THAILAND: A Question of Technique

Thailand's soft-voiced but strong-willed Premier Pibulsonggram came home from a state tour of Europe and the U.S. a year and a half ago full of the wonders of democracy. Expansively he urged his countrymen to erect themselves a Hyde Park for uninhibited soapbox oratory, offered them the kite-flying ground next to the royal palace. Going his new friend Dwight Eisenhower one better, Pibul instituted weekly press conferences, forced his hapless ministers to appear and answer rude reportorial questions about their carefree handling of public funds.

All this was somewhat surprising in a man whose political handbook ever since his student...

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