303. Editorial Note

No minutes have been found for the Washington Special Actions Group meeting of May 22, 1970. The briefing memorandum for the meeting from John Holdridge of the National Security Council Staff to Presidential Assistant Henry Kissinger, May 22, provides a sense of the issues to be discussed. Holdridge noted that since the meeting of May 20 (see Document 300) the fourth 1,000-man pack had been delivered to Phnom Penh; a logistical survey of Cambodian ports had been undertaken that discovered that the port of Phnom Penh could handle 150–330 tons per day including stripped T–28’s; and the United States agreed in principle to Thailand training two Khmer regiments for service in Cambodia. The issues still to be discussed at the May 22 meeting were the results of the restricted NSC meeting of May 22, the possibility of sending Cambodian speaking Thai regiments to Cambodia [Page 1002] until they could be replaced by the Thai Khmer regiments undergoing training, and other countries’ aid to Cambodia. According to the briefing memorandum for the May 25 Washington Special Actions Group meeting from Holdridge to Kissinger, May 25, “At the May 22 meeting there was a consensus that Thai troops should not be sent, although there was the feeling that it might be advisable to collect these forces together in Thailand for possible use as a ‘shock brigade’ in Cambodia if the Communists launch a real push against Phnom Penh and the Lon Nol Government.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–074, WSAG Meeting, 5/22/70 and 5/25/70)

On the evening of May 22 at 6:05 p.m., Secretary of State Rogers discussed on the telephone with Kissinger the possibility of Thai Troops in Cambodia. Rogers stated: “On the Thai troop thing, I don’t have any very strong views on it except that we ought to be thinking seriously about legal justifications for everything we do from now on. If, through carelessness or boldness, we do something contrary to law it will be a serious matter. There are lots of restrictions on uses of troops.” Kissinger noted that “nothing should be shipped that hasn’t been approved by the WSAG.” Rogers countered that the WSAG wasn’t necessarily concerned with legality. Both men agreed to highlight legal concerns at the next regular WSAG meeting. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 363, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)