374. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Parsons) to the Acting Secretary of State1


  • Constitutionality of Laos Government

After talking with you, I had a call from Allen Dulles who said that this matter of “government now invested constitutionally”2 had real importance for him. He lived with a situation before where he was supporting someone against government constitutionally in office, but he did not like to be put in this position if it could be avoided. He was afraid that we might unnecessarily tell other governments and the world that we regarded the Souvanna Phouma goverment as fully invested constitutionally.

After thinking this over, I drafted the attached3 which seems to me does no harm and might make Mr. Dulles happier. It has been only today that we received evidence that the forms considered necessary for completion of investiture have not been completed.4 As I understand it, the constitution makes no mention of the need for a royal ordinance before the government can take its oath of office.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/8–1860. Secret; Eyes Only. A marginal note on the source text indicates that Dillon saw this memorandum.
  2. See footnote 2, supra.
  3. The paper, “Constitutionality of Laos Government,” August 18, was not attached and has not been found.
  4. The Lao Ambassador in Bangkok, Tiao Khamphan, informed Unger that it was his belief that unless Souvanna Phouma went to Luang Prabang to present his government to the King, it would not have legal status. (Telegram 277 from Bangkok, August 17; Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/8–1760; included in the microfiche supplement)