But he said Gen Thein was adamant the military needed no outside help.
"He insisted that his country with 60 million people has a government, its people and the private sector to tackle the problem by themselves," Mr Samak told reporters in Bangkok after his day trip to Burma.
EU envoy Louis Michel is heading for Burma for a three-day visit, where he says he will urge the generals "to be more open-minded and more understanding".
But he told the AFP news agency that his chances of success were "slight".
The continuing diplomatic efforts come amid more dire warnings of the consequences of the cyclone.
The UN's food agency says Burma will face food shortages if farmers cannot return to their fields in the next 90 days.
The UN's food agency fears Burma will face food shortages
"If we are not able to plant before the monsoon, we will have a serious shortage of rice in the country," said Leon Gouws, of the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Another UN body, the International Organisation for Migration, says it may already be too late to save the many victims who are in need of aid.
"Maybe we should already be looking at rebuilding projects instead of emergency relief," said the IOM's Chris Lom.
"There's been an opportunity lost - in terms of immediate response, maybe we're too late for that."
Residents have told the BBC's Burmese service how private citizens have been trying to distribute water and supplies from their own cars - but soldiers have been confiscating the goods.
A BBC correspondent in Burma described aid delivery as "unco-ordinated and piecemeal".
He said one devastated village - with one-quarter of its 400 houses left standing - had received just one bag of rice from the government.
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