355. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • General Maxwell D. Taylor
  • Ambassador Leonard Unger
  • Mr. Moncrieff J. Spear

1. Thai Troop Contribution

Referring to the number of Thai troops, General Taylor noted that we would be disappointed if the additional tranche were not at least at the level of the present 2300-man unit in Vietnam and noted that the 10,000 had been an asking figure. He observed that in the discussions that he and Mr. Clifford had had in Bangkok,2 the Thai stressed their internal security requirements and said that at the United Statesʼ advice, they had been deploying additional forces to the Northeast to cope with the insurgency. They asked whether in the current discussions the U.S. was now changing its advice to them.

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In response General Taylor said that he and Mr. Clifford had pointed out that while the additional Thai, Korean, and other Asian troops would not make a significant difference per se in the military situation, politically they were important because they would enable the United States to add several times the number of Asian forces to the effort in Vietnam.

General Taylor also observed that the Thai were a pleasant people to deal with, ones with whom we could work effectively and that the development of their country was very encouraging.

2. Vietnam Assessment

Ambassador Unger said that he was sure the Thai leaders would be asking him of our assessment of Vietnam, and he asked what he could tell them based on General Taylorʼs observations.

General Taylor cited the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese losses which were now running at about 1000 a week—twice the rate of a year ago. He noted that the air war in North Vietnam ties up enormous North Vietnamese resources. In South Vietnam, he also noted the increased political stability, commenting that during the time he had been Ambassador he had had to deal with five Prime Ministers in one year. Thus, everywhere along the line we are ahead of our position of a year ago. As to how long it would go until the end, Heaven only knew and he, General Taylor, wasnʼt about to venture predictions.

In conclusion, General Taylor wished Ambassador Unger the very best of luck in his important new assignment.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Secret. Drafted by Spear.
  2. See Document 350.
  3. Unger presented his credentials as U.S. Ambassador to Thailand on October 4, 1967.