Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With the Prime Minister of Thailand.

May 09, 1968

AT THE INVITATION of President Lyndon B. Johnson of the United States, Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn of the Kingdom of Thailand paid an official visit to Washington on May 8 and 9. This visit afforded the President and the Prime Minister and several of his senior Cabinet colleagues an opportunity to exchange views on current developments in Thailand and on the situation in Southeast Asia.


The Prime Minister described the dynamic economic expansion currently taking place in Thailand. He mentioned the major role played by private initiative and emphasized Thai interest in promoting foreign investment in his country. He also referred to the forthcoming promulgation of a new Constitution by His Majesty the King.

The President and the Prime Minister discussed the externally-supported, Communist-directed subversion and insurgency in Thailand, especially in the northern and northeastern regions. In this connection, the Prime Minister described his Government's programs for providing security to the rural population and improving their social and economic conditions. He also noted that while welcoming foreign assistance in the form of training, equipment and advice, the Royal Thai Government regarded defeating the insurgency as a Thai responsibility to be carried out by its own forces. The President made clear the intention of the United States to continue its assistance to Thailand to help provide the Royal Thai Government with the means of meeting illegal Communist activities. He stressed American support in the field of accelerated rural development, especially with regard to roads and water resources.

The President re-emphasized the determination of the United States to stand by its treaty commitments to Thailand and its other allies in Asia. He recalled with pleasure the three visits he has made to Thai, land. He noted the pledge that he had given at the time of his visit to Bangkok in 1966 that the commitment of the United States was not of a particular political party or administration, but of the people of the United States, and that "America keeps its commitments."


The President and the Prime Minister reviewed in detail the situation in South Vietnam. They reaffirmed their determination to assist the Republic of Vietnam in defending itself against aggression in order to assure its people the right to determine their own future free from external interference and terrorism. They also stressed the importance of this defense to the security of other nations in the region.

The President and the Prime Minister reviewed the military situation including the recent initiatives of the Government of South Vietnam and actions by the United States and its allies to increase their forces there.

The Prime Minister noted that additional Thai forces, the first increments of a Thai division, will deploy to South Vietnam shortly to join Thai troops already fighting with South Vietnamese, American, and other allied units. The President paid tribute to the contribution Thailand is making to our common defense interests by making base facilities available for use by the United States. He also praised the hospitality extended American servicemen by the Thai people.

The President and the Prime Minister agreed that the attainment of a just and durable peace required both a strong military posture and the pursuit of a diplomatic solution. They agreed to continue their efforts on both these fronts until such a peace is secured.

The President reviewed in detail the developments that had followed his initiative of March 31 to halt bombing in the major part of North Vietnam and to invite talks. The President and the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that Paris had now been agreed as the site for talks, and the President reviewed the position that American representatives would take in the opening stages of these talks. The President reaffirmed that at each stage the U.S. Government would continue its full consultations with the Royal Thai Government and its other allies concerning negotiating positions and developments. The President and the Prime Minister also reaffirmed the position stated in the Seven-Nation Foreign Ministers Meeting of April 1967--that a settlement in Vietnam, to be enduring, must respect the wishes and aspirations of the Vietnamese people; that the Republic of Vietnam should be a full participant in any negotiations designed to bring about a settlement of the conflict; and that the allied nations which have helped to defend the Republic of Vietnam should participate in any settlement of the conflict. Expressing the hope that the Paris conversations would result in serious discussions on the substance of peace in Vietnam, the President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed that the Manila Communiqué of 1966 would form the basis of the allied position. The two leaders emphasized their determination that the South Vietnamese people shall not be conquered by aggression and shall enjoy their inherent right to decide their own way of life and form of government. The President and the Prime Minister also noted the importance of ensuring full compliance with the provisions of the 1962 Geneva Accords on Laos.

In discussing the situation which would follow a cessation of hostilities in Vietnam, the President and the Prime Minister agreed that close and continuous consultation on economic and security questions would be required to assure a smooth transition from war to peace.


The President and the Prime Minister further reviewed the favorable trends in regional cooperation in Southeast Asia and Thailand's leading role in furthering these developments. Particular note was taken of the accomplishments in the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) and the Mekong Committee, to whose studies and projects they attach considerable importance, and of the evolution of several new Southeast Asian organizations which raise hope for a new era of constructive common endeavor for a lasting peace and sustained progress of the area. Referring to his speech at Johns Hopkins in April 1965, the President cited our support for Southeast Asian regional development as clear evidence of the United States continuing concern for and commitment to the nations of this region.

In particular, the Prime Minister reported to the President discussions held in New York with a US team headed by Mr. Eugene R. Black concerning the favorable outlook for the Pa Mong dam on the mainstream of the Mekong River. The President and the Prime Minister agreed on the importance of this project and the desirability of accelerating present project feasibility studies under the Mekong Committee.

In conclusion, Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn expressed his grateful appreciation for the gracious hospitality extended to him and Thanpuying Chongkol as well as the members of their party by the President of the United States and for the warm and friendly welcome accorded them by the Government and the people of the United States.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Joint Statement Following Discussions With the Prime Minister of Thailand. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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