296. Telegram From the Embassy in Thailand to the Department of State1

8772. Subj: Thai Objection to the U.S. Military Use of Thailand for Actions in Cambodia. Ref: A. Bangkok 8737; B. Bangkok 8684 (Notal); C. Bangkok 8771.2

Prime Minister Khukrit Pramot summoned the Chargé the afternoon of May 14 (reftel A). Khukrit began by asking for information about the arrival of U.S. Marines in Thailand. The Chargé told Khukrit that Washington had not informed him about U.S. military actions in Indochina when he met with the Prime Minister the previous day (reftel B). Khukrit said that he was aware of this situation.
The Chargé then said that there were somewhat over 1100 Marines currently at Utapao. Khukrit asked what we intended to do with them. The Chargé replied that he was not informed on what our intentions are, but he would assume that whatever will be done with them will be done quickly.
Khukrit, referring to the movie role of Prime Minister of Sarkhan that he once portrayed, said that he was sorry to have to replay “The Ugly American.” He personally regretted having to hand over an aidemémoire [Page 1020] on the subject of the use of Thai bases for military actions in Indochina, but he had no choice. (ref C contains the text of the aide mémoire.) The Chargé said he would immediately pass the Prime Minister’s views to Washington.
Comment. Khukrit was obviously pained by the position U.S. Government actions have put him in, but he was calm and not unfriendly throughout this short session. However, he subsequently told the press in a series of strong statements that the U.S. must remove the Marines “immediately.” He said he would be waiting to see tomorrow morning what the situation is. The pressures are building rapidly here. It is most important that we remove the Marines from Thailand just as quickly as possible, hopefully on May 15. If we are not able to do this, we will be in for real trouble on Friday, May 16.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential; Flash; Limdis. Repeated to Vientiane, the Defense Department, CINCPAC for POLAD, and USSAG Nakhon Phanom.
  2. Telegrams 8737 and 8771 from Bangkok, May 14, reported on Whitehouse’s May 14 meeting with Khukrit Pramot. (Both ibid.) Telegram 8684 is Document 288.