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March 20, 1975
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25X1 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 :CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 FOIAB3B1 FOIAB3B1 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608 0002 NOR TH VIE TNA MESE RELATIONS WITH THAILAND: E VOL UTION OF DR V POLIC Y SINCE THE PARIS PEACE A GR EEMEN T J1d - am -0 11tild 20 MARCH 1975 No. 309 0 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 (U 25X1 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 Approved For Release 2005/06/29: CIA-RDP86T00190I 6 FOREWORD %60b9z25 In the wake of the Januar:- 1973 Paris peace accord, North Vietnam has made clear its desire to develop diplomatic and economic :acs throughout the world, and Thailand has been a key target of Hanoi's efforts. This report reviews Hanoi's policy toward Thailand during the past two years as reflected in the media, with focus on the period since May 1974, and most particularly on the signs of controversy in Hanoi and shifts in policy since November 1974. Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 FOIAB3B1 Approved For Release 2005/06/ NIUAER?fI+86T00608R 00200150003-2 20 MARCH 1975 CONTENTS Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i I. DRV Comment on Thailand, January 1973-October 1974 Revival of Criticism of Bangkok After Two-Month Hiatus . . . 1 May 1974 Response to Thai Probes on Normalized Relations . . 1 Demand for Halt to Thai-U.S. "Collusion" Call for Thai Release of Detained Vietnamese Focus on Relations, New DRV-Thai-Contacts, Fall l974 ? . . . 3 II. DRV Comment on Thailand, November 1974-March 1975 Foreign Minister Trinh's Proposal for DRV-Thai Tr;lks . . . . 4 Contradictory Accounts of Conditions for Talks Reflections in Press of Contending Positions Initial Reaction to Thai Foreign Minister's Letter . . . . . 7 Conciliatory Trinh Letter on Thai Election Eve . . . . . . . 8 Flexible Stand on Talks, Thai-Based U.S. Forces Trinh Response on Thai Insurgency, Cambodia, and Laos Suggestion of DO Interest in Regional Cooperation Time-Marking Comment Since Thai Elections . . . . . . . . 11 Appendix: DRV Diplomatic Relations as of March 1975 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 Approved For Release 2005/06/29: CIA-RDP86T00608R0002O01$00O131275 NORTH VIETNAMESE RELATIONS WITH THAILAND: EIOLUTID4 OF DRV POLICY SINCE THE PARIS PEACE AGRE9,W, SUMMARY FOIAB3B1 1. In the two years since the Vietnam peace accord, there have been periodic indications in the media of e!'forts oh both sides to improve North Vietnam.-Thai relations. Hanoi treated Bangkok's Thanomr Kittikhachon military administration with notable circumspection for a brief period after the January 1973 Paris agreement. However, harsh criticism of the regime resumed in April in connection with Bangkok's continued cooperation with U.S. policy in Indochina, with attacks on Thanom assailing the movement of U.S. military commands from South Vietnam to Thailand and the U.S. bombing of Cambodia from bases in Thailand. The overthrow of the Thanom government in October 1973 was welcomed by the North Vietnamese, although they adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward the new civilian caretaker administration under Prime Minister Sanya Thammasak. 2. Some six months after the Sanya government assumed power in Bangkok, a major article in the North Vietnamese party paper NHAN DAN on 12 May 1974 reacted positively to statements by Thai Government officials that they were seeking to normalize Thai-DRV relations. The article for the first time enunciated North Vietnamese conditions for normalization of relations with Thailand and was notably conciliatory in calling for an end to Thai-U.S. "collusion" against Vietnam instead of reiterating the standard demand for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Thailand. NHAN DAN also demanded that Bangkok release all the Vietnamese residents in Thailand who had been "illegally detained." The Thai Government in fact announced the release of some incarcerated Vietnamese aliens in June and subsequent Hanoi comment did not cite the release of the remainder as a precondition for normal relations. 