148. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Thailand 1

230898. Ref: Bangkok 17212.2

Following is text of letter from the President to be delivered to Marshal Thanom soonest. Further instructions contained in immediately following septel.
“Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I am pleased that you took the initiative to write me about the current situation in North Laos. You can be assured that I fully share the concern which you have expressed and agree that urgent action is needed to meet this increased threat. The reports which I have received make it clear that the Thai irregular units in the Plaine des Jarres were courageous and effective under intense attack and that they made the North Vietnamese pay dearly for their gains.

The three specific objectives for our air effort, which you have out-lined, accord completely with our own estimate of the most urgent requirements in that field. I have directed that all necessary steps be taken to meet these objectives. I hope that as the weather improves we will see positive results in the next few days.

In addition to the measures which can appropriately be taken from the air, there remain significant problems on the ground. The losses suffered in both manpower and equipment will require urgent corrective action. In this connection, I have directed the accelerated delivery of the equipment, especially artillery, which will be needed for effective ground defenses.

Meanwhile, the manpower and deployment needs generated by the current situation are matters to which you, together with Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma, will wish to give urgent attention.

I am asking Ambassador Unger to discuss these matters with you in greater detail and report promptly to me. Sincerely,”

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 564, Country Files, Far East, Thailand, Vol. VIII. Top Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Repeated to Vientiane and Saigon. Drafted at the White House, cleared by Haig and Sullivan, and approved by Johnson.
  2. Attached but not printed is telegram 17212 from Bangkok, December 20, which transmitted a letter to Nixon from Thanom, requesting urgent U.S. air support and additional U.S. arms aid for the battle in Laos.