3. Memorandum Prepared for the 303 Committee1

SUBJECT

  • Covert Support of the Thai Government Party in the Thai National Parliamentary Elections

1. Summary

On 11 November 1965, in response to a request from Ambassador Graham Martin and after 303 Committee approval, high authority authorized covert funding support [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to a political party to be formed by responsible Thai Government leaders.2 Approval for this support was reaffirmed by higher authority on 15 September 1967 after favorable review by the 303 Committee. A final review was made on 16 August 1968. Funding which commenced on 31 August 1968 was completed on 4 February 1969. The Thai general elections will be held on 10 February 1969. A general accounting of the use of the funds by category has been obtained by Ambassador Leonard Unger. A recommendation is made that a report on the results of the election be made to the 303 Committee and, if possible, a relationship drawn between the results and the effectiveness of the financial support provided.

2. Background

In June 1965 a final draft constitution for Thailand had been completed providing for general elections which were assumed would be held in mid-or late 1966. With this in mind, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] in June 1965 approached Ambassador Martin with a request for covert U.S. assistance to be used in conjunction with the upcoming general elections. Ambassador Martin subsequently proposed to Washington that CIA draw up a program of covert election support with the primary objective being to develop a viable political apparatus in Thailand under the present pro-U.S. leadership and to ensure the continuity of this leadership. A memorandum requesting 303 Committee authorization for such a program was presented to the 303 Committee on 7 October 1965. It estimated that initial funding requirements would be on the order of [dollar amount not declassified], [Page 7]stated that the number of witting Thai officials could probably be kept to six, [1½ lines of source text not declassified]. The 303 Committee approved the proposal for the expenditure of [dollar amount not declassified] subject to approval by higher authority which was given on 11 November 1965.

The draft constitution of June 1965 was delayed in debate, however, and the proposal remained in abeyance. Following the passing of the third and final reading of the constitution in February 1968, the subject of covert political support was reopened by the Thais. [1 line of source text not declassified], approached [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], Bangkok with a request for covert election support based on past commitments. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] was advised that this question would have to be discussed with the Ambassador. [name not declassified] subsequently discussed the same matter with Ambassador Unger on 22 March 1968, noting that he was aware of the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] level of support previously considered. [name not declassified]emphasized that only [1 line of source text not declassified], were aware of the previous U.S. commitment. After a series of informal talks, Ambassador Unger requested authority from Washington to proceed with this covert support. After 303 Committee consideration on 16 August 1968, a message was sent to Ambassador Unger from Assistant Secretary of State Mr. William Bundy authorizing the initiation of a covert funding program. This message was specifically cleared by both the Secretary of State and the Special Assistant to the President. [5 lines of source text not declassified]

[2 paragraphs (30 lines of source text) and 1 heading not declassified]

4. Recommendations

A report on the outcome of the Thai elections scheduled to be held on 10 February 1969 will be made to the 303 Committee. If possible, an analysis of the relationship of this outcome to the effectiveness of the support provided should be made.

  1. Source: National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, Subject Files, Thailand. Secret; Eyes Only. A notation on the bottom left-hand corner of the first page reads, “303 Committee briefed on 11 February 1969.”
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXVII, Documents 305 and 306.