309. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Thailand1

31287. Joint State/Defense message. Subj: Dye Marker.

Decision here is that there must be U.S. leadership and technical skill in ground teams for support of Dye Marker anti-personnel system.2 Accordingly either US/Vietnamese or US/Thai teams will be used to provide this support.
Because bad weather precludes launching of teams from SVN during most of December–March, facilities and authority must exist for such launching [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].
Judgment here is that overcoming Thai reluctance to permit [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]teams to stage through Nakhon Phanom, utilizing isolated, fenced facilities, is less formidable obstacle than political risk to Souvanna of use of US/Thai teams.
Accordingly, Ambassador Martin should again seek Thai concurrence for staging [less than 1 line of source that not declassified] teams through [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].3 We are sure that [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] would be prepared to go to Bangkok give Dye Marker briefing to Dawee and others as appropriate. This would emphasize the importance we place upon this project and upon the absolute requirement for use of Nakhon Phanom as a staging base. Amb. Martin should not hesitate to ask for this assistance if he believes it would be helpful in securing Thai concurrence.
Requirement to launch from Nakhon Phanom means that a refueling area in Laos must be utilized. Request Amb. Sullivan’s recommendation where this could be placed. We assume Amb. Sullivan will not wish to secure Souvanna’s permission to conduct such refueling.
The anti-personnel system will initially be located substantially within the existing Prairie Fire area.
With reference to anti-vehicular system, assume any problems will be overcome by work of coordinating group now meeting in Saigon.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S. Top Secret; Exdis; Priority. Drafted by Steadman, cleared by Warnke and Habib, cleared in substance by Katzenbach, and approved by Bundy. Also sent to Vientiane and repeated to Saigon, CINCPAC, and COMUSMACV.
  2. In telegram 2671 from Bangkok, September 2, Ambassador Martin complained that this decision was not borne out by the facts being examined by the Dye Marker Subcommittee of SEACOORD. Martin suggested that it looked as if “subordinate staff personnel” had “jammed through decision before facts were presented.” (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 3371 from Bangkok, September 8, Martin reported he had received agreement from the Thai Government, which insisted that [text not declassified] team’s stays in Thailand be very limited. (Ibid.)