357. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Mr. Bundyʼs Memorandum to the Secretary of September 15, 1967 re Present Issues Concerning Thailand2


  • The President
  • Secretary of State Rusk
  • Secretary of Defense McNamara
  • Mr. Walt W. Rostow
  • Ambassador Leonard Unger

Secretary Rusk proposed to the President that Prime Minister Thanom be invited to visit the United States early next Spring. The President spoke well of Thanom and indicated his agreement to a visit. There was some discussion of when such a visit should be publicly announced and this brought out the relation of such a visit to the current reports of Praphatʼs intention to carry out a coup or a government reshuffle which would put him into the Prime Ministerʼs post. It was agreed that the latter part of October or early November might be the best time for such a public announcement and it was understood that some time prior to that Ambassador Unger would mention the invitation to Prime Minister Thanom.

There was some further discussion of the possibility of a coup and the judgment presented to the President was that it was in our interests to have the Thanom government continue until after the Constitution has been promulgated and elections held. In addition to the suggestions Ambassador Martin had made to try to head off a coup it was also suggested that something might be said discreetly to the King when Ambassador Unger has his first meeting with him, and that General McConnell might make a brief visit to Thailand, ostensibly as part of a trip to Vietnam, in order to convey to Dawee our concern over Praphatʼs reported plans. (Ambassador Unger will look into this latter step immediately on arrival and recommend to Washington whether or not he believes the McConnell visit should be made.)

Ambassador Martinʼs recommendation that the kind of visit to the President by Foreign Minister Thanat and Economic Development Minister [Page 795] Pote Sarasin which took place last year should be repeated this October was accepted by the President.

Secretary Rusk also recalled to the President an authority which had been given Ambassador Martin some time earlier and which Ambassador Martin has not been obliged to use (this is the same subject as that discussed in first full paragraph page 2 of Mr. Bundyʼs memorandum to the Secretary of September 15).3 He asked for the Presidentʼs agreement so that if Ambassador Unger is queried on this matter by those Thais who are aware of this he can convey that the U.S. commitment stands. The President briefly assented and there was no further substantive discussion on this point.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL THAI–US. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Unger on September 19. Approved by the White House on September 23. For another account of this meeting, see Document 358.
  2. Document 356.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 356.