211. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Laos1
936. Your 1338.2 Daridan February 4 informed Department French reaction Heintges’ plan not favorable because participation US instructors not compatible Article 6 Geneva Accords or Souvanna Phouma’s [Page 506] unilateral declaration of May 31, 1958. French proposed maintain wholly all their relationships Laos and would make own study ways and means improvement ANL and would keep US informed.
Parsons replied French reaction, if not complete surprise, severe disappointment. We were confronted practical problem finding remedy decreased efficiency and morale ANL resulting from diminution French Military Mission and passage time since ANL had combat experience. We believed Heintges’ plan presented practical solution with which French in Laos in general agreement. Improvement ANL matter of considerable urgency.
We as well as RLG must face question of how long RLG can be kept in position of being slightly less than sovereign. Continued acceptance Geneva restrictions deprived independent Laos ability ensure defense along practical lines.
Parsons stressed argument based Article 6 not convincing since DRV and ChiComs possess overwhelming superiority and can fabricate provocation whenever they so desire. Recent events DRV–Laos border incline us believe provocation issue not a great one.
We must find solution ANL problem soon in order achieve object we all seek in Laos. We desire work with French toward this solution and our Military also desire cooperate with French. However we may anticipate difficulty obtaining MSP appropriations for Laos even under best circumstances. If we are confronted with necessity admit efficiency ANL does not permit fulfillment its mission despite our expenditure, effort and funds in past we may face increased danger to MSP appropriation which would threaten entire objective in Laos.
At your discretion you may use any of above arguments with Phoui without of course mention of French approach here, if it appears necessary to accelerate RLG action indicated Deptel 9193 and Embtel 1325.4
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.5–MSP/2–459. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Corcoran and approved by Kocher. Repeated to Paris and CINCPAC for POLAD.↩
- In telegram 1338, February 4, Smith reported information from the French Ambassador in Laos similar to what Daridan told Department officials on February 4. (ibid.)↩
- In telegram 919, January 30, the Department reiterated previous instructions that Smith approach Phoui along the lines of paragraphs 1–4 of Document 208. (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/1–3059; included in the microfiche supplement)↩
- In telegram 1325, February 2, Smith informed the Department that he had already discussed paragraphs 1–4 of Document 208 with Phoui and Khamphan Panya, both of whom heartily concurred. (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/2–259; included in the microfiche supplement)↩