84. Memorandum From Richard T. Kennedy, Laurence E. Lynn, Jr., and John H. Holdridge of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Banner Sun Reductions in Thailand

The Banner Sun package represents total reductions of about 10,000 U.S. personnel. This includes about 4,000 personnel associated with the withdrawal of F–105s and 6,000 other personnel including engineer and transportation units, and other miscellaneous personnel.

The package was “approved” by Packard and Johnson and Ambassador Unger was advised to inform the Thai by a cable in early July2 (on what basis is not clear to us), but a hold was placed on this at Secretary Rogers’ direction3 following his discussion with the President.

The Banner Sun package was discussed at the VSSG meeting in Los Angeles and subsequently in the WSAG meeting on August 4.4 In both cases the discussion turned on whether Takhli should be kept open. In Los Angeles the discussion was in the context of sortie levels. At the WSAG meeting the discussion centered on whether we should inform the Thai of our intention ultimately to close Takhli or whether we should agree to keep it open and manned until October 1971, deferring until early spring informing the Thai of our decision. At the WSAG meeting it was agreed that we would keep Takhli open through October 1971, would withdraw the F–105 units, and would defer until spring 1971 decision as to whether to continue our operation of the base after October 1971 or to turn over responsibility to the Thai and to inform them of our intention to do so. NSDM 77 confirmed the decision on Takhli and set sortie levels.

The draft cable which Alex Johnson used as a springboard for the discussion at the WSAG meeting,5 and which he left with you, authorized Ambassador Unger to inform the Thai of the full Banner Sun reduction package modified by the decision on Takhli, and to advise [Page 167]the Thai about September 1. (Our redraft taking into account your changes but still reflecting the Johnson/Packard “approval” of the entire Banner Sun package is at Tab A.)6

Both Ambassador Johnson and Mr. Packard are agreed that we should go forward on this basis, but we are unclear as to whether you agree or whether the reductions other than those associated with F–105s require further approval either by you or by the President.

We would appreciate your guidance.

Banner Sun approved in full with modification for Takhli7 (approve cable at Tab A)

Air Force reductions modified by Takhli approved but do Memo for the President on other reductions

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 562, Country Files, Far East, Thailand, Vol. IV. Top Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 73.
  3. See Document 74.
  4. See Document 81.
  5. Attached but not printed.
  6. Attached but not printed.
  7. This option was checked.