215. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Laos1

1080. 1. You should take occasion reiterate Phoui our support his government and our confidence in him as experienced, sophisticated Lao statesman well-qualified maintain broadest base for non-Communist government. You should assure him we appreciate difficulties his position but make it clear we becoming disturbed that almost two [Page 513] months after grant extraordinary powers political infighting taking precedence over united effort non-Communist elements.2

2. You should take line with Phoui as well as ANL, CDNI, LHL that Laos cannot afford choice among them but needs coordinated efforts all elements in struggle against vigorous and determined Communist apparatus. In this respect Department feels pacification LHL elements while required by expediency and gratitude past services cannot be carried to point of jeopardizing national interest. In long run individuals whose main motivation “nostalgia for power” have no claim for U.S. support and must inevitably make greater accommodation political reality CDNIANL strength.

3. (FYI. We are concerned by reports via GVN that Phoui feels hemmed in by U.S. pressure in favor ANLCDNI and against LHL and by intelligence reports indicating Phoui has attempted drive wedge between CDNI and ANL and between certain elements ANL. GVN reports may represent indirect attempt by Phoui resist what he considers U.S. pressure on himself and divert it against other elements. This raises question whether our efforts influence RLG becoming too detailed and we becoming saddled with specific responsibilities better assumed by Lao. Would like your comments but paragraph four should be read with foregoing in mind. End FYI.)

4. Embassy should express to CDNI our continued backing by continued tangible support but should emphasize it essential CDNI (which includes elements ANL too) and better elements LHL arrive at meeting of minds with each other with readiness to compromise both sides; you should encourage ANL minimize political maneuvering by devoting itself to active training program and social action function; you should encourage both CDNI and ANL proceed with appointment constitutional commission as proposed by Phoui including representatives all parties but balanced by Crown appointees including King’s Council, CDNI and even ANL.3

5. Expenditure small sum suggested by Phoui would appear justified if it would assure no further problem LHL and their employment some useful capacity.4 Department skeptical wisdom placing LHL members listed Embtel 1442 in positions authority provincial level for [Page 514] execution village aid program. Past performance and obstructionist tendencies many of those listed inspire no great confidence. Assignments this sort should be filled by best available candidates among LHLCDNI membership. Better disposition disgruntled LHL elements might be secondary diplomatic assignments or inspectorates or advisory commission memberships it being understood no such assignments should include opportunities for graft or obstruction.

[1 paragraph (less than 1 line of source text) not declassified]

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/3–559. Secret. Drafted by Corcoran, cleared by Kocher and Parsons, and approved by Robertson. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. Smith reported in telegram 1560 from Vientiane, March 12, that he made these points to Phoui on March 10. (ibid., 751J.00/3–1259; included in the microfiche supplement)
  3. The Embassy in Vientiane reported in telegram 1559, March 12, that an Embassy officer made these points to Secretary of State Inpeng, an influential member of the CDNI, on March 10. (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/3–1259; included in the microfiche supplement)
  4. Apparent reference to a suggestion in telegram 1442 from Vientiane, February 19, that the Phoui government appoint the 12 most influential LHL members as administrators of rural aid in their respective provinces. (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/2–1959; included in the microfiche supplement)