3. Late in September 1974 a new channel of Thai-DRV communications was opened when Hanoi for the first time granted a visa for a Thai journalist to visit North Vietnam. However, Hanoi maintained public silence on this new development until it took issue with Bangkok's reporting of the journalist's interviews with DRV spokesmen. Thus, Hanoi's first acknowledgment of the visit came on 18 October, when it objected to Bangkok accounts of the journalist's reports that North Vietnam wanted to establish cultural relations. VNA quoted I Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 CONFIDENTIAL Approved For Release 2005/06/29: CIA-RDP86TO an interview with a DRV Foreign Ministry spokesman who said that it was unrealistic co talk about improving relations on the governmental level because of Baagkok'o "hcstile policy'' toward Indochina. 4. In early December Hanoi revealed that it had for the first time proposed negotiations aimed at improving Thai-North Vietnamese relations. However, there were stiff preconditions to the talks in proposed in a letter dated 27 November from DRV Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh to his Thai counterpart in the Sanya government. The letter flatly demanded the withdrawal of U.S. military forces prior to talks with Thailand, a stance which was considerably less flexible than that in the May NHAN DAN article which had more vaguely called for an end to U.S.-Thal "collasioa" against Vietnam as a precondition for "normalization" of relations. 5. Seven weeks after the early December Hanoi release of its November proposal, the DRV publicized another statement suggesting the likelihood that Trinh had favcred a less intransigent position on the preconditions for talks, but that dissension among DRV leaders regarding rapprochement with Thialand had resulted in the foreign minister's being overruled on the language of the November letter sent in his name. Thus, on 21 January this year Hanoi belatedly released Trinh's foreign policy report, which he had delijered to the DRV National Assembly on 24 December, in which he quoted passages from the November letter to the Thai foreign minister which were strikingly different from the version of the letter as released by Hanoi on 3 December: Trinh quoted the letter as saying that talks could take place if U.S. forces in Thailand were "forbidden from being used against neighboring countries," not that U.S. forces must be withdrawn. 6. On 30 January, nine days after Trinh's National Assembly speech was released, there was additional evidence that the pendulum has swung further in a moderate direction: Hanoi released another Trinh letter dated 25 January, in response to a 30 December letter from his Thai counterpart; which spelled out a position even more flexible than that outlined in Trinh's National Assembly report. Trinh did not cite actions regarding the U.S. ~.:roops as necessary preconditions for Thai-DRV negotiations, but rather included Br.ngkok's "prevention" of these force,; being used against Indochina in a list of principles for relations. Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 i Approved For Release 2005/06/29 :CCiJt~-RD1R ID0608R000 FOIAB3B1 00150003-2 7. The Trinh letter indirectly responded to the Thai Foreign Minister's expression of concern about Vietnamese support for subversion and insurrection in Thailand, endorsing the principle of noninterference in each other's internal affairs. The letter seemed calculated to give the impression that Hanoi was open to broader regional cooperation, endorsing--as Trinh had in his National Assembly report--the concept of a Southeast Asian "zone of peace" which has been promoted by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Thailand. 8. The 25 January Trinh letter was dated only the day before the Thai elections and seemed calculated to place Hanoi's most flexible position on the record when. Bangkok was forming a new government. Since the election low-level Hanoi comment has continued to press Bangkok on the issue of U.S. military forces in Thailand. However, it appears that Hanoi will await concrete moves by the new Thai Government regarding the presence of the forces and their relationship to the Indochina conflict before releasing an autaorita.tive North Vietnamese appraisal of the government's policies and DRV-Thai relations. Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 FOIAB3B1 Approved For Release 2005/06/29: CIA R&1R&&'NOU&U18R000 - 1 - 00150003-2 NORTH VIETNAMESE RELATIONS WITH THAILAND: EVOLUTION OF DRV POLICY SINCE THE PARIS PEACE AGREEMENT 1. DRV COMMENT ON THAILAND, JANUARY 1973-OCTOBER 1974 REVIVAL OF CRITICISM OF BANGKOK AFTER TWO-MONTH HIATUS Since the January 1973 Paris peace agreement, there have been repeated shifts in the treatment of Thailand in Hanoi media. Immediately following the Paris agreement a hiatus in the propa- ganda invective aimed at the Thai Government appeared to reflect Hanoi's willingness to moderate its traditionally hostile attitude toward the Thanom Kittikhachon military regime. Thus, where Hanoi media before the Vietnam peace agreement assailed Thanom personally as a "vile U.S. lackey," for a few weeks following the signing of the Vietnam accord--when Hanoi was still assessing postwar U.S. intentions--the media instead used such neutral terms as "Kittikhachon, Thailand's leader" and "Thai authorities" in refer- ring to the Bangkok government. Harsher Hanoi. criticism of Bangkok reemerged only when Thailand's major role in the U.S. commitment in Southeast Asia was made clear by such developments as the transfer of U.S. military command head- quarters from South Vietnam to Thailand and the continuing bombing of Cambodia by Thai-based U.S. planes. By April 1973 Hanoi comment resumed diatribes against the "reactionary Thai ruling clique" arid again attacked the Bangkok leaders by name. Hanoi media applauded the overthrow of the Thanom government in October 1973, but the North Vietnamese appeared to adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward the new civilian caretaker administration under Prime Minister Sanya Thammasak. MAY 1974 RESPONSE TO THAI PROBES ON NORMALIZED RELATIONS Hanoi's attitude toward the Sanya government was spelled out in a 12 May 1974 article in the party paper NHAN DAN which referred to unspecified statements by members of the Sanya administration that they were seeking to normalize relations with the DRV but that their efforts had not received a response. The article, attributed to "Observer," criticized Sanya's government for failing to match its actions to its professions of goodwill, but it affirmed the Vietnamese people's desire for friendly relations with Thailand, Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 FOIAB3B1 Approved For Release 200 1OU/ VUALRDP86T0 - 20 MARCI[ 1975 for the first time offering Hanoi's conditions for improving relations. Significantly, the Observer article stopped short of Hanoi's usual demand for the total withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Thailand. Instead it asserted that Bangkok must "stop its collusion" with Washington against the Vietnamese, cease its alleged slanders against Hanoi's intentions toward Thailand, and release Vietnamese residents in Thailand who have been "illegally detained." DEMAND FOR HALT TO With its demand for an end to Thai THAI-U.S. "COLLUSION" cooperation with the United States against Vietnam, Observer seemed to signal that Hanoi was willing to improve its relations with Bangkok even while U.S. military forces were in Thailand, as long as those forces were restricted from being used in Vietnam. Later authoritative North Vietnamese statements did reiterate Hanoi's call for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Thailand; but, like the Observer article, they focused on Bangkok's obligation to see that its territory was not used for actions against Indochina. Thus, for example, an 18 May 1974 DRV Foreign Ministry spokesman's statement on the withdrawal of another increment of U.S. military personnel and aircraft asserted that: "The United States must immediately and completely withdraw its military forces from, and dismantle all its military bases in, Thailand." But regarding Bangkok's role, it said cnly that it "must not put the Thai territory at the disposal of U.S. imperialists in their aggression and intervention against Laos and the countries of Indochina."* CALL FOR THAI RELEASE Observer's demand for the release of OF DETAINED VIETNAMESE Vietnamese residents receded as a major issue in subsequent months. Hanoi may have been sufficiently satisfied by the June 1974 Thai Government announceuu,at of the release of 107 incarcerated Vietnamese aliens, although the move was criticized in a 27 June DRV Foreign Ministry spokesman's statement which demanded the release of other Vietnamese still being detained and an end to "repression" of Vietnamese residents in Thailand. The question of the Vietnamese in Thailand was not pressed in later authoritative DRV statements on the ques- tion of relations between the two countries. * Hanoi had not issued official statements in response to earlier phases of the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Thailand. The initial U.S.-Thai agreement in August 1973 to pull out 3,550 of the approximately 45,000 military personnel and the subsequent March 1974 agreement on withdrawals for that year both prompted only NHAN DAN commentaries stressing the need for a total U.S. withdrawal. Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 FOIAB3B1 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : Qjj,QQ,608R000 00150003-2 20 MARCH 1975 FOCUS ON RELATIONS, NEW DRV-THAI CONTACTS, FALL 1974 The issue of North Vietnam's relations with Thailand came to the fore again in late summer 1974. A 7 September DRV Foreign Ministry spokesman's statement on the issue of the Thai-based U.S. military forces reiterated the demand for a U.S. withdrawal but, like the 12 May Observer article, did not link it to the improvement of relations. Thus, the spokesman's statement supported the "Thai people's struggle" for a U.S. military withdrawal, but specifically called upon Bangkok only to "stop joining the United States iii aggression against neighboring countries" as a "basic condition for the establishment of friendly relations among the countries in this region." Evidence of DRV interest in establishing contacts with Thailand emerged in late September, when Hanoi for the first time granted a visa to a Thai journalist. While it seems likely that Hanoi was seeking a new means to influence Bangkok to move toward rapprochement, DRV media took limited note of the visit, comment- ing only in reaction to Thai press reports of conciliatory state- ments purportedly made by DRV spokesmen to the journalist. The Hanoi comment reaffirmed North Vietnam's desire to improve rela- tions with Bangkok but also reiterated the view that Bangkok's cooperation with U.S. involvement in Indochina was a continuing obstacle. An 18 October VNA interview with a DRV Foreign Ministry spokesman took issue with reports in Thai media tIat the visiting journalist had been told by a DRV official that Hanoi wished to open cultural relations. The spokesman maintained that it was "unrealistic" to talk about improving relations on a government level because of Bangkok's "hostile" policy toward Indochina, citing in this regard the U.S. military forces in Thailand and past involvement of Thai "mercenaries" in the Indochina conflict. At the same time, the spokesman maintained a forthcoming pose, affirming that the DRV was interested in developing contacts with the Thai "people." A 30 October NHAN DAN commentary similarly r'sponded to Western press accounts of the journalist's interview with NHAN DAI4's chief editor Hoang Tung in which he positively appraised the possibility of improved DRV-Thai relations and suggested Southeast Asian disputes over underseas resources be discussed at a regional meeting. The paper restated Hanoi's desire for better bilateral Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 FOIAB3B1 Approved For Release 2005/06/C?N1 J 6TOO608R - 20 MARCH 1975 relations but cited Bangkok's policies, particularly the U.S. military presence, as the impediment to rapprochement. It descr:fted the Thai and other Western reports of the interview as "doctored," but specifically corrected them only by quoting from Hoang Tung's remarks a passage indicating that negotiations on the problems of the region should come after the withdrawal of "imperialists" from the area. III DRV COMMENT ON THAILAND, NOVEMBER 1974-ARCH 1975 FOREIGN MINISTER TRINH'S PROPOSAL FOR DRV-THAI TALKS Last December Hanoi publicized the first official North Vietnamese initiative aimed at normalizing relations with Bangkok. On 3 December Hanoi media released a letter, signed by North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh, to Thai Foreign Minister Charunphan Itsarangkun, which for the first time proposed negotiations on the problem of improving bilateral relations. Despite the positive suggestion of talks, the letter took a hard line on the issue of the U.S. military forces in Thailand, demand- ing their withdrawal before negotiations could take place. This condition represented a considerably less flexible posture than tha Hanoi had introduced in the 12 May NHAN DAN Observer article which merely cited an end to U.S. Thai "collusion" against Vietnam as a necessary precondition to improving DRV-Thai relations. CONTRADICTORY ACCOUNTS Developments following the 3 December OF CONDITIONS FOR TALKS release of the Trinh letter, which had been dated 27 November, suggested there were sharp differences of opinion in Hanoi on how forth- coming North Vietnam should be in its overtures to Thailand. The most dramatic evidence did not come to light until seven weeks later, on 21 January, when Hanoi media released the text of the foreign policy report which Foreign Minister Trinh had delivered to North Vietnam's National Assembly on 24 December. As would be expected, in the course of reviewing recent Hanoi policy, Trinh referred to the 27 November letter to his Thai counterpart. But what was totally unexpected was that Trinh, while purportedly quoting from his November letter, in fact drastically modified its conditions for negotiations, linking bilateral talks only to Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 FOIAB3B1 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CjAW TIQQ608R0002 0150003-2 20 MARCH 1975 the limitation of the action of U.S. forces against Thailand's neighbors. The two contradictory versions, as carried in both cases by VNA as well as NHAN DAN are as follows: T&inh #e ,te't o' ?.7 NovembeJL: 24 Deeembe t Tki,nh nepoAt: If your government truly follows The letter sent on 27 Novemt.