340. Letter From the Ambassador in Laos (Smith) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Parsons)1

Dear Jeff: In reply to Deptel 1920,2 you have already seen our 2763,3 which sought to provide such factual evidence as was available which might indicate those Americans who, in violation of Washington instructions, were taking a public line in Laos favoring specific candidates or factions in the new National Assembly. I enclose with this letter a memorandum prepared for me,4 in reponse to your request, which seeks to comment further and which is based more on inference and impression than upon hard fact.

In my view, this immediate question takes us back again to the more general and long-term problem of how, despite Department instructions and my hearty agreement with them, we are later told by our Embassy political and diplomatic contacts that the impression is abroad to the contrary of the very line I and a handful of FSO’s have been studiously following. While it may be, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] that the “two-voice” charge is made by others deliberately and falsely in an effort to smoke out our “real” intentions, I am personally convinced that on the whole this situation has actually tended to develop, and interestingly enough, only at those times when [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] opinions have diverged over crucial issues; e.g., last December over the “constitutional crisis” and more recently, over what complexion the new cabinet should take.

[5 paragraphs (1½ pages of source text) not declassified]

Sincerely yours,

  1. Source: Department of State, FE Files: Lot 62 D 26, Smith. Secret; Official–Informal.
  2. In telegram 1920, April 26, Parsons expressed concern that U.S. officials in Laos were supporting a candidate for Prime Minister in contradiction to U.S. guidelines. (ibid., Central Files, 751J.13/4–2660)
  3. Dated April 30. (ibid., 751J.13/4–3060; included in the microfiche supplement)
  4. included in the microfiche supplement.