Thailand: New Red Target

September 15, 1965

Report Outline
Growth of Red Pressure on Thailand
Thai-United States Military Cooperation
Political Evolution of Independent Siam
Programs to Check Communist Subversion

Growth of Red Pressure on Thailand

Formation of Thai National Liberation Groups

Thailand, long an island of relative tranquillity in A turbulent Southeast Asia, now finds itself confronted by the kind of internal and external pressures that have long plagued its neighbors. The Thai government, a close American ally and member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, faces terrorist activity by Communist agents from Laos, North Viet Nam and China, along with attempts to stir up discontent among isolated villagers and hill tribesmen in remote, poverty-stricken areas of the country.

Formation of two Thai “liberation movements,” the political fronts for Communist-backed wars of national liberation, was made known last winter. The Voice of Free Thailand, a transmitting station thought to be situated in Laos or in North Viet Nam, announced establishment of an Independent Thailand Movement. Radio Peking directed attention to a National Thai Patriotic Front, which called for overthrow of Thailand's present “Fascist” government, the expulsion of foreign troops and foreign business enterprises from the country, introduction of economic reforms, and the withdrawal of Thailand from SEATO. Communist China's Foreign Minister, Marshal Chen Yi, was quoted as saying early this year: “We may have a guerrilla war going in Thailand before the year is out.”

Seeds of Subversion in Remote Border Areas

A relatively prosperous nation of 29 million people which managed to maintain its independence through the years of European colonization in southern and southeastern Asia, Thailand appears in some respects a poor prospect for a Red war of national liberation. Because the country never was ruled by white colonizers, the racial and political motivations of such wars are lacking. Most Thai farmers work their own land rather than share-crop for absentee landowners. Except in certain areas like the northeast, life is better for the Thai peasant or farmer than it is for his counterpart in many other parts of the underdeveloped world. A rich central plain makes the country not only self-sufficient in rice but also a large exporter of that commodity. The klongs, or canals, running through Thai villages provide quantities of fish.

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