168. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • Thai Request for Additional Military Assistance

During Vice President Agnew’s recent trip, the Thai asked him for additional helicopters, communications equipment, and armored vehicles.

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At your direction Vice President Agnew asked Secretary Laird to prepare a forthcoming reply to the Thai request.

Secretary Laird proposes that we provide the Thai with four major items and spares2 at a cost of $4.6 million (Tab B).

  • —12 rebuilt UH–1H helicopters ($4 million). This would affect helicopter delivery to U.S. Army reserve units, but not to the active Army.
  • —Fourteen M–113 armored personnel carriers ($.288 million to complete the Thai program of 221 APCs. These fourteen vehicles would have to be diverted from a shipment of 232 currently scheduled for delivery to Vietnam, but could be replaced in the Vietnam program during the first two weeks of September by briefly delaying delivery to FMS purchasers.
  • —Six armored cars ($.323 million) could be delivered within 18 months from new production. To provide them earlier, we would have to take them from U.S. base security units in SVN and Thailand, which Secretary Laird and I agree should not be done.
  • —Speed up delivery of half the 1,000 tactical radios now in the Thai program for arrival in March 1973. They could be delivered in August by a temporary diversion from SVN of 500 radios (from the planned SVN delivery of 2,000) for about two weeks and brief adjustments in delivery times of other programs.

Thailand will be transferred from Service funding to MAP on 1 July 1972, and MAP funds are severely limited. Therefore, if we are to provide a special package to the RTG, the decision should be made immediately so that Service funds may be obligated before 1 July. Proceeding now with Secretary Laird’s package would serve two purposes:

  • —It would demonstrate our responsiveness to the Thai request and evidence a forthcoming attitude in view of all they have done for us during our force buildup.
  • —It will provide a hedge against possible MAP cuts next year.

I recommend that you approve Secretary Laird’s proposal. If you agree I will convey your approval by the memorandum at Tab A.3

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Recommendation

That you approve my forwarding the memorandum at Tab A to Secretary Laird approving his proposed additions to Thai military assistance.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 564, Country Files, Far East, Thailand, Vol. VIII. Secret. Sent for action. Drafted by Kennedy and Holdridge. The memorandum was attached to a June 8 covering memorandum from Kennedy and Holdridge to Kissinger. It was signed by Haig.
  2. In a June 2 memorandum for the President, Laird forwarded the proposal for the four programs but seemed to indicate skepticism about the Thai request, stating that there “is not a compelling requirement for military hardware additive to our regular program for Thailand, so the primary motive for providing additional assistance would be political.” Laird also noted that “everything that we can do for the Thai in the way of additional military assistance at this time has a direct and adverse impact on our current accelerated programs to satisfy combat requirements in Vietnam.” Attached but not printed.
  3. Attached at Tab A but not printed was the President’s memorandum to Laird, signed by Kissinger and dated June 10. It noted that the President “has approved your recommendations,” directed the provision of 12 rebuilt UH–1H helicopters, 14 M–113 armored personnel carriers, 6 armored cars, and 500 tactical radios to the Thais, and requested that delivery “be accelerated to the maximum possible extent.”
  4. Haig initialed the approve option for the President.