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

33017. For S/S. Subj: Memcon of Vance-Uppadit Meeting in Bali. Ref: State 206244.2

1. (Secret–Entire text)

2. We have finally pried the memcon loose from MFA on the meeting July 2, 1979, in Bali between Secretary Vance and FonMin Uppadit. Minister’s Secretary had tried unsuccessfully for past week [Page 621] or so to get Uppadit to review the text. Nonetheless, we would regard text as official record from RTG side.

3. Text follows:

Record of the conversations between H.E. Dr. Uppadit Pachariyangkun, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and Rt. Honorable Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State of the United States at Bali, Indonesia, July 2, 1979, 2:00–2:30 p.m.

Also present were from the Thai side Dr. Owat Sutthiwatnaruphut, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Dr. M.L. Phiraphong Kasemsi, Director-General of the International Organization Department; and from the U.S. side Mr. Richard Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and Pacific Affairs, Mr. Robert D. Oakley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and Pacific Affairs, and Mr. Morton I. Abramowitz, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand.

Secretary Vance: Anything you want to raise with me?

Minister Uppadit: It is nice to see you again; indeed, it is an encouragement for us. That the U.S. Secretary should be here in Bali is a show of support for our cause. We need this kind of support and solidarity to maintain our national existence. The situation with which we are facing is explosive. The Vietnamese are poised to attack us. In this regard, we deeply appreciate the U.S. President’s statement that the U.S. will honour the Manila Pact and remains firmly interested in the integrity of Thailand.3

Secretary Vance: I will reaffirm that commitment again now.

Minister Uppadit: The problems we are confronting relate to the refugees. We have reasons to believe that the new influxes were organized. The Vietnamese are pursuing a deliberate policy of pushing the ethnic Chinese minority into Thailand. This would serve a two-fold purpose, namely: getting rid of the undesirable elements and at the same time creating a problem of severe disruptive effects on our society.

—We also suspect that the Vietnamese might want to exterminate the whole Kampuchean race, as can be seen in their efforts to move in their people for settlements in Kampuchea. The immediate danger for us, however, is that the Vietnamese forces may move across the border into our territory under the pretext of “hot pursuit.” If that should take place, it will result not only in the escalation of the fighting but in the widening of the areas of the conflict. Of course we cannot stand still and see our territorial integrity be violated. Then China may make a move of its own, either into northern Vietnam or into Laos.

[Page 622]

—Once the fighting starts between Thai and Vietnamese forces, it will be hard to stop. This is what is worrying us. That is why we would like to request for the expedition of the arms sales which we have already purchased.

Secretary Vance: I will see what I can do when I get back.

Minister Uppadit: We are now in urgent need of tanks, aircrafts and ammunition.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Oakley: I think that most of the arms sales will hopefully be delivered before the end of this year.

Secretary Vance: On refugees, I understand how tremendous the problems may have been to your country. Central to any solutions to this problem are two basic aspects: (1) get to the source, and (2) deal with the humanitarian aspects, i.e., feeding them, finding third countries. But I want to point out the importance of countries of first asylum to continue giving assistance. This is what they must do if we are to get congressional support. The American public must be convinced that the countries of first asylum are prepared to do their part. The negative impact that will come out of the communique can never be overemphasized in the eyes of the American public.4 I want to make it very clearly and very frankly to you.

Minister Uppadit: We still have over 200,000 people who have been a big strain for us. Then came recently an additional 80,000; the feelings are running high. The government could not stand still or it confronts domestic problems. That’s why we cannot give much consideration for humanitarianism and that’s why there is a pushback. However, having taken your request into consideration, we have suspended the action.5 In the meantime, more and more are coming in.

Secretary Vance: We are trying to do what we can, but at the same time we also need your help.

Minister Uppadit: I believe that the problems of the Indochinese refugees are a consequence of the developments in Kampuchea. If we can stop the fighting in Kampuchea, we would solve the whole problem. Maybe you could raise it with the USSR.

[Page 623]

Secretary Vance: We have done that and we will take it up at the Security Council.

Minister Uppadit: We support your action and think that it is still useful even if Vietnam does not attend. Although nothing comes out, it will still attract world’s attention.

