396.1 GE/7–1254: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 593. Repeated information Paris 42, Saigon 27. Saigon pass Vientiane 1. Department pass Defense. USDel member talked today with Kamphan Panya of Lao delegation. Kamphan says that French-Lao military talks with Viet Minh are at impasse over Viet Minh insistence Lao Government recognize and negotiate with Pathet Lao authorities, while Lao representatives refuse discuss this political question.

Kamphan feels that Viet Minh are in no hurry reach agreement at this point, but fears that some package deal between French and Communists may develop at last moment which may fall considerably short of firm Lao position taken to present. He asked what US position would be if Mendes-France presented Lao with arrangement of this sort, since Laos alone would not be in position resist. He was told US has and will continue to support Lao position at conference, but we consider unlikely French would take such step without consultation with Laos and US. Kamphan said Laos hopes to be covered and participate in eventual Southeast Asia security pact, and that traditional ties with Thailand lead country to seek friendships to West rather than East.

Returning to military aspects, Kamphan said French have suggested that Lao accept Viet Minh proposal Pathet Lao regroupment areas within Laos. Viet Minh have insisted that Vietnamese from Laos be permitted to remain in country, while expressing willingness to withdraw “volunteers” from outside.

Kamphan says Lao Government is divided on position to be taken in negotiations. Some support present position delegation that rebel ethnic Lao with Viet Minh may be reintegrated in national life; other members believe that “reconciliation” Pathet Lao and Royal Government is necessary. He indicated latter faction motivated by fear that stronger position will not be backed up by France and US.