The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The series documents the facts and events that contributed to the formulation of policies and includes evidence of supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of Stateʼs Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editor is convinced that this volume meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

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Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the last five years of the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. The subseries presents in 34 print volumes a documentary record of the major foreign policy decision and actions of President Johnsonʼs administration.

This volume presents the documentary record of U.S. policy toward and relations with the Southeast Asian countries of Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand. It also contains two Southeast Asian regional compilations. The first one presents high-level discussions among leaders of the Australia, New Zealand, United States about the defense of the Southeast Asia. The second documents U.S. policy toward the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and the Johnson administrationʼs plans and policies for economic development of Southeast Asia. Other volumes in the 1964–1968 subseries with related material are volumes I–VI, all on Vietnam; volume XXVIII, Laos; and volume XXVI, Indonesia, Malaysia-Singapore, and the Philippines.

Principles of Document Selection for the Foreign Relations Series

In preparing each volume of the Foreign Relations series, the editors are guided by some general principles for the selection of documents. Each editor, in consultation with the General Editor and other senior editors, determines the particular issues and topics to be documented either in detail, in brief, or in summary.

The following general selection criteria are used in preparing volumes in the Foreign Relations series. Individual compiler-editors vary these criteria in accordance with the particular issues and the available documentation. The editors also apply these selection criteria in accordance with their own interpretation of the generally accepted standards of scholarship. In selecting documentation for publication, the editors gave priority to unpublished classified records, rather than previously published records (which are accounted for in appropriate bibliographical notes).

Selection Criteria (in general order of priority):

Major foreign affairs commitments made on behalf of the United States to other governments, including those that define or identify the principal foreign affairs interests of the United States;
Major foreign affairs issues and activities, including dissenting or alternative opinions to the process ultimately adopted, undertaken on behalf of the United States by government officials and representatives in all agencies in the foreign affairs community;
The decisions, discussions, actions, and considerations of the President, as the official constitutionally responsible for the direction of [Page V] foreign policy, including important information that attended Presidential decisions;
The discussions and actions of the National Security Council, the Cabinet, and special Presidential policy groups, including the policy options brought before these bodies or their individual members;
The policy options adopted by or considered by the Secretary of State and the most important actions taken to implement Presidential decisions or policies;
Diplomatic negotiations and conferences, official correspond-ence, and other exchanges between U.S. representatives and those of other governments that demonstrate the main lines of policy implementation on major issues;
The main policy lines of intelligence activities if they constituted major aspects of U.S. foreign policy toward a nation or region or if they provided key information in the formulation of major U.S. policies;
The role of the Congress in the preparation and execution of particular foreign policies or foreign affairs actions;
Economic aspects of foreign policy;
The main policy lines of U.S. military and economic assistance as well as other types of assistance;
The political-military recommendations, decisions, and activities of the military establishment and major regional military commands as they bear upon the formulation or execution of major U.S. foreign policies;
Diplomatic appointments that reflect major policies or affect policy changes.

Sources for the Foreign Relations Series

The Foreign Relations statute requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant U.S. diplomatic activity. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Government engaged in foreign policy formulation, execution, or support cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records. Many of the sources consulted in the preparation of this volume have been declassified and are available for review at the National Archives and Records Administration. The declassification review and opening for public review of all Department of State records no later than 30 years after the events is mandated by the Foreign Relations statute. The Department of State and other record sources used in the volume are described in detail in the section on Sources below.

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Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XXVII

Research and compilation of this volume was completed in 1996. The first compilation, entitled “Australia, New Zealand, and the United States: ANZUS and the Defense of Southeast Asia,” is a departure from previous regional compilations which placed their emphasis on the deliberations at the formal meetings of the ANZUS Council. This compilation concentrates on the increasingly close and personal relations between President Johnson and the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand. It also documents at the highest level the growing concern by Australia and New Zealand about the defense of Malaysia and Southeast Asia after the projected British withdrawal from East of Suez. There are no bilateral compilations for Australia and New Zealand, but the most important bilateral issues are raised in this compilation when President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk met with the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers. Some documentation on commercial relationships with these two countries is included in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volumes VIII and IX. In addition, the compilation on Indonesia in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XXVI, contains documentation on Australian and New Zealand concern about the Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia.

The other regional compilation has two primary themes: the increasing inability of SEATO to respond to the war in Southeast Asia and the effort by the Johnson administration to foster economic development in Southeast Asia. In documenting U.S. concern with SEATO, the formal meetings have been treated in summary fashion. The economic development theme is presented primarily through the work of former World Bank President Eugene Black, President Johnsonʼs Special Adviser on Southeast Asia.

