THAILAND PUTS THE SQUEEZE ON US BUSINESSMEN

Created: 2/27/1970

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Thailand Puts the Squeeze on US Businessmen

economichas caused the government toougher attitudethe US economic presence in Thailand. Bangkok isnew restrictions on US business interests in an attempt to reinforce demands for new commercial and administrative agreements. The government has imposed visa requirements on US citizens for the first time inears and has announced plans to restrict the services of US ai rlines. In addi tion, leadera are talking about revising Thai investment and foreign employment laws, which would have considerable impact on the sizable US business com-mini ty

Some of these measuresdesigned for bargaining purposes in current talks onnatters and in dealings with the US military inumber of local US business leaders have reacted with alarm, however, be Having such "harasmayubstantial tightening of Thailand's hitherto liberal policies toward US cc -fl&ercial interests.

There is little doubt that Bangkok has embarkedar-reaching review of the terras of its economic dealings with the US, The Thai have long chafed under what they have viewed as commercial inequities, but have not pressed the issue in the interest of protecting Thailand's over-all relationship with the US. Believing that the US commitment to Thailand is not as strong as heretofore, Bangkok thinks it now can afford to be less solicitous

of US economic interests. pressures and more competitive

| US commercialin the rice trade--have also

j bean important factorsto the new Thai attitude. Thai and US leaders have joined battle in the Thai press over these is-

; sues. Although the Thai are aware of the leverage they enjoy indealing with the US presence and areood to exercise it, they are not likely to take any ac tion that would significantlythe substantial benefitsfrom US commercial activity

The Thai are, however,economic relations with the Soviet Union and withEurope. Bangkok is expected to conclude its first tradewith Moscow in the near future and will probably grant AEROFLOT its long-sought landing Thai leaders have for some time been voicing more in* terest in broadening theircontacts with thesecountries, in parttheir dwindling confidence in the permanence of their rela-tionship with the US, H1EUEH-

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Communists Restore Their Control in North Laos

series of rapid attacks has enabled the Communists to reoccupy virtually all of the ground lest in north Laos during the government's lastoffensive.

Communist control over the Plaine des Jarres was assured when anorthtroops, supported by tanks, finally overran theforward headquarters at xieng Khouang airfield in the early morning ofebruary. Government defenders apparently suffered only light losses in their retreat west and south from the airfield, and most of them have found their way back to friendly lines. By the evening ofebruary, after theof Xie'ng Khouangvillc, the entire Plaine was firmly inhands.

ruarymall number of government troops to abandon the important airstrip atoul or.

Elsewhere, there wereby government patrols that some enemy forces were moving south of the Plaine toward Meo outposts guarding the northern approaches to Vang Pao's main bases at Long Tieng and Samorth Vietnamese battalion was sighted moving into position near one of these outposts. Vang Pao has reinforced these positions with more troops andm. howitzer. Although manytroops are in disarray and suffering from low morale, Vang Pao has at hisumber of Meo guerrilla battalions that could be expected totiff defense against any quickthrusts at their homeland.

General Vang Pao'sefforts toew defensive perimeter running along the western and southern rim of the Plaine have beenby additional westward advances by the enemy. Thepressing their advantage quickly seized the mountainof Phou Kout onebruary. Enemy probing attacks oneb-

The lack of adequate supply stockpiles on or near the Plaine will likely hinder the Communists3 irmediate deep into remaining qovernment-controlled areas. Once thehave re-established their supply lines, however, theywill bring pressure ondefense lines southwest of tho Plaine. jsfcw?f*

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