185. Letter From President Nixon to Thai National Executive Council Chairman Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn 1

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I appreciated very much receiving your letter of December 12, 19722 in which you quite clearly laid out your views on the coming peace settlement in Vietnam. I have asked General Haig to deliver for me this reply to the questions you have raised and to outline for you the present status of negotiations.

May I first, however, thank you for your kind thoughts on my re-election and your hopes for my second term which were contained in your letter of December 12, as well as in your message of November 8. I was also moved by your generous compliments on our efforts to bring about a settlement of the conflict in Vietnam. We all hope that [Page 393]this will be achieved soon on terms that will provide a stable base for peace in the region.

I appreciate your concern for the continued presence of substantial North Vietnamese forces in Laos and the Khmer Republic, as well as for the externally-inspired insurgency which you are confronting at home. I want to assure you that we too are concerned about these problems. I know that you are also greatly interested in the terms of a possible Vietnam peace settlement. It is in view of these wholly understandable concerns on your part that I have asked General Haig to discuss these matters with you at this important juncture.

As regards the question you raised concerning North Vietnamese forces in Laos and the Khmer Republic, I would note that the draft peace settlement contemplates the removal of these forces. May I also reiterate my gratitude for the vital assistance which the Thai irregular forces have given in coping with this problem in Laos.

As to the governing insurgency in Thailand, I am impressed by the increased attention which your Government is now giving to this substantial threat to your security and by the growing effectiveness with which you are meeting this challenge. You may be sure we will continue to do everything we can to provide the security and economic assistance necessary to assist you in coping with this insurgency.

I am keenly aware of the burdens which Thailand has willingly assumed to help defend the Republic of Vietnam against aggression from the north. Your earlier contribution of troops and your present provision of Thai bases have been invaluable in our combined effort to defeat this blatant attempt to take over South Vietnam by military force. I recognize the difficulties which your generous contributions have posed for Thailand, and want you to know that these are deeply appreciated. At the same time, I know that you recognize that the security of Thailand is a key to the stability of the region. Your efforts in Vietnam—and in Indochina as a whole—are a reflection on the importance of developments there to the security of Thailand. I want to assure you that the United States intends to stand solidly behind its longstanding security commitment to Thailand.

I hope you will share, in all candor, your concerns with General Haig. He will report these fully to me on his return, and I assure you that I will give them my closest attention.

Sincerely,

Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL THAI–US. Secret; Nodis. It was delivered by General Haig on his late December–January trip to Southeast Asia.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 184.