282. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Southeast Asian Affairs (Trueheart) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Green)1


  • Status of Proposed Joint Military Planning with Thai
During Secretary Ruskʼs visit to Thailand in May, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister mentioned several times military defense measures which they were planning in the event of a Communist advance toward the Mekong. The Secretary said he was very encouraged to hear that the Thai were laying such plans and suggested the desirability of advance consultation in connection with them (Secto 27 from Bangkok, May 30 [31]).2
It was subsequently agreed at Honolulu that we would undertake consultations with the Thai on measures to be taken in the event of such a Communist advance, and Ambassador Martin was instructed to take this up with Prime Minister Thanom (Deptel 2204 to Bangkok).3 The Thai approved the idea of beginning such consultations, but asked that they take place in Bangkok (Embtel 2106, June 8).4 We concurred in this.
Meanwhile, the President stated in a personal letter to Prime Minister Thanom (dated June 18) that “We regard Communist advances in Laos as a threat to the security of the US as well as that of Thailand. In accordance with this concept, I have authorized Ambassador Martin to open consultations with you, looking toward joint Thai-US military planning of measures to be taken in the event of a Communist drive toward the borders of Thailand. I understand joint planning meetings will begin in Bangkok this week.” (Deptel 2315 to Bangkok, June 18.)5
The consultations took place on June 18. General Milton of CINCPACʼs staff led the US team, Air Chief Marshal Thawi Chulasap the Thai team. The discussions were fairly general, with Thawi taking the position that in order to secure the Mekong River line it is necessary to go across the Mekong and defend in Laos, and at the same time to take actions against North Viet-Nam, such as raids and air strikes. Thawi said [Page 607] the Thai would prefer that further planning be continued in Bangkok, and that it should begin as soon as possible. It was agreed that both sides would draw up suitable terms of reference which would be used for guidance by the planners who would draw up the detailed plan (Embtel 2203, June 23; CINCPACʼs DTG 200002Z).6
CINCPAC transmitted proposed terms of reference in his message DTG 1000560Z to JCS.7 These had been prepared by COMUSMACTHAI, based on working level discussions with the Thai and with the concurrence of Ambassador Martin. JCS made some modifications in these proposed terms of reference, and the revised version was sent to CINCPAC for his further comments in JCS message DTG 292116Z.7
The Department of Defense has sought and been given our informal, working level concurrence in the terms of reference as approved by JCS. We may be asked for more formal approval later. In any case, the Secretary of Defense must approve these terms of reference before the actual planning based upon them can begin.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 ASIA SE–US. Secret. Drafted by Pickering. Green wrote “Helpful, Thanks, MG” on the source text.
  2. Document 272.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 276.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 276.
  5. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 ASIA SE–US) This telegram contained the text of Document 277.
  6. Telegram 2203 from Bangkok, June 23, is in Department of State, Central Files, DEF/1 THAI–US; regarding CINCPAC telegram 200002Z, June 20, see footnote 4, Document 278.
  7. Not found.