159. Telegram From the Embassy in Thailand to the Department of State1

23183. Subject: Talk With General Kriangsak. Ref: A. Secto 10021, B. Bangkok 22519, C. State 238364.2

1. In the course of a golf game with General Kriangsak on October 8, I carried out the Department’s instructions and made all of the points suggested in Ref A.

2. Kriangsak said he fully understood our position and agreed with our point of view. Obviously any change in government should be brought about in a way which did minimum damage to Thailand’s image abroad. Kriangsak said that while opposition to Prime Minister Thanin was widespread there was no rpt no support in any quarter for the Young Turks and the kind of military coup they might be inclined to launch. They had no program, no policy and no popular following. Under these circumstances he found it hard to see how they could do anything.

3. In the course of the morning we had chatted about the gas project in the Gulf of Siam and the just-cancelled visit to America of the Minister of Industry who was going to visit US Steel in connection with the potash/soda ash project in the northeast. Kriangsak then volunteered the thought that what Thailand needed was a good “manager.” The best manager in the country was Kasem Chatikawanit of the electricity generating authority of Thailand. He said Kasem was the kind of person who should be the next Prime Minister. (Comment: As there has been considerable speculation over the likelihood that Kriangsak might well see himself in that role I found this a particularly interesting remark.)

4. Comment: As indicated above, Kriangsak fully understands our position and I am convinced that neither he nor any other political [Page 570] leaders in this country believe that we are involving ourselves in the Thai political scene.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840084–2093. Secret; Nodis.
  2. Telegram Secto 10021 from the Secretary’s Delegation in New York, September 30, outlined U.S. policy on Thai internal politics and Indochina insurgencies. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840072–2591) Telegram 22519 from Bangkok, October 3, clarified U.S. policy regarding Thai internal politics. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840084–2095) Telegram 238364 to Bangkok, October 3, addressed planned demonstrations in Thailand. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840084–2172)