80. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Sullivan) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- U.S. Air Force Reduction in Thailand
In accordance with your request there is attached the memorandum which I received from our Thai people concerning the problem of United States reduction of Air Force units in Thailand. This memorandum addresses itself only to those reductions which our Embassy in Thailand knows are included in the Fiscal Year 1971 program. Our Embassy in Bangkok is not yet aware of the fact that one of the alternatives in the tactical air package for Southeast Asia might result in the elimination of additional squadrons and in the evacuation of the base at Korat.
Naturally, if there were any decision taken to accept the alternative which involves the Korat evacuation, our problem with the Thai would be even greater than is suggested in the attached memorandum. On the other hand, if we are going to make such a decision we should not break the news to the Thai piecemeal but should give them the bad news all at once.[Page 159]
Our very strong recommendation is that the decision on the tactical air package should leave the Korat installation intact. Therefore, if and when the decision is made to instruct Embassy Bangkok to implement the Fiscal Year 1971 package2 we trust that will be a definitive decision concerning the total redeployments to be made from Thailand and that it will involve only the redeployment of the air squadrons and the evacuation of Takhli.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 562, Country Files, Far East, Thailand, Vol. IV. Top Secret. A notation in Kissinger’s handwriting reads: “Al—I agree, I want the whole’71 package spelled out and communicated to DOD along the lines of VSSG decisions.”↩
- The decision was made at the WSAG meeting of August 4, which was held in the White House Situation Room from 5:10 to 6:45 p.m. The WSAG agreed that DOD should pull its F–105s out of Takhli, but that the base should be kept open at least until October 1971. Excerpts relating to Thailand are in Document 81.↩
- Green crossed out the Secretary as the addressee on this memorandum and wrote in Ambassador Sullivan’s name with a note that reads: “Bill—I’m not sending this to the Secretary since he won’t be at VSSG or even later at S. Clemente. However, you may find points here valid and relevant in your VSSG meeting. MG”↩
- Document 73.↩