227. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Laos0

451. Eyes Only for all addressees. Personal for Ambassador Brown from Secretary.

Believe it imperative Mayrand not take letter of refusal to Xieng Khouang.1 Please give Phoumi personal message from me that refusal to have either Boun Oum or Phoumi fulfill commitment about meeting Xieng Khouang would create situation not covered by his talks with us in Washington and that we would be forced consider whether we have any further useful role to play in Laotian affairs.2 It must be obvious to RLG that breakdown of negotiations on issue of location of meeting would make it impossible to get international sympathy and support for RLG.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/11–1361. Secret; Niact. Drafted and approved by Rusk and cleared by Johnson, Steeves, and the President. Repeated niact to Geneva and London, priority to Paris, and to Bangkok, Saigon, Phnom Penh, New Delhi, CINCPAC, and Ottawa.
  2. In telegram 703 from Vientiane, November 12, Brown reported he tried at length to persuade Phoumi to go to the Plaine des Jarres and informed Phoumi that a “crisis was developing in relations between himself and the United States.” Brown reminded Phoumi that Washington could “not allow its policy to be determined by another Government.” Brown commented to the Department that mere statements that the United States was losing confidence in him would not impress Phoumi. (Ibid., 751J.00/11–1261)
  3. In telegram 709 from Vientiane, November 14, Brown reported that he saw British official Maynard who agreed to stall in delivering the RLG letter to Phoumi. Brown also delivered Rusk’s message to Phoumi. Brown reported that afterwards Hasey had discussed the message with Phoumi who asked if the Secretary’s threat was “serious” and stated that while U.S. support was crucial to their government, they could not go to the Plaine under threat of war. Instead they were asking Souvanna for another site for a meeting. (Ibid., 751J.00/11–1461) In telegram 711 from Vientiane, November 15, Phoumi officially told Rusk that he and Boun Oum were refusing to go to Plaine des Jarres, but that in no way constituted a breaking off of the negotiations. (Ibid., 751J.00/11–1561)