79. Memorandum From the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for National Security Affairs (Ware) to Secretary of Defense Laird 1

SUBJECT

  • Redeployment of US Forces from Thailand (BANNER SUN)

I–35764/70

Your memorandum for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff dated 5 June 1970,2 approved a plan to redeploy 7,300 USAF and 2,565 USA personnel from Thailand during FY 71. These redeployments were to begin 15 July 1970, except for the small F–102 detachment at Don Muang which redeployed 25 June 1970.

A State/Defense message was sent on 2 July3 directing American Embassy Bangkok to initiate consultations with the RTG concerning these planned reductions of US forces in Thailand. At State’s request the redeployments were rescheduled to begin 1 August, instead of 15 July, to provide Ambassador Unger additional time to facilitate negotiations with the RTG. Later, on the same day, State Department directed separately that action on redeployment of US forces in Thailand be suspended pending further instructions. This action was taken at the request of Secretary Rogers from Manila. Subsequent information indicated that the decision concerning this redeployment package would be withheld pending review of the FY 71 DoD budget and the VSSG study of air operations in Southeast Asia.

On the basis of the foregoing, JCS directed CINCPAC to take no further action to redeploy or prepare for redeployment of these forces. The FY 71 DoD budget is predicated, in part, on the planned reductions of forces in Thailand. A decision is required as soon as practical in order to begin negotiations with the RTG, preparatory to redeploying these forces.

Recommend you sign the attached memorandum to Dr. Kissinger 4 reemphasizing the necessity for expeditious resolution of the questions [Page 158]which are directly related to FY 71 force reductions in Thailand. (BANNER SUN). A talking paper on the subject for your use in California is also appended.5

RA Ware
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, FRC 330 74 0142, Signers Copies Folder #24. Top Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Not found.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 73.
  4. Attached but not printed. The memorandum states that its purpose is “to reaffirm strongly” the Department of Defense position that negotiation with the RTG “should be started immediately so that we can retain our credibility with the Thai and minimize the adverse budgetary impact of the unplanned delay.” It also states the hope that “no additional delays in completing the VSSG study will be encountered.”
  5. Attached but not printed. The paper provides a chronology of the plan for military reductions in Thailand. It also asserts that the loss of the F–105 aircraft there would “be fully compensated for by the additional AC–130 and B–57s as in terms of interdiction in Laos” and that the Takhli base in Thailand “will no longer be needed” and that its closure “should have no impact on Thai decision-making regarding Cambodia.”