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

584. CINCPAC for POLAD. Reference Embtel 576.2 Am seeing Crown Prince morning thirtieth. Understand [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] that purpose of interview probably to obtain moral support through fresh assurances by mere continued firmness US intent, provided monetary reform instituted promptly, to assist Laos in its fight against Communism despite recent US action in suspending aid.3 We understand he is already familiar with terms proposed monetary agreement and is willing support it, but needs encouragement to play for first time active open role if necessary to ensure reform without endangering government.

Department will recall Crown Prince’s request shortly after May election for unequivocal statement that US will help Laos maintain independence and will not permit small minority to take over country against will of people (Embtel 1925, paragraph 4).4 Feeling of insecurity which then pervaded country, as result revelation extent NLHX control over voters, is evidently reasserting itself as consequence suspension US aid and uncertainty as to US long-range intentions towards Laos.

At time first request by Crown Prince Department advised me that statement such as he desired difficult to make at that juncture and perhaps not advisable until Lao had taken some concrete step under his leadership to show they would face up to situation. I believe certain steps which have since been taken by Lao (unification conservative parties, organization of the CDNI, and formation Phoui government with important participation latter and exclusion of Communists) and above all monetary reform now about to be undertaken now warrant Department’s re-examination possibility of giving desired assurances. I believe that if I could give such a message from Secretary Robertson at time series of political steps mentioned above are [Page 481] crowned by exchange of notes constituting agreement on monetary reform, we could perform signal service to Phoui and Crown Prince at this critical moment.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 851J.13/9–2958. Top Secret; Niact. Repeated to Paris, London, and CINCPAC.
  2. In telegram 576, September 28, Smith reported a private conversation with Phoui in which Phoui asked for a guarantee of support of the constitutional monarchy, a strategic guarantee in the event of war against Laos, continued U.S. aid, and “steadfast moral and material support” for anti-Communist action. Smith recommended some gesture of assurance to Phoui. (ibid., 851J.13/9–2858; included in the microfiche supplement)
  3. The decision to suspend aid payments was communicated to the Lao Government on July 9; see footnote 2, Document 182 and Document 184.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 173.