234. Telegram From the Department of State to the Delegation to the Conference on Laos0

Fecon 610. We believe there are no basic contradictions between Confe 8661 and overall line taken in Department’s most recent instructions (Deptels 450 and 481).2 Brown has full authority to advise Phoumi [Page 524] on negotiating tactics and is free when he deems it necessary to inform Phoumi we will not support him further for Defense or Interior. Brown is not precluded from taking this step even before negotiations begin but there would appear serious danger that Phoumi’s reaction to this advice, if given prematurely, might prevent any negotiations.

Brown has same authority in relation to negotiations on important center issue. We believe that in absence concrete proposals from Souvanna it may be useful for Phoumi to begin by asking for three or four of center seats for non-XK neutrals. We agree that probably only way of getting non-XK neutrals into cabinet would be through expanding center. Brown has authority to recommend this to Phoumi when appropriate.

Intent last para Deptel 481 was to underline necessity that all members US team devote their efforts to goal of negotiated settlement and reconciliation not only between Souvanna and the US but between all non-Communist Lao elements. While Phoumi’s shortcomings fully understood here, Souvanna needs all the support he can muster to strengthen him in his dealings with PL, including all elements RLG, as well as that of US and other friendly countries. Discussions with Souvanna as and when Brown considers them appropriate should certainly contribute to restoration of confidence.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/11–1961. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Cross; cleared by Queneau, Cleveland, and Anderson; and approved by McConaughy. Repeated priority to Vientiane.
  2. Document 231.
  3. Documents 225 and 232.