337. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Laos 1

1921. Department seriously concerned by indications elections have been so rigged as to invalidate them in eyes of world opinion. As noted your 27242 press has picked up story which undoubtedly will receive wide publicity. In international field 1) reputation of Laos for fairness will be damaged; 2) suspicion of many that RLG not supported by population will be strengthened; and 3) task of supporting Laos diplomatically and economically by its friends and particularly by UNSYG will be considerably more difficult. Sad aspect is that non-Communist candidates could have won clear victory in fair election thereby greatly reinforcing RLG’s position.

You are authorized to make this assessment known in your own best judgment and as appropriate. Only chance Department sees of salvaging shred of reputation for these elections is for RLG to permit fair counting of returns in all districts where results not yet made public. We are calling in British and French to seek their support3 and you might coordinate your approaches with your British and French colleagues.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/4–2660. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Chapman; cleared by Usher, Anderson, and Steeves; and approved by Parsons. Repeated to Bangkok, Saigon, Phnom Penh, Paris, London, USUN, and CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. Telegram 2724, April 26, reported on the election results and commented that the “results overshadowed by ugly developments reflecting on their veracity” and that the foreign press in Vientiane was aware of the story. (ibid., 751J.00/4–2660)
  3. Reports of these calls, both on April 27, are in memoranda of conversation, April 27. (ibid., 751J.00/4–2760; both included in the microfiche supplement)