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

1961. Embtel 2766.2

Department still supports principle of merger of anti-Communist forces (Deptel 1856)3 as you recommend. However we not clear how Lao leaders view “National Party” or “National Front.” Suspect [Page 753] these terms may have different meanings to different leaders, notably Phoui and Phoumi ([document number not declassified]4 reports Phoumi thinks that front should be headed by Somsanith or Nhouy and that Phoui and Souvanna need not be included; Embtel 27385 indicates Phoui is working toward collaboration with Souvanna and appears confident that together they can dominate unified front). Problem therefore appears practical one of a) how merger is to be brought about and b) who is to be included (e.g. just deputies or all RLP and CDNI members past and present).
Issue not simply academic since it evident that neither RLP nor CDNI will singly be able to obtain working majority in new Assembly [document number not declassified]4 and that consequently new government will have to be based on both groups or factions thereof. Therefore it essential that there be created a majority in Assembly of sufficient strength and discipline to produce a government of competent members and assure its continuing stability. Such a majority perforce requires as broad merger of RLP and CDNI groups as possible.
Therefore while you should continue generally encourage unity of anti-Communist elements, Department would appreciate specific answers to questions para 1 in order to examine what further steps can be taken.6
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/4–3060. Secret. Drafted by Chapman; cleared by Usher, Anderson, and Steeves; and approved by Parsons. Repeated to Bangkok, Saigon, Phnom Penh, Paris, London, and CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. In telegram 2766, April 30, the Embassy reported a discussion with Ngon Sananikone on April 29 in which he suggested the formation of a national front by the CDNI and the RLP. The Embassy requested the Department’s view of the idea. (ibid.; included in the microfiche supplement)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 334.
  4. Not found.
  5. Telegram 2738, April 27, contains a summary report of a conversation between Smith and Phoui Sananikone on April 25. (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/4–2760)
  6. Not found.
  7. See Document 341.