= a policy of peace and friendship 1974 by the DRV minister for and gives up its policy of collu- foreign affairs to the Thai sion with the United States, puts foreign minister stated: "If a complete and definitive end to Thailand stops allowing the the presence of U.S. troops and United States to use its U.S. military bases in Thailand, military bases on Thai terri- and really respects the funda- tory to threaten and encroach mental national rights of the upon the sovereignty of neigh- peoples of Vietnam and the other boring countries, the DRV Indochinese countries, . . . then Government is prepared to enter the Government of the DRV is into negotiations with the Thai prepared to enter immediately Government on the normalization into negotiations with the Thai of relations between the two Government on the normalization countries . . . ." of relations between the two countries . . The version quoted by Trinh in his report to the National Assembly was compatible with the position outlined in the NHAN DAN article on 12 May 1974. And a little more than a week after Hanoi had released Trinh's foreign policy report containing this version, Hanoi on 30 January released another Trinh letter, dated 25 January, outlining an even more conciliatory proposal to the Thai foreign minister. It seems likely that the formulation in Trinh's National Assembly report represents the position which he had wanted to take and that other hands intervened in the language of the 27 November letter. Trinl-i was not even in North Vietnam on that date and may have been out of the country for almost a month prier to the dispatch of the letter. East German media on 27 November revealed that Trinh was in the GDR for a "health cure" and had met with East German officials on the 26th; Hanoi media first noted his visit to East Germany on 2 December and made no reference to his health.* It seems likely that Trinh in fact left Hanoi some time * It is not known when Trinh left the GDR, but the media reported he was in Moscow from 4 through 8 December, concluding an aid agree- ment, and that he returned to Hanoi on the 9th--six days after the publication of the 2; November letter. Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 FOIAB3B1 Approved For Release 200(9111I6/291;NCtAfRDP86T00 - 20 MARCH 1975 before 2 November when he failed to appear at a banquet for a Cambodian Front delegation which he had been hosting since its arrival or? 28 October. REFLECTIONS IN PRESS The comment on Thailand in Hanoi OF CONTENDING POSITIONS media immediately after the release of the 27 November letter also appeared to reflect contending policy positions, with the army paper QUAN DOI NHAN DAN taking a particularly hostile position toward Thailand. On 4 December QUAN DOI NHAN DAN published, along with the text of Trinli's letter, a commentary deprecating Thai Government claims that it had attempted to contact Hanoi and was ready for talks. The army paper warned: "One cannot believe in the goodwill of the Thai Government because of a few statements, but must primarily examine its practical actions." The 4 December commentary in the army paper took the position that the "presence of the U.S. troops and the existence of the U.S. military bases in Thailand" are "the sole obstacle to the normalization of relations between the two peoples of Vietnam and Thailand." Thus, unlike the Trinh letter, it only raised the possibility of improved relations with the Thai "people," rather than the government. And, although its linkage of normalization with withdrawal was consistent with the letter's listing of withdrawal as a condition for talks, it did not accord with the parallel passage in the letter which reflected Trinh's basic moderation. Trinh had stated that "the only obstacle to the normalization of relations" between the two governments is Bangkok's "pursuance of a policy aimed at furthering U.S. imperialist designs of aggression and inter- vention in Indochina." The formulation on normalization of relations in the Trinh letter, as released on 3 December, was faithfully repeated