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

SUBJECT

  • Economic Assistance to Thailand for FY 1970

State (Tab A)2 requests your approval of $30 million in grants for economic assistance to Thailand in FY 1970. Treasury and BOB (Tab B)3 concur.

This is a reduction from our FY 1969 obligations of $35.5 million and FY 1968 obligations of $46.7 million. The reduction adds to Thai doubts about U.S. interest in them. State feels that the Thais understand that the reduction is due to Congressional cuts in AID appropriations and a shortage of projects, so the adverse political reactions can be minimized.

The program’s primary objective is to help preserve the security of Thailand, partly by inducing the Thais to allocate more resources to their own security programs. Our program concentrates on providing advisory and financial support to the Thai police, and assisting in development programs, to try to prevent the growth of Communist insurgency in the North and Northeast.

Specifically, the program provides:

  • —$7 million for a public safety program, to help develop a security capacity sufficient to counter the growth of Communist insurgency in the rural areas.
  • —$9 million for the accelerated rural development program, which emphasizes road construction and other projects aimed at increasing the Government’s responsiveness to village needs.
  • —$14 million to help increase support for the Thai Government in the North and Northeast, by helping their programs in health, education, agriculture and public administration.

In addition to the bilateral program proposed in State’s memorandum, AID conducts a $14 million East Asia Regional Program, roughly half of which benefits Thailand. The regional program is growing [Page 113]in importance and could expand rapidly if its support for Mekong River Basin projects moves beyond the feasibility study phase.

The NSSM 51 study of Thailand, now in the final stages of preparation, will address the major options open to the U.S. in our overall relations with Thailand. Issues which will be considered in that study are, inter alia:

  • —Have we overemphasized quick-impact counter-insurgency programs at the expense of longer-term development programs?
  • —Have we pushed the Thais into programs which they feel are of low priority, and will be discontinued by the Thais after U.S. inputs are withdrawn?
  • —Can the Thais take full responsibility for their public safety program and their accelerated rural development program?

Your approval of the recommended program for FY 1970 will not prejudge these decisions for FY 1971, which can be made in the context of the NSSM 51 study.

Recommendations 4

1.
That you approve the $30 million economic assistance program for Thailand in FY 1970 proposed by State.
2.
That you authorize me to instruct State/AID to develop economic assistance options for FY 1971, consistent with the broader options of NSSM 51.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 561, Country Files, Far East, Thailand, Vol. III. Secret. Sent for action. A notation on the first page reads: “Holdridge action.”
  2. Attached at Tab A but not printed is a January 22 memorandum from Rogers to the President.
  3. Attached at Tab B but not printed is a February 11 memorandum from Mayo to the President.
  4. Nixon initialed both approve options; a notation indicates S/S was notified on March 10.