151. Memorandum From John H. Holdridge of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUJBECT

  • Thai Request for Consultation on Future Vietnam Peace Proposals

PARTICIPANTS

  • H.E. Sunthorn Hongladarom, Thai Ambassador to the United States
  • Winthrop G. Brown, Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Alf E. Bergesen, Acting Director for Thailand/Burma Affairs, EA

Summary

Ambassador Sunthorn came in on instructions to deliver what he characterized as the most important message of his tour in Washington, the request of his government that it be consulted before any further modifications to the eight-point US peace proposal for Vietnam are made. End summary.

Ambassador Sunthorn came in on instructions with what he described as a very serious request.2 He realized that high US officials were concerned with the security of Thailand as a whole and that they [Page 327]were interested in its problems. The President’s eight-point peace proposal was acceptable in principle to the Thai Government as an attempt at a solution to the long term problem. However, whatever the outcome of the present difficulties in North and South Vietnam, Thailand’s security would be affected. The Chairman of the National Executive Council (Thanom) felt that Thailand should have been consulted in connection with the eight-point program. The NEC now expected that there may be a new US proposal for Vietnam which would have the effect of involving or even endangering Thai security. As an ally and deeply involved, Thailand should be consulted.

Ambassador Brown asked whether this meant that the Thai wished to be consulted on any future proposal that we might make in Paris. Ambassador Sunthorn said yes. Ambassador Brown pointed out that we did not know what the outcome (of the eight-point proposal) will be nor whether there will be any new proposals. We would wish to think over what the Ambassador requested. There were many people involved. Would a similar approach be made to Ambassador Unger? Sunthorn said he thought so. His government felt the eight-point program had already made substantial concessions to North Vietnam. Any further concession would be detrimental to the interests of Thailand and the United States.

Ambassador Brown asked what worried the Thai especially. Sunthorn said his government had not specified, but they were particularly concerned about anything affecting the security of Laos and Cambodia, which would automatically affect Thailand’s security. They wished to see nothing occur which would let North Vietnam control the whole of those two countries. Ambassador Brown said that we had no interest in seeing Thai security unfavorably affected or North Vietnam’s taking over Laos and Cambodia. We appreciated very much what Thailand had already done. Ambassador Brown suggested that the problems of Laos and Cambodia would be dealt with after Vietnam was settled.

Sunthorn said yes, he thought it was a package deal. A stalemate, especially in South Vietnam, might lead to increased North Vietnamese action in Laos and Cambodia. Ambassador Brown said we would see what could be done to bring the Thai more into the picture. He would consult with Ambassador Sullivan and the Secretary on the latter’s return.3 Sunthorn said this was an important request which his government had asked him to make. They tried not to bother us—they recognize that we have many problems—but he regarded this as the most important message that he had had to deliver to this government.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL THAI–US. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Bergesen on February 23, and approved by Brown and Lange Schermerhorn (S/SS) on February 26. The meeting was held in Ambassador Brown’s office.
  2. According to telegram 2458 from Bangkok, February 22, Unger met on February 21 with Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Charunphan (who replaced Thanat as head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under NEC Thanom after the November coup) and received the same basic message as that delivered by Sunthorn. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram Tosec 76, February 23, reported the BrownSunthorn meeting to Green, who was travelling with the Presidential party on a state visit to China, along with Rogers, Kissinger, and others.