37. Telegram From the Embassy in Thailand to the Department of State 1

15438. Subject: Symington Subcommittee Hearings. Ref: A. Bangkok 15212;2 B. State 190484;3 C. Bangkok 15369.4

I spoke today to Marshal Dawee in great confidence and entirely alone, mentioning only very generally some of the points in ref B. I mentioned the agenda topics in para 2, ref B, explained the reasons for showing Plan Taksin to the Committee, and pointed out that Ambassador Unger had been at great pains to protect Plan Taksin in the hearings and to reassure the subcommittee that our commitments are limited to SEATO. Characteristically (and unlike Thanat), Dawee was inclined to be sympathetic and understanding of our problems and appreciative of our efforts to minimize the danger. He understands that there will inevitably be some unfortunate leaks or public statements, and while he will be angry when they occur, he is not inclined to punish us before they occur.
Without mentioning subcommittee criticisms of the Thai contribution in Vietnam or U.S. personnel, payments to the RTAVF, etc., I did tell Dawee that the committee is, of course, interested in obtaining a review of these aspects of Thai and U.S. cooperation in the Vietnam war. I emphasized that while we would have to explain to the committee our support to the RTAVF we would expect to keep this kind of thing confidential.
I believe this very once-over-lightly treatment with Dawee was useful and will be helpful at some future time. In view of Thanat’s rather cool attitude two days ago and Birabhongse’s critical attitude to our political counselor yesterday, I believe we will go slowly with the Foreign Minister. The Department should know that under my instructions to [Page 84]be cautious and because of Bira’s absorption with the successive Johnson and Green interviews with Ambassador Sunthorn, political counselor did not mention a number of items in ref B, including contentious points paras 4, 6, and 7, which perhaps is just as well.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 398, Subject Files, Symington Subcommittee, Vol. II. Secret; Priority; Exdis.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 35.
  3. See Document 36.
  4. Telegram 15369 from Bangkok, November 12, reported on the Embassy political counselor’s talk with Foreign Minister Thanat’s Secretary, Birabhongse. The latter revealed his and Thanat’s pessimism about the subcommittee hearings, especially the revelation of the Taksin Plan to Fulbright and Symington, saying that “Thanat fears that, in wake of this first step contents of plan will ultimately be revealed, rendering it worthless.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 398, Subject Files, Symington Subcommittee, Vol. II)