290. Memorandum From the Special Assistant (Moore) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Thai MAP Add-ons

Several things have happened since our talk with you on this subject which you should know about, and there is an immediate need to determine what kind of representation we should make to the Defense Department.


We have a copy of ISAʼs earlier memo to Secretary McNamara, the attachment to which outlines the JUSMAG, CINCPAC, and ISA positions item-by-item. This is at Tab A.2 This tentatively suggests $2.26 million [Page 622] for add-ons and $2.3 million for reprogramming. We feel the covering memo undersells the counter-insurgency relevancy and short shrifts the whole political rationale.
The JCS position has now gone up, supporting the CINCPAC position and the position we here had tentatively decided to take recommending add-ons of $8.9 million as long as the money doesnʼt come out of other MAP countries or the Services.
The Presidential Determination for the use of Section 510 to the amount of $75 million has been signed by the President and is at Tab B.3 This speaks in general terms of need, but Secretary McNamara presently intends to use it for Vietnam.
We have had a meeting with Peter Solbert and Al Friedman to discuss the whole question, out of which came the following points.
Given the pressure ISA feels from their Secretary on this issue, there is little agreement between us on either the military or the political arguments, but they are trying to play a useful role if we supply the ammunition. Mr. Solbert, who is back into the play, is really trying to help. Their problem is, of course, that they simply canʼt find a source of money, and therefore keep talking about reprogramming in a vague manner.
McNamara made it clear to ISA that the $75 [million] would be only for Vietnam. He knocked out a portion designated “other SEA”, which could have included Thailand. The chances are good that he will later go for further Section 510 money this fiscal year, however. There is some talk that he agreed to use Section 510 only with the understanding that he would not restore any of the cuts which have already been made in the four forward defense countries.
ISA is concerned that they arenʼt getting the true picture in Bangkok. They wonder if the Thais really care all that much about these new items, are they really pushing on the add-ons, or is it Graham storing up goodies that they really havenʼt asked for yet.
ISA does have some real questions as to the military need involved, and makes the distinction between items being militarily required or merely militarily justifiable. They agreed under pressure from us that the add-on requests really did relate to the counter-insurgency problem, but argued that this was in terms of a higher level of insurgency and not the lower level of subversion, which was the problem the Thais faced first and hadnʼt worked out yet. In this regard, they mentioned that AID should be doing a great deal more in the insurgency business through the police, and why didnʼt we push AID harder? We pointed out that the whole problem of counter-insurgency tasks between the military and the police is now being worked on urgently both within the Thai [Page 623] government and our own mission there and simply isnʼt solved yet, but that the real power in Thailand rests in the military.
They have told us that they are going to do a new memorandum presenting their position to Secretary McNamara, now that the JCS position is in. They indicated that they would do a better job on the political side, but wanted a good position from us to use for the real firepower. They suggested either a Rusk-McNamara or a Bundy-McNamara or a Bundy-McNaughton memo.

Political Arguments

Generally, we should follow the basic line set out in the SEA memo to you of last week by Al Francis on page 5 under “Talking Points—Political”. This memo is at Tab C.4 We are working on some more language now that could be employed in a State-Defense paper. I feel we have got to get across the point that we simply cannot afford to take the Thais for granted, that they are not over the long run as absolutely firm as they may appear from one moment to the next, and that they need continuing reassurances from us that we are standing with them in Southeast Asia not just at the moment but into the future. It is not enough simply to say that we are protecting their country and thatʼs what they are getting out of it and what more do they want. Our increasing military presence does not actually help them with their basic problems, such as the growing subversion/insurgency menace, and our presence in their eyes does not necessarily look so permanent, but can disappear almost as fast as it appeared. They are watching our behaviour very carefully to see just how far weʼre willing to take it that far away from home. If we demonstrate our willingness to increase MAP, especially in the long-term counter-insurgency field, this would constitute a reassurance, a further symbol of our permanency. They see the counter-insurgency threat as something very real right now, and must be wondering if we recognize it in that sense or just let it fritter along until it becomes a really critical matter. The Thais have responded remarkably well to our series of requests for facilities use and military personnel, without a scrap of paper to back it up. There will be many more requests and Thailand—within and without the government—will come under increasing pressure and wariness about Thais being American puppets, pushed around by Americans without any guarantees, infesting Thailand. The Thais are encouraged by the strong commitment signal of our air strikes, but they know that what really counts is yet to come, that that could conceivably be just a passing phase. They need to be bolstered, to be encouraged, to ensure their vital continuing cooperation and to stave off the developing [Page 624] psychology of loss-cutting and neutralization which anxiety bred by a feeling of isolation breeds in turn.

Sources of Money for Add-ons

There are three approaches that occurred to us and to ISA:

Reprogramming. This would be the fastest, but probably also the least feasible. ISA had kind of encouraged this, but without being specific on where the money could be found.
Out of the $75 million draw-down McNamara has already requested. This would be a good initial position, falling back to 3. below, although Mr. McNamara would probably resist mightily. Apparently the $75 million will still leave him short on now-known FY65 South Vietnam MAP needs.
Out of the additional money which is anticipated to come under Section 510. This is the most feasible in terms of funds, but a long shot with limited guarantee, and would be difficult to set up in terms of letting the Thais know quickly.

ISA is obviously suggesting to us that in our position to be sent to Defense we outline what we think is the desired way to go about funding whatever we think is politically justifiable in the way of add-ons.


We feel we could prepare a memo covering the above points and requesting the CINCPAC/JCS level of add-ons in strong terms. We feel you should send it to McNaughton to be included in his recommendations to Mr. McNamara and that you might also want to contact Mr. McNamara personally yourself on the matter.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 19–8 US–THAI. No classification marking.
  2. Apparently a reference to a memorandum other than Document 289; the memorandum at Tab A has not been found.
  3. Not found attached.
  4. Not found.
  5. According to an attached April 23 note from Bundyʼs secretary, Bundy agreed with the recommendations in this memorandum and asked Trueheart to draft a letter from Bundy to send to McNaughton; see Document 291.