THAILAND: A PERIOD OF TRANSITION

Created: 10/2/1970

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

eriod of Transition

After almost seven years of unimaginative but steady leadership. Prime Minister Thanom is now clearly on the way out. The maneuvering lo succeed him and reshape the way Thailand is governed, however, has yet to be;in in earnest.

Thanom hasasualty of his own style of leadership and of problems at home and abroad over which he, or any Thai prime minister, has only limited control. Although Thanom's self-effacement was ideally Suited to the sort of collective <ule by which Thailand has beer,since Marshal Sarit's deathhererowing feeling that it is no! appropriate for the tough decisions that the country now faces. In its handling of highly controversialbill, the budget, the proposed pressgovernment has been divided and indecisive. Not only has Thancm been unablehip hisopponents in the parliament into line, but divisions within the gove'nment's own ranks have grown sharper, more rancorous, and unresponsive to the prime minister's leadership. In addition, the public display of differences among topover policy toward Cambodia has not only hardened existing divisions within the leadership but has further undermined public confidence in the government's ability to act forcelully and decisively on an issue' o' grave national concern.

Thanom himself has grown increasingly weary of the political wars engulfing hishe has promised to give up his post as supreme commander of the Thai armed forces when he reaches the normal retirement age o*nhis wou'd also appear toogical time lo' him to retire from theas well, bul strongloyalty of ai. of the a'med forces and police and, most importantly, thesuffice to keepffice until the next electionsin3 when he has publicly promised to step down.

If Thanom leaves off.ee early, as seemslikely, leadership would almostpass on to Deputy Prime Minister Praphat. long the single most powerful figure in theWith an exaggerated reputation tor vena^ty and conservatism. Praphat's ascens-on wou'd be opposed by many elements of Thaithe monarchy and itsMis recent announcement that he is resigning from all commercial positions should help mollify some but will not win Over his major opponents. These elements would see Praphat's elevation asetreat from the goalonstitutional government with representative institptions. There is, however, no evidence tha: Praphat himself is mmouvcing to hasten Thanom's exit, but many o' his Supporters in the army and in the civilian bureaucracy a'e eagerly looking ahead lo the day of change, rt'Ui1

Japan Turns to the US for Aid on Space Program

has recently decided to forgo its "do it yourself" space booster program in favor of obtaining the required technology and equipment from outsjdc sources, primarily the US.bly will be reinforced by failure of anrbit Japan's first scientific datasatellite oneptember.

Up to now, Japan's space program has relied on two boosters of native design, the Lambda jnd the IV. u, developed by Tokyo University scientists.

The Lambda was used tc place Japan's firstsmall one not designed to collectO'bit last February. The Lambda

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