in the party paper NHAN DAN in a 5 December article attributed to "Commentator." In contrast to the QUAN DOI NHAN DAN commentary, the article only criticized "circles" in the Thai Government for their claims of initiatives toward Hanoi, and it positively endorsed the views of "a number of politicians such as former Foreign Minister Thanat Khoman" who favored a U.S. withdrawal. The appearance of the Commentator article seemed to signal that some Hanoi circles viewed relations with Thailand as a major foreign policy issue, since such articles in the past have generally been limited to commenting on Eich key questions as I Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 CONFIDENTIAL Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R00 .975 peace negotiations and important shifts in U.S. policy. This point was underlined in January whe\. two more Commentator articles were published on the issue of Thailand--an unusual concentration. Prior to the 5 December article, the Commentator byline had appeared only four times since the January 1973 Paris agreement.* Before the conclusion of the peace agreement, Commentator articles had appeared quite regularly, often several times a month, and it is possible that their eclipse in the post-agreement period was the result of the dici:inished position of some faction in the DRV leadership. INITIAL REACTION TO THAI FOREIGN MINISTER'S LETTER Thai Foreign Minister Charunphan responded to the 27 November Trinh letter on 30 December, with a letter affirming Thai will- iI'3neca to meet and discuss differences but ignoring the issue of U.S. military forces in Thailand. He countered with clear criticism of Hanoi's policy, saying that outside support for insurgents and subversives in Thailand and interference by foreign troops in Laos and Cambodia remained obstacles to improving relations. North Vietnam first acknowledged Foreign Minister Charunphan's letter in a 6 January DRV Foreign Ministry spokesman's interview with a VNA correspondent. Hanoi media noted that the interview was an "initial" comment on the letter and that it was still "being considered." Like the 4 December QUAN DOI NHAN DAN coatmen- tary, the spokesman's formulation on the possibility of normaliza- tion of relations focused on the U.S. military forces as the "sole obstacle," but he indicated that a U.S. withdrawal would clear the way for normal relations between the two "governments," rather than "peoples." The assertion that the letter was "being studied and will be answered," was also made in an unusual "urgent message" from Foreign Minister Trinh to Charunphan on 11 January. The message, which protested the alleged U.S. use of Thai bases to assist the South Vietnamese Government in responding to stepped up communist * The first two post-agreement Commentator articles--on 7 April and 8 December 1973--dealt with U.S. policies and came shortly before the resumption of consultations between Secretary Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. Two other Commentator articles in June 1974 discussed statements by Secretary Kissinger and Ambassador Martin. f Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 Approved For Release 2008Y0/Q9 N1UWRDP86T0 608R000200150003-2 attacks, seemed aimed at reassuring Bangkok of North Vietnam's commitment to the dialog on relations, even in the face of the escalating military situation. CONCILIATORY TRINH LETTER ON THAI ELECTION EVE On 30 January Hanoi media released a Trinh letter, dated 25 January, officially responding to Charunphan's 30 December letter. Its content was even more moderate than the version of the November letter which Trinh quoted in his National Assembly speech. Not only did the January letter show flexibility on the question of U.S. forces, but it responded to Bangkok concerns about North Vietnamese support for the Thai insurgency. Dated the day before the 26 January Thai elections, the letter seemed calculated to highlight Hanoi's reasonableness during a period when Thai leaders would be forming a new government. FLEXIBLE STAND ON TALKS, The 25 January Trinh letter for the THAI-BASED U.S. FORCES first time stopped short of directly linking the issue of the U.S. military forces in Thailand to bilateral DRV-Thai negotiations; instead, it merely indicated that the DRV would discuss normalizing relations if Bangkok took unspecified "practical actions" to demonstrate that it desired "friendly ...nd good-neighborly relations." The imprecision of Trinh's new conditions seemed aimed at encouraging Bangkok to make an effort to accommodate North Vietnamese interests. The letter seemed to demonstrate Trinh's