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07BANGKOK5738 PALACE INSIDER PROVIDES UPDATE ON ROYAL HEALTH ISSUES

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“129223”,”11/8/2007 9:36″,”07BANGKOK5738″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”SECRET//NOFORN”,

 

“07BANGKOK5717|07BANGKOK5718″,”VZCZCXRO1217

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #5738/01 3120936

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

O 080936Z NOV 07

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0574

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC”,

 

“S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 005738

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

 

NSC FOR PHU

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2017

TAGS: PGOV, PINR, KDEM, TH

SUBJECT: PALACE INSIDER PROVIDES UPDATE ON ROYAL HEALTH

ISSUES

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 5718 (KING LEAVES HOSPITAL)

B. BANGKOK 5717 (PPP CONCERNS)

 

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

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (S/NF) Tej Bunnag, Deputy Principal Private Secretary of

the King (strictly protect), told the Ambassador in a

November 8 meeting at the Privy Council chambers that the

King\’s health appeared reasonably good. The King wanted to

remain active, although his health constraints complicated

the duties of his schedulers. Tej asserted definitively that

no planning was under way for the King\’s eventual death; the

Privy Council would determine what to do after the event.

Tej confirmed Princess Galyani\’s condition was poor, and he

said the King was fully aware of this fact; her death, if

prior to December 23, should not affect the upcoming

election. Tej relayed the King\’s bluntly expressed decision

that the Crown Prince represent him in the November 5 royal

barge ceremony; this was taken as a strong indicator of the

King\’s determination to have the Crown Prince retain his

current status as the King\’s designated successor. Tej

sought and received the Ambassador\’s assurance his remarks

would be kept in the strictest confidence. End Summary.

 

KING\’S HEALTH AND SCHEDULED ACTIVITIES

————————————–

 

2. (S/NF) Tej Bunnag, Deputy Principal Private Secretary of

the King (strictly protect), told the Ambassador that King

Bhumibol, whose hospitalization ended on November 7 (ref A),

appeared to be in relatively good condition. Responding to

the Ambassador\’s questions, Tej said the King was able to

speak and to stand on his own. (Note: November 7 television

footage showed the King walking out of the hospital at a

quick pace with the assistance of a walker; the King was not

seen speaking in public, however. End note.) Tej said the

King was resuming his regular duties, and approximately 80

files were awaiting the King\’s signature. If the King\’s

health were to worsen, Tej said, the King would immediately

return to the hospital.

 

3. (S/NF) Tej said the King had made it clear on more than

one occasion that he wanted to leave the hospital, but his

doctors held him back. Given the King\’s desires, Palace

staff members were unable to clear the King\’s schedule; they

had to cancel all events at the last possible moment. The

Ambassador noted the upcoming visit under Embassy auspices of

the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Some members of the King\’s

musical entourage had indicated to Embassy officials that the

King would like the band to come to the Palace for a private

performance, with his possibly joining in a jam session. The

Ambassador asked if these reports seemed credible. Tej

replied this scenario sounded quite possible, although, like

other events, a performance for or with the King could be

canceled at the last moment. The Palace was continuing to

plan for the King\’s participation in the full range of

ceremonies and celebrations during the several days around

his 80th birthday (December 5).

 

\”THE CROWN PRINCE IS MY REPRESENTATIVE\”

—————————————

 

4. (S/NF) Tej explained that the King had very much wanted to

participate in the November 5 royal barge procession. Given

his medical condition, Palace figures prepared five

alternatives for his consideration. When they presented

these, however, the King quickly dismissed them. According

to Tej, the King said, \”I don\’t need these; the Crown Prince

is my representative.\” (In the event, Crown Prince

Vajiralongkorn took the King\’s place on the Suphannahongse

barge.) Tej said Palace insiders interpreted the King\’s

blunt decision as the clearest indication yet of his

determination to have the Crown Prince retain his current

status as the King\’s designated successor.

 

PRINCESS\’ HEALTH

—————-

 

5. (S/NF) The Ambassador inquired about the health of

 

BANGKOK 00005738 002 OF 002

 

Princess Galyani Vadhana, the King\’s older sister, indicating

some skepticism about official reports of her recovery (ref

B). Tej reluctantly conceded in imprecise terms that the

Princess was in a state of continual dependence on medical

equipment. The Ambassador asked whether the King was

\”completely aware\” of Galyani\’s condition. Tej replied

unambiguously that the King was, noting the King had visited

Galyani on a daily basis while in the hospital.

 

6. (S/NF) The Ambassador asked if Galyani\’s eventual demise

would affect the upcoming election (as some fear — ref B).

Tej stated with conviction that it would not, noting as one

important factor Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont\’s strong

desire for the elections to take place as scheduled. The

Ambassador observed that Thais should not need to choose

between mourning the death of a respected figure and being

able to elect a government; Tej agreed.

 

NO PLANNING FOR MOURNING

————————

 

7. (S/NF) With due sensitivity to the issue, the Ambassador

asked whether anyone was engaged in planning for funeral

arrangements, in the event of the Princess\’ or King\’s

passing. \”Absolutely not,\” replied Tej, noting that this

would be culturally taboo. The Ambassador asked whether

Galyani\’s death would be marked by a 100-day mourning period;

Tej said this scenario sounded plausible, but nothing had

been determined. Tej also explained there would be no

advance planning for how to respond to the King\’s death; the

Privy Council would determine what to do after the event.

The Ambassador noted the Embassy had heard speculation of a

1,000-day mourning period after the King\’s death. Tej said

he simply did not know what would happen, but he was able to

confirm that the Crown Prince, if he remains the designated

successor, would immediately become King, although his

coronation ceremony would take place after the mourning

period and royal cremation.

 

STRICTLY PROTECT

—————-

 

8. (S/NF) At the conclusion of the meeting, Tej highlighted

the extraordinary sensitivity of the matters they had

discussed. He sought and received the Ambassador\’s assurance

of complete confidentiality regarding his remarks.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (S/NF) Few contacts with Tej\’s level of access to Palace

information have been as open with us as he was in this

meeting. We see nothing incongruous about his claim that

there is no ongoing planning for how to respond to the King\’s

passing; we also take heart that the latest signs indicate no

reason to believe this is imminent.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 1:34 am

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