81. Editorial Note

During the Washington Special Actions Group meeting of August 4, 1970, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger announced first that the organization of several different [Page 161]groups of principals dealing with various aspects of the conflict in Southeast Asia would be simplified, and that “this group of principals will now be called the Senior Review Group on Southeast Asia.”

A summary reads as follows:

“Support for Thai Khmer Units. DOD is to pay initial family separation allowances for the first 2,000 troops, and to cover the first Quarter’s pay and allowances after deployment in Cambodia. AID will offset this cost later by making available supporting assistance to cover a Vietnam cost which otherwise would be funded by DOD. The State Department is to make sure the Thais understand that these units must at least nominally be folded into FANK in order that initial equipment needs and operative support can be covered by Cambodian MAP.”

The WSAG also agreed “that projects for recruitment of two additional Lao SGU battalions and six Thai SGU battalions for paramilitary operations in South Laos should go forward.”

The last discussion of the meeting concerned the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Thailand. Under Secretary of State U. Alexis Johnson asked about the withdrawal of air support and stated that the “Black Panthers are leaving Vietnam, and some U.S. troops are leaving Thailand.” (Prime Minister Thanom announced on August 27 that his Government had informed the South Vietnamese Government that it planned to withdraw its troops from that country.) In response to Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard’s question as to whether there was any reason to keep Takhli open, Kissinger made the following response:

“When you draw down your involvement in Thailand, it will be hard to get back in. Since one could conclude that Thailand will be our anchor in Southeast Asia, we might wish to pull troops now in South Vietnam into Thailand. If this should be the case, we would want to keep as much presence as possible in Thailand at this time. This is the argument that Sullivan has been giving me, and I understand that Secretary Rogers agrees.”

Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms added that “We shouldn’t indicate that we are closing Takhli at this time.” Kissinger then stated, “I agree. Let’s take out the F–105s, but keep open the base for now.” Kissinger concluded by stating that if “we tell the Thais that we are getting out, we will have to pay the political price. On the other hand, if we just take the F–105s out, but leave the base open, we can come back at any time that we choose.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–114, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1969 and 1970)

The discussions and agreement with the Thai Government concerning the redeployment of the additional 10,000 U.S. military personnel from Thailand during FY 1971 were publicly announced on September 8.