commitment to a policy of requiring the restriction of the U.S. military forces from activities in Indochina, rather than their withdrawal. Throughout the letter his demands concerning the U.S. forces only stipulated that they not be used against Vietnam and other Indochinese countries, and he formalized this approach in a list of "principles" for the basis of relations between the two countries. The second of Trixci's principles merely places responsibility on Bangkok to insure that the U.S. military forces are not a threat to Indochina. It read: Not to allow any foreign country to use one's territory as a base for direct or indirect aggression and intervention against the other and against other countries in the region. The Thai side must not allow the United States to use Thai territory against the peoples of Vietnam and the other Indochinese countries. Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 FOIAB3B1 CONFIDENTIAL Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86TOO60 Th-i demand that The United States remove its military forces from Thailand was raised authoritatively two days after-the release of the Trinh letter, in a 1 February NI:AN DAN Commentator article. But the article did not stipulate that the presence of the forces would rule out normalization of relations. It also quoted Trinh's principles calling for Bangkok to restrain the use of the forces against Indochina and to establish better relations with the DRV. TRINH RESPONSE ON THAI The first of the 25 January INSURGENCY, CAMBODIA AND LAOS letter's three principles responded to Thai complaints voiced in Foreign Minister ('.Larunphan's 30 December letter, about "direct or indirect" support for insurgent and subversive activites in Thailand. The principle called for: Respect for the fundamental national rights and the right to self-determination of each people. Non- aggression and noninterference in each others' internal affairs. Nonparticipation--either directly or indirectly--in any act that may harm each others' independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity. Previous Bangkok protests about DRV interference in Thailand had prompted Hanoi charges that Bangkok was engaging in slander and attempting to justify policies of repression. While the 12 May 1974 NHAN DAN Observer article-had affirmed Vietnamese commitment to noninterference in other countries' internal affairs, it also demanded the cessation of "all slanders against the DRV." Trinh's third, and final, principle merely endorsed the "establish- ment of friendly and good-neighborly relations between the two countries," and "economic and cultural exchanges on the basis of equality and mutual benefit." Trinh did not respond to another main point raised in the 30 December letter from Foreign Minister Charunphan. In addition to complaining about outside support for Thai insurgents and subversives, Charunphan's letter had cited the problem of the continued presence of "foreign"--i.e. North Vietnamese--troops in Laos and-Cambodia. The 25 January Trinh letter alluded to the issue by stating that the Thai foreign minister's remarks on the struggle in Laos and Cambodia were not in conformity to "the facts of-history." Trinh also reiterated North Vietnam's intention to support the Lao people and government in the implementation of the Vientiane agreement and the "Cambodian people's struggle against U.S. aggression." f Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 Approved For Release 2o069h C ALRDP86T00 FOIAB3B1 08R000200150003-2 SUGGESTION OF DRV INTEREST Trinh's 25 January letter also gave IN REGIONAL COOPERATION some evidence that Hanoi was study- ing the broader question of its relations with the entire region of Southeast Asia. He seemed to adapt his remarks to the sensitivities of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including, Thailand, when he held that a DRV-Thai rapprochement would be beneficial to the cause of peace and friendship in Southeast Asia, and would "contribute to the creation of a zone of peace composed of independent states in this region." The concept of the establish- ment of a "zone of peace" in Southeast Asia is most closely identified with ASEAN and Trinh's reference to it seems calculated. The foreign minister had made a similar reference to the zone of peace concept in his 24 December National Assembly report, but he had not earlier used the formulation, for example, in a detailed article on North Vietnamese foreign poli;.y in the January 1974 issue of the party journal HOC TAP. Infrequent direct Hanoi media comment on ASEAN has been consistently critical, despite efforts by the organization to encourage better relations with North Vietnam. Thus, for example, an invitation from ASEAN for the DRV to send observers to its 7-9 May 1974 ministerial meeting in Jakarta was turned down by a DRV Foreign Ministry official who, according to VNA, cited the participation of some ASEAN nations in the Vietnam war, the presence of U.S. military forces in Thailand and the Philippines, and the failure of the members to recognize the PRG and Sihanouk's government.