The country's military chief expressed anger Wednesday at charges Thai officers stole $3.5 million in covert U.S. aid for Cambodian guerrillas and said U.S. officials must name the culprits.
Gen. Chavailit Yongchaiyudh told reporters at Supreme Command Headquarters that he had no knowledge of any alleged corruption. He said the charges, first reported in The Washington Post Sunday, have hurt morale in the army."The Washington Post must reveal more details to back those allegations because it is irresponsible to talk lightly of something as accusatory as this," he said. "That, or go to hell."
Chavalit said he has ordered an investigation, but added that he doubted anything could be proven because he said the Americans handle the financial administration of the aid program.
"If any U.S. official can identify the culprits, come tell us," he said. "But if he knows but won't come forth, then we cannot work well together and cannot call ourselves friends."
Other Thai officers have denied there was any corruption.
The program is operated by CIA officers in Thailand, which the guerrillas use as sanctuary and support in fighting Vietnamese troops that invaded Cambodia in late 1978.