162. Letter From President Carter to Thai Prime Minister Kriangsak1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Thank you for your expression of good will toward the United States. You may be sure that I intend to maintain the friendship and close cooperation which have so long existed between our countries.

With the end of the Indochinese War, Southeast Asia entered an era full of promise and challenge. The steps you have taken toward more normal relations with the states of Indochina will help the region’s chances for stability and peace. Thailand’s continued strong support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also promises to spur economic development and regional progress.

Other decisions taken by your government during its first weeks show that the United States and Thailand share many important objectives. I applaud the steps you are taking to provide greater protection for the individual, to enhance popular participation in the political process, and to better the lot of the Thai people—especially the rural poor. Your statement to your country on Human Rights Day2 shows you share my conviction that human rights must be a central element of both domestic and foreign policy.

Thailand’s humane treatment of Indochinese refugees also attests to your country’s mercy and compassion. The United States is continuing to help move refugees from Thailand for resettlement abroad, and we support the activities of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees—both in Thailand and elsewhere. I know the refugee problem is difficult for your country, but I hope you will continue your humanitarian approach in this distressing situation.

I welcome your efforts to wipe out narcotics production and trafficking, by both national and international means. We share a belief in the importance of this task.

I believe the periodic economic consultations my country has recently begun with the ASEAN nations will help us work together for regional economic growth.

Our economic assistance to Thailand is presently modest, since your relatively healthy economy makes major new United States pro [Page 574] grams seem to be unnecessary. As you continue your efforts to improve the lives of those most in need, however, there should be more chances for U.S.-Thai cooperation, both in the private sector and in rural development.

I hope my country will play an active role in working for peace and progress in Southeast Asia—and that I will be able to consult with you and your ASEAN colleagues as problems arise.

My best wishes for the New Year to you and your government—and to His Majesty, the King.


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 50, Thailand: 1977–1978. No classification marking. Kriangsak was appointed Prime Minister on November 11.
  2. December 10.