342. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Laos1
1983. Embtel 2818, rptd London 405, Paris 461.2 Following are remarks on reftel which we propose discuss with British and French here and which you might wish also discuss with your colleagues and send us your comments.
- Clearly CDNI driving to achieve clear majority in Assembly under its aegis but no indication RLP leadership making any real effort this direction. It also appears CDNI can only succeed if at least 10 to 15 non-CDNI, mostly RLP deputies, join this parliamentary group. In this eventuality old RLP would be finished as it would be incapable of providing alternative focus around which majority could be formed.
- We note that of 53 deputies so far elected, 44 are electoral committee’s first choice, 5 second choice, and only 4 were not approved by committee. Thus Assembly represents membership selected by both RLP and CDNI which we and allies have supported.
- While it clear elections certain districts fraudulent, it not at all clear how widespread fraud was. In any case it most doubtful that RLG would or even should undertake new elections which would be too expensive and involve serious loss of face. New Assembly will therefore have to be lived with and be considered legal; new government will have to emanate from it. (Assembly might possibly call for new elections in certain districts to counter impression that whole Assembly unrepresentative.)
- While national union all anti-Communist elements remains most desirable, it not at all clear how it can be brought about. (Deptel 1961)3 Agree formation new parliamentary group best approach but question whether in fact reconciliation among all RLP–CDNI factions can be effected and produce single cohesive national front. More probably majority within Assembly can only be produced from fusion some RLP factions with CDNI. Question arises whether government representing whole of National Assembly would be more effective than one representing simple majority.
- Point of your concern, as we understand it, is that CDNI majority will form government which may be provocative by its very composition and which also may adopt provocative policies. (There would presumably be no concern if majority were being organized under older RLP leadership.) Problem therefore is to insure an effective government not dominated by hotheads.
- We are mindful of King’s sensitivity to foreign meddling in internal political affairs of Laos (particularly if démarche is to be relayed and therefore interpreted to him by Khamphan Panya). Consequently we not certain proposed démarche would achieve its objective of bringing about reconciliation various anti-Communist elements. On contrary as now proposed démarche might further embitter relations between two groups.
- Particularly concerned by tone of démarche which amounts to ultimatum: either national union government or no aid. (We note also brunt would fall on us as our aid is principal and indispensable support of Laos.)
- FYI. Inescapable suspicion that Falaize, seeing Souvanna’s chances of becoming Prime Minister evaporating, may be playing on our natural fears to bring Western influence to bear on situation and seek permit Prince again play major role. End FYI.
- Department not rejecting recommendation of a démarche to King. We hope send you shortly proposal for modified approach.