180. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Thai Contact with the PRC


  • Pote Sarasin, Assistant Chairman, National Executive Council, Thailand
  • H.E. Anand Panyarachun, Thai Ambassador to the United States
  • Mr. Wichian Watanakun, First Secretary, Thai Embassy
  • The Secretary of State
  • Alf E. Bergesen, Acting Director, EA/TB

The Secretary asked Pote about the Thai contact with the PRC. Pote said they had had to refuse the initial invitation to China which, in any case, was non-governmental, because Thailand was not a member (note: of the Asian Table Tennis Union). A few days later word came that Thailand had been made a member and so it was decided to send a team. Prasit Kanchanawat, whom Pote described as “my deputy”, was sent with the team. When Prasit arrived the Chinese took special care of him, e.g., separate accommodations. His midnight meeting with Chou En-Lai was without any forewarning as to the personage involved. It was a correct and formal meeting. Chou sent best regards to His Majesty the King and Field Marshal Thanom. Pote noted as interesting one item that Chou mentioned, that the Thai must be very careful about Russian interest in the Kra Canal. The Chinese, Pote said, evidently tried to be very nice to the Thai visitors.

Prasit told the Chinese that the Thai were worried about terrorists. The Thai people, he said, assumed that the Chinese were supporting the insurgents. Chou said “we” had nothing to do with this but would continue to support freedom fighters. After the tournament there was a tour of south China for the team and its advisors and Chou again appeared at the farewell party. Pote said that the Thai were not yet certain of Chinese motives. The Chinese understood that Thailand had good relations with the U.S.

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In response to the Secretary’s query about Chinese support of liberation movements, Pote noted that Bangladesh was a liberation movement, but the Chinese did not support it. The Secretary said that in his conversations in Peking the Chinese told him they favored “liberation and turmoil.” He wondered about Africa, which obviously needed peace and stability far more. Pote said that Prasit had noted that there was no case for liberation in Thailand and the subject was then dropped.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 THAI. Secret. Drafted by Bergesen and approved in S on October 6. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s office. The memorandum is part I of II. Part II notes the request of the Thais not to be taken by surprise if a negotiated peace was in the offing, and Rogers’s various reiterations that he had told them as much as he could and would let him know as soon as he could. The entire conversation is summarized in telegram 184763 to Bangkok, October 10. (Ibid.)