The Concept: The concept of operations will provide for the defense of the general Mekong River line and its principal cities and military facilities by US, Thai, and possibly other friendly forces operating in Laos. It is envisioned that the necessary friendly forces will move into Laos, hopefully with the consent of the Royal Lao Government. The defense of Thailand may require any or a combination of the following actions. [Page 603]
      Defensive and punitive actions against communist forces in Laos.
      Punitive actions against communist forces in Laos in the event of border incursions by communist forces from Laos into Thailand.
      Counterinsurgency actions and punitive actions against communist forces in Laos in the event of communist insurgency in Thailand.
      Military actions against North Vietnam to include interdiction of routes of supply and reinforcement from North Vietnam into Laos.
      Forces: The plan will be based on the military capabilities of Thailand and the United States. Both nations will make available adequate force levels consistent with achieving the planned objectives. In addition, the United States will be prepared to employ under national command such additional air, ground, and naval forces as may be required to conduct military actions against North Vietnam. Further, the plan should be so prepared that other Allied forces can participate if they so desire and the situation permits. Insofar as possible, it should be generally compatible with SEATO plans so that comparable SEATO plans can more easily be implemented.
      Command: The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Thailand will be the Commander in Chief. He will exercise operational control of all combat and combat support forces committed to this plan through a Commander, Field Forces, who will have primary responsibility for the conduct of military operations. The Commander, Field Forces, will be appointed by the United States.
      Implementation: Joint Thai-US consultations may be undertaken at the initiative of either party at any time to determine what specific portions of the plan should be implemented.
    • Section III—General Provisions Applicable to All Bilateral Planning
      Logistic Support: Logistic support of committed forces will be furnished by the nation providing the forces to the best of that nationʼs ability. In the event major hostilities develop, the United States will furnish logistical assistance to Thai forces as required within available US resources and with priorities determined by the Senior US Operational Commander (Commander, Field Forces). Thailand will allocate air base, rail transportation, port, and highway capabilities sufficient to support the plan and grant over-flight clearances as required. In addition, Thailand will allocate channels in commercial and military communications systems to augment existing US communications-electronics base communication trunks as required to support this plan. Space for bases and operating areas in Thailand required by military forces in support of this plan will also be provided without cost by the Royal Thai Government.
      Planning Method: Joint Thai-US planning will be conducted in Bangkok by a group to be established immediately. The plan for the defense of Thailand against communist forces in Laos will be forwarded for review through national channels by approximately 30 September 1964. [Page 604] Further planning for contingencies of joint interest will be undertaken as required. Such contingencies may include continued or expanded DRV support of the Viet Cong in South Vietnam.
    • Part III
      Except as modified above, guidance contained in references d and e remains applicable.
      Establishment of planning group Bangkok as outlined in Part II is not intended to preclude active participation by CINCPAC in detailed planning or participation by JCS representatives when appropriate.
      You will be advised earliest of the action of the Secretary of Defense with respect to the recommended terms of reference cited above.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security Files, Country File, Vietnam, Southeast Asia, Vol. III, Memos A, 6/64–8/64. Top Secret. Drafted by Colonel H.H. Reichner of J–5 and released by Major General P.S. Emrick, Director for Plans and Policy.
  2. References a. and b. have not been found. Reference c. is in Department of State, Central Files, DEF 1 THAI–US. Reference d. is Document 275. Reference e., authorizing U.S.-Thai joint planning is in Department of Defense, JCS Official Records, 9150 (15 Jun 64) Sec 1.