288. Telegram From the Embassy in Thailand to the Department of State1

1458. Dept pass priority info DOD JCS unn from Bangkok. The embassy has been included as info addressee on a number of important military planning messages within recent days, all of which are directed at the pressing need for greatly strengthening the US military posture in this area. As indicated in my 14472 to Department of yesterday we have already taken action on the most immediate elements of the Air Force requirements package and assume more parts to this package will be forthcoming when final funding decisions are made shortly (Embtel 1439 to Dept).3 At the same time we are keenly aware of a growing list of urgent requirements for US ground forces now under development, ranging from POL and pipeline facilities (JCS 00747 to CINCPAC)4 to the proposed extension of the Bangkok by-pass road from Kabinburi to Korat.

The latter group of requirements is geared almost entirely to a major augmentation in the logistics base necessary to support US ground forces should they be deployed to this area. The timing of such deployments, i.e., whether they would be undertaken in advance of actual attack or under other predetermined circumstances is still being debated (we will be commenting separately on this aspect of the question). But regardless of when deployment is determined to be necessary, the central fact is that a general consensus of expert military judgment has now been developed, in which major new US requirements for augmented support facilities needed now must be negotiated in the very near future as a matter of highest priority.

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Our own analysis tends to support this new sense of urgency. While we appreciate the need from the standpoint of sound management to refine and coordinate the plans in which these requirements are based, it is nevertheless clear that we will be needing more facilities in the very near future. The faster we can get a start on them, including the all important business of discussing them with the RTG, the earlier we can get on with the important business of land acquisition and actual construction. We accordingly urge that every effort be made to develop these requirements as rapidly as possible in a form which will permit us to put a coherent package to the RTG authorities. The same considerations set forth in paras 3–6 of my 1439 to the Department apply to these ground force requirements as apply to the Westpac Air package.

Similarly, and with equal urgency it seems to me, we must be prepared to act almost simultaneously on the balancing half of this package; namely, those measures designed to reinforce the capability of the Thai forces in this joint endeavor. I refer there to the vital importance of prompt and favorable action on the series of requests we have put to Washington for augmentation of the FY 65 and 66 Military Assistance Programs (my 1409 to Department).5 By far the larger part of these recommendations has now been reviewed and endorsed by all major US military headquarters in the Pacific (CINCPACʼs 192315Z to OASD/ISA and CINCPACAFʼs C 50007 Mar 65 (P 252034Z) (notal).6 We cannot reasonably expect the expeditious action we need here on our own requirements without parallel action on these MAP add-ons, which will enable Thai to make a maximum contribution to our combined efforts. It is, thus, imperative in our considered view that a favorable decision be reached in Washington in the very near future along the lines which we have repeatedly recommended which will assure the immediate availability of sufficient new MAP assets for the Thai program to make possible the achievement of our vital interests here.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 6 US. Top Secret; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to CINCPAC.
  2. Telegram 1447 from Bangkok, March 30. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 1439 from Bangkok, March 26. (Ibid.)
  4. Not found.
  5. Document 287.
  6. Neither found.