According to The Guardian, Than Shwe was urged to make the bid by his grandson.
The US embassy in Rangoon is said to have conveyed this information to Washington.
The US embassy cable details how the regime was thought to be using football to distract its population from ongoing political and economic problems.
The proposal was made prior to January 2009. Only months earlier, in May 2008, the Burmese junta had been accused of blocking vital international aid supplies after Nargis struck, killing 140,000
Than Shwe reportedly concluded that making a bid for United might 'look bad' at the time, but the revelation that the proposal was even considered is likely to fuel criticism of the regime's cruelty.
The senior general instead ordered the creation of a new multimillion dollar national football league at the same time as aid agencies were reporting that one year on, many survivors of the cyclone still lacked permanent housing, access to clean water, and tools for fishing and agriculture.