230. Telegram From the Delegation to the Conference on Laos to the Department of State0

Confe 864. Weekly Evaluation.

Pushkin started week with successful effort stir up neutrals against Western drafts on free access and ICC assistance in implementation of neutrality declaration. Co-chairmen Pushkin and MacDonald met with neutrals (Burmese, Indian, Cambodian and three Lao Dels) in series of morning and afternoon meetings on November 13 and 14. Pushkin delivered tough and clever propaganda speech which gained support of neutrals for bloc position, despite MacDonald’s well directed efforts gain neutral support for our drafts.

Pushkin continued oppose idea of impartial message from co-chairmen calling on three Princes reach prompt agreement. He charged at neutrals meeting that trouble clearly lies with Boun Oum and Phoumi.

Things seemed by Wednesday morning (Nov 15) to have come to impasse. Pushkin was warning that ChiComs pressing for plenary session that might have disruptive effect on conference and he was showing no sign of taking initiative for another private meeting of two co-chairmen. MacDonald thought situation would not have developed so badly if we had had agreement in principle from SEATO Council Reps to make appropriate statement and if, more importantly, new meeting of three Princes had been scheduled.

Suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, Pushkin asked for meeting with MacDonald same evening. Pushkin gave him drafts on investigations, introduction of armaments, time limits on withdrawal, voting, and corridor. Draft on voting was identical with last previous Sov version, but the others were revisions of earlier US or Sov drafts. For most part they represented some slight movement in direction our positions.

MacDonald at this meeting and Pushkin revised Western drafts on inspection teams and on co-chairman which included, respectively, our new formulations on access and ICC functions re neutrality declaration which Dept had approved earlier in week. Pushkin seemed impressed by speed with which we had prepared revisions. Expressed dislike of drafts but said would consider them. Pushkin suggested meeting of six dels (US, UK, USSR, ChiCom, French and Indian) as soon as possible [Page 518] after return Amb Harriman. MacDonald speculates this might be Pushkin counter to ChiCom desire for plenary session.

As week ended prospects for SEATO Council Reps action on SEATO formula seemed better and news was received by various dels here that agreement had apparently been reached on site of next meeting three Princes. Another favorable development was Indian Del Lall’s views expressed in separate conversations with MacDonald and with US Del Rep, that new Western drafts on access and ICC function re neutrality declaration seemed to him quite reasonable.

We seem to be back into status of serious negotiations and some further progress seems possible, although we are now dealing with some of the most difficult issues of conference.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/11–1861. Secret; Priority. Repeated priority to Bangkok and Vientiane and to London, New Delhi, Ottawa, Paris, Saigon, and Moscow.