191 Eastman to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram B41 BANGKOK, 14 March 1948, 12.30 a.m.

Your telegram 19. [1] Siamese Political situation.

Except for Australia all countries represented in Siam have already recognised the new Government by replying to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the agreed form. United Kingdom, American, Chinese, French, Netherlands and Indian representatives replied on March 6th. The remaining representatives replied one or two days later, with the exception of the Swedish Consul-General who replied on March 12th. No information as to the Russian attitude.

The Russian Legation has not yet been formally established although two junior secretaries are already in Bangkok. The Russian Ambassador in London recently told the Siamese Ambassador informally that Russia would decide its attitude independently of other countries but he gave no indication what this attitude was likely to be.

2. The words 'other obligations' in paragraph quoted in paragraph 2 of telegram H.16 from the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and included in the Minister for Foreign Affairs' note were proposed by Ambassadors here with the intention of covering, inter alia, obligations undertaken as a member of the United Nations. In outline of policy announced in Parliament on March 1st, the Government specifically mentioned its intention of supporting the United Nations' policy and co-operating faithfully in all matters connected therewith. However, if you feel that a supplementary assurance from the Minister for Foreign Affairs on this point is necessary, I should have very little difficulty in obtaining it.

3. Overthrow of the Thamrong Government and the establishment of new constitution were largely achieved by force. Nevertheless, Khuang's [2] confirmation in office resulted from popular election which showed no obvious signs of coercive measures employed by previous Governments. His Cabinet consists of many of the most eminent and honest men in Siam and there is every indication that they will endeavour to resist interference by any extremist groups. Having regard to the character and methods of opposition groups it is too early to estimate with confidence the Cabinet's expectation of life but at least we have prospect for next three or four months of doing business with the best Government Siam has had for many years and the kind most likely to honour its obligations. In view of this and the importance of early settlement of certain outstanding matters, I would appreciate further instructions by most immediate telegram.

1 Document 189.

2 Nai Khuang Apaivongse, President of the Council of Ministers.

[AA:A1838/283, 451/3/1/1, i]