The compilation on Burma focuses on Ne Winʼs visit to Washington in September 1966 and the Johnson administrationʼs principal initiative to keep Burma non-aligned, independent, and at least partially engaged with the West. The Cambodia compilation documents a bilateral relationship that increasingly felt the strain of the expanding war in Southeast Asia. The steady deterioration of the U.S. relationship with Prince Sihanouk resulted in the May 1965 break in diplomatic relations. Another focus of the compilation is the growing concern in the U.S. Government about the Viet Cong use of Cambodian sanctuaries. The Cambodian Navyʼs capture of U.S. soldiers in 1968 provided a hostage negotiation situation that the Johnson administration feared might become another Pueblo crisis. The resolution of this issue is documented along with the periodic U.S. attempts to explore reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cambodia.

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The compilation on Thailand focuses on the collaboration between the United States and Thailand in the face of wars in Vietnam and Laos and hostility toward both countries from Cambodia. The compilation highlights the deliberations leading up to the decision not to send U.S. troops to Thailand (as was done in 1962), joint U.S.-Thailand military planning, cooperation in Laos, the U.S. interagency debate over the scope of U.S. military assistance to Thailand and the orientation of Thailandʼs armed forces, the need to combat potential insurgency in Thailandʼs northeast, Thailandʼs contribution to the war in Vietnam, and the stirrings of Thai political life in anticipation of elections in 1969.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order of individual meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. The amount of material omitted from a particular document because it was unrelated to the subject of the volume, however, has not been delineated. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

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The first footnote to each document indicates the documentʼs source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document. Every effort has been made to determine if a document has been previously published, and, if so, this information has been included in the source footnote.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.

The Advisory Committee has not reviewed this volume but has considered particular declassification issues.

Declassification Review

The Information Response Branch of the Office of IRM Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

Under Executive Order 12958, specific information may be exempt from automatic declassification after 25 years if its release could be expected to:

reveal the identity of a confidential human source, or reveal information about the application of an intelligence source or method, or reveal the identity of a human intelligence source when the unauthorized disclosure of that source would clearly and demonstrably damage the national security interests of the United States;
reveal information that would assist in the development or use of weapons of mass destruction;
reveal information that would impair U.S. cryptologic systems or activities;
reveal information that would impair the application of state of the art technology within the U.S. weapon system;
reveal actual U.S. military war plans that remain in effect;
reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair relations between the United States and a foreign government, or seriously and demonstrably undermine ongoing diplomatic activities of the United States;
reveal information that would clearly and demonstrably impair the current ability of U.S. Government officials to protect the President, Vice President, and other officials for whom protection services, in the interest of national security, are authorized;
reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair current national security emergency preparedness plans; or
violate a statute, treaty, or international agreement.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.

The editor believes the volume is a thorough, accurate and reliable record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The majority of the denials and excisions were in the Thailand compilation and relate to two issues. Two documents recounting U.S. officialsʼ discussions with the King of Thailand were denied. As for the second issue, U.S.-Thai consultations and planning for the upcoming elections, one document was denied and fifteen excised. While some specific details are withheld, the editors believe that the role that the United States played in supporting the Thai Governmentʼs election campaign is acknowledged and documented.

The declassification review of this volume, which was completed in 1999, resulted in decisions to withhold from publication 1.5 percent of the documentation selected. In all four documents were denied in full. The decision on one key intelligence issue was appealed to a High-Level Panel consisting of senior representatives from the Department of State, the National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency, established in 1998 to determine whether or not a covert activity could be acknowledged by the U.S. Government. The Panel arrived at a determination on Thailand that resulted in the release of most of the appealed documentation. The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation presented here provides an accurate account of U.S. policy toward Southeast Asia during the 1964–1968 period.

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The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance in facilitating research of the following: archivists at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library, especially Regina Greenwell and Charlaine Burgess, and the National Archives and Record Administration; historians at the Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, especially Scott Koch; Sandra Meagher of the Declassification Branch, Department of Defense, and David Phelps of the Joint Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Edward C. Keefer, Chief of the Asia and Americas Division, did the research, compiled, selected, and annotated this volume under the supervision of then General Editor, Glenn W. LaFantasie. Kerry E. Hite, David C. Geyer, and Susan C. Weetman coordinated the declassification, and Vicki E. Futscher did the copy and technical editing. Max Franke prepared the index.

William Slany
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs

August 2000