353. Telegram From the Embassy in Laos to the Department of State1

1502. … Embassy telegram 1479.2 To counter new ChiCom-Viet “soft” tactics designed tempt Laos go way of Cambodia and in view naivete and susceptibility certain political figures Laos, we suggest following United States tactics.

Play up in propaganda United States friendship with Souvanna and United States aid to Laos. Suggest message from Secretary on Lao Independence Day, July 19.
Support Thai goodwill visit and other relations with Thailand. Enlist Thai aid in expediting transit of goods destined for Laos, including whatever pressure on ETB may be necessary.
Support Operation Brotherhood3 and other Philippine-Lao cooperation.
Survey possibilities rehabilitating Quang Tri–Savannakhet Road and other measures of Lao–South Vietnam cooperation.
Work out, in secret, more concrete plans for Thai and other SEATO powers come to aid of Laos in case of aggression.
Encourage RLG harp on Viet Minh interference, thus provoking Radio Hanoi attacks on Souvanna government.
Accept Katay proposal he visit United States informally on way back from France, probably July. Embassy will keep in closest touch with Katay, who controls majority party, is identified with firm policy toward PL and is likely be next Prime Minister.
Expedite development and improvement police and army programs, particularly of special branches. If there is settlement with Pathet Lao permitting their participation in politics and as volunteers in National Army, important assure solidity army and police against Communists subversion and take-over.

Embassy will maintain frequent contact with Cabinet members and other well-informed Lao to detect any beginnings of shift in policy.

Request Department views.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/5–2256. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Saigon.
  2. In telegram 1479, May 16, the Embassy commented: “it appears Communists going all out in attempt drive wedge between present Lao Government and US.” (Ibid., Central Files, 751J.00/5–1656)
  3. Operation Brotherhood was sponsored by the International Junior Chamber of Commerce. Originally begun in Vietnam, it was an operation which sent Filipino doctors and nurses to rural areas where they established free medical clinics for the care of the local population. For Lansdale’s account, see In the Midst of Wars, pp. 168 ff.