Cable From CINCPAC to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the Use of Thai-based US Air Force, 2 October 1964


Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 3, pp. 575-576


2 Oct 64

FROM: CINCPAC

TO: JCS

Use of Thai Based US Air Forces

A. BANGKOK 2116 TO STATE, JUN 10, 2:25 PM NOTAL
B. CHJUSMAG THAILAND 061230Z AUG PASEP
C. CINCPAC 070424Z AUG NOTAL
D. DEPCOMUSMACTHAI 071402Z AUG PASEP
E. AMEMB BANGKOK 190625Z SEP NOTAL
F. JCS 7947 DTG 151318Z AUG NOTAL
G. JCS 9117 DTG 281438Z SEP NOTAL

1. Ref A advises that armed strikes by Thai based US forces quote limited repeat limited to SAR operations only and on further condition no public mention be made of use of Thai bases unquote.

2. During early August Gulf of Tonkin incident, F-100's and F-105's were deployed to Thailand. Ref B stated that country clearance did not repeat not include clearance to launch sorties out of Thailand and in event this needed additional coordination was required, Ref C requested Amemb Bangkok guidance on extent of our latitude in the operational use of US Thai based forces and limitations that may be imposed by necessity for prior clearance. In Ref D, DEPCOMUSMACTHAI quoted Bangkok Embtel 157 which stated inter alia, the Dawee, after considerable discussion agreed remove any restrictions on launch of combat sorties out of Thailand by US aircraft on Thai bases in event this becomes necessary. Need for utmost discretion in exercising this authority was emphasized. Para 3 of Ref D states, however, that authority granted unlimited repeat unlimited-except by request for lateral info at time of launch.

3. Ref E stated that present authority from RTG to dispatch US aircraft from Thai bases to strike points outside Thailand limited to armed escort for recce missions and cap for SAR. In addition, they are available for any defense of Thai airspace.

4. Planning is currently underway to conduct Yankee team operations in Laos north of 20 degrees latitude. Refs F and G provide adequate rules of engagement for US forces operating in Seasia. However, due to the above conflicting info, not clear here what latitude we have in use of US Thai Based Forces. Believe it militarily desirable to provide air defense effort which would implement Ref G from Thai bases. Also to provide escort for Yankee team missions in nothern Laos when they are approved for implementation. More flexible, effective and economical escort can be provided by US aircraft based in Thailand.

5. Prior to finalization of concept of operations and imitation of Yankee team missions in northern Laos, request clarification of current authorization re use of US Thai Based Aircraft for Yankee team escort SAR, and Air Defense of US and friendly forces in Laos.


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