194. Editorial Note

On September 10, Ambassador Smith commented on the suggestion of the Commander in Chief, Pacific, Admiral Felt, that since the International Control Commission had ceased operations in Laos, it was time to “re-examine the possibility of taking some action toward introducing a MAAG to support the ANL as circumstances permit.” Felt envisioned a step-by-step approach geared to the political situation in Laos. The first step would be to assign a Brigadier General, supported by three military assistants, as a potential MAAG Chief. These officers could wear civilian clothes. (CINCPAC telegram 140327Z, August 14; Department of State, EA Files: Lot 68 D 77, Laos 1958) In his comments, Smith observed that while an openly acknowledged MAAG would provide the maximum support to the ANL, it would cause serious diplomatic difficulties for the United States in Laos and all of Southeast Asia, and it would also cause the Phoui government internal political problems. Therefore, Smith recommended that the most practical solution was to assign, as Program Evaluation Office replacements, active duty officers without reference to their military status. Smith thought that perhaps the French should be consulted at Paris, but not at Vientiane, nor should the Lao Government be informed. (Telegram 457 from Vientiane, September 10; ibid., Central Files, 751J.5–MSP/9–1058) The Department of State concurred with Smith’s suggestion. (Telegram 338 to Vientiane, September 12; ibid.)

The telegrams described are included in the microfiche supplement.