228. Telegram From the Embassy in Laos to the Department of State0

712. Eyes Only all addressees. Personal for Secretary from Ambassador. Ref: Deptel 451 and Embtel 711.1

Boun Oum’s letter to Souvanna (Embtel 706),2 while containing some disingenuous statements, is on the whole conciliatory, gives some tenable reasons why Plaine des Jarres is an unsuitable meeting place and states that Boun Oum sincerely wishes national reconciliation and the speedy formation of a government of national union. In it Boun Oum promises his support to Souvanna in trying to accomplish this.

Phoumi’s answer to your message states that this letter was in no way intended as a rupture of negotiations, nor implies any stiffening of position on the part of the RLG.

As a result of your message, these points are now confirmed to you in writing and constitute an engagement to which the RLG can be held.

Phoumi told Hasey this morning that if Souvanna should propose a meeting anywhere except PdJ or in PL territory, the RLG would accept.

Specifically, they would go to Hin Heup.

If the Commission succeeds today in getting Souvanna to make this proposal, the negotiations will be able to proceed. U.S. desire to see them pursued in good faith has certainly been incontrovertibly established in Phoumi’s mind by your message.

I therefore recommend a) no further action on our part until we see how Souvanna reacts3 and b) if a meeting place is agreed, that I release the funds for FAR November expenses which I have thus far withheld.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/11–1561. Secret; Niact. Repeated niact to Geneva for Fecon, niact to London, priority to Paris, and to Bangkok, Saigon, Phnom Penh, New Delhi, Ottawa, and CINCPAC for Polad.
  2. See Document 227 and footnote 2 thereto.
  3. Dated November 14. (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/11–1461)
  4. On November 17, Souvanna accepted Boun Oum’s and Phoumi’s reasons for not going to the Plaine des Jarres and suggested that the next meeting of the three Princes should be held in Vientiane. Phoumi was elated and Brown reminded him that he should not think of it as a victory, but rather a demonstration of reasonableness by Souvanna. (Telegram 722 from Vientiane, November 17; ibid., 751J.00/11–1761)