207. Editorial Note

At the 393d meeting of the National Security Council on January 15, Allen Dulles gave the briefing on “Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security.” Dulles reported on developments in Laos as follows:

“Meanwhile, continued Mr. Dulles, there had been important developments in neighboring Laos. There has been strong pressure by Communist elements in Laos under the control of Prince [Page 499] Souphonuvong. The danger of a Communist take-over in Laos was growing daily and the Western-oriented elements in the country felt that strong measures were necessary if this trend were to be reversed. Apparently, incursions of Viet Minh forces had occured at a disputed area on the border between North Viet Minh [Nam] and Laos. Phoui, the Laotian Prime Minister, whom we regard as the best of the Western-oriented politicians, appeared before the Laotian Chamber on January 14 and obtained from that body full power to rule by decree for a period of twelve months. This consituted a most desirable development it if were properly followed up. On the other hand, the Viet Minh may react very strongly to Phoui’s move and there may be a conjoining of the crises in Cambodia and Laos. The French were in general behaving very well in the face of the threat except that they are not at all disposed to welcome a U.S. military training mission.” (Memorandum of discussion by Gleason; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)