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

SUBJECT

  • Meeting with Mr. Pote Sarasin, Assistant Chairman of the Thai National Executive
    Council (which since last November’s coup has functioned as the Thai
    Cabinet)

I. Purpose

To reassure the Thai as to the constancy of U.S. support for Thailand and for our determination to continue to play a useful balancing role in the Asian Pacific region.

II. Background, Participants, Press Plan

A.

Background. The Vice President, when he visited Bangkok in mid-May, emphasized the constancy of U.S. purposes in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, the Thai leadership remains concerned over our long-term intentions in Asia, especially in view of our Vietnam withdrawal, our China initiative, and the growing internal insurgency in Thailand supported by Peking and Hanoi.

Partly in reaction to this, Bangkok in recent months began exploring in earnest the possibility of improving relations with the PRC. In August, talks in Peking between a senior Thai official who accompanied the Thai ping pong team and Chou En-lai indicated that the [Page 386] PRC is now sufficiently interested in getting relations with Bangkok onto a different track to allow Bangkok to set the pace in moving the relationship in that direction. With respect to our military presence in Thailand and Thailand’s other support for the Indochina conflict, PRC officials mentioned this only indirectly. Thailand, however, intends to move slowly and prudently. The Government recently approved a small delegation to the Canton Trade Fair this fall.

Sarasin is third in the current Thai leadership lineup and is the ranking civilian. Although formally he is in charge of economic and financial affairs, he also functions as Foreign Minister.

To the best of our knowledge, you last saw Sarasin during your July 1969 visit to Bangkok, when he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Development. He was Thai Ambassador to Washington between 1952 and 1957. A biographic sketch is at Tab B.2

B.
Participants: Sarasin, myself, and Thai Amb Anand Panyarachun*3
C.
Press Plan. The White House photographer will take photos at the beginning of the meeting. Mr. Ziegler will brief the press after the meeting.

III. Recommended Talking Points

Your talking points are at Tab A.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 565, Country Files, Far East, Thailand, Vol. IX. Secret. Sent for action. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. The Thai Ambassador’s name was handwritten at the end of this sentence with an asterisk. Next to another asterisk at the bottom of this page a handwritten notation reads, “He presented his credentials to you on Oct. 2.”
  4. Attached but not printed.