321. Paper Prepared by the Assistant White House Staff Secretary (Eisenhower)1
SYNOPSIS OF STATE AND INTELLIGENCE MATERIAL REPORTED TO THE PRESIDENT
[Here follows material unrelated to Laos.]
After some maneuvering back and forth, Phoui’s resignation was finally accepted by the King on December 31st. The Army immediately moved to occupy key points in the city of Vientiane. Acting as the King’s authority the Army was currently running the government pending formation of a new cabinet, with General Sounthone as Chief of Staff. Smith told Sounthone and the CDNI (Committee for Defense of National Interests) President, General Ouane, on December [January] 3rd, that U.S. reaction to drastic changes in Laotian foreign and domestic policies would be severe.2 There is some fear that the new Laotian government will try the NLHX (Neo Lao Hak Xat)3 leaders. The British Foreign Office is taking a tough line with the Laotians on this and has told them they should not act contrary to the Geneva Agreement. Sounthone has said that his committee is not a government, but that a government will be appointed soon. The King has indicated that he recognizes the close relationship between international [internal?] developments and international reactions. He claimed that neither the CDNI nor the military wanted to be in a government, but since they object to the LHL (Lao Hom Lao—former PM Phoui’s party), a third force must come forth.
The French are very much concerned since the military earlier had not concealed their determination to execute NLHX leader Souphannouvong, imprison unfriendly Assembly deputies, and call on SEATO for help.