* While NHAN DAN editor Hoang Tung's remarks in October 1974 to the visiting Thai journalist favoring regional cooperation may have signaled a more positive Hanoi attitude, they were not publicized by DRV media. Judging by accounts of the editor's statements published in the Thai pape: THE NATION on 23 and 24 October, he had not only talked at some lelgth about the possibility of a regional meeting on undersea reso: ces, but had also strongly endorsed coopera- tion in general. Thus, Hoang Tung had reportedly stated: The situation in Southeast Asia is changing. The inclination to independence and neutrality of the Southeast Asian countries is inevitable and inarrest- able. Now there is a very good chance for our peoples and for our nations to gain independence and establish good relations with each other. * North Vietnam does have diplomatic relations with two ASEAN members--Indonesia and Malaysia. A list of nations maintaining diplomatic relations with the DRV is attached as an appendix of this report. 9 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 Approved For Release 2005/06/29: CIA-RDP86T00608R0002Q@1$-$975 FOIAB3B1 TIME-MARKING COMMENT SINCE 1HAI ELECTIONS Since the 26 January Thai elections Hanoi media have carried low-level reports on political developments in Thailand, including the failure of Prime Minister Sens Pramot to gain a vote of confidence from the Thai National Assembly-and the subsequent formation of the new government by Prime Minister Khukrit Pramot. To date Hanoi has issued no authoritative comment on recent Thai proposals to speed up the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Thailand--Seni's call for withdrawal in 18 months and Khukrit's 19 March official statement endorsing a one-year dead- line for withdrawal. Some low-level Hanoi reports have criticized suggestions by Thai officials that the forces could remain in Thailand for an indefinite period or that their withdrawal should be dependent on conditions in Southeast Asia. Prior to Khukrit's 19 March statement, a Hanoi radio report on the 14th cited him as calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces, to be complet.d "in three or six months or one year." The radio said his statement was "vague" and did not meet the "Thai people's urgent demand that the United States immediately and unconditionally withdraw all U.S. troops and dismantle all U.S. bases in Thailand." While continuing to press the Thai Government-on the U.S. forces issue in low-level comment, it appears that Hanoi will await more concrete moves by Bangkok regarding the presence of the U.S. forces and their relationship to the Indochina conflict before releasing an authoritative appraisal of the new government in Bangkok and DRV-Thai relations. Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T0CU6 APPENDIX DRV DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS AS OF MARCH 1975 Country Date of Credentials Country Date of Credentials Accredited to: for Current Ambass. Accredited to: for Current Ambass. Afghanistan Albania 07/22/71 Korea, North Laos Algeria Argentina Australia Libya Luxembourg Malagasy 06/21/74 Austria 11/21/73 Malaysia Bangladesh Belgium Bulgaria 08/03/71 Mali Republic Malta Mauritania Burma- Mongolia 09/28/74 Burundi Netherlands 01/11/75 Cambodia (RGNU) Cameroon 11/19/73 New Zealand Niger 03/11/75 Canada Norway 11/22/73 Chile* 05/14/73 Pakistan China (PRC) Poland 09/20/74 Congo (Brazz.) Romania 08/21/74 Cuba 02/22/74 Senegal 11/24/72 Czechoslovakia Denmark Singapore Somalia 09/21/73 Egypt 12/01/73 Sri Lanka 05/25/74 Finland France 10/11/74 Sudan Sweden 11/27/74 Gambia 10/31/73 Switzerland Germany, East 09/26/74 Syria 02/16/71 Ghana Tanzania 03/09/73 Guinea Hungary Iceland Togo Tunisia USSR 08/15/74 Ind ia+- 11/26/72 U.K. Indonesia 09/15/73 Upper Volta Iran Iraq 05/15/71 Yemen (Arab Rep) Yemen (PDRY) Italy Japan Yugoslavia Zambia 12/20/73 -4- Burma and India missions of the DRV are maintained at the Consulate General level; all others are Embassy-level. * DRV.broke diplomatic ties with Chile on 25 September 1973. 41 Approved For Release 2005/06/29 : CIA-RDP86T00608R000200150003-2 I