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Rob MacNichol writes: "A former Thai communist claims Hanoi offered them 50,000 troops and heavy armor to cut off the eastern portion of Thailand. This is not conclusive evidence of what would have happened, only because it never did. However, it offers a view of communists planning to control all of SE Asia and witnesses who attest to it." This off the cuff comment by a former Thai Communist some 35 years after the fact is a very unreliable version of what transpired between Vietnamese and Thai communists during -- not after the Vietnam War. Two Thai historians with access to a number of former Thai communists in the late 1970s recounted in 1980 article what had actually happened: After the United States began bombing North Vietnam in 1965, the North Vietnamese asked the Thai Communist Party to give high priority to attacking U.S. airbases in Thailand apparently with Vietnamese advice and assistance. The Thai Comunists refused, and the Vietnamese went ahead and carried out sapper attacks on the bases themselves without Thai permission. (See Napporn Suwanpanich and Kraisak Choonhavan "The Communsit Party of Thailand and Conflict in Indochina," paper for the seminar on "Vietnam, Indochina and Southeast Asia : Into the 80s", The Hague, September 29-October 1, 1980). Needless to say relations between the two parties were quite strained during the war, since the Thai party leaned heavily toward Maoism. After the October 1973 "revolution" in Thailand which overthrew the military dictatorship and began a period of civilian government, the Vietnamese made it clear that they no longer supported the Thai Party's strategy of armed struggle against the government. According to a U.S. diplomatic cable, the Vietnamese rejected Thai Communist requests for military assistance after the 1976 right-wing coup. After that relations between the two parties became increasingly contentious, as Sino-Vietnamese relations deteriorated. With this as the well-documented background of relations between the two parties, the notion that the Vietnamese would offer to the Thai party to make available 50,000 Vietnamese troops to occupy the entire area of Thailand East of Bangkok is beyond implausible. Since the Vietnamese knew that the Thai Communists were not even willing to cooperate with the Vietnamese against the American bases during the war, why would they have any reason to believe that these same Communists would be happy to be occupied by Vietnamese troops after the war was over? As for the Vietnamese, who were uninterested even in supporting the Thai Communists armed struggle, and who had high hopes for the emergence of democratic and anti-U.S. forces in the cities after 1975, there was not the slightest reason to contemplate the use of military force against Thailand. And as MacNichol admits, they didn't. The statement cited does not provide real evidence of anything, let alone a "plan to control all of Southeast Asia." Gareth Porter