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06BANGKOK3997 PREM ON THAKSIN

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“70408”,”7/6/2006 8:58″,”06BANGKOK3997″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“06BANGKOK3538|06BANGKOK3916″,”VZCZCXRO0150

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #3997 1870858

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 060858Z JUL 06

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9956

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 003997

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: PREM ON THAKSIN

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 03916 (WHAT\’S THAKSIN UP TO?)

B. BANGKOK 3538 (THAILAND CELEBRATES ITS KING)

 

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce, reason 1.4 (b) (d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: I met General Prem on July 5, and discussed

the rising political tensions caused by PM Thaksin, who

launched a thinly-veiled attack on Prem last week. Prem

expressed disappointment over Thaksin\’s actions, which have

stirred emotions up again, after a period of calm during the

King\’s anniversary celebrations, but he gave no sign of

planning any kind of counterattack. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) I called on Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda

on July 5. General Prem, one of the most highly respected

leaders in Thailand, was the target of a lightly-veiled

attack by Prime Minister Thaksin last week (ref A). Thaksin

referred to an \”individual with charisma,\” who was \”outside

the Constitution,\” trying to bring down the government and

become Prime Minister himself. Thaksin\’s comments were

construed by many as an open declaration of war against Prem,

all the more surprising (or foolhardy) given Prem\’s stature

and close relationship with the King. Meeting Prem at his

home, I joked that he seemed to be exuding charisma. Prem

immediately launched into a 50 minute discourse on \”what

makes Thaksin tick?\”

 

3. (C) Prem said that, over Thaksin\’s first five years as

prime minister, he had not met much with Prem; Thaksin

thought he knew everything already. For the past few months,

however, Thaksin had sought out Prem more often. Prem said,

\”He sat right where you are,\” made polite small talk and

sought counsel on the political situation. Prem was

therefore shocked to hear the accounts of Thaksin\’s speech

last week. At first, he couldn\’t believe the reports,

especially when he realized that Thaksin had not been

speaking off the cuff, but from a prepared speech. Prem\’s

first thought was, \”What does he think he\’s doing?\” (Comment:

our question as well. End comment.)

 

4. (C) Following the PM\’s bombshell, many journalists and

others have pressed Thaksin to disclose the identity of the

unnamed \”charismatic individual.\” Prem sent word to Thaksin

that it would help the PM politically if he made clear that

he was not referring to Prem. Thaksin disregarded the

advice, giving the same response he\’s been giving to the

press: \”I\’m not talking about that anymore.\” (Note: Various

Thai Rak Thai representatives have tried for days to ratchet

down the controversy; on July 5, the government spokesman

finally announced that the \”charismatic person\” was \”an

ordinary person,\” not Privy Councillor Prem. End note.)

 

5. (C) Prem bemoaned the fact that Thaksin had stirred

everything up again, after a period of calm around the King\’s

anniversary celebration. I noted that Thaksin didn\’t seem to

be able to keep himself from making these provocative

statements. Prem remarked that from the outset of his time as

Prime Minister, Thaksin had been personally unprepared for

the fawning reception he gets, especially when he travels

around the country. It had gone to his head, Prem said, and

made him believe that \”he\’s number one.\” But Thailand was

not like America, Prem added. \”We already have a number

one.\” Thaksin needed to learn that he was the manager of the

shop, not the owner. The people upcountry liked Thaksin and

voted for him, but they didn\’t revere him. After seeing the

adoring crowds on June 9, a million people in their yellow

shirts who waited for hours in the heat just to catch a

glimpse of their King, Thaksin should understand that he

cannot rival the King for the people\’s affection, Prem

concluded (ref. B).

 

6. (C) Comment: General Prem showed more disappointment than

anger over Thaksin\’s attack on him. He gave no sign of

plotting a counter-attack, but his supporters (and many

Thais, it seems) continue to be both puzzled and outraged;

the belated statement by the government spokesman ostensibly

clearing Prem of the charge has come too late to undo the

damage from the PM\’s remarks. End Comment.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 12, 2011 at 4:59 am

Posted in Confidential, Prem, Thaksin

One Response

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  1. […] PPT’s continuing coverage of Wikileaks cables, this leaked cable is yet another of U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce’s revealing accounts of his own political bias […]


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