Secretary Vance: How do you feel about the convening of the Security Council? I will raise it with all the ASEAN Ministers this afternoon.6

Minister Uppadit: The Japanese also favor the idea of convening an international conference but they are still not yet so sure about how to organize one.

Secretary Vance: We support the concept.

Minister Uppadit: We welcome your President’s recent announcement on the Indochinese refugees,7 but the measure may still not be adequate. We have to attend the problems at source.

Secretary Vance: I wish to refer to the situation along the border. We understand that recently a large number of people were pushed back. We have received the information that these people are now starving. We would appreciate it if you can help us provide food to these people so that they will not die.

Ambassador Abramowitz: We get many letters. Please see what you can do to assist. We can provide the funds for you and we want to bring this to your attention.

Minister Uppadit: Are you sure that the food will get to them? It could be diverted to the hands of the Heng Samrin forces.

Secretary Vance: I shall ask the Ambassador to follow up on the matter and see to it that our purpose is served.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Oakley: Speaking of Peacock’s proposal about the draft statements.8 Should we issue a separate statement? Has ASEAN discussed it?

Minister Uppadit: No, we have not. What the ASEAN Ministers want is your endorsement of the joint communique—perhaps the [Page 624] important part of it. What is your idea about solving the Kampuchea problem?

Secretary Vance: We have to raise the issue in a political forum but it will take time and is very difficult to set one up. We must continue to utilize our bilateral contacts with the USSR, China and Vietnam and talk directly to them. Even then we still cannot be too sure.

Minister Uppadit: If we can bring the fighting to an end, then the next move would be to establish a government chosen by Kampucheans and one accepted by all. Of course all foreign forces must first be withdrawn. Vietnam is not going to do it. The conflict between the Soviet Union and China has much to do with it. ASEAN alone will not be in a position to contribute much.

Secretary Vance: All of us will play a part but primarily it is ASEAN because it is important to you.

Minister Uppadit: Immediate steps must be taken to bolster Kampuchea’s will to fight. Vietnam is now being harassed and facing difficulties. We must help Pol Pot or Heng Samrin will get stronger. As regards our role in this, we cannot do it for obvious reasons.

Secretary Vance: Neither claimed government will provide solutions in my judgement.

Minister Uppadit: Our position is clear on this that we shall not recognize Heng Samrin.

Assistant Secretary Holbrooke: Go along with that.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Oakley: In the long run it will not work if Pol Pot is there.9

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State, 1977–1980, Lot 84D241, Vance Nodis Memcons, 1979. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. Telegram 206244 to Bangkok and Singapore, August 8, concerning the Secretary’s memoranda of conversation covering his bilateral meetings in Bali, is in National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790359–1230. Vance met with the ASEAN Foreign Minsiters after their June 28–30 meeting. See footnote 5, Document 175.
  3. Reference is to President Carter’s welcoming remarks to Kriangsak during his February 1979 visit. See foonote 3, Document 171.
  4. In the joint communiqué issued at the conclusion of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting on June 30, the Foreign Ministers reiterated previous statements that no more refugees would be accepted in their countries. The text is in telegram 16 from Bali, June 30. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790314–0350)
  5. Telegram 16472 from Bangkok, May 15, described the growing refugee problem from the Thai perspective. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790218–0943) Telegram 165416 from Bangkok, June 26, described Thai efforts to limit the refugee influx by refusing admittance. (National Archive, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790289–0788)
  6. Vance met on July 2 with the five ASEAN Foreign Ministers and the Foreign Ministers of Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland (representing the EC). A summary of the discussion is in telegram Secto 6151 from Bali, July 3. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790302–0860) For Vance’s statement and press conference after the meeting, see Department of State Bulletin, September 1979, pp. 35–39.
  7. On June 28, at the Tokyo Economic Summit, Carter committed the United States to double the number of refugees it would admit. See Public Papers: Carter, 1979, Book II, p. 1191. In addition, the seven nations at the Summit issued a statement on the refugee situation; see Public Papers: Carter, 1979, Book II, p. 1188.
  8. Not further identified.
  9. After leaving Bali, Vance traveled to Canberra for a meeting of the ANZUS Council. His statements there and the ANZUS communiqué expressed concern about the situation in Indochina and especially the plight of the Indochinese refugees. See Department of State Bulletin, September 1979, pp. 53–58.