The United States Delegation to the Department of State
Secto 495. Repeated information Paris 477, London 315, Tokyo 154, Saigon 101, Moscow 141, Vientiane and Phnom Penh unnumbered. [Page 1212]Department pass Defense. Tokyo for CINCFE. Lao Foreign Minister Phoui Sanankone [Sananikone] and Ourot Souphanouvong [Souvannavong] called on Bonsal today to report conversation with Chou En-lai at noon. Chou apparently turned on all his charm and made visible impression. Chou indicated understanding attitude toward (1) possibility that cease-fire could take place in Laos before Vietnam; (2) maintenance French bases and French military training mission under Franco-Lao military accord; and (3) withdrawal Viet Minh troops. Concerning latter, he claimed few left in Laos. He gave Phoui impression that Viet Minh could be totally withdrawn from even Sam Neua province. Chou said Prince Souphanouvong had no ambitions for Laos throne, only interested in “peace, independence and democracy”. He discussed with Phoui possibility of meeting between Souphanouvong and Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma. Although Phoui stated interview would have to be on basis submission of former and not involve recognition of Pathet Lao group, he was evidently interested in further exploration this possibility and appreciative of Chou’s willingness to facilitate matter.
Lao and Cambodian delegates have accepted Chou’s invitation to dine with him this evening; Pham Van Dong is also to be a guest. After Phoui left [Bonsal’s?] office, Ourot described Chou as “snake charmer” and indicated some concern that Phoui’s sincere approach might be abused. Also stated that Chou several times mentioned his opposition to establishment US bases in Laos.