Thanat Khoman

Thursday, September 28, 1961

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

First speaker (unnamed) opens with some jokes regarding Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright view on Thailand. He then speaks warmly of Thailand and introduces the day's guest, Thanat Khoman, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Thailand.

Khoman opens with some comments on the "low calorie lunch" at the Press Club.

Khoman goes on to express his country's desire to have a close relationship with the United States. He describes the country's history - explaining that they have always been a free country and wish to remain so. He describes the policy of Thailand as one that seeks to maintain independence, when they see a threat to their freedom they are "stirred up" to raise their voices and show their disapproval. For the past few years they have been trying to raise the attention of the free world to the fact that there are other nations that seek to threaten Thailand's freedom. Specifically he mentions communist Mainland China and North Vietnam (the first communist state in South East Asia, established in 1954.) He describes the function of Laos in the creation of North Vietnam as a communist state.

Khoman describes the difficulties of a small country like Thailand to fend communism off alone, particularly against a huge country like China.

He refers to accusations that Thailand is an "American stooge" or and "American satellite." He says that this is not the case, rather Thailand simply supports the policies of the US.

Victor Riesel thanks Khoman warmly and makes a point of contrasting his attitude to that of Charles de Gaulle's. He speaks against his outspoken opposition to American involvement in Vietnam.

Questions and answers follow.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72250
Municipal archives id: T3237


Victor Riesel and Thanat Khoman


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About Overseas Press Club

Comprised of both speeches and question-answer sessions, this news program brings together foreign correspondents and public figures from culture and politics.

The Overseas Press Club (1940-1967) contains voices from the past that help us understand their time and place in history. What sets these talks apart from others like them is the presence of a live audience of foreign correspondents — reporters with international perspectives and questions. The resulting sessions have a distinctly different dynamic than would those with an audience of American journalists of the period.

Speakers include the German writer Günter Grass talking about his fascination with American prize fighters; a fiery young LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka) telling his audience "where it’s at with Mr. Charlie"; James Farmer on the civil rights movement and where it should be going; David Halberstam on the trials of covering the war in Vietnam; Josephine Baker on the focus of her later years, her adopted children; and Herman Kahn on being pushed to the nuclear edge.  Other notable speakers include the actor Alec Guinness, Richard Nixon, and a gaggle of early female pilots competing in the air race known as the Angel Derby. 

With presentations ranging from rambunctious and spirited to contentious and political, this collection provides invaluable access to the language and nomenclature of America's burgeoning global culture.


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