380. Memorandum From the National Intelligence Officer for South and Southeast Asia at the Central Intelligence Agency (Christison) to the Director of Central Intelligence (Colby), Washington, March 8, 1974.1 2

Office of the Director of Central Intelligence

DATE: 8 March 1974

TO: The Director

SUBJECT: Contingency Planning for a Military Coup in Thailand

1. The attached memorandum, prepared at your request, addresses the question of how the U.S. should respond in the event of a coup or attempted return to power by the military in Thailand. As you will note, we take an appreciably different tack from that taken by Ambassador Kintner.

2. [text not declassified]

William A. Christison


[Page 2]

9 April 1974


SUBJECT: Contingency Planning for a Possible Military Coup in Thailand

The Key Points

The U.S. response to a military coup or attempted coup in Thailand should be governed by the following guidelines:

  • - We should recognize that it is in our interest to continue a close relationship with almost any Thai government that might emerge from a coup.
  • - If coup plotters tell us in advance of their plans and seek our support, we should withhold that support. [text not declassified]
  • - If we intervene in any way to prevent a coup, and that coup then succeeds, we would merely prejudice our future relations with a new Thai government.
  • - During any coup attempt the U.S. should maintain a low profile and remain detached from the situation, but should continue all assistance programs and contacts with the government at present levels.
  • - Once a coup has succeeded and the dust has settled, the U.S. should in low key express acceptance of the situation.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, OPI 122 (National Intelligence Council), Job 79R01099A, Box 11, Folder 7, Contingency Planning for a Possible Military Coup in Thailand. Secret. On the routing slip attached to the memorandum, an unknown hand wrote, “Excellent memo. Let’s hold it for possible use at a WSAG or elsewhere.”
  2. Christison forwarded guidelines for responding to a military coup in Thailand.