123. Telegram From the Consulate in Hong Kong to the Department of State 1

3516. Subject: Report of Under Secretary’s Talk With Prime Minister: Narcotics.

Following is cleared record of discussion of narcotics problem which took place during call by Under Secretary Irwin on Prime Minister Tham Kittikachorn May 27. Other topics covered in meeting are reported septels.
At close of call on Prime Minister, the Under Secretary expressed appreciation for Thai cooperation during the recent visit of BNDD director John Ingersoll, and noted U.S. concern over the increased availability of heroin to our troops in SVN. He noted that the major sources are in Burma, Laos, and Southern China, and that major traffic routes run through Laos and Thailand. Congress and those opposed to the Vietnam War will also use the drug question to arouse further opposition to the war. The Prime Minister responded that ever since the President and Vice President visited Thailand, the Thai have done what they could to help. He noted, however, that when even a big, powerful country like the U.S. has a problem controlling drugs, [Page 259]Thailand with its limited means finds it very difficult to control. Under Secretary Irwin expressed our understanding of the problem for the Thai. He also mentioned the joint U.S.-Thai committee on which DCM Newman will be the U.S. representative2 and expressed the hope that it would be able to do effective work.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, ORG 7 U. Confidential. Also sent to UNSTO and repeated to Bangkok.
  2. Telegram 7155 from Bangkok, May 25, reported on Ambassador Unger’s meeting with Thanom that morning on “the alarming increase in drug traffic.” Unger mentioned “the repeated evidence of movement through Thailand and some processing in this country.” He also cited “the apparently reliable reports about ships, ostensibly engaged in fishing, that leave Thai ports daily and rendezvous with other traffickers offshore from Hong Kong.” Unger stated that Thanom “acknowledged what I had said and indicated his unqualified agreement on the need for effective action.” (Ibid.)