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Cablegate: Mission Views On Two Top Thai Generals' Proposed

VZCZCXYZ0017
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBK #3979 2010859
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 200859Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8402
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JCS WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BANGKOK 003979

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PACOM FOR MAJOR CHAMNESS (J52)
JCS FOR CDR CHASE (J5)
OSD FOR LTC REDMOND (OSD POLICY)
STATE FOR EAP - DAS ERIC JOHN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS TH
SUBJECT: MISSION VIEWS ON TWO TOP THAI GENERALS' PROPOSED
U.S. VISITS

1. The Mission recently reviewed two self-initiated trip
requests for "four-star" Thai general officer trips to travel
to CONUS. We encourage your support for the first, but not
the second. (We have advised both parties that such trips
are regarded as "high profile" and require IA review before
they could proceed.)

a. General Boonsrang Niumpradit, Royal Thai Supreme Command
Commander-in-Chief (Supreme Commander), has requested to make
a CONUS trip at his own expense in early October 2007 to (1)
visit Norwich University, where he first attended one year of
college before entering West Point, and (2) visit West Point
(USMA) in New York, where he graduated in 1971.

RATIONALE FOR ENDORSEMENT: General Boonsrang was not a key
coup plotter, and has proven to be a moderating influence
among the senior military leadership in Thailand since the
coup. While his visit is strictly ceremonial and would not
include any substantive discussions with USG, West Point, as
a federally funded institution, requires OSD endorsement to
grant him audience under the current policy landscape. The
Mission argues that his proposed visit will not be construed
as any exploitable endorsement of the coup, but rather, it
will serve as a poignant reminder of the benefits that the
Thai will lose should they further delay their return to a
democratically elected government.

b. General Saprang Kalayanamitra, Assistant
Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army under General
Sonthi, would like to make an official call on offices in
CONUS to seek information on bomb/explosives detection
equipment, particularly in relation to airport security, as
well as a potential counterpart visit with the Department of
the Army. The delegation has not set a specific travel
period for their proposed trip.

RATIONALE FOR NON-ENDORSEMENT: General Saprang professes a
strong supporting role in the coup-related activities and
likely gained his fourth star because of it. He would likely
exploit this trip as tacit or even outright support for his
role in the coup and higher, more influential positions in
the military and politics following his retirement in
September 2008. Non-endorsement of this proposed trip will
send the right message that coups are not viewed as a
suitable means of resolving political problems.
BOYCE

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