224. Memorandum for the Record by the Assistant to the Director, Far East Region, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Bingham)1



  • ANL Training

A meeting attended by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Knight, Ambassador Smith, Admiral O’Donnell and the undersigned was held on May 15th at State Department, during which the question of French-U.S. negotiations on the training of the Lao Army was discussed.

During the course of this meeting it was decided that in order to demonstrate our good will to the French, as well as to our friends having primary interest in the area—the British and Canadians, we should accept the French proposal for military-diplomatic talks in Paris on ANL training commencing May 25th. It was further decided that Ambassador Smith should head the U.S. delegation to be composed of, in addition to the Ambassador, Brig. Gen. Heintges, CHPEO; Mr. Corcoran, Laos desk officer at State; and the undersigned. (CINCPAC has been requested by cable to order General Heintges to Paris by 22 May.)

Ambassador Smith suggested that these talks be initiated within the framework of the RobertsonJoxe conversation of 22 April2 but with the understanding that the term “French command” as used by Mr. Robertson be interpreted as “French nominal control.”

This suggestion was accepted by Mr. Knight with the understanding that the 4 May letter from Defense to State3 would constitute the basis for the U.S. position.

Ambassador Smith stated that in order to sell our proposals to the French he planned to offer them the following assurances which Mr. Knight stated must be carefully checked out in advance:

We do not want to replace the French in Laos.
We do not want to diminish French influence there.
We do not want to assume for ourselves any new or special responsibilities in or for Laos.
We will withdraw our training teams from Laos at the end of a six to nine-month period.

[Page 535]

Mr. Knight also desired that the basic premise of the Heintges plan, namely the concept of combined U.S.-French tactical training teams, be carefully checked out in the Pentagon.

Sidney V. Bingham, Jr.
Colonel USA
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD/ISA Files: FRC 63 A 1672, 353 Laos. Secret.
  2. The meeting took place on April 21; see footnote 7, Document 220.
  3. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.5/5–459; included in the microfiche supplement)