61. Summary of Conclusions of WSAG Meeting1


The WSAG discussed the pros and cons of responding to Souvanna’s request for an additional Thai battalion. The principal arguments put forth in favor were that the battalion would strengthen the defensive situation and that it would deter the North Vietnamese from advancing further along Routes 7 and 13. The principal arguments cited against were that the presence of additional Thai troops might increase the incentive to the North Vietnamese to attack, that the Thai commitment to a conventional role in Laos would be increased at the expense of counterinsurgency activities within Thailand, that the Chinese might be led to step up their support for insurgency in northeast Thailand, and that the Thais might request additional military assistance from the US. The WSAG members noted the lack of Congressional and public reaction to the earlier introduction of a Thai battalion.

It was the consensus that the Thais would be willing to make another battalion available in return for the same sort of US support provided to the previous battalion. The WSAG members agreed that an immediate Presidential decision should be sought2 regarding the second Thai battalion. Dr. Kissinger will prepare and clear with the State Department a memorandum to the President setting forth the advantages and disadvantages and requesting a decision.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–073, WSAG Meeting, Cambodia and Laos, 4/14/70. Top Secret; Sensitive. Attached to an April 15 memorandum from Jeanne Davis to U. Alexis Johnson, Nutter, Vice Admiral Nels C. Johnson of the JCS, and Karamessines.
  2. According to the April 16, 1970, WSAG meeting summary of conclusions, the WSAG was informed at that time of “the President’s decision to go forward with moving a second Thai battalion to Laos.” The summary stated the movement would be “arranged on the same basis and according to the same procedures as were set forth at the WSAG meeting of March 26, 1970 to govern meeting of the first Thai battalion.” It also added that the press guidance for the movement and the need for a contingency plan for orderly withdrawal would remain the same. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–073, WSAG Meeting, Laos and Cambodia, 4/16/70.)
  3. Document 231, Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. VI.