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

2818. Ref: Deptels 1961,2 1969;3 Embtels 2801, 2812.4 In view developments which came to head here today indicating formation of new party by CDNI almost certain result in splitting rather than unifying conservative elements contrary to advice that has been consistently given to all elements under Dept’s directives, I have consulted with French and British colleagues as to best answer to give to questions (a) and (b) asked in Deptel 1961 as to best manner solving practical problem with which we are now faced. Both my colleagues agree fully with point made paragraph 2 Deptel 1961 that “essential there be created a majority in Assembly of sufficient strength and discipline to produce a govt of competent members and assure its continuing stability and that for these purposes such a majority requires as broad merger of CDNI/RPL groups as possible.”

Re question (b), I feel, and my colleagues also agree, it essential that merger include all conservative deputies willing to join but inadvisable complicate situation at present by inviting or encouraging participation non-Parliamentary elements. It is national front in Assembly as basis for continuing stability of govt during present 5-year term that is most vital. Provisions for appropriate polit party support in provinces to ensure continuation through next elections appears to be project which could better be postponed until after national front in Assembly is attained, although it is problem which will of course thereafter warrant early attention.

Re question (a), after many hours discussion all aspects of question and every indication of practical realities present situation and probable developments, we have each reached conclusion that only action we can recommend to our govts that might at this point again make a merger possible or at least prevent a disastrous split internally and avoid even more disastrous external reaction would be a parallel [Page 756] démarche along lines set forth below, which we suggest should be presented separately by three of us plus Australian Chargé to RLG FonMin for delivery to King followed by (1) approach by me to Kou Abhay as Prime Minister provisional govt informing him of action taken by me and colleagues with FonMin, explaining fully its significance and asking his assistance in seeing that it is presented promptly and adequately to King; (2) similar approach by French Amb with President King’s Council and (3) by British Amb with Nhouy Abhay as Chairman Electoral Committee. In view difficulty arranging audience with Savang for presentation this type démarche, it is suggested by French Amb and agreed to by Addis and me that this would be best and perhaps only method of reaching King effectively by May 9, which now understood be date on which decision as to PriMin is scheduled be made by Monarch. We also all agreed that it is fortunate that due fact Lord Selkirk expects be granted audience with Savang during his visit here (Deptel 1969) probably May 12, it might be possible for him to follow up effectively and obtain direct reaction from King re our démarche.

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Ref made to electoral results which have created unrest and protests within country and doubts and concern externally.

In wake these results, there have been polit developments tending to ensure through tactic of exclusiveness a polit monopoly in favor leaders and principal beneficiaries of electoral operation.

This monopoly is doubly fragile since (a) it is based on contested electoral results; (b) does not by nature offer guarantees with respect security of Laos which must be founded on political equilibrium (i.e., neutrality).

Internal state of Kingdom precludes monopoly benefiting one tendency or party and pushing all others together into position that may provoke explosive situation.
Vulnerability of Kingdom in external sphere especially arouses fear of evolution of formula apt evoke strongest reactions.
Duties of friendship, sense of special responsibilities and commitments with regard to Laos impose vigilance upon us and require us to express our views in this exceptionally dangerous situation.
Only remedy for electoral results and only formula capable of preventing aggravation of internal situation and eventual external action, is national union consisting of participation in next govt by all tendencies represented in this newly elected Assembly on reasonably proportional terms agreed to by Exec Committees respective groups.
Friendly govts bearing responsibility toward Laos are ready accord their support, maintain and improve their aid to such govt.
They express their definite reservations toward any governmental formula containing attitude exclusiveness among national deputies or between groups thereof and declare that should such formula be adopted they would have to reconsider question of their support and aid to Laos.
They consider highly desirable that the next govt confirm the declarations made Jan 10, 1960, by PriMin re position of Laos in external sphere, its fidelity to UN principles of peace and its attachment to its friends. They consider that only govt founded on full national union in Assembly can give these renewed declarations sufficient strength and full significance.

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I would appreciate receiving any preliminary reaction of comment from Dept ASAP.5 This telegram slugged Top Secret since French and British Ambs requested that no one outside four Chiefs Mission and minimum necessary code and secretarial personnel should know such démarche being suggested.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/5–460. Top Secret; Niact. Repeated to London and Paris.
  2. Document 339.
  3. Telegram 1969, May 3, reads as follows:

    “British Embassy officer informs Department Lord Selkirk will visit Laos May 9 to 12 and will have audience with King. While FonOff realizes nature of any representations by Selkirk would depend on situation at time, it would like to have our reactions and ideas soon. Would appreciate your suggestions.” (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/4–2160)

  4. In these two telegrams, May 3 and 4, the Embassy reported on the deliberations of the CDNI, particularly its decision not to join with the RLP, but rather to test its support in the new National Assembly. (ibid., 751J.2/5–360 and 751J.00/5–460, respectively; both included in the microfiche supplement)
  5. See infra.