05BANGKOK6101 AMBASSADOR RAISES KANTATHI’S COMMENTS TO PRESS ON FTA AND BURMA WITH MFA XXXXXX
“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.
“,”C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 006101
EAP FOR A/S HILL AND EAP DAS JOHN NSC FOR MICHAEL GREEN AND
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/23/2015
TAGS: PREL, BM, TH, BURMA, US-Thai FTA
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAISES KANTATHI\’S COMMENTS TO PRESS ON
FTA AND BURMA WITH MFA XXXXX
Classified By: AMBASSADOR RALPH BOYCE. REASON: 1.4 (D)
1. (C) During a September 23 call on MFA XXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXX, the Ambassador pointed out that Foreign
Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon\’s reported September 20 comments
to the press on FTA and Burma appeared to be at odds with what
was discussed on these issues between the President and Prime
Minister Thaksin in Washington. The Ambassador noted to XXXXX
that the subsequent MFA statement refuting the news report as
\”misrepresentation\” still left questions about Thailand\’s stance
on these issues.
2. (C) The Ambassador also told XXXX that he had been in
contact with NSC staff who were aware that Kantathi had called
the Secretary to reassure her that his comments were taken out
of context and represented nothing at variance with the Prime
Minister\’s September 19 meeting with the President.
Nevertheless, the Foreign Minister\’s comments and the subsequent
MFA statement had created concern that the RTG was adopting a
utilitarian approach to the September 19 White House meeting,
taking one position in Washington and saying something else for
domestic consumption in Thailand (and in Burma, for that
3. (C) XXXXX was aware of the AP article and the Ministry\’s
statement, but the Foreign Minister\’s call to the Secretary was
news to him. He noted that Prime Minister Thaksin had returned
from Washington delighted with his meeting with the President,
and wondered aloud why the Foreign Minister had even agreed to
do such an interview only a day after the White House meeting.
He agreed that the Joint Statement spoke for itself, and took
note of the need for there to be concrete positive actions on
both the FTA and Burma in the near future.
4. (C) Comment: Leaving aside the wisdom of granting an
exclusive interview to an untested journalist, we do not think
Kantathi was acting as anything other than the inexperienced
Foreign Minister that he is. The Ambassador also raised the
unfortunate interview with Thaksin\’s chief policy advisor,
Pansak Vinyaratu, who was appalled by the whole affair,
commenting \”why does the Foreign Minister have to keep opening
his mouth?\” Before last month\’s cabinet reshuffle, there were
rumors that Katathi might be dropped because Thaksin was
unimpressed with his performance. This latest incident won\’t