205. Editorial Note

On January 12, 1959, Prime Minister Phoui Sananikone addressed a special session of the Lao National Assembly. In an hour-long speech, he recounted the accomplishments of his government since its coming to power in August 1958, described the dangerous situation it now faced because of alleged border incidents which had taken place with North Vietnam in December 1958, and declared that Laos was with its “friends” in the “great ideological combat which divides present world.” Phoui then presented for the Assembly’s approval a series of measures to deal with the threats he described. The action program outlined by Phoui Sananikone included constitutional reform, land and village community development, intensification of general economic development, free and independent neutrality in foreign affairs, and improvements in the National Army and public services. Phoui asked for special powers to implement this plan. The National Assembly approved these special powers and the action plan on January 14. (Telegram 1225 and 1241 from Vientiane, January 12 and 14; Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/1–1259 and 751J.00/1–1459) In telegram 1302 from Vientiane, January 27, the Embassy provided an extensive analysis of these developments. (ibid., 751J.00/1–2759) Telegram 1302 is included in the microfiche supplement.